This Instant Pot Crack Chicken is made up of tender shredded chicken and crispy bacon tossed in a rich and flavorful cream sauce. It’s a quick, one-pot dinner that’s packed with flavor.
WARNING: it really is hard to stop eating once you start. The word “crack” in the name doesn’t lie!
What is crack chicken?
Crack chicken is a dish made up of shredded chicken tossed with cream cheese, ranch, cheddar, and bacon often served in hamburger buns!
- Bacon – gives the chicken a crispy, crunchy bite and smoky flavor. Don’t forget to stir the bacon in after you cook the chicken so it doesn’t become soggy!
- Chicken Broth – gives the chicken so much moisture and flavor as it cooks resulting in an ultra-tender, fall-apart texture.
- Chicken Thighs – I like using chicken thighs in this recipe since they’re less likely to become dry. Chicken breasts will work but since they’re more lean, they can go from well-cooked to overdone very quickly.
- Cream Cheese – forms the base of the rich cream sauce.
- Cheddar Cheese – melted into the cream sauce to add a sharp cheesiness and gooey texture.
- Diced Green Chiles – add a smokiness and kick of spice to break up the richness of the cream sauce. You can use mild, medium, or hot depending on how spicy you like your food.
- Ranch Seasoning, Salad Dressing & Recipe Mix and Taco Seasoning – the MVP’s of this recipe that add so much sweet, spicy, smoky flavor. These two seasoning blends are what give this chicken its signature “crack” flavor. Use store-bought seasonings or make your own taco seasoning.
- Buns and Sliced Green Onions – for serving!
How to make
- Place diced bacon into your instant pot, hit SAUTE, then cook until the bacon is crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and set aside, leaving he grease.
- Stir in broth then add in chicken thighs. Cover and lock the lid then cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.
- Drain the liquid from the instant pot then shred or cube the chicken
- Stir in cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green chiles, seasonings, and cooked bacon then serve and enjoy!
Can you use frozen chicken?
You sure can! To use frozen chicken, simply follow the instructions as listed but cook on HIGH for 25 minutes rather than 10.
Can you make crack chicken without an instant pot?
Absolutely! You can make crack chicken in the crockpot or on the stove.
To use your crockpot, check out my crockpot crack chicken recipe. To make crack chicken on the stove, follow the instructions for my stovetop shredded chicken then stir in the cream sauce ingredients and bacon.
How to serve crack chicken
- On sandwiches. Serve it on hamburger buns, in pitas, on croissants, or over toast.
- As a wrap. Roll it up in your favorite tortilla or make it into lettuce wraps.
- With potatoes. Stuff it into baked potatoes or serve it over mashed potatoes.
- As an appetizer. Serve it in slider buns or as a dip next to crackers and a bowl of fresh veggies.
- Over rice. Scoop it over a bed of rice with a side of roasted broccoli or another veggie.
How to store
Leftovers will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge, if frozen, then microwave or warm on the stove until heated through.
Instant Pot Crack Chicken
Equipment for this recipe
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon diced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 (8 oz) block cream cheese cubed
- 1 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
- 1 (1 oz) packet Ranch Seasoning, Salad Dressing & Recipe Mix
- 1 (1 oz) packet taco seasoning
- Buns for serving
- Sliced green onions for serving
- Place diced bacon into a 6 quart Instant Pot.
- Hit SAUTE on the Instant Pot, then cook until the bacon is crispy, stirring regularly.
- Hit CANCEL on the Instant Pot, then use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and set aside.
- Stir in the broth, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. This helps avoid a BURN reading.
- Add in chicken thighs, then cover and lock the lid. Make sure the pressure valve is pointed toward SEALING.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 10 minutes, then flip the valve to do a quick release.
- Drain the liquid from the Instant Pot, shred or cube the chicken, then stir in the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green chiles, ranch mix, taco seasoning, and cooked bacon.
- Taste and re-season, if necessary, then serve on buns with sliced green onions!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.