★★★★★

Instant Pot Crack Chicken Pasta

Crack Chicken Pasta takes weeknight comfort food to a new level. Made in the Instant Pot, this creamy chicken pasta packed with cheese, spinach, and bacon is cooked in 30 minutes!

Crack chicken pasta being ladled out of a pressure cooker.

I’m back with another Instant Pot dinner! This time, we’re talking all about how to make Crack Chicken Pasta.

You’ll never believe how such a simple combination of ingredients can come out tasting this good.

What is Crack Chicken Pasta?

You may remember my Crack Chicken recipe from last year. I took the basics of that recipe, added more cheese, and pasta for a complete meal!

In the Midwest, you’ll be hard pressed to find any potluck or meal train without at least one “chicken pasta” dish. Whether it’s Baked Ziti or Chicken Tetrazzini, casseroles with chicken and pasta are always a hit.

Everyone has their own spin on crack chicken, but it always involves lots of cream, lots of cheese and lots of bacon. It’s a simple concept that turns into a dish that no one can turn down.

Ranch dressing mix adds instant zesty flavor and few handfuls of fresh baby spinach brings the touch of green freshness to balance the heaviness of the cream cheese.

Crack chicken pasta ingredients on a white counter.

Why make dinner in the Instant Pot?

Instead of making this in the oven, I reached for my trusty Instant Pot. Why?

Because with just a few minutes of of cooking time, I had a hot and totally homemade dinner ready to serve. Chicken Stroganoff and Pot Roast have excellent results in the pressure cooker!

The chicken marinates in the cheesy ranch-flavored sauce and the noodles cooked to perfection. No bland mushy noodles like you sometimes get in one pan pastas.

With all the components of a balanced meal cooked in, you’ll love the convenience of this pasta dinner. If you’re in a real rush, you can even use ready made chicken!

Plus, it’s only ONE POT to clean! Now THAT’S a win.

Step by Step Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make crack chicken pasta in pressure cooker.
Step by step photos showing how to finish making crack chicken pasta in Instant Pot.

STEP 1. Cook the chicken

Saute diced raw chicken in the instant pot with olive oil for about 5 minutes or until it turns white (no pink remaining).

Skip this step if you’re using cooked chicken.

STEP 2. Pressure cook

Add a ranch dressing packet to the pot and stir with chicken. Add uncooked pasta on top of chicken and pour chicken broth over everything. Do not stir!

Place the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for a total time of 4 minutes.

STEP 3. Add cheese

After quickly releasing the pressure, stir cream cheese into the pot along with shredded cheese, bacon and spinach and stir until cheese is melted.

Ladle into bowls or onto plates and serve immediately.

Substitutions

  • Rotisserie chicken – A favorite hack for quick chicken dinners, rotisserie chicken from the grocery store tastes great in this recipe (or you can make my roasted chicken for this dinner too)! Skip the saute step and just add it right to the pot with the pasta, broth and ranch dressing packet. Leftover turkey would be tasty in this meal too.
  • Noodles – Instead of rotini noodles, use penne or bowtie pasta. Any smaller sized pasta noodle works well. Try rainbow rotini noodles for even more color.
  • Kale – Swap out the spinach for kale, swiss chard or another leafy green.
  • Cooked bacon – If you have the time, you can cook the bacon on the stove top or in the oven yourself fresh for this recipe. I’ll often make bacon for breakfast in the morning and keep leftovers to throw into crack chicken pasta for dinner. You can also purchase precooked bacon to use in a pinch!
Crack chicken pasta in white serving bowl.

Recipe FAQs

How long are leftovers good for?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3 days. The noodles may get soft with time, as they marinate in the sauce.

Can you freeze Crack Chicken Pasta?

Yes! After cooling, store in freezer safe container for up to 30 days. The pasta may be slightly soft when reheating.

Can I make this without pasta?

Definitely. Skip the pasta and only add 1 cup of the broth. Cook as directed and enjoy on buns or scooped up with tortilla chips.

More Easy Weeknight Meals

PS. If you try this recipe, please leave a STAR rating in the recipe card below. I love your feedback! Connect with me on social media by following me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

Yield: 8 servings

Instant Pot Crack Chicken Pasta

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Crack Chicken Pasta takes weeknight comfort food to a new level. Made in the Instant Pot, this creamy chicken pasta packed with cheese, spinach, and bacon is cooked in 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • One packet of dry Ranch Dressing mix
  • 1 lb box of rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup (8 oz) cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz block Cream Cheese
  • 5 ounces baby fresh spinach
  • 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Instructions

    1. Pour olive oil into Instant Pot pan and select SAUTE. Heat for 1 minute.
    2. Add the diced chicken and sauté for approximately 5 minutes or until no longer pink.
    3. Add Ranch dressing packet and stir to combine well. Add pasta on top of chicken and pour chicken broth over pasta (do not stir pasta in broth).
    4. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the valve on top to "SEALING".
    5. Set on “Manual or High Pressure“ for 4 minutes.
    6. When timer goes off, quick release the pressure valve carefully.
    7. Stir in cream cheese, shredded cheese, bacon and spinach and stir until cheese is melted.
    8. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Recipe tested in 6qt Instant Pot
  • Penne or bowtie pasta are great alternatives to rotini.
  • Use precooked bacon for a quick alternative. Also can use rotisserie cooked chicken. Skip the saute step if using precooked chicken.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 481Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 708mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 38g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

When you forgot to make any plans for dinner and everyone’s hungry, it’s Crack Chicken Pasta to the rescue! In less than 15 minutes, you’ll have a completely homemade meal ready to enjoy!

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on September 3, 2020

Comments & Reviews

  1. Very good, and easy to make. However, I believe instructions should say to let pressure to down naturally. When I carefully opened the valve, the steam exploded all over, including the low ceiling, making a huge mess! Also, I made half a recipe and it filled my 6 quart pot. A full recipe would overflow it!
    Tasty and rich. I’ll make again.

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