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!
Love pasta in the pressure cooker? This cheesy Pizza Pasta recipe is ready in 30 minutes, so perfect!
I’m back with another Instant Pot dinner! This time, we’re talking all about how to make Chicken Pasta.
You’ll never believe how such a simple combination of ingredients can come out tasting this good.
Why this Recipe is Best
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 this chicken pasta dish, 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.
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 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.
- 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 chicken pasta for dinner. You can also purchase precooked bacon to use in a pinch!
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.
Yes! After cooling, store in freezer safe container for up to 30 days. The pasta may be slightly soft when reheating.
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
- Chicken Paprikash
- Bubble Up Pizza
- Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs
- Sausage and Peppers– in the Instant Pot!
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section below!
Instant Pot Chicken Pasta
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 packet 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
- Pour olive oil into Instant Pot pan and select SAUTE. Heat for 1 minute.
- Add the diced chicken and sauté for approximately 5 minutes or until no longer pink.
- 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).
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the valve on top to "SEALING".
- Set on “Manual or High Pressure“ for 4 minutes.
- When timer goes off, quick release the pressure valve carefully.
- Stir in cream cheese, shredded cheese, bacon and spinach and stir until cheese is melted.
- Serve immediately.
- 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.
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!
I made this. I added 2 more minutes of cooking time because the noodles weren’t quite done. So, the 6 minutes and they were perfect. The ingredients of this recipe are a home run here in the Midwest. The spinach seemed an odd addition but, I went for it. I love fresh spinach. It’s definitely a texture WTF but, honestly I let it cook a bit on “keep warm” to reduce a smidge and it melded together nicely. It’s a double thumbs up here in Illinois. Thank you for sharing.
If I were to do a dump and bake in oven. How long and what temp?
Just made this recipe, perfect! I added a few ombré cherry tomatoes and instead of bacon I added turkey sausage
This was a good quick dinner! I had to sub non dairy cream cheese & non dairy mozzarella and it still came out creamy. I used bone broth and Banza pasta. I’ll definitely be putting this in rotation for busy nights!
This was fantastic!
The only adjustment I made was only using 4oz of cream cheese. My husband and daughter do not handle creamy pastas very well, so with that said it was a hit and no sore bellies.
Thank you for the wonderful recipe ❤️
The first time I made this it turned out perfectly. However, the second time, for some reason there was not enough liquid and not all of the pasta got cooked. I made sure to double check the recipe too because I thought it was weird that the liquid didn’t come up high enough to even slightly cover the pasta. I have no idea how to fix this 🙁
You lose very little liquid to evaporation in the InstaPot. Unless you forget to turn the valve to seal? If you did and then did not replace the lost liquid upon discovery you may have shorted the recipe liquid in that way.. Or possibly lost count of cups during prep, and only added 3 cups.
Other possibilities are more than called for pasta amount. This would require more fluids and would also account for the difference in liquid coverage of pasta. The fluid does not need to cover the ingredients in a pressure cooker as the steam does the actual cooking of the pasta. I have issues while making InstaPot spaghetti of getting just the right sauciness. May thought is different brands of pasta may be an issue also. Hope these suggestions are helpful.
Good recipe. I didn’t have cream cheese so I reduced the broth to 3.5 cups and used 1 cup Whipping cream. It wasn’t as creamy but my family still liked it. I would make it again.
Would egg noodles or macaroni work for this recipe?
Wow , this was fast and very easy to make .
Thank you for clear and precise instructions.
I made this last night and let me tell you…. Everyone in my house LOVED it. I read a lot of the reviews before I made it and decided to take the cook time to 5 min, reduce the amount of broth used, to 3 and a half cups, but also let it natural release for about 1 min, then I did a quick release. It turned out PERFECT! I added some mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and about 2 cups of spinach, but also sauteed some garlic with the chicken. Superb and very quick meal for my family of 4.
Made this yesterday and it was really good. Used green peas instead of spinach, however, even though it’s not a leafy green. Still good. Otherwise I did the recipe as written. Will certainly make it again, as I serve on the meal ministry at my church, where we provide hot meals for members who are ill and/or disabled. They should really like this.
Just made this recipe and loved it! It was creamy and cheesy and everyone enjoyed it. When the timer stops there is a lot of liquid on the bottom, but when you add the cream cheese, just stir and stir and it gets completely absorbed. Four minutes was exactly right. Pasta was perfectly cooked – still had a little bite to it, not mushy at all. This is a versatile recipe because any pasta on hand would work, you could probably use diced ham or leftover turkey, and broccoli or peas would be good…. Definitely a keeper.
I made this recipe exactly like its written. This was the most watery pasta. I even drained some of the liquid out before adding my cream cheese/cheese. Not a fan.
How much is a serving size that the nutrition facts are based on??