Instant Pot Crack Chicken is a shredded chicken with two kinds of cheese, tasty ranch flavor, and bacon! This is a very popular Instant Pot chicken recipe. My delicious version of this pressure cooker crack chicken is a new and improved recipe! This is a one-pot meal that is super easy to make.
Instant Pot Crack Chicken
If you own an Instant Pot® and haven’t heard of Crack Chicken yet, you will soon enough! How about now?! Crack Chicken is basically a cream cheese-ranch-bacon shredded chicken recipe that began as a slow cooker recipe. Actually, it reminds me a little of chicken salad!
It was later adapted to also work in an electric pressure cooker, though the first versions used way too much water, then added corn starch to thicken it!
First let me just say that this is one of those recipes that has a love-it or hate-it kind of reputation. I think the reason is simply that people have different tastes. I used to be on the hate-it side. Well, sort of. I made it back in the day and it was too bland for me.
It’s very popular though, so I decided to give this old recipe a makeover! The new and improved Instant Pot Crack Chicken, if you will. I think it was worth the effort because now I like it!
What cut of chicken is best for Instant Pot Crack Chicken?
Boneless/skinless chicken breasts work the best in this recipe. You could probably use thighs, but it is so rich that they may be too much. I haven’t tried them.
Can I use frozen chicken breasts in this pressure cooker crack chicken recipe?
Thawed chicken works the best. If frozen is all you have, then go ahead and use it. The results may be a bit more watery, and the cook time may need to be bumped up 2 minutes or so.
For those of you who have tried the original crack chicken recipe and found it lacking, you might like my version.
What is different about this version of Instant Pot Crack Chicken?
So the long story is that I read a lot of reviews of the original version of crack chicken. The main negative comments were that it was too salty, that it was bland, and that it had the texture of mush. So I set out to fix all of that.
- What I did differently:
- The first fix was the easiest, the mushy texture. The answer lies with you though. When you shred your chicken, use two forks, not a hand mixer or something like that. This way you still get some chunks of chicken to give you something to chew on. Some texture.
- The next thing to tackle was the saltiness. This was tough because everyone has a different salt tolerance. You can either use a low sodium ranch dressing mix like my Homemade Ranch Dressing (you control the salt).
Or use chicken that has no salt added (check the label). You’d be surprised by how many places inject their chicken with a sodium solution!
The other solution to this was to simply use water instead of chicken broth.
- The biggest complaint about this recipe was that it was bland. I thought about this a lot, and then it hit me. Add more ranch flavor without adding more salt!
Since I know what my ranch dressing recipe is made of, it was easy to add some of those herbs and spices to this recipe for the flavor without adding more salt. I think it worked well.
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Instant Pot Crack Chicken is a shredded chicken with two kinds of cheese, tasty ranch flavor, and bacon! This is a very popular Instant Pot chicken recipe. My delicious version of this pressure cooker crack chicken is a new and improved recipe!
- 1/2 cup Water
- 2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts* (about 4 8oz breasts)
- 1 (1 oz) packet Ranch Dressing Mix
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Dill Weed, dried
- 2 tsp Parsley, dried
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 (8 oz) block Cream Cheese (room temperature)
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese (shredded, not from a bag)
- 8 slices Cooked Thick Cut Bacon, chopped
- 3 Green Onions, chopped
If you cook your bacon in the pot, just set the bacon aside to cool, and wipe out the pot. Continue with recipe.
Add the water to the inner liner pot of the pressure cooker.
Add the chicken breasts to the pot, overlapping as little as possible for even cooking.
Sprinkle the ranch dressing over the chicken.
Sprinkle the garlic powder, onion powder, dill weed, parsley, pepper, and smoked paprika over the chicken.
Break the block of cream cheese up into chunks and put them in the pot.
Close the lid and set the steam release knob to the Sealing position.
Press the Pressure Cook/Manual button or dial, then the +/- button or dial to select 12 minutes. High Pressure. The pot will take several minutes to come to pressure. Smaller, thinner chicken breasts need less cook time.
When the cook cycle has finished, turn off the pot and let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes (10 minute natural release). Then turn the steam release knob to the Venting position to release any remaining steam/pressure.
When the pin in the lid drops back down, open the lid and remove the chicken breasts to a plate.
Whisk the cream cheese liquid left in the pot. Then gradually whisk in the cheddar cheese until it melts.
Using two forks, shred the chicken and add it back into the pot.
Add the bacon and green onion to the pot and stir well to combine.
The mixture may look just a little watery, but it will not stay that way. If it is too watery (this might be the case if you used frozen chicken) you can turn on the sauté setting for a short time and stir to cook off some of the water.
Serve on buns, or over rice, or with pasta.
*Smaller, thinner chicken breasts need less cook time.
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