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.
Originally Published 5/13/2019
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!
Which 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 for 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 better.
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 or 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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If you make this Instant Pot Crack Chicken recipe, let me know! Please leave a comment with a star rating below. I’d love to know how you liked it!
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.
- ½ cup Water (or No Sodium Chicken Broth)
- 2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts* (about 4 8-ounce breasts)
- 1 (1 oz) packet Ranch Dressing Mix
- 1½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ¾ teaspoon Dill Weed, dried
- 2 teaspoons Parsley, dried
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 (8 oz) block Cream Cheese (room temperature)
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese (shredded, preferably not from a bag)
- 8 slices Cooked Thick Cut Bacon, chopped
- 3 Green Onions, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon Salt (Taste first and add if desired)
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 broth to the inner liner pot of the pressure cooker.
Add the chicken breasts to the pot, try not to overlap, or as little as possible for even cooking.
Sprinkle the ranch dressing mix 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 add to 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. Thicker chicken breasts need more cook time, increase time to 20 minutes.
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 or large bowl.
The mixture may look just a little watery, but it will not stay that way. If it seems too watery (this might be the case if you used frozen chicken or chicken that is injected with water) you can spoon out some of the water.
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.
Taste first, and add salt if needed.
Serve on buns, or over rice, or with pasta.
*Smaller, thinner chicken breasts need less cook time.
Resources to Make Instant Pot Crack Chicken Recipe
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Very good. Mine was a little watery, then I saw that I bought the kind of chicken that had salt water added! Yuk! Thanks for mentioning that in the article. So I just scooped out some of the liquid before I mixed it up and it was great!
This was delicious. I added pasta will definitely make it again.
I’m not rating because I’m not sure if the failure was my fault or not. I never had a chance to try the finished product. I forgot to bring my cream cheese up to room temp. I figured it would be fine. The cream cheese broke (Curdled) and ruined the sauce. I will try again with room temp cream cheese. I wanted to make people aware of the potential failure.
Wow! 10/10 will make again! I served it over pasta. Yum!
Do you think this could be frozen after cooking?
I haven’t tried it (never lasts that long). It’s worth testing. I would use a freezer baggie. Let it thaw before slowly reheating.
Is this supposed to be served hot or cold like chicken salad? Thanks!
I prefer it warm, but you can serve it either way.
May be a silly question but are you cooking the chicken on a trivet or everything all at the bottom of the pot?
No trivet, just lay the chicken in the pot.
Great question! I would have never thought of asking until I was putting the chicken in the pot! Now I know! Thanks for asking!