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Instant Pot Creamy Bacon Ranch Crack Chicken

*2019 Update: new Instant Pot Crack Chicken pictures & recipe tips, PLUS a bonus video of how to quickly & easily shred chicken!*

If you’re just getting started with your Instant Pot, you’ve come to the right place – this is a GREAT first recipe to try out in your new electric pressure cooker. 

But first, since this thing can be intimidating as hell, let me give you a few quick tips to get you started. Every recipe has all kinds of acronyms and jargon – QR, NPR, LO, WTF?! – and I know I was completely lost trying to figure it all out on my own.

If you’re just getting started, first go check out these tips for Instant Pot beginners, to get familiar with the lingo and basics. Then come back here for the best Instant Pot recipe!

Why Crack Chicken is the best FIRST Instant Pot recipe

This recipe is my favorite one to recommend people try for their first Instant Pot recipe.

First, I love that it uses multiple functions of the pot – pressure cooking, sauté mode, natural pressure release – so it gives new users a chance to really get familiar with their new device.

But since it’s still a really simple recipe, with basic ingredients, it uses all those functions in a straight-forward manner, to help get over the intimidation.

Plus, I love that it has several steps that would traditionally require multiple pots and pans, but are all done within the Instant Pot:

  • Sauté bacon: 1 frying pan
  • Cook chicken: one pot
  • Mix in cream cheese and cheese: 1 bowl

Sounds like a lot of dishes to me… but instead, with the magical Instant Pot – we have just one pot to clean! That earns 1,000 points in my book.

It’s also a great introduction to the Manual / HP / NPR / QR / Keep Warm Instant Pot language.

And finally, it’s pretty much foolproof. Everyone needs a WIN for their first recipe, or they’re likely to get turned off from using the pot again. This one is going to be delicious, pretty much no matter what happens.

SO, now that I’ve convinced you that this is THE best Instant Pot starter recipe… let’s get to it, shall we?

Instant Pot Creamy Bacon Ranch Crack Chicken

Creamy Bacon Ranch Instant Pot Crack Chicken is the ultimate family friendly recipe! It takes less than 45 minutes, beginning to end, all in one pot, and is a major family-pleaser. Even toddlers will love it!

With ingredients like bacon, cream cheese, and ranch dressing mix, you already know this recipe will be a family-pleaser.

But when you add in the fact that this recipe is also a one-pot meal, you know it’s gonna be a MOM-pleaser, too.

First, turn on the Instant Pot and press the Sauté button. While it heats up, chop up the bacon, then toss it into the pot. Stir frequently until the bacon is nice and crispy.

Scoop out the bacon onto a paper towel, and drain the grease from the pan. Make sure to scrape any stuck bacon bits off the bottom of the pot.

Put the bacon back in the pan, along with the chicken broth, ranch seasoning, and chicken, and stir it all up; again, scraping the bottom of the pan to make sure you’ve gotten all the stuck bits off.

Press the “off” button, to turn off Sauté mode.

Place the lid on the pot and seal it, making sure the valve on top is pointed to “sealing.”

Press Manual (or High Pressure, depending on your Instant Pot model), and set the timer to 12 minutes. Since the pot has been sautéing for a bit and is already hot, it should only take 5-7 minutes to reach pressure, and then it will start counting down from 12 minutes.

After the timer goes off, let it naturally release pressure (NPR) for 5-10 minutes. This basically means just leave it alone; it’ll automatically switch to “keep warm” mode, and the clock will start counting up again, to mark how long it’s been naturally releasing pressure.

Once it reads at least L0:05, flip the valve to “Vent” to quick release the rest of the pressure. Be careful! I recommend using a wooden spoon to do this, so you don’t accidentally burn yourself with the steam.

When the pressure is released and the pin has dropped back down, unlock the lid and remove the chicken from the pot to shred.

*Pro tip: shred your chicken in a stand mixer and save yourself the agony of shredding it with two forks. Yes, it adds another dish to this one-pot meal, but it’s so worth it in this case.

Just drop the whole cooked breasts into the mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, turn the mixer to low for about 30 seconds, then get on with your life. See for yourself!

Turn the pot back to Sauté mode, and add the softened cream cheese to the broth mixture. Stir it for a few minutes, until it melts into this creamy goodness – I use a whisk at the end to really combine it all.

Add the shredded chicken back into the pot and stir it all up, ’til it’s all nice and evenly coated in your creamy, bacon-y, ranch-y sauce.

Serve it over brown rice or penne pasta, or on slider buns (my family’s favorite), and top it with shredded cheese and chopped green onions.

Creamy Bacon Ranch Instant Pot Crack Chicken is the ultimate family friendly recipe! It takes less than 45 minutes, beginning to end, all in one pot, and is a major family-pleaser. Even toddlers will love it!

Trust me, y’all, your family is going to love this recipe. Even my TODDLER eats it willingly! I know, I know, I wouldn’t believe me either, so I documented him happily sitting in his chair, taking bites of his own volition.{Cue shock & awe!}

Creamy Bacon Ranch Instant Pot Crack Chicken is the ultimate family friendly recipe! It takes less than 45 minutes, beginning to end, all in one pot, and is a major family-pleaser. Even toddlers will love it!

{Don’t forget to check out some of my favorite family-friendly Instant Pot recipes, like Honey BBQ Chicken Tacos, Italian Sausage Penne, and Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal.}

Instant Pot Crack Chicken FAQs

You’ll find the full step-by-step Crack Chicken recipe card below – but first, I wanted to go over some of the questions I’ve gotten on this recipe over the years. I’ve compiled the most common ones here.

Leave me a comment if you have any other questions!

What if my Instant Pot doesn’t have a “Manual” button?

Since all electric pressure cookers (even the various Instant Pot models) are a little bit different, yours may not say “manual” like mine does. It just means High Pressure – so use whatever setting your pot has that cooks on high pressure.

Can I use frozen chicken breasts in my Instant Pot?

You sure can! That’s the beauty of a pressure cooker. Generally, the cook time will remain the same, but it will take a few extra minutes to reach pressure. You can always add 1-2 minutes to the cook time, if it makes you feel better.

Why is my chicken still raw after the Instant Pot finished cooking?

This has never happened to me with this recipe, but several commenters have reported it happening to them. Here’s my best guess: the pot may never have reached pressure.

Sometimes, if there’s something stuck to the bottom of the pot (like the bacon bits), it’ll prevent the pot from sealing; therefore it never actually gets to the pressure cook stage.

Unfortunately, the Instant Pot doesn’t give a warning or an indication that something is wrong most of the time, so there’s no way to know it hasn’t properly sealed unless you’ve been watching it, and see that it never kicks on to the timer.

Another possibility is that your sealing ring wasn’t fully in place, also preventing the pot from sealing. This has happened to me many times.

The pot will start counting down, but you might see that there’s still steam coming out the top – that’s a good indicator that the sealing ring is out of place, so you should turn the pot off, flip the valve to vent, and remove the lid. Double check the ring, and make sure it’s really firmly in place, and try again.

Why isn’t my cream cheese mixing in smoothly?

Make sure the cream cheese has softened to near room temperature before combining with the sauce.

Cut it into smaller cubes and allow it to melt a little bit into the hot broth. Use a whisk (or even an immersion blender) to really combine it.

What do you serve Crack Chicken with?

My family loves Crack Chicken on Hawaiian Rolls. I’ve also served it on regular slider buns, on top of a baked potato, and over rice or pasta – they’re all delicious!

Instant Pot Creamy Bacon Ranch Crack Chicken

Instant Pot Creamy Bacon Ranch Crack Chicken

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This creamy bacon ranch Crack Chicken is the perfect family-friendly recipe for the Instant Pot. Your family will be hooked!

Ingredients

  • 6-9 pieces bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 pkt. ranch seasoning
  • 2 lbs. chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. light cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 4-5 green onions, chopped

Instructions

  1. Turn Instant Pot on to Sauté mode, and cook the chopped bacon for 5-7 minutes until crisped. Scoop out the bacon onto a paper towel, and drain the grease from the pan. Make sure to scrape any bacon bits off the bottom of the pot.
  2. Put bacon back in the pan, and add chicken broth, ranch seasoning, and chicken. Seal the Instant Pot, press Manual, and set the timer for 12 minutes. Since the pot has been sautéing for a bit and is already hot, it should only take around 5-7 minutes to reach pressure.
  3. When the timer goes off, allow 5 minutes for natural pressure release, and then turn the valve to “vent” to quick release the rest.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pot, and shred using two forks or a stand mixer.
  5. Set the pot back to Sauté and add cream cheese, whisking for a few minutes until melted.
  6. Put shredded chicken back in the pot, and stir to combine.
  7. Serve over rice or pasta. Top with shredded cheese and chopped green onions.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 692Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 263mgSodium: 1683mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 89g

Did you try this recipe?

Let me know what you think! Leave me a comment on this post, or share a photo of your culinary masterpiece on Instagram (and be sure to tag me - @onehangrymama).

Creamy Bacon Ranch Instant Pot Crack Chicken is the ultimate family friendly recipe! It takes less than 45 minutes, beginning to end, all in one pot, and is a major family-pleaser. Even toddlers will love it!
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Erin

Monday 23rd of September 2019

Hi I loved this recipe. I’m hoping in the future you’ll reconsider using the phrase “crack” or “like crack” to describe food in the future as it’s classist and a bad look. I’ve linked an article below to articulate and educate.

https://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2013/08/food_like_crack_why_the_cocaine_metaphor_is_classist_and_insulting.html

Iam Concerned

Saturday 21st of March 2020

Thank you for bringing this to her attention. I hope she cares and, if she does not, that she at least takes into consideration removing the term crack from her post. Naming this crack chicken is NOT okay. Imagine if they called this opioid it like opioid chicken. Both drugs devastated American families. All lives matter, which includes poor and Black lives and the lives of people who struggled/ struggle with crack addiction.

Instant Pot Tips ALL Beginners Should Read | One Hangry Mama

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

[…] any recipe that uses sauté mode, like Crack Chicken or Italian Sausage Pasta, it’s super important to deglaze the Pot before sealing the lid for […]

Robert Pinkerton

Tuesday 9th of July 2019

For everyone looking for nutrient information, I calculated the following using the site https://nutritiondata.self.com/

I also calculated based on 1.5 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and a 1 oz packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing:

For the entire recipe/a serving (1/4 of the total recipe): 1024 / 256 grams - weight 2,626 / 656 calories 36.8 / 9.2 grams carbohydrates 214.3 / 53.58 grams protein 173.74 / 43.44 grams fat

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did :-)

Chrissie

Monday 29th of July 2019

Thanks for this, Robert! I actually just upgraded my recipe plugin as well, so nutrition info is now included with the recipe card, for anyone else still looking. :)

Top 10 Best Instant Pot Recipes | One Hangry Mama

Tuesday 7th of May 2019

[…] Crack Chicken […]

Brittany

Tuesday 26th of February 2019

Do you happen to have any nutritional information for this recipe? I made it tonight over rice for dinner tonight and it was delicious!!

Emily St.Pierre

Tuesday 9th of July 2019

Very yummy! Me, my husband and toddler all loved it! Using an immersion blender really helped to mix the cream cheese smoothly. I served it with sweet Hawaiian rolls and over broccoli for lower carbs.