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Instant Pot Crack Chicken

Creamy shredded chicken breasts made in the Instant Pot pressure cooker in just 15 minutes! This shredded Instant Pot Crack Chicken is our newest cheese and ranch obsession.

Serve on sandwich buns or on lettuce wraps with bacon and green onions for a quick weeknight dinner recipe. For the latest Instant Pot recipes, try my Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta or Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken recipe. Now featuring a step by step video tutorial.

An instant pot pressure cooker on a wooden board with a white napkin. The inside of the metal bowl features shredded chicken covered in a rich yellow cheddar cheese sauce that's thick but soft in nature. Topped with pieces of bacon, green onions, parsley, and red pepper flakes with shreds of parmesan cheese throughout.

Crack Chicken Instant Pot Recipe

The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker is taking over my kitchen. I find myself using it well throughout the week. It’s great because most times, I can have dinner on the table in under an hour, without ever having to watch a pot or mix ingredients together throughout the course of the meal cooking.

Instant Pot Crack Chicken is just the latest of my obsession. This chicken recipe is quick to cook and features a lot of cheese varieties to assist in its creamy texture. Sandwich the creamy shredded chicken between a toasted bun and it’s pure magic!

Last week, I made the most amazing Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta in the Instant Pot. That too is magical. If these recipe ingredients aren’t for you, be sure to head over to the chicken pasta recipe because that one is a winner.

Delicious shredded chicken topped with a vibrant cheddar cheese sauce, crispy bacon, fresh green onions, red pepper flakes, and parsley. Presented in an Instant Pot bowl on a rustic wooden board with a white napkin

How to make Crack Chicken in the Instant Pot?

If you’re just getting started with the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker, be sure to follow my directions. You’ll want to insert the stainless steel insert into the pressure cooker. In the insert, add in the chicken broth, chicken breasts, ranch seasoning, Italian seasoning, and the cream cheese cut into 1 oz. squares. Yes, the cream cheese gets added to the pressure cooker before it cooks. Sometimes it will hold its shape while cooking and other times, it will just help to soften it.

Shredded chicken with cheddar cheese sauce, bacon, green onions, red pepper flakes, and parsley, served in an Instant Pot bowl on a rustic wooden board with a white napkin.

Next, plug the pressure cooker in and turn it to “ON”.  Secure the lid on top and set the Steam Release Handle to the SEALED position. This is the knob on top of the pressure cooker by the handle. Select the “MANUAL” or “PRESSURE COOK” button on the panel. Use the ( + ) and set it to 15 minutes. The pressure cooker should then beep and say “ON” which means it is working to come to pressure. Once it comes to pressure, it will beep and count down from 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, the Instant Pot will beep to indicate it’s done. Since meat should always be naturally released, keep the “SEAL” position on for at least 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the Steam Release Handle to the “VENTING” position.

Variety of bowls containing chopped bacon, pepper, parsley, hot sauce, green onions, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and chicken broth, displayed on a white backdrop with chicken breasts for Instant Pot Crack Chicken recipe.

Once the pressure pin drops, it’s safe to open. Open the lid and remove the chicken to a bowl. Shred the chicken breasts with two forks. Whisk to the mixture in the pot until smooth then stir in cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, hot sauce, dried parsley, and shredded chicken. Turn the pressure cooker “OFF” then unplug it from the wall.

Pressure cooking chicken is my go-to method in the kitchen nowadays. Honestly, I got tired of having the same chicken dishes every night for dinner. I just wasn’t a fan of baking chicken anymore. What I love about the pressure cooker is that it can cook the chicken to the point of falling off the bone or to create shredded chicken that’s juicy which makes it an easy weeknight instant pot chicken recipe. 

Pressure cooking chicken can come out much like a store-bought rotisserie chicken. It’s tender, soft and just so juicy. This week, I’ll share my Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken recipe as it’s just another way to cook chicken in the Instant Pot. For a quick weeknight dinner, try this Instant Pot Spaghetti. It can be made with fresh ground beef, frozen ground beef, or frozen meatballs. 

Creamy ranch chicken cooked and shredded in the Instant Pot, served with a rich cheese sauce.

What is Crack Chicken?

My Crack Chicken recipe is delicious and it’s named such because ranch seasoning, bacon, and cheddar are a winning combination that so many people love together. I’ve come to learn that you either love or hate this cream cheese ranch chicken recipe. For every 10 people that love it, there is one that doesn’t and that’s okay. If you’re suspect to the ingredients, try adding only 4 oz. cream cheese and reducing the ranch seasoning. Then, if you’d like, add more cream cheese to the mixture once everything is tossed together. I like to add some hot sauce into the mix because it adds additional flavor without the distinct “hot sauce” taste.

My favorite way to serve up this cheesy shredded chicken is on a toasted bun or wrapped in lettuce. The Crack Chicken filling is perfect for a sandwich in much the same way Sloppy Joes are, too.

The ultimate Instant Pot Crack Chicken recipe featuring cheese, ranch, and bacon. A beloved chicken dish perfect for sandwiches.

How to make a small batch of Instant Pot Crack Chicken. 

Want to make more or fewer servings? Hover over the serving size and choose how many servings you’d like to make. The recipe will update the correct measurements, however, the nutritional facts are based on the full servings that I’ve stated!

Try my CRACK CHICKEN LETTUCE CUPS recipe for a new and improved ranch crack chicken recipe. You’ll find a small batch shredded crack chicken recipe that’s the perfect shredded chicken meal plan recipe. Plus you’ll love these crack chicken lettuce cups because they are keto, gluten-free, and the perfect ranch and cheddar cheese, cream cheese mixture for perfect crack shredded chicken with bacon. 

Crack Chicken Tips & Questions

Q: Do I add the cream cheese to the instant pot before or after cooking?

A: Before. Cut it into 1-inch cubes and place the cheese on top of the chicken.

Q: My Instant Pot Crack Chicken came out soupy, how can I thicken it?

A: Simply stir in more cream cheese or cheddar cheese or sprinkle it with a little cornstarch.

Q: My cream cheese clumped when I whisked it?

A: What went wrong? Just keep stirring. Once the cheddar cheese is stirred in, it will all blend together. NOTE: Using a low fat or fat free cream cheese may alter the results.

Q: What is the best way to reheat Instant Pot Crack Chicken?

A: The best way to reheat Instant Pot Crack Chicken is on the stovetop in a pan.

Q: How do restaurants get their chicken breasts so tender?

A: There are a few techniques that restaurants use to get tender chicken breasts. One common method is to brine the chicken before cooking, which involves soaking the chicken in a mixture of salt, sugar, and water for several hours. This helps the chicken retain moisture and flavor during cooking. Another technique is to marinate the chicken in an acidic marinade, such as lemon juice or vinegar, which can help break down the proteins and make the meat more tender. Additionally, some restaurants may use a sous vide cooking method, which involves vacuum-sealing the chicken and cooking it in a water bath at a precise temperature for an extended period of time. This method can result in very tender and juicy chicken breasts.

Q: What is the secret to juicy chicken breast?

A: The secret to juicy chicken breasts is to avoid overcooking them. Chicken breasts can become dry and tough if they are cooked for too long, so it’s important to cook them to the correct internal temperature and not a minute longer. The USDA recommends cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure that it is safe to eat, but if you cook it to this temperature and then let it rest for a few minutes before slicing or shredding, it will be juicy and tender. Another tip is to marinate the chicken in a flavorful marinade or brine before cooking, which can help to add moisture and flavor to the meat.

Q: What are other ways you can eat this recipe besides putting it on a bun?

A: There are many ways you can enjoy this recipe besides putting it on a bun! Here are a few ideas:

1. Serve it over rice or noodles: This dish would be delicious over a bed of rice or noodles, such as fettuccine or egg noodles.
2. Top a salad: Try adding some of the crack chicken to a bed of greens, along with some cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a drizzle of ranch dressing.
3. Make a quesadilla: Spread some of the crack chicken over a tortilla, top with some shredded cheese, and fold it in half. Heat in a pan until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy.
4. Stuff it in a baked potato: This chicken would be a delicious topping for a baked potato, along with some sour cream, chives, and shredded cheese.
5. Use it as a dip: Spread the chicken over a large platter and serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, or crackers.
6. Turn this recipe into a taco recipe. Maybe add some chili powder.

These are just a few ideas for Instant Pot Crack Chicken- the possibilities are endless!

Q: What are some other spices I can add to Instant Pot Crack Chicken?

A: There are many spices and herbs that you can add to this dish to give it some extra flavor. Here are a few ideas:

1. Smoked paprika: This spice will add a smoky, slightly sweet flavor to the chicken.
2. Garlic powder: A little garlic powder can go a long way in adding depth of flavor to the dish.
3. Chipotle powder: If you like a little heat, chipotle powder is a great addition.
4. Thyme: This herb will add a subtle earthiness to the chicken.
5. Rosemary: Another herb that pairs well with chicken, rosemary will add a slightly piney flavor.
6. Onion powder: Just like garlic powder, onion powder can add a lot of flavor with just a little bit.
7. Cumin: This spice is often used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, and can add a warm, slightly spicy flavor to the dish.
8. Oregano: This will give the dish a more earthy taste.
9. Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Of course, you can always adjust the spices and seasonings to your taste. Add a little at a time and taste as you go, until you reach the desired flavor profile.

Q: What about adding things like white wine, olive oil or butter?

A: While the original recipe for Instant Pot Crack Chicken doesn’t call for white wine, olive oil or butter, you could certainly experiment with adding them to the dish to see how it affects the flavor and texture.

1. White wine can add a bright, acidic note to the dish, and also helps to tenderize the chicken. If you decide to add white wine, you could substitute some or all of the chicken broth with wine. Keep in mind that the alcohol in the wine will cook off during the pressure cooking process, so you won’t be left with an alcoholic dish.

2. Olive oil and butter can add richness and depth of flavor to the chicken. You could try adding a tablespoon or two of olive oil or butter to the chicken and broth mixture before pressure cooking, or you could whisk it into the cream cheese mixture after the chicken has cooked and been shredded.

As with any recipe, it’s always a good idea to experiment with different flavors and ingredients to find what you like best. However, keep in mind that adding additional ingredients may alter the nutritional information and cooking times, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

Q: What is the best type of chicken to use for this recipe?

A: The Instant Pot Crack Chicken recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which are a lean and healthy choice. However, you could also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer a richer, more flavorful meat.

Q: Any other tips for making this Instant Pot Crack Chicken Recipe?

A: Some other tips for Instant Pot Crack Chicken

Juices: The recipe calls for low sodium chicken broth, which adds flavor and moisture to the chicken as it cooks. As the chicken cooks in the Instant Pot, it will release natural juices, which will mix with the broth and other ingredients to create a flavorful sauce. Once you remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and shred it, you will mix it with the sauce to make a creamy, delicious chicken dish.

Low Carbohydrates: This recipe is relatively low in carbohydrates, as it doesn’t include any starchy vegetables or grains. If you’re looking to reduce the carbohydrate content even further, you could skip the bread roll and serve the chicken on a bed of lettuce or spinach, or with some steamed vegetables on the side. You could also reduce the amount of cheese and cream cheese in the recipe if you’re trying to cut back on calories or fat.

Kosher Salt: The recipe calls for Greek or Italian seasoning, which likely contains some salt. If you’re using a seasoning blend that doesn’t contain salt, you may want to add a pinch of kosher salt to the chicken to enhance the flavor. Kosher salt is a good choice for seasoning meat, as its larger crystals make it easier to control the amount of salt you’re adding. Just be careful not to over-salt the chicken, as the other ingredients in the recipe also add saltiness.

Tenderize Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. This helps break down the fibers in the meat and makes it easier to cook the chicken evenly.

Q: Can I use frozen chicken or should it be thawed?

A: The Instant Pot Crack Chicken recipe instructions call for using fresh chicken breasts, but you can also use frozen chicken. If you’re using frozen chicken, you’ll need to adjust the cook time accordingly. You can use the Instant Pot’s manual function to set the cook time based on the size and thickness of your frozen chicken breasts. The general rule of thumb is to cook frozen chicken breasts for about twice as long as you would fresh chicken breasts. It’s also important to make sure that the chicken is cooked all the way through to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before consuming.

If you’re a fan of ranch-inspired recipes, you will surely enjoy our Crack Brussels Sprouts. To continue your Instant Pot culinary journey, I suggest you try out two of our standout recipes: the Instant Pot Shredded Chicken for a quick, versatile meal, and don’t miss our flavorful Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala for an exciting burst of traditional Indian spices.

Other Recipes Similar to Instant Pot Crack Chicken

Instant Pot Crack Chicken - Chicken breasts shredded in the pressure cooker and tossed in a creamy cheese sauce with bacon and green onions and ranch powder.
Instant Pot Crack Chicken recipe in a creamy rich sauce.

Instant Pot Crack Chicken

Creamy cheddar cheese, ranch, and bacon shredded chicken breasts. This Crack Chicken recipe is made in the Instant Pot in just 15 minutes! Serve on a sandwich roll. 
4.72 from 42 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Pressurize Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 564 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 pounds chicken breasts
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Greek or Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons ranch seasoning dry powder about 1 oz.
  • 5 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1 oz squares
  • teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 7 green onion stalks, diced
  • 1 package bread buns, optional to serve on

Instructions
 

  • Cook bacon according to package directions. Chop; set aside. 
  • In an Instant Pot ( or pressure cooker ) insert, add chicken broth, chicken breasts, Greek or Italian seasoning, dry ranch seasoning powder, and cream cheese.
  • Turn device on. Secure lid.
    Set pressure valve to SEALING.
    Select MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK; cook on high-pressure 15 minutes. 
  • Select CANCEL to turn off device. Allow the pressure valve to Natural Pressure Release at least 10 minutes. 
    Quick-release pressure after 10 minutes by venting the seal. Once pressure pin drops, open lid and turn off device.
  • Remove only the chicken to bowl. Shred with two forks. 
  • Whisk remaining cream cheese mixture. Add in shredded cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, hot sauce, dried parsley, and bacon.
  • Toss in shredded chicken, and green onions; mix well.
  • Serve on bread rolls.

Notes

USING FROZEN CHICKEN BREASTS
  • Pour 1 cup water into your pressure cooking pot and place a trivet in the bottom.
  • Balance the frozen chicken breasts on the trivet, stacking crosswise if necessary.
  • Lock the lid in place.
  • Select High Pressure and 1 minute cook time.
  • Quick-release when done. Use chicken in the desired recipe as normal.

Nutrition

Calories: 564kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 60gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 211mgSodium: 1146mgPotassium: 1014mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 790IUVitamin C: 6.5mgCalcium: 293mgIron: 1.8mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.

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The ultimate Instant Pot Crack Chicken recipe featuring cheese, ranch, and bacon. A beloved chicken dish perfect for sandwiches.

updated 4/21

104 Responses

    1. Yes, it can be done in the crockpot I just put my chicken broth, chicken,seasonings, cheeses in the crockpot and then add the bacon after I shred the chicken because I like the crispy bacon in it

  1. This turned out completely rubbery and inedible for me 😑 it smelled great, but I couldn’t get past the texture. Impossible to even shred. We usually use the slow cooker for crack chicken but thought I’d give this a try. Not sure what went wrong but, I’ll have to stick to slow cooking 😩

    1. I’m sorry to hear that your Instant Pot Crack Chicken didn’t turn out as expected, Lori. The chicken may have been overcooked, which can happen quite quickly in a pressure cooker, especially if the chicken pieces are smaller or thinner than usual. This can result in a rubbery and tough texture.

      Here are a few tips for next time if you decide to give it another try:

      Check the Chicken Size: Larger, thicker chicken breasts usually do better in the Instant Pot for this kind of recipe. If your chicken breasts are on the smaller side, they might need less cooking time.

      Natural Pressure Release: Make sure to allow for a natural pressure release for at least 10 minutes after cooking. This helps in finishing the cooking process more gently and can prevent the chicken from becoming too tough.

      Adjust Cooking Time: If you’ve had this issue, you might want to reduce the cooking time by a couple of minutes. Instant Pots can vary slightly in terms of temperature and pressure, so a slight adjustment might be necessary.

      Use the Slow Cook Function: Since you’ve had success with slow-cooking crack chicken before, you could use the slow cook function on your Instant Pot as an alternative to pressure cooking.

      Remember, every Instant Pot model can behave differently, so it might take some experimentation to get it right for your specific unit and the ingredients you use.

  2. 3 stars
    After making this a couple times, I find that It does turn out quite, even after changing the cooking times. Also a little under seasoned compared to other crack chicken recipes, with a primary flavor of cheddar and onion. Now I add an extra cup of broth and 1.5x the dry seasoning. I also cut back on the cheese since the broth adds the missing moisture and the cheese cancels a lot of the flavor from the spices. It’s a good base recipe though.

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