Crack Chicken Pasta is a one pan dinner recipe that always satisfies! Tender bites of penne are served in a creamy, flavorful sauce with bacon and a variety of cheeses. This recipe is as easy as it is addictive!
What’s in this Crack Chicken Pasta Recipe
The combination of lean chicken breasts paired with salty bacon, creamy cheeses, ranch seasoning and hearty pasta makes for one unforgettable dinner.
- Frozen Bacon: Use this bacon crumble recipe to make bacon crumbles from frozen bacon strips.
- Chicken Breasts: Try to make sure the chicken pieces are similarly sized so they cook evenly.
- Ranch Seasoning Mix: Use my homemade ranch seasoning mix for the very best flavor!
- Pasta: Penne is my favorite pasta to use in this recipe.
- Chicken Broth: Homemade chicken broth is always great to keep on hand for recipes like this.
- Cream Cheese: It needs to be room temperature, so don’t forget to let it sit on your counter for about 30 minutes prior to using.
- Cheeses: You’ll need both cheddar and mozzarella for this cheesy pasta recipe!
- Garnishes: Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley are wonderful garnishes here.
PRO TIP: Try not to overcook the chicken in step 2 – about 3 minutes should be enough time. It will finish cooking throughout the next steps of the recipe.
What other type of pasta can I use?
Instead of penne, use 8 ounces of any short pasta like rotini, cavatappi, fusilli, farfelle, or tortiglioni.
No, use dry pasta noodles for this recipe. The penne will cook in step 4 with the chicken broth.
Yes! This is a great way to use up leftover cubed or shredded chicken. Skip steps 2 and 3, and add the ranch mix with the pasta in step 4. Stir in the cooked chicken once the pasta is cooked. Continue with the recipe as written.
Crack chicken gets its name from the deliciously addictive combination of cream cheese, cheddar cheese, ranch seasoning mix, and bacon. In this crack chicken pasta recipe, these ingredients are combined with pasta noodles for a truly epic meal!
How to Store and Reheat
Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Stir in a splash of cream or broth before reheating. I don’t recommend freezing leftovers. Cream-based recipes don’t freeze and thaw well, becoming grainy once reheated.
You can enjoy this one pan recipe as a meal all by itself or pair it with a side! Since it’s a heavier entree, I recommend serving it with something on the lighter side like a salad or vegetable side dish.
Top Reader Review
- “We LOVED this recipe SO much! We added a yellow & green squash for some veggieness, but really didn’t need it. The dish is so creamy, a hint of Smokey flavor from the bacon fat that coated the chicken, that coated the pasta, that coated the squash. The three cheeses gave it a silky texture that made us wanting to come back for more! Just so delicious!” – Kathleen Boyle
Crack Chicken Pasta Recipe
Hearty and creamy Crack Chicken Pasta is totally addictive! Made with bacon, chicken, a variety of cheeses, and pasta, there is so much to love about this skillet chicken recipe.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total Time : 40 minutes
In a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet set over medium heat, cook the frozen bacon according to the recipe note instructions below. When crispy, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
4 strips frozen bacon
Leave the bacon fat in the skillet and add the chicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it begins to brown.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Sprinkle the ranch mix over the chicken and stir to coat.
1 ounce ranch seasoning mix
Add the pasta and pour in the chicken broth. Stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes until the pasta is just past al dente. Stir occasionally.
8 ounces penne pasta, 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
Remove the lid and add the cream cheese. Stir until it has melted and becomes a creamy sauce.
4 ounces cream cheese
Add the bacon crumbles and 1 cup each of cheddar and mozzarella cheese into the skillet. Stir until well combined and melted.
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the top of the pasta and cover with the lid for about 1 minute to allow the cheese to melt. Serve garnished with Parmesan and parsley.
Grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley
- Storage: Store pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Stir in a splash of cream or broth before reheating. I don’t recommend freezing leftovers. Cream-based recipes don’t freeze and thaw well, becoming grainy once reheated.
- Bacon: Use this bacon crumble recipe to make bacon crumbles from frozen bacon strips.
Crack Chicken Pasta Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Vitamin A 691IU14%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.