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Crack chicken casserole has its name for a reason. This oven-baked dish has noodles smothered in gooey cheese and creamy ranch sauce with tender pieces of bite-size chicken and crunchy bacon bits. It’s an easy recipe that is downright irresistible.
We love having easy casseroles to make on a busy night. Be sure to check out our Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole, Chicken Pot Pie Casserole and Chicken and Rice Casserole. All of them are quick and tasty dinner dishes.
CRACK CHICKEN CASSEROLE INGREDIENTS
You will need:
- 1 ½ cups dry elbow macaroni
- 3 cups skinless boneless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
- 16 slices of bacon, cooked and diced (1 ½ cups once cooked)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 10.5-ounce can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
- 2 cups sour cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup milk or half-and-half
- 1-ounce ranch dressing seasoning packet
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 green onion, sliced thin
PRO TIP: There are so many options for the cooked chicken. You could even use leftover rotisserie chicken or cook up a chicken breast at home.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
Pasta: Any type of small pasta noodle could be used. Penne, bowtie, rotini, rigatoni, ziti, egg noodles or shells are some that would work great.
Bacon: You can cook fresh bacon (use our oven-baked bacon recipe) and dice it yourself or use store-bought bacon bits.
Cream Cheese and Sour Cream: For both of these you can use low fat versions or full fat. You can also substitute the sour cream with greek yogurt if you’d like.
Shredded Cheese: You can make your own shredded cheddar cheese by shredding a block of cheese, or buy a package. You could also swap out the cheddar cheese for various different types of cheese such as colby jack, provolone, gouda, or monterey jack.
HOW TO MAKE THIS CRACK CHICKEN CASSEROLE RECIPE
STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
STEP TWO: Lightly spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
STEP THREE: Fill a medium-sized saucepan ¾ of the way full with water. Bring to a low rolling boil and add in the elbow macaroni. Cook macaroni until it is al dente. Drain the macaroni and set it aside.
Pro Tip: Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.
STEP FOUR: In a medium-sized skillet, add the butter and diced onions. Cook over medium to high heat, stirring the onions with a wooden spoon to ensure even cooking for about 5 and 7 minutes. They should be translucent and starting to turn golden/light brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
STEP FIVE: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the softened cream cheese, the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, the milk or half-and-half, and the 1-ounce package of ranch seasoning powder.
STEP SIX: Using a handheld mixer, combine the sour cream mixture on medium speed until creamy.
STEP SEVEN: Continue mixing on low and add the kosher salt, black pepper, and the onion powder. Mix until well combined.
STEP EIGHT: Transfer the sour cream mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add in the cooked macaroni, the cubed chicken breast, cooked yellow onion, 1 ½ cups of cheddar cheese, and ¾ of a cup of the cooked bacon. Using a large wooden spoon, stir until all the ingredients are completely combined.
STEP NINE: Pour the chicken mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
STEP TEN: Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheddar cheese, bacon, and the thinly sliced green onions on top of the chicken mixture.
STEP ELEVEN: Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top layer of cheese is melted and gooey.
HOW TO SERVE
Serve this cheesy crack chicken casserole as a main dish alongside a delicious caesar salad or green beans and garlic bread or dinner rolls. The whole family will love this creamy dish and will no doubt gobble it up!
IN THE FRIDGE: Store leftovers of this crack chicken pasta bake in an airtight container and place in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
IN THE FREEZER: To freeze this ranch chicken casserole, make sure that you have your casserole in a freezer-safe dish. Then, cover it tightly in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, bake it frozen at 350°F for 1 hour.
It’s always nice to have a quick and simple casserole recipe on hand for a quick meal when things get busy around the house. Crack chicken casserole is one of those delicious dinner recipes that hits the spot every time. The tender chicken, crispy bacon and gooey cheese make this dish the ultimate comfort food. It makes it so easy to get a flavorful dinner that everyone loves, on the table on busy weeknights.
This delicious casserole can be frozen, well-covered, for up to 2 months.
There are lots of choices when it comes to what kind of chicken you use in this casserole. You can cook chicken ahead of time at home to use in this casserole or you can buy a rotisserie chicken or other store-bought, cooked chicken to use instead.
Using this crack chicken casserole as a main dish, you could add a simple salad or frozen veggies on the side of your dish. Add bread or mashed potatoes and you are all set.
MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
Crack Chicken Casserole
- 1 1/2 cup dry elbow macaroni
- 3 cup skinless boneless chicken breast cooked and cubed
- 16 slices bacon cooked and diced (this measures 1 ½ cups once cooked)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup undiluted
- 2 cup sour cream
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup milk or half-and-half
- 1 oz ranch dressing seasoning packet
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 3 cup shredded cheddar cheese divided
- 1 green onion sliced thin
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish.
- Fill a medium sized saucepan ¾ of the way with water. Bring to a low rolling boil and add elbow macaroni. Cook the macaroni until it is all done. Drain the macaroni and set aside.
- In a medium sized skillet, add the butter and diced onions. Cook over medium to high heat, stirring the onions with a wooden spoon to ensure even cooking for about 5 and 7 minutes. They should be translucent and starting to turn golden/light brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a medium size mixing bowl add the softened cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, milk or half-and-half, and package of ranch dressing powder.
- Using a handheld mixer, combine the sour cream mixture on medium speed until creamy.
- Continue mixing on low and add the kosher salt, black pepper, and onion powder. Mix until well combined.
- Transfer the sour cream mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add in the cooked macaroni, the cubed chicken breast, cooked yellow onion, 1 ½ cups of cheddar cheese, and ¾ of a cup of the cooked bacon. Using a large wooden spoon, stir until all the ingredients are completely combined.
- Pour the chicken mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheddar cheese, bacon, and the thinly sliced green onion.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top layer of cheese is melted and gooey.