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Crack Chicken Casserole

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close up shot of a casserole dish of Crack Chicken Casserole garnished with green onions
Crack chicken casserole is one of those delicious recipes that hits the spot every time. It makes it so easy to get a flavorful dinner that everyone loves, on the table.
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Table of Contents
  1. Crack Chicken Casserole Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Crack Chicken Casserole Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

Crack chicken casserole has its name for a reason: it’s an easy recipe that is downright irresistible. 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.

We love having easy casseroles to make on a busy night. Be sure to check out our chicken bacon ranch casserole and chicken and rice casserole. Both of them are quick and tasty dinner dishes.

close up shot of Crack Chicken Casserole topped with green onions in a baking dish

Crack Chicken Casserole Ingredients

Crack Chicken Casserole raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 1½ cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups skinless boneless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
  • 16 slices of bacon, cooked and diced (1½ cups once cooked)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • ¼ cup milk or half-and-half
  • 1-ounce ranch dressing seasoning packet
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin

PRO TIP:

There are so many options for 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, bowties, 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 & 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. You could also swap out the cheddar cheese for various different types of cheese such as Colby Jack, provolone, gouda, or Monterey Jack.

CREAM SOUP: You could use another cream soup in place of the cream of chicken if you prefer.

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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 to 7 minutes. They should be translucent and starting to turn golden/light brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Crack Chicken Casserole process shot of onions and butter being cooked on a skillet

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.

Crack Chicken Casserole process shot of ingredients being blended together in a bowl

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 onion powder. Mix until well combined.

Crack Chicken Casserole process shot of ingredients being blended together in a bowl

STEP EIGHT: Transfer the sour cream mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add in the cooked macaroni, the cubed chicken breast, cooked yellow onion, 1½ cups of cheddar cheese, and ¾ of a cup of cooked bacon. Using a large wooden spoon, stir until all the ingredients are completely combined.

Crack Chicken Casserole process shot of ingredients combined in a bowl

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.

Crack Chicken Casserole process shot of casserole topped with cheese then baked

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!

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store leftovers of this crack chicken pasta bake in an airtight container and place them 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.

overhead shot of a casserole dish of Crack Chicken Casserole garnished with green onions

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. The tender chicken, crispy bacon, and gooey cheese make this dish the ultimate comfort food.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze this easy chicken casserole?

This delicious casserole can be frozen, well-covered, for up to 2 months.

Can I buy cooked chicken and use it in this recipe?

There are lots of choices when it comes to what kind of chicken you use in this casserole. You can cook the 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.

What can I serve with this casserole?

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.

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close up shot of a casserole dish of Crack Chicken Casserole garnished with green onions

Crack Chicken Casserole

5 from 37 votes
Crack chicken casserole is one of those delicious recipes that hits the spot every time. It makes it so easy to get a flavorful dinner that everyone loves, on the table.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups skinless boneless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
  • 16 slices bacon, cooked and diced (this measures 1½ cups once cooked)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 10.5 ounces cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • ¼ cup milk or half-and-half
  • 1 ounce ranch dressing seasoning packet
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • 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 the elbow macaroni. Cook the macaroni until it is all done. Drain the macaroni and set it 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 to 7 minutes. They should be translucent and starting to turn golden/light brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • In a medium-sized 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, 1½ cups of cheddar cheese, and ¾ of a cup of 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.

Video

Notes

  • There are so many options for cooked chicken. You could even use leftover rotisserie chicken or cook up a chicken breast at home.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Sodium: 1422mg | Calcium: 181mg | Vitamin C: 3mg | Vitamin A: 1895IU | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 253mg | Cholesterol: 156mg | Calories: 566kcal | Saturated Fat: 18g | Fat: 35g | Protein: 43g | Carbohydrates: 20g | Iron: 5mg
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  1. VA says

    5 stars
    I HAVE NOT MADE THIS YET, BUT IT LOOKS SIMPLE AND TASTY.
    I WOULD USE CHICKEN I HAVE COOKED AND CUT UP.
    ROTISSERIE CHICKEN ALWAYS SOUNDS SIMPLE AND CAN BE SEASONED NICELY, BUT TO ME IT IS A HASSLE TO GET ENOUGH TO USE IN A RECIPE.
    THANKS FOR SHARING THIS ONE.

  2. Elisha says

    5 stars
    I’ve never had this casserole but it looks simple and delicious. I will be trying it this week!

  3. Rhonda says

    5 stars
    I make a recipe of Crack Chicken Soup that is very similar to this. Family love it so I am sure this recipe will be a hit also. For a change I would use the bowtie pasta in it. I love the rotisserie chicken so I think I would use the garlic pepper one in the casserole.
    Thank you for all your great recipes.
    Rhonda P

  4. Mary Reeves says

    5 stars
    I am making this for a baby shower gift. I think the parents will really appreciate it after the baby gets here.

  5. Renee C says

    5 stars
    Looks delicious, haven’t tried but will this weekend. Going to maybe try it with bacon. what’s not to love.

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