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Crack Chicken Casserole Recipe

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close up shot of a casserole dish of Crack Chicken Casserole garnished with green onions
Crack chicken casserole is cheesy, creamy, and loaded with tasty ingredients that create a delicious meal that hits the spot every time.
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Table of Contents
  1. Cheesy Crack Chicken Casserole ingredients
  2. Crack Chicken Pasta casserole substitutions and additions
  3. How To Make Crack Chicken Casserole
  4. How to serve this Crack Chicken Casserole Recipe
  5. How to store Chicken Crack Casserole
  6. You will love this Crack Chicken Pasta Casserole
  7. Cracked Chicken Casserole FAQs
  8. More Recipes You’ll Love
  9. 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.

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

Cheesy Crack Chicken Casserole ingredients

Crack Chicken Casserole raw ingredients that are labeled
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You’ll need:

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

Crack Chicken Pasta casserole 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.

How To Make Crack Chicken Casserole

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.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

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.

onions and butter being cooked on a skillet

STEP FIVE: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the softened cream cheese, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, the milk or half-and-half, and the 1-ounce package of ranch seasoning powder.

cream cheese, soup, sour cream, milk, and ranch dressing powder combined together

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.

add pepper, salt, and the onion powder and blended together in a bowl

STEP EIGHT: Transfer the sour cream mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Add the cooked macaroni, cubed chicken breast, cooked yellow onion, 1½ cups of cheddar cheese, and ¾ cup of cooked bacon.

Using a large wooden spoon, stir until all the ingredients are completely combined.

sour cream mixture transferred to another bowl and add macaroni, chicken breast, onion, cheddar, and bacon

STEP NINE: Pour the chicken mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.

STEP TEN: Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheddar cheese, bacon, and 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.

casserole topped with cheese then baked

How to serve this Crack Chicken Casserole Recipe

Serve this cheesy crack chicken casserole as a main dish alongside a delicious Caesar salad or green beans and garlic bread or dinner rolls.

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.

How to store Chicken Crack Casserole

IN THE FRIDGE: Store leftovers of this crack chicken pasta bake in an airtight container and place them in the fridge for four to five 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 it for up to two months. When you’re ready to enjoy, bake it frozen at 350°F for one hour.

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

You will love this Crack Chicken Pasta Casserole

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 crack chicken casserole the ultimate comfort food.

Cracked Chicken Casserole FAQs

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.

Why is it called crack chicken?

There are two reasons why the chicken is often referred to ask “crack” chicken.

First, there is a seasoning with the brand name “Crack Chicken” that is available in the Michigan area that is often used to season this recipe.

Secondly, the delicious combination of cheese, chicken, and bacon is so good, it is addictive.

Why is my crack chicken watery?

Your crack chicken may turn out watery if you are using either frozen chicken or chicken that hasn’t been air chilled. The chicken will hold excess moisture, resulting in a watery dish.

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

Cracked Chicken Casserole

5 from 41 votes
Crack chicken casserole is cheesy, creamy, and loaded with tasty ingredients that create a delicious meal that hits the spot every time.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 10.5 ounces cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 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 in half
  • 3 cups skinless boneless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
  • 16 slices bacon, cooked and diced (this measures 1½ cups once cooked)
  • 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 the cooked macaroni, cubed chicken breast, cooked yellow onion, 1½ cups of cheddar cheese, and ¾ 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

Calories: 566kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 1422mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1895IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 5mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

This recipe was developed, tested, cooked and photographed by the Spaceships Kitchen. From our dinner table to yours, we hope you think it's out of this world!

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    Comments

  1. Tom says

    Hi, my name is Tom and this recipe was sounding really good until it just ended on number 6 of the instructions. I would love to try this, only I’m not really sure how to put it all together and how long it cooks for. Could you please send me the whole recipe with all the instructions. Thank you 😊

    • Jahanel Neal says

      Hello! I’m making this recipe right now; it sounds and smells amazing so far. I might have missed it but I don’t see in the directions where I am supposed to add the cooked onions in. ?? I just added it into the mixture at the Same time as the noodles. Is that correct?
      Please advise. Can’t wait to try this tonight!!!
      Thanks,
      Jahanel

  2. Bailey Mason says

    Hello, I’d love an example on how to cook the chicken. It just says to use cooked chicken but all I have is raw chicken breasts. Do you just sauté them? Thanks

  3. LeAnn says

    5 stars
    I made this with fresh broccoli instead of pasta for a lower carb version and man was it a HIT. So so creamy and delicious. These flavors marry so well together, thank you for the recipe!

  4. Karen Byers says

    I made this casserole tonight for dinner for the first time. It was a big hit!!! It definitely is an indulgent to half once in awhile. It is sooooo good!!!

  5. Jerri Veltri says

    5 stars
    I added diced green chilis and ted with more crumbled bacon. Garnished with sliced grren onion and cilantro. Superb!

  6. Karen williams says

    5 stars
    It looks awesome, something to make when my family comes to vist. I think I would use less bacon

  7. Lynne Ross says

    5 stars
    With this dish, that sounds wonderful, I would serve a side salade and a baked sweet potato.

  8. Cathy says

    5 stars
    I have made this recipe using my own baked chicken as the base. One of my family (looking at you middle daughter) does not like bacon – I KNOW who doesn’t like bacon!; so I don’t add it and I am closely monitoring my sodium intake so I use a low sodium cr “cream of” soup or I just use a homemade roux that I mix up when I saute the onions.

    I use a mixture of cheddar and hot pepper cheese.

    So GOOD!

  9. Christy Jenuwine says

    5 stars
    Wow! This looks amazing and delicious! I’m definitely putting this on the menu for the week ahead. It looks so creamy. I would probably use a blend of cheeses and stick with the elbow pasta but honestly I don’t think you could go wrong either way! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  10. Laura Yarzebinski says

    5 stars
    This sounds very good! I like the fact you can use a variety of chicken for it. I love bacon. So this sounds delicious!

  11. Donna Englestad says

    5 stars
    I am going to use leftover rotisserie chicken to make this. What a great use of leftovers.

  12. Marisa says

    5 stars
    I have never made this before.
    I think I would use chicken breasts
    I’m feeling cavatapi pasta
    Extra bacon always
    I’d serve everything bagel bread (Walmart sells it)

  13. Daryl Byers says

    5 stars
    I’ve made this casserole countless times. I add extra ranch seasoning because the cream cheese seems to cancel it out.

  14. Vicki in Birmingham says

    I have never made this casserole before, but after reading the recipe and looking at the photos of it, it is now on my list of things to cook this month. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Deirdre says

    Looks delicious! I love having a casserole ready for my kids to pop in the oven when I work evenings. I think I’d use half cheddar and half mozzarella for the cheese. And swap out the elbow pasta for rotini, I love the way that noodle holds the sauce in the spirals. Thanks!

  16. Pam says

    5 stars
    I think some penne pasta would be perfect in this recipe – plus maybe some mozzarella for extra cheesiness.

  17. Mariellen J MacKay says

    5 stars
    This recipe looks so delicious. I have never made it before, but it looks really easy and really yummy. Making it for sure! I love getting these recipes!

  18. Christy says

    5 stars
    I have never made this recipe before. I will try this recipe at a family gathering. It sounds as though it would be a very flavorful dish. I will probably use the rotisserie chicken.

  19. Charlotte says

    5 stars
    I use a rotisserie chicken, they are convenient and easy . This is a tasty casserole that the whole family enjoys.

  20. 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.

  21. Elisha says

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

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. SonyMyers says

    5 stars
    Just made this for dinner. Replaced the pasta with 2 cups of Minute Rice. Absolutely delicious! This will be going into my recipe book 100%

  26. Kristen Brown says

    5 stars
    Love this recipe, but it’s a little tangy for me. If I wanted to use less sour cream should I add in more milk?

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