Indulge in the irresistible taste of this crack chicken penne, where tender chicken, smoky bits of bacon, ranch flavor, and cheesy sauce come together in no time.
Prep Time15 minutesmins
Cook Time25 minutesmins
Total Time40 minutesmins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Crack Chicken Penne Recipe
6slicessmoked bacon,cut into ½-inch diced pieces (divided into ¼ cup and remainder)
2boneless skinless chicken breasts,cut into 1-inch cubes (approximately 1 pound)
½cupchopped yellow onion
10.5ouncescream of chicken soup
8ouncesColby jack cheese,shredded (divided into 1½ cups and ½ cup)
2tablespoonsfresh chopped parsley,divided in half
In a large 12-inch skillet, on medium heat, add the diced bacon and cook for 9-11 minutes or until the fat has been rendered and the bacon pieces are crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooked bacon for garnish. Set aside all the bacon. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the skillet.
On medium-high heat, add the cubed boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced yellow onion, salt, and black pepper to the skillet. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned. The chicken may not be all the way cooked through. That is fine because the chicken will continue to cook with the pasta.
Once the chicken has been lightly browned and the onions are tender, add the ranch seasoning and chicken stock. Bring the chicken stock to a boil, then add the penne pasta. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet with the lid, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
Remove the lid from the skillet and stir in the cream cheese and cream of chicken soup until fully combined and no lumps remain.
Add 1½ cups of the shredded Colby jack cheese, the cooked bacon pieces (except for the reserved ¼ cup), and 1 tablespoon of the chopped fresh parsley. Stir to combine.
Top the crack chicken penne with the remaining ½ cup shredded Colby jack cheese (do not stir in) and cover the skillet again with the lid for 3-4 minutes or just until the cheese has melted on top.
Remove the lid and garnish the melted cheese with the reserved ¼ cup of bacon and the remaining 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley.
You can place your package of bacon in the freezer for about an hour to firm up the bacon to make it easier to dice it into smaller pieces.
If you use previously frozen chicken in this recipe, pat it dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This will help your chicken to brown better.