Crack Chicken Pasta Bake

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A casserole the whole family will love! Crack Chicken Pasta Bake with creamy ranch sauce, cheddar, mozzarella and bacon.

Crack chicken has taken the internet by storm and our family right along with it. We’ve served this classic creamy chicken to our church small group, family friends and on vacation to our extended family. It’s a crowd pleaser!

We took the classic flavors of crack chicken and turned them into lasagna, then tweaked that recipe for this Crack Chicken Pasta Bake.

overhead view of pasta bake with serving spoon

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Pantry staple ingredients.
  • Great use for leftover chicken.
  • Creamy, cheesy ranch sauce.
  • Ready for the table in 45 minutes.

What is crack chicken?

Crack chicken is an internet famous recipe with chicken, cream cheese, ranch seasoning, bacon and cheddar cheese. You can serve it over rice, potatoes or on a sandwich. It is rich, delicious and totally addicting.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Pasta: Use rotini or your favorite shaped pasta. Even gluten free or Banza chickpea pasta works well.
  • Cream cheese: Full fat cream cheese is best.
  • Ranch seasoning: There are dressing and dip seasoning mixes. I’ve not researched the differences, but I used the ranch dip seasoning packets.
  • Evaporated milk: Evaporated milk can hold up to the heat of the oven without curdling. That’s why we use it in this recipe.
  • Cooked chicken: Leftover grilled chicken or shredded chicken, rotisserie chicken or baked chicken.
  • Cheddar and mozzarella: Shred your own cheese so that the casserole doesn’t get greasy. Our salad shooter does this quickly and easily.
  • Bacon bits: I buy a bag of pre-cooked real bacon bits and keep them on hand for when I want to top a casserole with bacon. Easy!

How to Make Crack Chicken Pasta Bake

  • Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
  • Cook pasta according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. This helps keep prep time down.
  • In a small bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the cream cheese and ranch seasoning until smooth.
  • Add in half of a can of evaporated milk to the cream cheese mixture and mix until combined and smooth. Then add in the rest of the can of milk and mix until smooth. Add in the last can of milk and mix again. Why add the milk in slowly? It’s so that the cream cheese gets blended in and isn’t chunky. If you add all the milk at once, the mixture will have little chunks of cheese.
  • Fold in the cooked chicken and one cup each of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Then add in the pasta and mix well.
  • Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, then top with the remaining mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with bacon bits.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the casserole is heated through.

Can you make this pasta bake in advance?

Yes! Make up this casserole before you bake it, then cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake it. You can do this up to 24 hours in advance. Remove the casserole from the fridge about an hour before baking if possible. This will help take the chill off and allow it to bake evenly.

This creamy chicken pasta bake also makes a great freezer meal. It’s best to remove it from the freezer the day before you want to cook it and allow it to defrost in the fridge overnight. Then it won’t overcook in the oven. Freeze for 6-8 weeks.

pasta casserole on a plate with a fork

What to Serve With This Casserole

The pasta, chicken and cheeses are all included in this dinner, but here are a few sides that would be great to serve with it:

crack chicken pasta bake with one serving missing
crack chicken pasta bake with one serving missing

Crack Chicken Pasta Bake

4.39 from 44 votes
A casserole the whole family will love! Crack Chicken Pasta Bake with creamy ranch sauce, cheddar, mozzarella and bacon.
Servings 8
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 4 cups rotini pasta
  • 8 ounces cream cheese cubed
  • 2 ounces ranch seasoning mix (2 packets)
  • 24 ounces evaporated milk (2 cans)
  • 2 1/4 cups chopped cooked chicken about 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese shredded & divided
  • 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded & divided
  • 3 ounces chopped bacon bits

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta according to the package instructions.
  • Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
  • In a small bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the cream cheese and ranch seasoning until smooth.
  • Add in half of a can of evaporated milk to the cream cheese mixture and mix until combined and smooth.
  • Then add in the rest of the can of milk and mix until smooth.
  • Add in the last can of milk and mix again.
  • Fold in the cooked chicken and one cup each of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
  • Then add in the pasta and mix well.
  • Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, then top with the remaining mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
  • Sprinkle with bacon bits.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the casserole is heated through.
  • Top with fresh snipped parsley.

Video

Notes

The calories shown are based on the recipe making 8 servings, with 1 serving being ⅛ of the casserole. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 562kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 1307mg | Potassium: 429mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 960IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 517mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 562
Keyword chicken casserole, easy pasta dinner

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About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Kira
1 year ago

Nice recipe. The diluted use of Crack brings the taste rating to a one. C’mon now. Don’t bring the page to that level.

Donna
10 months ago

To freeze this recipe do you bake it first and then freeze it?
Thank you!
Donna

Loretta
8 months ago

5 stars
Thanks for easy and tasty recipe!

Ginny
6 months ago

2 stars
I was really excited to try this recipe. I followed it to a T so I don’t know what happened but it was very dry. The rotini soaked up all of the sauce; I had to add ranch dressing on top of it and mix it in just to give it some smoothness, but then it tasted a bit soggy.