Cheesy Crack Chicken Casserole

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If you're looking for an easy chicken recipe that's out of this world, look no further than Cheesy Crack Chicken Casserole. It's loaded with two types of gooey cheese, crispy bacon, and tender pasta in a creamy ranch sauce that will blow your mind! 

Fork taking a bite of crack chicken casserole.
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This Dish is a Hit!

  • Easy Recipe: simply toss everything in one casserole dish and you're ready to roll.
  • Make Ahead: can assemble up to a day in advance.
  • Simple Ingredients: most items may already be in your pantry or fridge.
  • Crowd Pleaser: great recipe for a big crowd and kids love it!
  • Versatile: dress it up with variations to make your own perfect comfort food.
Fork lifting up cheesy crack chicken casserole.

This chicken bacon ranch casserole lives up to its name, and is guaranteed to be a family favorite! You'll love the cream cheese ranch sauce that melts in your mouth and the explosion of flavor from the bacon and variety of spices. It's crazy good! 🙂

Looking for more cheesy casseroles? Try my Pizza Casserole Recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights, or this Loaded Hash Brown Casserole for breakfast or brunch.

Cheese Bacon Ranch Casserole in baking dish.

Ingredient Notes

Quantities of ingredients are listed in the recipe card

  • Cooked Chicken - can use boneless chicken or leftover rotisserie chicken
  • Elbow Macaroni - any type of pasta makes a great substitute
  • Cream Cheese - creates a creamy base for the casserole
  • Sour Cream - the full fat version adds flavor and creaminess
  • Milk - use either whole milk or lowfat
  • Ranch Seasoning Mix - a packet such as Hidden Valley is recommended
  • Bacon - thin sliced bacon cooks up crispier
  • Colby Jack Cheese - any cheese that melts easily will work
  • Garlic Powder, Paprika, Salt, Black Pepper, Onion Powder - spice it up!
  • Green Onions - optional garnish that adds color and flavor
Ingredients needed for chicken casserole.

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

2. In a large pot, cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Macaroni in a white bowl.

3. In a large mixing bowl, use a mixer to blend the softened cream cheese, sour cream, milk, ranch dressing mix, garlic powder, paprika, salt, black pepper and onion powder until smooth and creamy.

Milk being poured into cream cheese and spices.

4. Stir in the cooked and crumbled bacon, cooked chicken pieces, and 1 cup of shredded Colby Jack cheese.

Cheese, chicken and bacon added to mixture.

5. Add the cooked elbow macaroni to the bowl and mix until everything is evenly coated with the cream cheese mixture.

Pasta after being mixed.

6. Transfer the chicken and pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread it out in a single layer. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of shredded Colby Jack cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.

Casserole before baking with cheese on top.

8. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven, and immediately sprinkle with additional bacon and chopped green onions.

Casserole after baking in oven.

Variations

  • Use leftover rotisserie chicken for more convenience.
  • ​Swap the colby jack cheese for cheddar, mozzarella, or a triple cheese blend.
  • Substitute Neufchatel cheese which has a lower fat content.
  • Try a different type of pasta like rotini, cavatappi, or penne.
  • Make it spicy by adding diced jalapeños or buffalo hot sauce to the mix. 
Spoon dishing out casserole.

What to Serve With Crack Chicken Casserole

Fork with casserole on top.

Expert Tips

  • Cook the chicken ahead of time for easy prep.
  • A hand mixer will make it easier to get the lumps out of the cream cheese.
  • Use only 8 ounces of pasta for a creamier dish.

Storing Leftovers

  • Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat: Warm up in the microwave with a splash of milk to loosen.
  • Freeze: You can freeze the casserole for up to 3 months in an airtight container. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm in the oven or microwave until the temp reaches 165ºF with a meat thermometer.
Crack chicken casserole on a white plate with bacon on top.

Recipe FAQs

Can you make this dish in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can use a slow cooker or crockpot to make this recipe. Simply add all ingredients and cook on low for 2 hours.

Can this casserole be frozen?

You can freeze this dish in an airtight container, but keep in mind that freezing pasta may make it mushy when reheated.

Spoon serving casserole from dish.

More Comfort Food

You can't get much better than this Crack Chicken Casserole recipe, but here are a few favorites that will stick to your ribs!

Recipe Card

Cheesy Crack Chicken Casserole pulled up by a fork.

Cheesy Crack Chicken Casserole

Cheesy Crack Chicken Casserole is loaded with gooey cheese, crispy bacon and tender pasta in a creamy ranch sauce that will blow your mind! 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings8
Calories: 681kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked chicken (can use rotisserie or chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces)
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni (uncooked)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 ounce dry ranch dressing mix (packet)
  • 1 cup bacon (cooked and crumbled)
  • 2 cups Colby Jack cheese (shredded & divided)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ cup green onions (diced)
  • Optional bacon for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  • In a large pot, cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, use a hand mixer or whisk to mix the softened cream cheese, sour cream, milk, ranch dressing mix, garlic powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, and onion powder until well combined and smooth.
  • Stir in the cooked and crumbled bacon, cooked chicken pieces, and 1 cup of shredded Colby Jack cheese.
  • Add the cooked elbow macaroni to the bowl and mix until everything is evenly coated with the cream cheese mixture.
  • Transfer the chicken and pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread it out in an even layer.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of shredded Colby Jack cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Remove from oven, and immediately sprinkle with additional bacon and chopped green onions.

Notes

    • A hand mixer will make it easier to get the lumps out of the cream cheese, but you can whisk it if necessary. 
    • Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
    • Reheat: Warm up in the microwave with a splash of milk to loosen.
    • Freeze: You can freeze the casserole for up to 3 months in an airtight container. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm in the oven or microwave until the temp reaches 165ºF with a meat thermometer.

Nutrition

Calories: 681kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Sodium: 1096mg | Potassium: 440mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 355mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have never tried this recipe yet, but it's on the menu for tonight's dinner. It looks and sounds amazing. I have all of the ingredients already, so it will be no problem.
    A great main dish, a good side dish or a great addition to any BBQ dish at your next outdoor party. I think this is a great versatile side dish. Thank you for this recipe, I will let you know about all the raves in my house...

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