Crack Chicken Broccoli Casserole combines pasta with shredded chicken, broccoli, bacon, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and ranch seasoning to make a totally irresistible casserole.
You’ve likely seen recipes for crack chicken on Pinterest. It’s a fairly popular dish these days, particularly for those on a low-carb diet. It’s a really yummy dish that will satisfy a lot of cravings. Who doesn’t like bacon, Ranch dressing, and cheese?
As much as I love all of the ingredients in Crack Chicken, it never feels like a complete dish to me. In fact, it really feels like the topping for a casserole instead.
If you’re not avoiding carbs, this dish is so much better when you add pasta. Our recipe uses fusilli pasta. We also add broccoli and mushrooms, to really knock this casserole up a notch.
This recipe is best with shredded chicken breast. You can either make the chicken ahead of time by simmering it in a pot of water for 20 minutes, or use leftover or rotisserie chicken, which is a really simple short cut.
Of course, you can also choose any pasta you want or have on hand. I use fusilli in this recipe because I like the way it holds the sauce in the grooves, but I’ve also used bowtie pasta and shells.
Why Is It Called Crack Chicken?
The moniker “crack chicken” comes from this dish being so addictively good. It uses ingredients people often think of as decadent and calorie laden, so it’s not necessarily that good for you.
Therefore, it got branded with the name Crack Chicken. There are many variations of this dish out there. You can find crack dip and crack bread recipes out there too. It’s a thing now.
Typically crack chicken is served either on its own (for low-carb or keto diets), or over the top of rice or on a hamburger bun.
We thought why not change it up a bit by making it into a casserole. We added the broccoli to make it just a tiny bit more nutritious. Does that make you feel less guilty about eating it?
Ingredients You Need For Chicken Broccoli Casserole
The recipe below is cooked in a casserole pan in the oven. It takes only about 20 minutes. However, you can also cook it in the microwave in just 8 minutes.
The ingredients you need are:
- Chicken breast
- Ranch seasoning mix
- Softened Cream cheese (set this out 15 minutes before you prepare)
- Cheddar Cheese
- Cooked Bacon
- Green Onions
How to Make Crack Chicken Casserole
Step One: Cook and shred the chicken. At the same time, cook and drain the pasta.
Step Two: Add the ranch seasoning, cream cheese, half of the cheddar cheese, and bacon crumbles to a bowl and stir well.
Step Three: Once the creamy elements are combined, add the chicken, pasta, broccoli florets and sliced mushrooms. Stir it all together and pour into an 8×8 baking dish. Top with additional shredded cheddar.
Step Four: Bake at 350 ° F for 25 minutes. If you’re in a hurry, you can also cook this in the microwave for four minutes, stir, then cook four more minutes. Serve with diced green onions on top.
Alternatives To Try
If you don’t like broccoli or mushrooms, you can either leave them out or substitute for other veggies. We also like this casserole with cauliflower and cubed potatoes.
Try different pasta shapes. Some of the pasta we think works really well:
For a real change, try stuffing the mixture into large cooked shells and topping with cheese. It’s amazing!
For a keto friendly version, leave the pasta out of the recipe and increase the amount of broccoli. You can cook it for the same amount of time.
Should the chicken be cooked before adding it to the casserole?
Yes you should pre-cook the chicken before adding it to the casserole. The reason for this is that the other ingredients in the casserole do not need to cook as long as the raw chicken would need, so
Can I use rotisserie chicken in this casserole?
You can use any leftover chicken you have on hand, including rotisserie chicken. It doesn’t have to be chicken breast meat. You can use chicken thigh meat for a juicier casserole. Rotisserie chicken is a great way to get this dish cooked quickly and it can be super useful to have some on hand to make different meals throughout the week.
Can I freeze this casserole?
The casserole can be frozen, if you plan to cook it later. Just mix it all up and freeze it in a freezer-safe container until you’re ready to make it. You do need to thaw it first before cooking, or the cream cheese might separate. First thaw the casserole in the refrigerator, then follow the baking instructions in the recipe card to cook.
Other Recipes to Try
Crack Chicken & Broccoli Casserole
- 6 ounces chicken breast
- 1 cup dry fusilli pasta
- 1 Ranch seasoning packet
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 3 strips cooked bacon crumbled
- 1 cup broccoli cut into small pieces
- 6 mushrooms sliced
- 2 green onions sliced
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Cook and shred the chicken. At the same time, cook and drain the pasta.
- Add the Ranch seasoning, softened cream cheese, half the shredded cheese and bacon crumbles to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine thoroughly.
- Add the shredded chicken, bacon, broccoli, and mushrooms. Stir to combine. Pour into an 8×8 baking dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Top with green onions.
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Laura is a home cook, with 25 years experience behind the stove, who spends an extraordinary amount of time in the kitchen cooking. She loves making new recipes and finding wonderful new things to eat, both at home or abroad. She spends a lot of time researching, crafting, and perfecting her recipes and currently has a cookbook in development.