This ranch cream cheese chicken recipe has an irresistible topping with bacon and melty cheddar cheese that's baked to perfection!
Why you'll love it
When you combine tender chicken, two kinds of cheese, ranch, and bacon, the resulting flavors are pretty special. It's probably why this recipe is considered so addictive. I'm not crazy about it being called crack chicken, but it is what it is. 😉 In any case, this bacon ranch chicken is a great weeknight option since it's simple to prepare and has very few ingredients with a huge flavor payoff!
I'm a big fan of skillet-to-oven recipes. The chicken is pan fried until juicy and golden, and it just goes seamlessly into the oven, making the best hot and bubbly cheese topping. This recipe also happens to work for the keto diet since it's low carb.
Ingredients for it
- Bacon - everything is better with bacon
- Chicken - we're using chicken breasts here
- Garlic powder and pepper - these seasonings infuse flavor right into the chicken
- Cream cheese - full fat Philly is my go-to variety
- Ranch seasoning - for that signature ranch flavor. I use Hidden Valley. If you're watching your sodium intake, you can always make your own Homemade Ranch Seasoning to control the salt.
- Scallions - these mild green onions bring a pop of freshness
- Cheddar cheese - I like to grate my own for best texture and taste
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha's favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- It's easiest to cut into small pieces quickly with kitchen shears.
- I suggest using an oven-proof skillet for this recipe, but you can use a regular skillet and transfer everything to a baking dish for the oven step if you prefer.
- Chicken is done when an instant read meat thermometer shows 165F in the thickest part. Its temperature will continue to rise while resting, so if it's over 160F, you can take it out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes or so before eating it.
How to make crack chicken
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
In a skillet, fry the bacon pieces until crispy, and then transfer to a plate, leaving 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Sear the chicken for 5 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, add the cream cheese, scallions, ranch seasoning, and half of the bacon to a mixing bowl. Combine with a spoon until smooth.
Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of each piece of chicken, followed by the cheddar cheese.
Top with the rest of the bacon, and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through!
Can this be made lighter?
- Sure! Use only half the amount of cream cheese and 2 large chicken breasts, and cut them in half lengthwise so you have 4 thinner cutlets.
- You could also use less bacon if you absolutely need to. Just make sure there's enough that the fat left over is enough to sear the chicken in. I'd recommend at least 3 strips.
Tips for success
- The recipe will go much smoother if you let the cream cheese soften up first. You can leave it on the counter for an hour, or microwave it until soft.
- If you happen to have some Cooked Bacon on hand, you can skip the chicken searing step if you wish (like just add it raw straight to a baking dish), but timing will need to be increased to compensate for not searing it in the skillet first.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in a covered container.
- The best way to reheat it is in the oven so the cheese gets melty again.
- I don't recommend freezing leftovers since dairy can change texture after thawing.
Questions about this cream cheese chicken recipe? Let me know in the comments below! Hope you enjoy it. Tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram with any of my recipes that you made!
Ranch Cream Cheese Chicken (Crack Chicken)
- 6 strips bacon cut into small pieces
- 4 large chicken breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pepper to taste
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning I used Hidden Valley
- 1/3 cup scallions chopped
- 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
- Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Cook the bacon in a large oven-proof skillet until crispy (I cut it up quickly using kitchen shears). Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, and leave about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the skillet.
- Season the chicken breasts with the garlic powder and pepper, then add them to the skillet and sear for 5 minutes/side over medium-high heat.
- Meanwhile, add the cream cheese (microwave it for 30 seconds or until soft if it's straight out of the fridge), ranch seasoning, scallions, and about half of the cooked bacon to a bowl. Stir until smooth.
- Once the chicken has been seared, take the skillet off the heat. Spread the cream cheese mixture equally over the top of each piece of chicken, then sprinkle the cheddar over top, followed by the rest of the bacon. If you don't have an oven-proof skillet, transfer the chicken to a baking dish for this step.
- Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. If your chicken breasts are on the smaller side, try 15 minutes then test for doneness (chicken is cooked at 165F).
- Let the chicken rest for a few minutes prior to serving so it's nice and juicy.
- I don't add extra salt to the chicken because bacon and ranch seasoning are quite salty. Before adding salt to this dish, be sure to taste it first.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.