Tender and moist chicken breasts topped AND stuffed with gooey melted cheddar, bacon and ranch make this keto crack chicken as addicting as the name implies!
Is crack chicken all it’s cracked up to be? Yes! Comfort food at its finest, this easy chicken dinner gets ready in under 30 minutes and it’s just impossible to resist!
This crack chicken recipe is the easiest because it doesn’t involve shredding or pounding the chicken. I have a much better technique to make the chicken breasts even for uniform baking:
One clean cut, made horizontally. Easy and quick, and it gives you extra surface to stuff the beasts with cheesy creamy sauce goodness!
For this keto crack chicken recipe you’ll need only a short list of staple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen!
- 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 pounds
- Softened cream cheese, 8 ounces
- Sour cream, 1/2 cup
- Ranch seasoning powder, 3 tablespoons (1 ounce)
- Shredded cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 cup
- Bacon crumbles, 3/4 cup
You’ll also need 1/2 teaspoon of fine salt and 1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper (adjust to taste), plus chives or green onions (fresh or dry) to garnish.
While amount of salt I suggest might appear modest for 1 1/2 pounds of chicken, it’s important to note that the ranch, cheese and bacon have plenty of salt of their own and will contribute to the saltiness to the dish.
Chicken thighs or tenders: Feel free to use chicken tenders or boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat. You won’t be able to stuff them with the crack mix the same way you can do with the breasts.
Ranch seasoning: I used here my own homemade low-carb and keto ranch recipe, powdered in a bullet blender. You can substitute your favorite ranch packet.
Sour cream: If you are out of sour cream, you can substitute plain full-fat natural yogurt of Greek yogurt instead.
Cheese options: Sharp cheddar is the best, but crack chicken is also great with Pepper Jack or Jalapeño Jack. Use mozzarella or Monterey Jack for a milder flavor. The cheese melts smoother and creamier if you grate it yourself.
How to make
First, prepare the baking dish with a thin layer of olive oil, butter or cooking spray.
I prefer to use a 7×10-inch ceramic casserole dish, it’s enough space for 4 small chicken breasts and it keeps them “in the sauce”, so to speak.
You can also use a 9×13-inch baking pan, but the sauce will spread out and evaporate more. In this case you might want to cover the pan with foil before taking it to the oven.
1. In a large bowl, mix well the softened cream cheese, sour cream, ranch seasoning, and a little over half of the cheese and bacon (save remaining for topping the crack chicken later).
2. Slice the chicken breasts horizontally through the middle, but not all the way. Leave the breast connected to form a “pocket” for cheese sauce. Season the breasts with salt and pepper.
3. Stuff each seasoned chicken breast with a generous tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture.
4. Close the breasts up like a taco and place them laying side by side on the baking dish.
5. Spread the remaining of the crack mix over the stuffed chicken breasts. Take it into the preheated oven at 410 °F (210 °C) for about 20 minutes.
6. Remove the crack chicken from the oven and add the remaining shredded cheese and bacon. Return it to the oven and bake for a few more minutes until the cheese is fully melted and bubbly.
7. Sprinkle the top with dried or fresh chopped chives or green onions and serve!
Softened cream cheese mixes better
Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for a few seconds so it will be easier to mix with the other ingredients by hand. Alternatively, just use a spreadable cream cheese.
Make your own crumbled bacon
You can buy crumbled bacon ready to use or cook it yourself. Do not use bacon bits, they are too small and hard and the texture of the crack chicken sauce will not be right.
Fresh bacon needs to be pre-cooked to remove excess fat before mixing it into the cream cheese sauce. Otherwise, you’ll get puddles of fat floating on top of the dish.
To make, chop 5-6 thick slices of bacon and fry, or just place the chopped pieces in a bowl between sheets of paper towel and microwave on high until the bacon is just cooked. The paper towels will absorb the melted fat.
Fully preheat the oven
Make sure to have your oven preheated when you pop the crack chicken in. The combination of ultra high heat (cooking the breasts so fast the juices seal right in) and the acid in the sour cream help tenderizing the chicken meat.
Speaking of high heat, a baked crack chicken at 410 degrees is technically roasted. It makes all the difference to keep the breasts moist and succulent!
Making it ahead and storage
You can assemble the stuffed crack chicken casserole the day before you wish to bake it. Keep it covered in the fridge. Extend the baking time for about 5 minutes as it will have a cold start.
You can keep the leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Keto Crack Chicken
- 4 (680 g) skinless and boneless chicken breasts about 1 1/2 pounds
- ½ teaspoon fine salt adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground, adjust to taste
- 8 ounces (226 g) cream cheese softened (or use cream cheese spread)
- ½ cup (116 g) sour cream
- 3 tablespoons (30 g) ranch seasoning powder 3 tbsp = 1 ounce packet
- 1 ½ cup (170 g) shredded cheddar cheese divided
- ¾ cup (86 g) cooked bacon (chopped or crumbled) divided
- chopped green onions or chives, to garnish
- In a large bowl, mix well the softened cream cheese, sour cream, ranch seasoning, about 1 cup of shredded cheese and half cup of bacon (reserve remaining for topping).
- Slice the chicken breasts horizontally through the middle, but not all the way. Leave the breast connected to form a "pocket" to stuff with the cream cheese mixture. Season the breasts with salt and pepper.
- Stuff each chicken breast with a generous tablespoon of the cream cheese mix. Place the chicken breasts side by site on the baking pan. Spread the remaining of the cheese mix over the stuffed chicken breasts. Take it into the preheated oven at 410 °F (210 °C) for about 20 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Remove from the oven, and add the remaining shredded cheese the bacon. Return to the oven and bake a few more minutes until the cheese is fully melted and bubbly.
- Sprinkle chopped chives or green onions and serve immediately.
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