This creamy Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken is mixed with cheddar cheese and cream cheese and is flavored with ranch seasoning. It's great on pizza, in sandwiches and rice bowls or mixed into pasta dishes!
Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken, which you may also hear called "crack chicken", is a creamy, shredded chicken recipe that is totally hands off while cooking. The slow cooker is great for that!
This delicious, flavorful chicken recipe is so versatile and can be used in a lot of creative ways. We love it for all sorts of things, just as we do shredded barbecue chicken and buffalo chicken. The possibilities for using shredded slow cooker ranch chicken are endless. Enjoy it as a main meat with vegetables and potatoes, stuff it into pita bread to make sandwiches, top your homemade pizza with it, use to make burgers, and so much more! See even more recommendations below.
This is such an easy slow cooker recipe and it's great for meal prepping and make ahead lunch and dinners too! It freezes exceptionally well by itself and when turned into something like a burrito or enchilada. This makes it a great recipe for preparing frozen lunches or dinners. Simply thaw, reheat and enjoy on really busy days.
While I add a little spinach to mine, this is totally optional! I just like it to have some vegetables, and since the spinach wilts and mixes into the sauce so much, my kids don't even know it's there.
Bonus: this recipe can also be made dairy-free by simply using vegan cream cheese and vegan cheddar cheese. It won't be completely vegan but it will be free of any dairy if you have lactose sensitivity or just want to make it a little healthier. All ingredients should be naturally gluten-free, just watch out for the dry ranch seasoning. Some brands contain gluten.
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Ranch seasoning: Hidden Valley is one of the popular dry ranch dressing packets and probably the easiest to find. You can also make a homemade ranch seasoning. As a variation, use 2 cups of ranch dressing per 1 pound of chicken instead of dry seasoning.
- Cream cheese: a brick of cream cheese is best, just don't use the whipped kind.
- Cheddar cheese: sharp or extra sharp will give you the best flavor.
- Chicken broth: I use a little chicken broth to keep the chicken from drying out.
- Garlic: for some extra flavor! Mash your own or use a jar of minced.
- Scallions: also called green onions.
- Spinach: this is optional just to add some vegetables and you can use fresh of frozen.
How To Serve Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken
There are so many different ways to use this slow cooker creamy ranch chicken.
- A main dish alongside herb-roasted baby potatoes, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, roasted green beans or other simple vegetables.
- In rice and grain bowls.
- On pizza!
- Use as the stuffing for pitas and flatbread sandwiches.
- Make pulled ranch chicken burgers or sliders.
- Mixed into creamy soups to give them added protein and flavor. Ranch chicken would be fantastic added to slow cooker potato soup to give it more of a hearty bite.
- Add leftovers to casseroles later in the week.
- Toss into creamy pasta dishes.
- Make lettuce wraps.
- Use as the stuffing for taquitos, enchiladas, and burritos!
How To Make Ranch Chicken
STEP 1: Pour the chicken broth into the slow cooker, the add the boneless chicken breasts. Sprinkle with black pepper, ranch seasoning and minced garlic. Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and place evenly around the chicken.
STEP 2: Set to LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3 hours. Remove the chicken at the end of the cook time. Shred using a fork, then place back into the slow cooker.
I prefer cooking my chicken on LOW. Chicken can dry out easily, so the best way to cook it is slowly at a lower temperature.
STEP 3: Tear the spinach and add to the slow cooker, followed by the scallions and cheddar cheese. Cover and cook for an additional 20 minutes on HIGH.
STEP 4: Turn off the slow cooker. Stir the chicken mixture to incorporate the melted cheese, spinach, and scallions.
Serve over rice, on pizza, flatbreads, in sandwiches, or any of the suggestions from above. Enjoy!
Helpful Tips and Facts
It is not recommended to use frozen chicken in a slow cooker. Always use thawed chicken to prevent the chance that bacteria can grow while the frozen chicken is thawing in the cooker.
Yes! You can use a creamy ranch dressing instead of a dry seasoning. This will make the recipe creamier, so it just depends on your preference. Use 2 cups of ranch dressing per 1 pound of chicken. It would also be fantastic if you used a combination of ranch dressing and dry seasoning.
No. Ff increasing the recipe ingredients, the cook time remains the same. Just layer the chicken as needed if it doesn't fit in one row.
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer sealed in a freezer safe bag for up to 6 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating.
The best chicken to use for this recipe, and other shredded chicken recipes, is boneless skinless chicken breasts. If you prefer to use something else, like thighs, wings, or drumsticks, you technically can. You will need to remove the chicken bones before shredding.
When cooked all the way through, chicken is very easy to shred using 2 forks. Simply lay the cooked chicken on a cutting board and with one fork in each hand, use the prongs to pull the chicken apart. Chicken should only be shredded once it's cooked, which is why we wait til the end of this recipe to shred it. Raw chicken will not shred and undercooked chicken will be tough to shred properly.
Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken
- Pour the chicken broth into the slow cooker, the add the boneless chicken breasts. Sprinkle with pepper, ranch seasoning and minced garlic. Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and place evenly around the chicken.
- Set to LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3 hours. Remove the chicken at the end of the cook time. Shred using a fork, then place back into the slow cooker.
- Tear the spinach and add to the slow cooker, followed by the scallions and cheddar cheese. Cover and cook for an additional 20 minutes on HIGH.
- Turn off the slow cooker. Stir the chicken mixture to incorporate the melted cheese, spinach, and scallions.
- Serve over rice, on pizza, flatbreads, in sandwiches, etc.