This Instant Pot Keto Crack Chicken recipe is a bit spicy and smoky with Mexican flavors and contains 6 grams net carbs per serving. Enjoy!
The Ketogenic Diet
I am relatively–read “very”– new to the world of keto. Eating a diet high in healthy fats, moderate in protein and very low in carbohydrates. Why am I doing it? Because I am not a fan of my cholesterol or blood glucose numbers, and keto offers a path toward sending both those numbers in the right direction. While I have done some research, I am not an expert in the ketogenic diet and all the ins and outs of it. I have found some great information here:
- The Ketogenic Diet: A Detailed Beginners’ Guide to Keto
- Ketogenic Diet: A Beginner’s Guide to Keto
- A Ketogenic Diet for Beginners
What Is Crack Chicken?
Keto crack chicken recipes seem to be very Buzzy these days in the world of keto. Think of it as really creamy shredded chicken that you can then put in lettuce wraps, serve over cauliflower rice or zoodles of some sort or layer into a keto dip, maybe with guacamole.
The original recipe involves a packet of ranch dressing mix, and I’m sure it’s tasty (hence the “crack”), but dressing mix has a bunch of Weird ingredients that I’d just as soon avoid.
I did find a crack chicken recipe that uses real ingredients rather than a packet of ranch, but I was feeling Mexican-ish and went a different way with mine.
“Classic” crack chicken generally contains between 4-5 grams of net carbs per serving. My Mexican version contains about 6-7 grams net carbs per serving because I use chipotles in adobo and some Ro-Tel to flavor it. I’m okay with that trade-off, but you are welcome to leave out those two ingredients and use some cayenne and/for hot sauce for heat and maybe a touch of liquid smoke for smokiness.
Can I Make Crack Chicken in a Crock Pot or Slow Cooker?
Yes, you can absolutely make crack chicken in your slow cooker. As a matter of fact, the original crack chicken recipes, ketogenic or otherwise, were written for slow cookers. Here are some good choices if you don’t own a multi-cooker and would still like some keto crack chicken:
How to Make Keto Crack Chicken in Your Instant Pot
One of the nice things about crack chicken is that, for just a small amount of work, you end up with a ton of food. And since you’re utilizing your instant pot (or other pressure cooker), your kitchen doesn’t get hot.
I started with a base of avocado oil and bacon fat, both on the Approved List O’ Fats for keto.
The rest is easy. Here’s the lowdown.
- Heat your Instant Pot on the Saute setting.
- Add fat and let melt.
- Add garlic powder and stir.
- Dump in the Ro-Tel, water, chipotles, cumin, salt, pepper, chicken breasts and cream cheese.
- Turn off saute, attach lid, and set to high pressure for 20-30 minutes (use the longer time if you’re starting with frozen chicken).
- Allow natural pressure release for about 10-15 minutes and then use manual pressure release.
- Remove lid. Shred chicken.
Tips for Making Mexican-Style Instant Pot Crack Chicken
This keto krack chicken is really easy to make, but I discovered a couple of tips that will help you make it perfectly the first time.
- Don’t put the cream cheese on the bottom of the Instant Pot, because it can scorch. Pour in the Ro-Tel and water first. That layer will act as an insulator and keep the cheese off the bottom of the pot.
- While you can use your mixer or a hand mixer to shred your chicken, it’s just as simple to pull out the chicken, put it on a plate, and use two forks to shred it. It will shred easily, and you won’t have to end up washing your mixer.
- If you think the liquids are too runny after you remove the chicken from the Instant Pot, set it to “saute” again and let the liquid reduce for 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently to keep it from sticking. Add the chicken back in.
- Allow the chicken to cool in the creamy sauce. If you let the chicken cool down separately from the sauce, it will be too dry, even when you stir it back in and reheat it.
Step by Step Instructions for Making Keto Crack Chicken
Here are some photos that hopefully will help you when you make your own crack chicken. I learned not to let the cream cheese touch the bottom of the pot, so these photos aren’t in the order they would be in when I make this again.
- Put your Instant Pot on the saute setting. Add avocado oil and bacon fat.
- Add the garlic powder and brown the chicken just a bit.
- Remove the chicken for a minute and add the Ro-Tel and water. Then add the chicken back in.
- Add the cream cheese.
- Add seasonings on top.
Place the lid on your Instant Pot, make sure the valve is set to “Sealing,” and set to high pressure for 20-30 minutes. I used 4 frozen breasts, and each pair was frozen together, so that’s why it looks like there are only two breasts and why I cooked them for 30 minutes. If your chicken breasts are smaller and not frozen, your crack chicken should be done in about 20 minutes.
**If starting from frozen, do check to make sure your chicken is thoroughly cooked at the 30 minute mark. If not, cook on high pressure for an additional 5-7 minutes.
- This is what your Mexican style chicken will look like after you release the pressure. Whisk it well to break up any melty lumps of cream cheese.
- Remove the chicken breasts to a large bowl or platter.
- Shred with two forks.
- Meanwhile, set the Instant Pot back on the saute setting and reduce for about 10-15 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently so it doesn’t stick and scorch.
- Stir the chicken back in and enjoy.
How Can I Serve My Crack Chicken?
If you’re on a low-carb eating plan, consider using your Mexican style crack chicken as filling for lettuce wraps. You can also steam or saute some cauliflower and stir it in with your keto chicken goodness, making a sort of low carb cheesy chicken pasta casserole.
If you are not super concerned about your carb intake but you just really like crack chicken, go ahead and use it as a hot sandwich filling, roll it into flour tortillas for a creamy chicken enchilada casserole, mix in cooked pasta, or use it as a dip with corn chips.
There are plenty of options for serving keto crack chicken!
Excellent Cookbooks for Getting the Most Out of Your Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is a versatile electric pressure cooker. While it does have other settings, most folks use a combination of saute and the various “under pressure” settings to cook. Expand your knowledge and pressure cooker recipe repertoire by picking up some of these books–all are fantastic resources.
Why Use a Mix of Natural and Manual Pressure Release?
While it can be convenient and fast to use manual pressure release, natural pressure release has some advantages.
- Meat stays tender using natural release. Manual release is a pretty harsh way to release the pressure in your Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, and meat can end up tough if you use it.
- Natural release is much better for ingredients that foam–like beans–or have a lot of fat in them, like so many keto recipes have.
- The less liquid in the recipe, the less time natural release will take.
Using a mix of natural pressure release of 15 minutes followed by a manual release to finish releasing the pressure ensures your meat will stay tender and there won’t be any weird foaming. Keep in mind that food continues cooking during natural pressure release. While that could be bad for quick cooking vegetables, it’s totally fine for this keto crack chicken. It won’t overcook or dry out, especially if you remember to let it cool in the sauce.
Looking for a ketchup recipe that will keep you on track while doing keto? Try my Whole 30 Ketchup Recipe!
Keto Crack Chicken Recipe (Instant Pot, Mexican-Style)
Love this keto recipe? Consider rating and/or commenting. I love to hear from readers! And if you make this, and I hope you do. please share it with me on instagram by tagging @onlinepastrychef and using hashtag #pcorecipe. Or share it with me in the Pastry Chef Online Facebook group. I can’t wait to see your version!
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 Tablespoons bacon fat, I save it in the fridge. If you don't have any, you can sub with more avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 cans Ro-Tel, original or your favorite type
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- 1 pound cream cheese, 2 blocks
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste (I used Morton's)
- black pepper, to taste
- Set your Instant Pot to "Saute" and add the avocado oil and bacon fat. Allow to heat for 2 minutes until the bacon fat is melted and hot.
- Add the granulated garlic and stir for a few seconds. Add the chicken and brown for 3 minutes or so, just on one side. You don't have to brown the chicken at all, but I like to just to develop some caramelized flavor.
- Remove the chicken and add the RoTel and water. Put the chicken breasts back in and add the cream cheese--just tuck the blocks down next to the chicken breasts.
- Top with all the seasonings--spread them evenly.
- Turn off the saute setting, fit the lid onto your Instant Pot and set to manual at high pressure for 20 minutes. 30 minutes if your chicken is frozen. Make sure the valve is set to "Sealing."
- When the timer goes off, allow natural pressure release for 15 minutes then release the rest of the pressure manually.
- Remove the lid and put the chicken breasts into a bowl or onto a large plate. Shred with two forks.
- In the meantime, set the Instant Pot back to saute and allow the sauce to reduce, whisking well and stirring frequently so the sauce doesn't stick and scorch.
- Return the chicken to the pot and stir well.
- Serve however you'd like. Store leftovers in the fridge.
Nutritionals calculated for 1 full cup of crack chicken, or 8 servings per recipe.
Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer
Instant Pot LUX60V3 V3 6 Qt 6-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer
Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279 Saturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 66mg Sodium: 787mg Carbohydrates: 7g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 4g Protein: 4g
If you’re watching your carbs, you may also like my no sugar added, Whole 30 compliant smoky ketchup recipe. I put it on everything!
And I made my mom’s Hamburger Macaroni Casserole the other day with roasted cauliflower rather than pasta. This made it perfect for a keto way of eating and was every bit as delicious as the original. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Thanks for spending some time with me today. Take care and have a lovely day.
PS I just made some wonderful Charro pinto beans in my Instant Pot. If you’re not concerned with carbs, you will love them!