A few days ago, I saw a recipe on my mom’s refrigerator called Ranch Crack Chicken, and so I paused and took a look. The ingredients seemed odd (really? cream cheese?), and I brushed it off. Until last weekend’s grocery trip.
Walking down the aisles, I noticed a package of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix, and decided I should try to make Ranch Crack Chicken. I googled the recipe and bought the rest of the ingredients. In my search I noticed that people were making this dish in many different ways: there was the slow-cooker shredded version, the oven-baked and served with rice version, and many things in between. I decided to join the in-betweeners.
In case you don’t already know, I love the dark meat. It’s got more flavor, and is nicer to work with. So for this dish, I bought bone-in, skin-on thighs. You don’t have to do that of course, but this way let me also make some delicious Southern Fried Chicken Skins to snack on. Whether you buy your meat with or without bones and skin, I highly recommend using chicken thighs.
I took the skin off the thighs and set it aside, and then removed the bones. Then I remembered my mise en place and let the chicken sit for a bit while I got everything I needed to create this dish.
- Slow cooker
- Chicken thighs
- Red or Purple onion
- Bacon, crisp and in pieces
- Shredded cheddar
- Cream Cheese
- Ranch seasonings
Turn your slow cooker on low, and plan on it taking 6 hours to cook. If you have a timer on your cooker, set it to 6:30, and let it heat up.
Add a bit of ranch seasoning, sprinkling it around the bottom. Place your boneless, skinless thighs in your cooker.
Add chopped onions, butter pats, and cream cheese strips.
Pour in water.
Sprinkle the rest of the seasoning on top. Cover, and let cook.
When the thighs were done, I chose to remove the onions and consolidate the thighs to a smaller vessel, then sprinkle the cheese and bacon crispies over the top and let them melt in the oven. You can also just leave them in the slow cooker and achieve the same effect. If you’re going to finish the dish in the oven, remove them to a 9×9 baking dish. pour the liquid over the top, and remove the onion pieces. Bake them in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and a little golden brown.
- Green beans
- White rice
- Hasselback potatoes
- Shredded on Texas Toast
THe next time I make this dish, I’m going to add a few more chicken thighs; six seems like a good amount to feed 4 people.
Don’t forget to pin it for later!
Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken
- 1.5 pounds chicken thighs boneless + skinless
- 3 strips bacon crisp and crumbled
- 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 small purple onion large chunks
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Turn your slow cooker on to low
- Sprinkle about half of the ranch seasoning on the bottom
- Lay your chicken thighs on top of the seasoning
- Top with butter pats and cream cheese strips
- Toss in the onions
- Cover and let cook
When chicken is almost done
- Cook bacon until crisp; remove to paper towels to cool
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Remove chicken to smaller pan
- Remove onion chunks and pour liquid from slow cooker over chicken
- Top with shredded cheese and bacon crumbles
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden brown