Crockpot Fiesta Ranch Cream Cheese Chicken

CROCKPOT CREAM CHEESE CHICKEN IS WONDERFULLY CREAMY, SEASONED TO PERFECTION AND IS AS EASY AS DUMP AND RUN!   

up close of a wooden spoon scooping up crockpot cream cheese chicken

This Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken makes the perfect make ahead filling for taquitos, tacos, enchiladas and burritos!  It’s the perfect busy weeknight dinner because you can virtually prep it and forget it until it’s time to load in enchiladas, quesadillas or  Baked Fiesta Ranch Chicken Tacos!

Cream Cheese Chicken

Everything is better when its creeeeeeeeeeamy, right?!  This Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken was inspired by the traditional crockpot cream cheese chicken, sometimes called “Crack Chicken” in which you slow cook chicken with Italian seasoning or ranch seasoning, shred it and mix with cream cheese.  It makes a wonderfully easy chicken pasta sauce or sauce over rice.  The last time I devoured it was at a large family gathering where its ease and deliciousness fit the bill.

While I enjoy that comforting version of crockpot cream cheese chicken, I looooove this spin into Crockpot Fiesta Ranch Cream Cheese Chicken with more depth of flavor,  endless possibilities and crazy little effort.

The chicken cooks in a marinade of spices until it is tender enough to shred, then is shredded and topped with with cubed cream cheese and ranch seasoning. until the cream cheese melts, then then stir it all together for creamy, tangy Mexican ranch chicken AKA the perfect canvas as is (I was devouring this chicken plain with a fork), or ready to make the best Mexican meal/tacos/enchiladas/nachos/burritos in minutes with beans, salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and/or salsa verde.   Because I love you.

slow cooker cream cheese chicken in a white bowl

WHAT CHICKEN IS BEST FOR CREAM CHEESE CHICKEN?

You can use either boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs for this Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken recipe.

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: I use chicken breasts in this recipe because they are leaner than thighs but still emerge wonderfully juicy from slow cooking all day.  You will want to check your chicken breasts towards the earlier end of the cooking window to make sure they don’t become overcooked.
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs: are dark meat and therefore inherently juicier and more forgiving than chicken breasts.

CAN I USE FROZEN CHICKEN?

  • Although it can be a time saver to add frozen chicken directly to your crockpot, this is not a safe practice.   The chicken spends too long at room temperature as it thaws and can grow bacteria.  Chicken – no matter what cut – needs to be thawed before it is added to the slow cooker.
  • It is best to thaw your chicken overnight in the refrigerator so it thaws evenly and completely.
  • To quickly thaw chicken, place chicken in a microwave safe dish and use the defrost setting, rotating the chicken occasionally.  Take care not to thaw to the point the chicken starts to cook or it will defrost unevenly.

Can I substitute cream cheese with neufchâtel cheese?

Yes you can!   Taste wise, they are so similar that most would never notice a difference and they can almost always be used interchangeably (a few exceptions are some cheesecakes and frostings).   Neufchatel is softer and spreads easier than cream cheese and has a lower fat content making it a great alternative in dips, appetizers, casseroles, and main dishes and this Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken!

showing how to make Cream Cheese Chicken by adding chicken to crockpot

How to Season Cream Cheese Chicken?

What sets this chicken apart from traditional, often bland, Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken is the punch of Mexican seasonings.  We mix a tablespoon olive oil with cumin, ancho chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, oregano and  smoked paprika and rub it all over our chicken.

Although I personally use ancho chili powder a lot, I shy away from sharing it in recipes because I try and use common pantry spices so you don’t have to go buy more for one recipe – but this ancho chili powder makes this chicken.

Ancho chili powder comes from ground dried poblanos and  is more mild than cayenne or chipotle powder but still has a deep rich, smoky, mild sweet heat.  Chili powder, on the other hand, often has other spices mixed with it where as ancho chili powder is 100% poblano peppers with nothing else included.

I personally think ancho chile powder is perfect for this Fiesta Ranch Cream Cheese Chicken, so I promise if you buy ancho chili powder I will start using it more in my recipes so it won’t go to waste – and you can start with this recipe and my Blackened Fish Tacos  – so so good!

How to Make Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken

To make Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken:

  • Prepare slow cooker. Lightly grease slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add two tablespoons water.
  • Season Chicken.  In a small bowl, mix olive oil and seasonings EXCEPT Ranch seasoning. Rub mixture all over chicken then place chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker along with any remaining mixture.
  • Cook chicken until tender. Cook on high for 2-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred.   If your chicken is not easily shredding, it simply needs more time to tenderize.
  • Shred chicken.  Remove chicken to a cutting board, and let rest 5 minutes then shred.  Drain excess liquid in slow cooker. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker.
  • Add cream cheese.  Top shredded chicken with cubed cream cheese and sprinkle with ranch seasoning. Cook on HIGH an additional 20 minutes then stir in cream cheese until chicken is evenly coated. Taste and add hot sauce to taste if desired.

Can I freeze Cream cheese chicken?

I don’t recommend freezing Cream Cheese Chicken as freezing cream cheese will change the texture into unpleasantly dry, crumbly and grainy.

How to reheat cream cheese chicken?

Reheating cream cheese chicken by stove:

  • Place desired amount of chicken in a pot.
  • Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently – DON’T let it boil or the cream cheese can curdle.
  • Cook until evenly warmed through to 165 degrees, adding a little milk if needed to reach a creamier consistency.

Reheating cream cheese chicken by microwave:

  • Place desired amount of chicken in a microwave safe bowl or plate.
  • Heat on 50% power for 1-½ minutes.
  • Stir and repeat at 30 second intervals at 50% power until evenly warmed through.  Stir in a little milk if needed for creamier chicken.

adding Cream Cheese Chicken to tacos

How Should I serve Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken?

This make ahead Mexican Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken is the perfect busy weeknight dinner as you can prep the chicken and virtually forget it until dinner time then quickly assemble into tacos (like my Baked Fiesta Ranch Chicken Tacos!!), or whatever your heart belly desires.

In addition to using as a filling in tacos, taquitos, burritos, and enchiladas, you can serve cream cheese chicken over rice, pasta, quinoa, or spiralized veggies like zucchini.

Fruit, veggies, and a salad also pair nicely.   Here are a few of my favorite sides I enjoy with this chicken:

Is Cream Cheese Chicken healthy?

Cream Cheese Chicken only contains  chicken, spices, and cream cheese, so it is a great choice for those on low-carb diets.   If you are on a keto diet replace the ⅓ reduced fat cream cheese with regular.

Crockpot Cream cheese Chicken is also a great choice for those who are gluten-free as it does not contain any flour or grains.

LOOKING FOR MORE CROCKPOT SHREDDED CHICKEN RECIPES?

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken in tacos

You might also like these recipes with cream cheese:

WANT TO TRY THIS CROCKPOT CREAM CHEESE CHICKEN?

Pin it to your CROCKPOT, MEXICAN, or CHICKEN Board to SAVE for later!

Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes!  I am always pinning :)!

©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Slow Cooker Fiesta Ranch Cream Cheese Chicken is wonderfully creamy, seasoned to perfection and is as easy as dump and run! It makes the perfect make ahead filling for taquitos, tacos and burritos!

Crockpot Fiesta Ranch Cream Cheese Chicken

Crockpot Fiesta Ranch Cream Cheese Chicken is wonderfully creamy, seasoned to perfection and is as easy as dump and run!   It makes the perfect make ahead filling for taquitos, tacos, enchiladas and burritos!
Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours

Ingredients

ADD LATER

  • 1 (1 oz.) packet dry ranch seasoning mix (3 tablespoons)
  • 8 oz. ⅓ less fat cream cheese, cubed
  • Hot sauce to taste

Instructions

  • Lightly grease slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add two tablespoons water.
  • In a small bowl, mix olive oil and seasonings EXCEPT Ranch seasoning. Rub mixture all over chicken then place chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker along with any remaining mixture. Cook on high for 2-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred, being careful not to overcook.
  • Remove chicken to a cutting board, and let rest 5 minutes before shredding. Drain excess liquid in slow cooker. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker.
  • Top shredded chicken with cubed cream cheese and sprinkle with ranch seasoning. Cook on HIGH an additional 20 minutes then stir in cream cheese until chicken is evenly coated. Taste and add hot sauce to taste if desired.
  • Delicious as filling in tacos, taquitos, burritos, enchiladas, etc.

Notes

*⅓ less fat cream cheese is already quite soft but if you use regular cream cheese, then you will need to soften it before adding to slow cooker.

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