Olive Garden Crock Pot Chicken
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This copycat Olive Garden Chicken crock pot chicken is juicy, tender, and packed with bold and tangy flavors. Made easily in your crock pot or Instant Pot and with only 5 minutes prep, you really can’t beat the convenience! Indulge with this absolutely decadent, succulent chicken pasta dish full of true Italian flavors and let the slow cooker do the work for you!
For a meal that’s easy to prep, cook, and serve, look no further than this Olive Garden™ Chicken in the crock pot that you can make right at home. Made with rich, smooth cream cheese and zesty Italian dressing, this recipe is absolutely mouthwatering. Truly a dump and go recipe!
If you love slow cooker or Instant Pot meals, you will love these other reader favorites; like my Instant Pot Bow Tie Pasta, this meal prep favorite Healthier Crack Chicken or my barbecue pulled pork recipe and this fall apart tender Barbacoa Beef recipe.
Did you know that January is National Slow Cooker Month! I have joined other bloggers to bring you fresh new recipes this week, be sure to check out all the great recipes at the end of this post.
These three slow cooker recipes are on repeat in our house! Be sure to try them all, starting with this family favorite! Plus Crock Pot London Broil and Crockpot Ranch Chicken, but if you are in love with all things Olive Garden, then try this Olive Garden Steak Alfredo!
This crock pot dinner is so easy, in fact, that you may never buy it in the restaurant again! Plus, it’s a simple task to make a low-fat, low-sodium, or low-carb version of this Olive Garden chicken dish.
The full list of ingredients and instructions are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Italian Dressing | For a true copy of the Olive Garden chicken, use Olive Garden dressing. But any dressing will do the trick! I have used Brianna’s Italian Salad Dressing, Trader Joe’s Romano Caesar and Simply Organic Italian. Olive Garden dressing while delish, is high in sodium and has high fructose corn syrup, which I am not a fan of.
- Chicken | You want approximately 2 pounds, which is typically 3-4 boneless, skinless breasts.
- Parmesan Cheese | A microplane zester creates tiny, delicate shreds which melt seamlessly into your pasta.
- Pasta | The original Olive Garden chicken dish is served with pasta. For this recipe, I used a short pasta, like a penne pasta, any pasta will work — it grabs all that delicious sauce so there’s plenty in every bite.
- Black Pepper | Ground fresh black pepper on your dish as desired.
- Cream Cheese | You can easily use Neufchatel cheese instead of full-fat cream cheese in this Olive Garden copycat recipe.
Instructions to Make Olive Garden Chicken in Crock Pot
Place the meat in the bottom of your slow cooker, then cover with Italian dressing and freshly grated parmesan. If desired, add some ground black pepper as well.
Add a block of cream cheese, cover, and cook on Low for 4-5 hours, if cooking on high, check chicken after 2 ½-3 hours. See tips for making this with frozen chicken breasts.
During the last hour of cooking, bring a pot of water to boil on the stove and cook your choice of pasta.
Shred the Olive Garden chicken once complete, then return it to the crockpot and stir in the pasta. Sprinkle the whole thing with parmesan cheese and serve! If desired, garnish with some fresh chopped thyme. YUM!
TFC TOP TIP | Cooking chicken in a slow cooker longer than 4 hours typically results in dry, chewy chicken – yuck! Nobody wants dry chicken. While the timing isn’t terribly convenient, if I am around all day, I don’t mind starting this a little later in the day. I have found the sweet spot is around 4 hours!
Olive Garden Chicken Pasta Instant Pot Instructions
Chicken recipes shine when made in the Instant Pot, here are some quick tips for Olive Garden Chicken Pasta Instant Pot style.
- Pour in half the bottle of dressing, then add the chicken breasts, finishing with the rest of the bottle of Italian dressing. Lay the block of cream cheese on top of the chicken breasts.
- Close the lid, seal and set on high pressure for 10 minutes with 6-8 minutes of natural pressure release. Release any leftover steam and remove the chicken to a cutting board, shred easily with two forks, then stir back into the mixture. Now is a great time to cook your pasta.
- Remove chicken, shred or cut and return to Instant Pot, add cooked pasta and all of the parmesan cheese; stir and serve immediately.
- It’s very easy to swap out the ingredients for healthier options. You can use a low-sodium Italian dressing, swap out cream cheese for plain greek yogurt or Neufchatel cheese, and/or serve with a whole-grain pasta or high protein pasta.
- You can use another sharp cheese instead of parmesan if you wish. Romano and asiago are your best substitutes, as they are also dry and have a similar salty flavor.
- Penne pasta can be swapped out with another type of short noodle such as rigatoni, cavatappi, or fusilli, but honestly spaghetti works great too. Bottom line, use your favorite pasta or what you have on hand!
- You can quickly thaw your poultry in the microwave by gradually defrosting one minute at a time, or in a bath of warm water.
- Or you can cook them frozen! See my tips below for the best practices.
- This recipe very easily cuts in half for smaller family meals. But this is great for meal prepping. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and frozen up to 3 months in an airtight container.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to keep your poultry moist is by cooking on low instead of high, and keeping your time to 4 hours if possible.
You can! It’s always important, however, to check the internal temperature of the meat when it’s done cooking. You want the temperature to reach 165 degrees F to ensure that it is safe to eat. But if it shreds easily, it is done.
It shreds easiest while it’s warm, so be sure to shred before refrigerating. You can use two forks to shred, use your hands, or even use a stand mixer after tearing into larger chunks and placing them in a deep mixing bowl. I personally think it’s easiest to shred using two forks.
I typically use frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts when making crock pot dinners. If you are around, frozen chicken will be ready when cooked on low in the crockpot for 5-6 hours, but read on if you need it to hang out a bit longer.
Start with frozen chicken when you know you are going to be gone for 8 or more hours. You are less likely to have dry chicken, by starting with frozen chicken in the slow cooker. Heading out to work, or errands, or just don’t want to be bothered with babysitting your crock pot all day? This slow cooker ranch chicken recipe is for you! After-all, that is the beauty of the crock pot isn’t it!?
My recommendation is to start with frozen chicken, add your ingredients and set on low for 6-8 hours with it defaulting to warm after it’s done. Then all you need to do when you get home is shred the chicken and cook your pasta! PRESTO! Dinner!
- 4 qt or larger crockpot | My favorite slow cooker is this one from All-Clad as it’s aluminum liner can go from stovetop to slow cooker, this is especially handy for recipes that need browned meat, like my Slow Cooker Beer Beef Stew or Firecracker Chili. But it’s pricey, I also recommend this more budget friendly Cuisinart.
- Flexible Cutting Boards | These flexible cutting boards are super handy when prepping ingredients to slide into a pot. I like them because they are BPA Free.
What’s the difference between a slow cooker and a crock pot?
Nothing really, Crock Pot is simply the brand name of a slow cooker, which is why we use it interchangeably.
What to serve with Olive Garden Crock Pot Chicken Pasta
My Olive Garden crock pot chicken pasta recipe goes great with so many sides, but it is especially delicious when served with cheesy garlic bread. Talk about comfort food! And how about starting off with a bright and delicious drink, this Tangerine and Thyme Gin & Tonic pairs beautifully!
If you want to feel a little less guilty about your dinner, however, you can also serve this dish with a fresh, crisp salad. My collection of summer salad recipes has a ton of great options to choose from!
More Copycat Recipes You Will Love
- One Pan Tuscan Chicken in Parmesan Cream Sauce (Olive Garden Copycat)
- Copycat Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl Recipe
- Olive Garden Steak Alfredo (Copycat Recipe)
- Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup
Be sure to finish your meal off with a delicious, no-bake, make ahead dessert, this Traditional Tiramisu is the best!
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Welcome to our #NationalSlowCookerMonth Celebration!
January is National Slow Cooker Month and this week we are celebrating all things slow cooker! We have delicious recipes from across the country to fill your meal plans with delicious slow cooker recipes!
- Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes from Jen Around the World
- Cream Cheese and Potato Chowder from Palatable Pastime
- Slow Cooker Rajma from Magical Ingredients
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos from Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog
- Crockpot Cheddar Broccoli Soup from Life Love and Good Food
- Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes from Blogghetti
- Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich with Au Jus from The Spiffy Cookie
- Terriyaki Ribs from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Olive Garden Crock Pot Chicken from The Fresh Cooky
- Slow Cooker Italian Sunday Gravy from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Easy Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole from Devour Dinner
- Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs from Art of Natural Living
- Slow Cooker Spaghetti from Our Good Life
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Olive Garden Crock Pot Chicken
Place the following in a crock pot
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3-4) see notes for frozen
- 1 16 oz jar Olive Garden Italian dressing (I used organic Italian dressing, use any Italian bottled dressing you like!)
- 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 8 oz cream cheese, Neufchâtel cheese may be subbed
Made on the stovetop just prior to serving
- 16 oz pasta cooked al dente, according to package (any short pasta works, spaghetti too)
- 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
- Fresh Thyme, chopped (Optional garnish)
- Add the chicken breasts to the crock pot, then pour the Italian dressing over and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and if desired some ground black pepper.
- Place a block of cream cheese on top of chicken, cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours, that's your sweet spot to avoid dry chicken. See notes if you need to cook longer.
- When you have about 40 minutes left on the slow cooker, heat the water for the pasta on the stovetop and cook the pasta on the according to package directions.
- Once Olive Garden crock pot chicken is done (it should shred easily), shred chicken using two forks or using a stand mixer, then return to the crock pot.
- Drain pasta, stir into chicken mixture to combine, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve. We love this with Garlic Cheese Bread and a crisp green salad.
- Make with Frozen Chicken
- Place frozen breasts in the bottom of the crock pot, pour other ingredients over the top – cook for 5-6 hours on low, making sure that the internal temp reaches 165 degrees. The chicken will shred easily once done.
- I have actually found this works better with crock pot chicken recipes, because the chicken doesn’t dry out, so this is my preferred and lazy way to make crock pot chicken.
- Instant Pot Olive Garden Chicken
- Pour ½ bottle Italian dressing into bottom of Instant Pot, place chicken breasts in next. Pour balance of salad dressing over the top, then top with cream cheese. Do not stir!
- Cover pot and secure the lid, make sure it is in sealed position and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes, with natural release for 5-8 minutes.
- Remove chicken, shred or cut and return to Instant Pot, add cooked pasta and all of the parmesan cheese.
✱ Kathleen’s Tips
Using Frozen Chicken for Crock Pot Slow Cooked Meals
- I typically use frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts when making crock pot dinners. If you are around, frozen chicken will be ready when cooked on low in the crockpot for 5-6 hours, but read on if you need it to hang out a bit longer.
- Start with frozen chicken when you know you are going to be gone for 8 or more hours. You are less likely to have dry chicken, by starting with frozen chicken in the slow cooker.
- My recommendation is to start with frozen chicken, add your ingredients and set on low for 6-8 hours with it defaulting to warm after it's done. Then all you need to do when you get home is shred the chicken and cook your pasta! PRESTO! Dinner!
The Fresh Cooky is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.
About Kathleen Pope
Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer
Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.
I just made this and the cream cheese curdles and the consistency is really soupy. Anyone else have this problem? I used frozen chicken breasts, 8oz of 1/3 less fat cream cheese and light Italian dressing. Otherwise followed the instructions exactly.
Probably using the less fat ingredients caused the curdling, and the frozen chicken might have had a lot of water in it (some
Chicken is injected with water to make it look more plump). It shouldn’t have changed the taste/flavor and wasn’t bad, just a reaction it had. Next time, take the chicken out, and give it all a good whisking to bring it together again, maybe heating it on high for a few minutes to bring it back together. Then pop your chicken back in. Just a thought.
Great recipe! Definitely saving this on my rotation!!
So glad you enjoyed!
Fabulous recipe! The instructions are very easy to follow, and the result is outstanding!
This is such an easy meal to prep! Tasty and easy, my favorite!
This chicken pasta is delicious! I love finding another fabulous and easy recipe for my crock pot.
Right, you can never have too many crock pot recipes!
A go to at my house!! It’s super easy and everyone loves it!!
Love hearing that Casey! Thanks so much!
We had this chicken for dinner last night and it was wonderful! My kids and husbands both loved it and said I should make it often!
Love hearing that! So glad you all loved it!
This quickly became a favorite at my house! Everyone at my house loved it!
That is wonderful, thanks for your kind comment!
Love how easy this crock pot chicken was to prep and cook. A hit with the whole family!
YAY! Thanks so much!
My family is going to love this! Thank you for this amazing recipe.
You are so welcome!
This was so good, honestly, even better than at the restaurant!
Love hearing that, thanks for taking the time to write a kind comment!
This was so creamy and delicious! My family gobbled it right up!
Creamy pasta is always comforting and this recipe is a keeper!
Thank you Radha!
We can’t get enough of this chicken pasta! It’s so flavorful, creamy and easy to put together! Thanks for another delicious recipe, Kathleen! I’ll be making this dish again soon!
Yay, I love hearing this!
This looks like a pasta dish I can get with. Love quick and easy meal ideas like this one.
Yes, definitely “get with” this dish!
This looks incredible. Love the frozen tip both for moist chicken but it’s also perfect for poor planners 🙂
Thank you Inger, I do that ALL THE TIME, because I always forget to take out my meat!
I love olive garden’s italian dressing. I bet this is absolutely delicious!
Thanks, it really is a keeper and so easy too!
This is so delicious! I’ll be making this often.
Thank you Karen, it’s on repeat at our house!
I have not had this dish at OG, but I think I would love the homemade version you made much better. Delish!
I think you would too Lisa!
Dump dinners make me happy and the flavors in this dish will make my family happy. Thanks
YES! Me too, especially when they are so darn easy!
This looks incredible. I know my family would love having this!
Thank you Terri, I hope you try it and love it!