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, you really can’t beat the convenience! Indulge with this absolutely decadent, succulent dish full of true Italian flavors and let the slow cooker do the work for you!
Course: Slow Cooker
Keyword: crock pot recipes, olive garden chicken pasta instant pot, olive garden crock pot chicken, olive garden crock pot chicken pasta, slow cooker recipes
2poundsbonelessskinless chicken breasts (about 3-4) see notes for frozen
116 oz jar Olive Garden Italian dressing (I used organic Italian dressing, use any Italian bottled dressing you like!)
4tablespoonsgrated parmesan cheese
8ozcream cheeseNeufchâtel cheese may be subbed
Made on the stovetop just prior to serving
16ozpasta cooked al denteaccording to package (any short pasta works, spaghetti too)
4tablespoonsparmesan cheesegrated or shredded
Fresh Thymechopped (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.
This recipe is easily cut in half!
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 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 or fusilli, but honestly spaghetti works great too. Bottom line, use your favorite pasta or what you have on hand!
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!