The internet loves this ready-in-a-hurry dish but too many versions are overly soupy or have curdled sauces. Our version uses chicken thighs because they stay moist and tender; we stir them into the cheese mixture after it is cooked to create a creamy, tangy mixture that is perfect over pasta.
Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and sprinkle all over with 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix.
Add the penne to the 6-quart Instant Pot® and add 4 cups water to the pot. Place the chicken thighs on top of the penne. Follow the manufacturer's guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on high for 8 minutes (see Cook's Note). After the pressure-cook cycle is complete, follow the manufacturer's guide for quick- release and wait until the quick-release cycle is complete. Being careful of any remaining steam, unlock and remove the lid. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, Cheddar and remaining seasoning mix (about 2 tablespoons) in a large bowl. Set aside.
Roughly chop the chicken into small pieces while it is still warm. Add the chicken to the cream-cheese mixture and stir to combine. Add the chicken and cheese mixture to the pasta and stir until the cheese mixture melts and the pasta is well coated.
Settings may vary on your Instant Pot® depending on the model. Please refer to the manufacturer’s guide.
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