This Jalapeño Popper Chicken Recipe is the ultimate, easy weeknight dinner that will have everyone begging for seconds. Seared chicken thighs, crispy bacon, garlic, and onion with plenty of spicy jalapeños, and cheesy goodness, make for a delicious meal that comes together in one skillet!
Everyone's favorite appetizer is jalapeño poppers, right? So naturally, a jalapeño popper chicken casserole recipe is going to be the tastiest and easiest way to make it into a meal!
Our idea was to take the classic appetizer, add chicken, and it was just one of those great ideas that became one of our most popular recipes. It has so much flavor, and it's such a great option!
If you're looking for more delicious recipes like this keto jalapeño popper chicken, make sure to check out our keto brown sugar bacon-wrapped chicken, our keto fried pork chops, or these air fryer buffalo chicken jalapeño poppers.
Please note: This recipe and the photos have been updated as of February 11, 2022 from when it was originally posted on October 14. 2019. We hope you enjoy the cleared instructions, prettier photos, and improved recipe!
❤️Why we love this
- Low carb, keto-friendly, and gluten-free - This low carb dinner is one of those that no one knows is made for a keto diet! It's also completely gluten-free. It's only 5 net carbs per serving, making it the perfect low-carb option.
- One skillet - Everything comes together in one skillet, which means fewer dishes!
- Tastes as good as fast food - Everyone that has tried this recipe LOVES it, so skip the takeout and make something easy and memorable at home!
- Basic ingredients - There are only 12 very common, everyday ingredients needed for this recipe!
- Cost effective - Most of the ingredients are pantry and kitchen staples, or can be purchased for a low price! We often pick up cream cheese, butter, sour cream, bacon, and chicken at Costco. You can check out our massive Costco keto list here!
Here are the ingredients used for this recipe.
You can find quantities and nutritional information in the recipe card.
- Bacon - You can use bacon bits if you prefer, but we cut up some bacon pieces and sear them in the skillet.
- Butter or olive oil - To sear the chicken and vegetables.
- Chicken thighs - Thighs are our top choice since they're so tender, juicy, and flavorful, but you could also use boneless skinless chicken breasts, canned chicken, or leftover chicken like rotisserie chicken or some other shredded chicken.
- Cheese - We use sharp cheddar cheese or Colby jack cheese. If you can grate the cheese yourself, it will melt the best for the sauce.
- Cream cheese & sour cream - We use a combination of cream cheese and sour cream to make a creamy, cheesy sauce.
- Jalapeño peppers - Fresh jalapeños are spicy and fresh! Feel free to omit the seeds if you're less enthusiastic about heat.
- Garlic & onion - Fresh is best, but you can also use onion powder and garlic powder if you prefer.
- Green onions - Optional, but super yummy.
- Kosher salt & black pepper - To taste!
- Garnish with - green onions, jalapeño slices, sour cream and crispy cooked bacon bits.
- Allow cream cheese to sit out at room temperature for about an hour before beginning.
- Dry off chicken really well with paper towels before seasoning.
- Mince garlic, dice onions, and jalapeños. Slice 1 jalapeño into rounds for topping the casserole. Cut green onions (if using) into rounds.
- If using raw bacon, cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Optional step. If using pre-cooked bacon bits, skip to the next step.
In a skillet, render out bacon fat and cook bacon through completely. Once cooked, remove from the skillet and set aside. Drain the skillet all the grease, but reserve some for later.
Season the chicken thighs very well with salt and pepper on both sides. Add some oil to the skillet, followed by the chicken, and then sear on all sides, working in batches if necessary until all chicken is cooked through.
Remove from skillet, set aside. Allow to rest for 10 minutes then cut into bite sized chunks.
Pro tip: Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F on a meat thermometer, and allow it to rest before cutting it into pieces.
Add butter, oil, or some reserved bacon grease to the skillet along with the onions, jalapeños, and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
After the jalapeños are cooked, add in garlic, and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add sour cream and cream cheese. Over medium-low heat, stir to combine and melt.
Once the cream cheese and sour cream is softened and incorporated, add about a third of the shredded Colby jack, the cooked bacon, and chicken pieces to the skillet and continue to stir to combine. Adjust salt and pepper if desired.
Stir until everything is nice and melted.
Cover the mixture with green onions (optional), and the remaining Colby jack cheese. Top with jalapeño slices. Cover and bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes.
Now, broil uncovered on high for about 2-4 minutes to make the cheese a little crispy up top.
Serve with fresh jalapeños if desired, sour cream, bacon bits, and green onions. Enjoy!
✨Substitutions & variations
- Pork free? Use turkey bacon instead!
- Use bacon bits - You can also use bacon bits instead of cooking your own to save time.
- Pre-cooked & pre-shredded chicken can be used in place of cooking it the day of. Leftover rotisserie or shredded chicken, or even canned or ground chicken work perfectly fine. If using pre-cooked chicken, make sure you season it separately so it doesn't taste bland.
- Creamier - Want the sauce to be a little "saucier" you can thin out the creamy sauce with milk, half and half, or heavy cream. Serve it with a variety of bases, like mashed cauliflower, zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, or regular noodles or rice!
- Spicy chicken - Add some chili powder, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes to season the chicken and inside of the creamy cheese mixture for more heat.
- More veggies - Add red or green bell pepper or some cauliflower florets for some more vegetables.
- Smokey flavors - Add some smoked paprika or a dash of liquid smoke for a smokey flavor!
✨Frequently asked questions
Slightly, but overall we'd say no, it doesn't have a huge spice element to it. Mostly it's just creamy, cheesy, and rich with flecks of salty bacon and seared chicken in there.
It's very flavorful from the fresh onion, garlic, and jalapeños that add a subtle kick. The spice level is sort of covered up by all the creamy dairy in this dish! However, always taste so you can ensure to get the flavor that you want.
It's important to note that each jalapeño is different and sometimes you don't know what you're gonna get! It might be a good idea to taste taste a bit of the jalapeño before adding, so you know how spicy the particular pepper is.
Did you know that wrinkly white lines on your jalapeño indicate that it's likely going to be a very spicy pepper? Keep this in mind when shopping for jalapeños!
Another tip would be to scrape out the seeds and discard them. Most of the spice of the pepper is held in there, so you can scale back the spice level in way.
Additionally, you could always add less jalapeños to your personal taste preference.
Lastly, we'd also recommend buying jarred or pickled jalapeños. You can chose from "tamed" or "hot" and this can control the spice level a little bit if this is concerning to you.
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🍽More easy recipes to try
- Cajun chicken alfredo
- Reuben skillet
- Giardiniera chicken skillet
- Chicken and butternut squash skillet
- Steak and seafood skillet
- Bacon cheeseburger skillet
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat gently in the microwave, or on the stovetop.
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Jalapeno Popper Chicken Recipe
- 8-10 slices thick cut bacon, cut into pieces (you can also use bacon bits if you prefer)
- 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter or oil, divided
- 2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2.5 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
- 1-2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat
- 4 whole jalapeños, diced or cut into rounds
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces full fat cream cheese
- 5 ounces sour cream
- 16 ounces colby jack cheese, grated (we use cheddar or colby jack cheese)
- 3 whole green onions (optional)
- Start by preheating your oven to 375°F. In a skillet, render out bacon fat and cook bacon through completely. Once cooked, remove from the skillet and set aside. Drain the bacon fat but set it aside for later.
- Season the chicken thighs very well with salt and pepper on both sides. Add 1 tablespoon of oil or butter to the skillet, then sear on all sides, working in batches if necessary until all chicken is cooked through. Remove from skillet, set aside. Allow to rest for 10 minutes then cut into bite sized chunks.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat, butter, or oil to the skillet along with the onions, jalapeños, and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Then, add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add sour cream and cream cheese. Over medium low heat, stir to combine and melt. Once melted, add about ⅓ of the shredded Colby jack, the bacon, and chicken pieces to the skillet and continue to stir to combine. Adjust salt and pepper if desired.
- Cover the mixture with green onions (optional), and the remaining Colby jack cheese. Top with jalapeño slices. Cover and bake at 375F for about 25 minutes. Then, broil uncovered on high for about 2-4 minutes. Serve with fresh jalapeños if desired, sour cream, bacon bits, and green onions. Enjoy!
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- Prep all ingredients ahead of time for best results.
- You can use pre-cooked (canned or shredded rotisserie chicken) in this dish if you prefer.
- You can use pre-cooked bacon bits if you prefer. You will just need to use more cooking oil or butter without the rendered fat.
- Leave jalapeño seeds out for less kick.
- Colby jack or cheddar cheese are our top picks for this dish. We like to grate our own so it melts well.
- Garlic and onion can be swapped with garlic and onion powder.
- For a creamier, thinner sauce, add milk, half and half, or heavy whipping cream until desired texture is reached.
- Reheat under the broiler, on the stovetop, or in the microwave.