Creamy, rich, and loaded with spicy, hearty chicken and cream cheese flavor – this easy-baked casserole is sure to please Jalapeño popper lovers!
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How to Make Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole
To make this recipe, we will need the following ingredients:
- Cream Cheese (8 oz, softened): Cream cheese brings the creamy, velvety texture that makes this casserole irresistible.
- Heavy Cream (½ c): Heavy cream enriches the sauce, creating a luscious and silky consistency.
- Chicken Stock (¼ c): Chicken stock infuses the dish with savory depth, elevating the overall flavor.
- Jalapeño Poppers (½ lb): The star ingredient! Jalapeño poppers provide the spicy kick and a burst of flavor that defines this casserole. The combination of jalapeños, cream cheese filling, and sometimes bacon creates a harmonious balance of heat and creaminess.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese (4 oz): Cheddar cheese adds a sharp and tangy flavor, along with that gooey melt-in-your-mouth texture when baked.
- Crispy Bacon (½ c crumbled): Bacon, in its crispy glory, adds a smoky and savory touch to the casserole, making it even more indulgent.
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:
- Prep. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lay shredded chicken in a casserole dish. Season with garlic powder and salt, onion powder, and paprika. Whisk together heavy cream, cream cheese, and chicken stock. Spread the mixture even over the shredded chicken. Wash the jalapeños, cut the tops off. Remove the seeds and stems, keep more stems if you want the peppers to be more spicy. Lay the peppers on top of the chicken. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.
- Bake. Bake the chicken casserole for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from the oven when there is 5 minutes remaining and add the bacon on the top.
- Serve. Garnish the casserole with chopped parsley. Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole
Cook and Shred Chicken Ahead: To save time, cook and shred the chicken ahead of time. You can do this a day or two before assembling the casserole.
Adjust Jalapeño Heat: If you’re sensitive to heat, you can adjust the spiciness by removing the seeds and membranes from the jalapeños before using them.
Use Pre-made Jalapeño Poppers: To save even more time, you can use store-bought frozen or pre-made jalapeño poppers. Just make sure they’re cooked according to the package instructions before incorporating them into the casserole.
Soften Cream Cheese Thoroughly: Make sure the cream cheese is fully softened at room temperature before mixing. This ensures a smooth and creamy consistency.
Don’t Overcook Cream Cheese Mixture: When combining the cream cheese, heavy cream, and chicken stock, heat gently over low to medium heat to avoid curdling. Stir continuously until smooth.
Adjust Seasonings: Taste the cream cheese mixture before assembling the casserole. Adjust the seasonings (garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, garlic salt) to your preference.
Layering Order: Start with a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture at the bottom of the baking dish to prevent sticking. Then layer the shredded chicken, followed by more cream cheese mixture, jalapeño poppers, and cheddar cheese.
Add Crispy Bacon: Add the crumbled crispy bacon as the final topping to maintain its crunchiness.
Cheese Coverage: Make sure the cheddar cheese covers the casserole evenly to ensure a golden and melty finish.
Tent with Foil: If you notice the top of the casserole browning too quickly while baking, you can tent it with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning.
Let It Rest: Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes after baking. This helps the flavors meld together, and it will be easier to cut and serve.
Garnish: Garnish the finished casserole with chopped fresh cilantro, green onions, or a drizzle of sour cream for a burst of color and added flavor.
Leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in the microwave or oven.
Customize: Feel free to customize the casserole by adding diced tomatoes, corn, or other favorite toppings.
Absolutely! Using pre-made frozen or store-bought jalapeño poppers is a convenient option. Just make sure to follow the cooking instructions before incorporating them into the casserole.
If you prefer a milder version, you can remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeños before using them. This will reduce the overall spiciness of the casserole.
Yes, you can assemble the casserole in advance and refrigerate it before baking. When you’re ready to serve, bake it according to the recipe instructions. Keep in mind that the baking time might be slightly longer if the casserole is cold from the fridge.
While it’s possible to freeze the casserole, the texture of dairy-based casseroles can change after freezing and reheating. If you do decide to freeze it, allow it to cool completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil, and label it with the date. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Creamy coleslaw, a fresh green salad, cornbread, or even roasted vegetables make great side dishes to balance out the spiciness of the casserole.
Absolutely! While sharp cheddar cheese complements the flavors well, you can experiment with other cheeses like Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or a blend of cheeses for a different flavor profile.
Yes, this casserole is gluten-free since we’re not using any breadcrumbs. If using pre made jalapeño poppers, check the ingredients.
Absolutely! If you’re concerned about the heat, you can use fewer jalapeños or remove the seeds and membranes to reduce the spiciness.
Whatever chicken you’d like to use is up to you – save time with shredding rotisserie chicken, or make shredded chicken.
To reheat leftovers, you can use the microwave, oven, or stovetop. If using the oven, cover the casserole with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out.
Certainly! You can add diced bell peppers, corn, or other favorite vegetables to the casserole for extra flavor and texture.
What to Serve With Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole
Fresh Salad: A crisp and refreshing salad can help balance the heat of the casserole. Consider a simple green salad with a light vinaigrette or a creamy coleslaw.
Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts offer a savory and slightly charred contrast to the creamy casserole.
Rice or Quinoa: Serve the casserole over a bed of cooked rice or quinoa to add some mild grains that absorb the flavorful sauce.
Cornbread: A classic side like cornbread provides a slightly sweet and crumbly contrast to the spicy dish.
Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes can help temper the spiciness while offering a comforting and hearty component.
Cucumber or Tomato Salsa: A refreshing cucumber or tomato salsa with a touch of lime can provide a cooling contrast to the heat.
Avocado Slices: Creamy avocado slices can add a creamy and cooling element to the meal.
Tortilla Chips: Crispy tortilla chips can be used to scoop up bites of the casserole, adding an enjoyable crunch.
Garlic Bread: A slice of garlic bread or a warm roll can be a delightful accompaniment to soak up the flavorful sauce.
Fruit Salad: A fruit salad with a mix of sweet and tangy fruits can provide a refreshing contrast to the spicy dish.
Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole Recipe
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Cheesy, spicy casserole loaded with chicken, jalapeno, bacon, and tons of cream cheese!
- 2 lb chicken breast, cooked and shredded
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ garlic salt
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- ½ c heavy cream
- ¼ c chicken stock
- ½ lb jalapeno poppers
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ c crumbled crispy bacon
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lay shredded chicken in a casserole dish. Season with garlic powder and salt, onion powder, and paprika.
- Whisk together heavy cream, cream cheese, and chicken stock. Spread the mixture even over the shredded chicken.
- Wash the jalapenos, cut the tops off. Remove the seeds and stems, keep more stems if you want the peppers to be more spicy.
- Lay the peppers on top of the chicken. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.
- Bake the chicken casserole for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from the oven when there is 5 minutes remaining and add the bacon on the top.
- Garnish the casserole with chopped parsley. Enjoy!
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Amount Per Serving Calories 488Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 17gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 181mgSodium 453mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 0gSugar 3gProtein 44g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.