Creamy Cheesy Jalapeño Popper Chili Recipe

Jalapeño poppers are the ultimate party appetizer — cream cheese filling, crunchy bacon, all stuffed inside tender jalapenos. The flavors do not disappoint in traditional form, and the same goes when incorporated into this creamy white chicken chili, brought to us by recipe developer Leah Maroney.

You'll start by marinating the chicken in lime juice and Sazon seasoning, then you'll roast it right alongside the jalapeños. The chicken is simmered with chicken broth and heavy cream for extra decadence. Cream cheese adds even more creaminess and serves as an ode to the jalapeño popper filling. Crispy bacon adds tons of smoky flavor and makes a perfect topping alongside the fresh jalapeños and chopped scallions.

We love serving this chili with homemade cornbread, but any bread will do. You just need something that can soak up any remaining goodness in the bottom of your bowl. A side salad is also a nice addition to make this chili a complete meal. Whatever you do, make sure to serve the soup with extra bacon bits, shredded cheese, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Gather the ingredients for jalapeño popper white chicken chili

Chicken breasts serve as the meaty foundation, and you'll need some olive oil and a Sazon seasoning packet to season. Other ingredients include lime juice, chicken bouillon, fresh jalapeños, bacon, onion, garlic, chicken stock, heavy cream, shredded cheddar Jack cheese, cream cheese, scallions, and cilantro.

Step 1: Marinate the chicken

Combine the chicken with the olive oil, lime juice, Sazon seasoning, and chicken bouillon in a large bowl. Cover and marinate for 1 hour.

Step 2: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Step 3: Bake the chicken and jalapeños

Pour the marinated chicken onto a parchment lined baking sheet along with 5 jalapeños. Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.

Step 4: Shred the chicken

Allow the chicken to cool, then shred.

Step 5: Peel and dice the jalapeños

Peel the skins off the jalapeños and dice. (Remove the seeds if you are looking for a less spicy chili).

Step 6: Crisp the bacon

Crisp the bacon in a large pot.

Step 7: Drain the bacon

Remove the bacon, leaving the grease behind.

Step 8: Add the onion and garlic

Add the diced onions and garlic to the grease and saute for 3-5 minutes or until softened.

Step 9: Add the chicken stock and heavy cream

Add the chicken stock and heavy cream and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 10: Add the chicken and jalapeños

Add in the shredded chicken and diced jalapeños. Stir to combine.

Step 11: Add the cheeses

Add in the shredded cheese and cream cheese and stir to combine; cook for another 5 minutes or until it has thickened.

Step 12: Slice jalapeños and scallions

Slice the remaining jalapeño and the scallions.

Step 13: Garnish and serve

Serve the chili topped with crispy bacon, jalapeños, scallions, and chopped cilantro.

What else can I add to jalapeño popper chili?

There are lots of great additions you can add to jalapeno popper chili. We like to add white beans (like cannelini) when we're looking to add a little more protein and fiber to the chili. It helps beef up the chili (without needing any beef), so it's especially ideal for those who want to avoid meat. You can use canned beans and add them in when you add in the shredded chicken.

You can easily replace the chicken breasts with chicken thighs or do a combination of the two. Just make sure to trim off any excess fat from the chicken thighs before roasting in the oven. Frozen corn is also a delicious addition to the chili. Just pop in the frozen corn when you add in the shredded chicken.

Finally, for toppings, there's also room for exploration. A dollop of sour cream will play off of the creaminess of the soup, whereas a drizzle of hot sauce will add a final touch of heat, if desired.

How should I store leftover chili?

Jalapeño popper chili is the perfect make ahead meal. Once it has cooled, it can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer. It is the ideal housewarming or new baby welcome dish. It's warm and comforting and the ideal food to bring to loved ones in need. You can also serve it in a slow cooker for tailgating or on game day at home. 

The soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to six months. Make sure to leave the fresh jalapeños, cilantro, lime wedges, and bacon on the side and not in with the soup. Top the soup with the garnishes once it is hot and ready to serve again. You can freeze the soup in smaller, single serving containers so you have a quick and easy lunch or dinner for one. 

Creamy Cheesy Jalapeño Popper Chili Recipe
5 from 26 ratings
If you like jalapeño poppers in appetizer form, then you'll love this jalapeño popper white chicken chili, which is loaded with creamy, cheesy flavors.
Prep Time
1.5
hours
Cook Time
1
hour
Servings
4
Servings
jalapeno popper chili
Total time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 packet Sazon seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • 6 fresh jalapeños
  • ½ pound bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar jack
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Directions
  1. Combine the chicken with the olive oil, lime juice, Sazon seasoning, and chicken bouillon in a large bowl. Cover and marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  3. Pour the marinated chicken onto a parchment lined baking sheet along with 5 jalapeños. Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.
  4. Allow the chicken to cool, then shred.
  5. Peel the skins off the jalapeños and dice. (Remove the seeds if you are looking for a less spicy chili).
  6. Crisp the bacon in a large pot.
  7. Remove the bacon, leaving the grease behind.
  8. Add the diced onions and garlic to the grease and saute for 3-5 minutes or until softened.
  9. Add the chicken stock and heavy cream and simmer for 10 minutes.
  10. Add in the shredded chicken and diced jalapeños. Stir to combine.
  11. Add in the shredded cheese and cream cheese and stir to combine; cook for another 5 minutes or until it has thickened.
  12. Slice the remaining jalapeño and the scallions.
  13. Serve the chili topped with crispy bacon, jalapeños, scallions, and chopped cilantro.
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