If you love Jalapeno Poppers you’ll do cartwheels over this Jalapeno Chicken Popper version. They have the classic spicy jalapeno and smooth cream cheese flavors along with chicken, bbq sauce all wrapped in bacon!
This mouthwatering appetizer recipe is something you’d expect to order at a restaurant. Perfect for Happy Hour’ing.
Instead we’ve brought it into the home kitchen and kicked it up a couple notches!
It’s easy to make, with only a few ingredients but bold with exciting flavors. Your friends and family will love it!
Chicken Jalapeno Poppers
If you haven’t ever had a jalapeno popper they are halved jalapenos filled with cream cheese, sometimes spices, cheese, ground meat or bacon.
They can be deep fried or baked and are absolutely delicious!
Our version keeps the core ingredients but adds some more. And changes the form!
Chicken breast strips marinated in barbecue sauce, filled with cream cheese and a slice of jalapeno rolled in bacon.
Chicken Jalapeno Poppers are bigger than a bite; more like two bites, and a filling appetizer size.
These are not blistering hot like regular Jalapeño Poppers. They have a hint of jalapeno and crunch from them too.
You could always add more piece to make these poppers spicier if desired.
A quick broil at the end leaves a crispy coating that’s irresistible.
There are only five ingredients and once you’ve rolled the first popper you’ll be an old pro! There are step-by-step photos below to help!
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts. This is usually around 2 chicken breasts but go by the weigh. The breasts will be pounded and marinated before adding to the jalapeno poppers.
Barbecue Sauce. Store bought or homemade bbq sauce can be used. The chicken will marinate in the sauce before making the poppers.
Jalapeno Pepper. You’ll need one large pepper. It will be seeded and cut into think spears.
Cream Cheese. Be sure to start with softened cream cheese!
Bacon. Do not use extra thick bacon. Regular bacon works best to wrap around the jalapeno poppers.
Wooden Toothpicks. These are used to secure the poppers before cooking. Do not use plastic toothpicks since they’ll go in the oven.
How to Make Chicken Jalapeno Poppers – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Prepare the chicken
Place chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to a 1/2-inch thickness.
STEP 2. Marinate the chicken
Place in a zipped plastic bag with the barbecue sauce. Seal and massage the sauce into the chicken from the outside of the bag.
Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours up to overnight.
STEP 3. Preparation
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and fit with a wire rack.
Slice the jalapeno pepper lengthwise. Remove the stem and seeds. Cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch thick strips then into 1-inch lengths. Refer to photos 3 and 4.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Cut into 1-inch wide strips. Cut those strips into 3-inch long pieces.
STEP 4. Making the jalapeno poppers
Place a strip of the chicken on the work surface. Dab off any excess sauce (photo 1).
Spread 1 teaspoon cream cheese on the top of the chicken (photo 2). Add 1 piece of the jalapeno in the middle (photo 3).
Fold in half with cream cheese inside (photo 4).
Set a cut piece of the bacon on the work surface. Place the folded chicken on the bacon, with the open sides facing the ends of the bacon strip (photo 5). Leave about 1 inch on the right side of the chicken.
Fold the short end of the bacon over the right side of the chicken (photo 6).
Gently stretch the long end of the bacon over the chicken and roll to enclose (photo 7). Secure with toothpicks (photo 8).
STEP 5. Cook the poppers
Place on the prepared rack and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Place the baking sheet one rack position down from the broiler. Broil for 1-2 minutes, flip over and broil 1-2 minutes more to crisp the bacon.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Can Jalapeno Chicken Poppers be grilled?
I’m sure the chicken poppers could be grilled indirectly, similarly to these Smoked Blue Cheese Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Chile Peppers.
Cook over indirect heat. This will prevent the poppers from drying out or any flare ups from the bacon fat.
Place a drip pan under the grates where the poppers are cooking to catch any rendered bacon fat.
Due to the small size of the poppers they will need to be grilled on foil or in a grill basket.
Grill until the chicken is cooked through (estimated time 30 minutes).
Frequently Asked Questions
Placing it between two sheets of plastic wrap protects the chicken from the pounding utensil. A meat tenderizer, rolling pin or bottom of a heavy cast iron skillet all work well.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If desired the toothpicks can be removed before storing.
Reheat in the microwave or air fryer just to heat through.
More Appetizer Recipes You’ll Love
- Smoked Blue Cheese Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Chile Peppers
- Devils on Horseback
- Taco Meatballs
- Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Jalapeno Poppers
- 1 pound (usually 2 breasts) boneless skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1 cup Barbecue Sauce (purchased or homemade)
- 1 large Jalapeno Pepper
- 1 8-ounce package Cream Cheese softened
- 13-15 slices Bacon cut in half horizontally
- Wooden Toothpicks
- On a firm surface, place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to ½ inch thickness.
- Place in a zipper plastic bag with the barbecue sauce, squeeze out air before sealing the bag, massage the barbecue sauce into the chicken (from the outside of the bag). Marinate at least 2 hours up to overnight in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with sides with foil, shiny side down (facing the baking sheet). Fit with a baking/cooling rack.
- Slice the jalapeno pepper open vertically and remove the stem and inside seeds. Note: wash hands thoroughly after doing this.Slice the pepper vertically into 1/8-inch wide strips. Cut each strip into 1-inch long segments. Set aside.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade allowing any excess marinade to drain back into the bag (discard the marinade). Slice the chicken into 1-inch wide strips, and then again into 3 inch lengths.
- Place a chicken piece on a work surface and pat the top of the chicken piece with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture from the marinade. Spread 1 teaspoon of cream cheese to cover the top of the chicken piece.
- Place one jalapeno pepper ‘stick’ in the middle of the cream cheese spanning the width of the chicken.
- Fold the chicken piece in half with the cream cheese inside.
- Set one ½ slice of bacon on the work surface. Place a stuffed chicken piece with the open end facing down on the bacon and the open sides facing the bacon NOT outward (this allows the open ends to be covered by the bacon when rolled so the stuffing does not easily leak out when cooked).Leave about 1 inch from an end of the bacon.
- Gently pull the short end of the bacon over the chicken piece, then roll the chicken and bacon toward the opposite end of the bacon, pulling gently to stretch the bacon slightly as you roll.
- Fully enclose the chicken popper in the bacon. Secure with two toothpicks at the exposed end of the bacon through the chicken piece to the opposite side.
- Place poppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Place the baking sheet under the broiler, one rack position down (not the top rack position to be better control broiling and not burn the bacon or toothpicks). Closely monitor the poppers and allow the bacon to begin to crisp and darken about 1 ½- 2 minutes; flip the poppers over and do the same on the opposite side.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
- Cook over indirect heat. This will prevent the poppers from drying out or any flare ups from the bacon fat.
- Place a drip pan under the grates where the poppers are cooking to catch any rendered bacon fat.
- Due to the small size of the poppers they will need to be grilled on foil or in a grill basket.
- Grill until the chicken is cooked through (estimated time 30 minutes).
Originally published: January 10, 2016