Experience all the amazing flavors of jalapeno poppers in this easy and incredibly delicious Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole. It's a quick and mouthwatering dinner that features tender chicken with cream cheese, sour cream, jalapeño peppers, rich cheddar cheese, pretzels and just the right amount of crispy bacon.
Chicken Casserole Recipes
Casseroles often get a bad reputation, and there are indeed some unusual casserole recipes out there. However, in general, casseroles are a brilliant invention. They offer a complete meal served in the same dish it was baked in, making preparation a breeze and cleanup a joy. Cheers to the simplicity of casseroles!
Give our delicious casseroles a try! Choose from our mouthwatering options like French Onion Soup Chicken Casserole, Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole, Parmesan Chicken Casserole, or Pizza Pasta Casserole. Each one is a flavorful and comforting meal that's sure to satisfy your taste buds.
Ingredients For Jalapeno Chicken Casserole
- Unsalted Butter: You can substitute with olive oil or any neutral-flavored oil for a healthier option.
- Garlic Cloves: Add flavor. If fresh garlic isn't available, you can use ½ teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Jalapeno Peppers: The key ingredient for the 'popper' aspect. For less heat, remove seeds and membranes. If you can't find fresh jalapeño peppers, green chilies can be a milder substitute, or serrano peppers for a spicier kick.
- Cooked Chicken: The recipe calls for shredded chicken breast. For convenience, you can use rotisserie chicken.
- Paprika: Adds a smoky flavor.
- Cumin Powder: Adds warmth and earthiness. You can use a taco seasoning blend as an alternative.
- Salt and Pepper: Adjust to taste.
- Cream Cheese: Gives the casserole a creamy texture. For a lighter version, use low-fat cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese.
- Sour Cream: Adds creaminess and tang. Greek yogurt is a great alternative if you're looking for a healthier option.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Provides a rich, tangy flavor. You can use medium cheddar for a milder taste or a different type of melting cheese like Monterey Jack or Colby.
- Crispy Bacon: Adds crunch and a savory element. For a vegetarian version, you can omit this or use a vegetarian bacon substitute. Smoked turkey bacon is another alternative.
- Pretzels: These add a unique crunch. Crushed tortilla chips or breadcrumbs will work too.
- Fresh Parsley or Cilantro: Choose based on your flavor preference, or omit.
How to Make Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and position the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
For the cooking process, you have the option to either use an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or any ovenproof pan from start to finish, or you can begin by sautéing in a regular pan and then transfer the contents to an 8-inch greased casserole dish for baking.
Melt the butter over medium-high heat, then add the garlic and jalapeno peppers to the pan. Stir them well to ensure they're fully coated in the garlic-infused butter, and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add the cooked chicken to the pan and season it with paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Mix everything until it's well combined.
Reduce the heat to low and add the cream cheese, stirring until it's completely incorporated into the mixture.
Then, take the pan off the heat, stir in the sour cream and heavy cream ( if using), and generously sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top. Alternatively, if you're using a casserole dish, first transfer the mixture into the dish and then add the cheese on top.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. About 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove it from the oven and sprinkle the bacon and crumbled pretzels over the top. Then, return it to the oven to finish cooking for the remaining time.
Add a finishing touch by garnishing it with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro.
Storage and Reheating
- Refrigerate in an Airtight Container: Allow to cool down to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container. If you have a large amount, you might want to divide it into smaller portions for easier reheating. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Freezing (Optional): If you want to store it for a longer period, you can freeze it. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place it in a freezer-safe container or bag. It can be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Reheating: When you're ready to eat it, reheat the casserole in the oven or microwave. If it's frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Easy Chicken Jalapeno Popper Casserole Variations
- Low-Carb/Keto-Friendly: Skip the pretzel topping and use a low-carb alternative like crushed pork rinds or simply increase the cheese topping.
- Creamy Twist: Add a dollop of ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing into the mixture for a creamy twist.
- Extra Veggies: Mix in some spinach, diced bell peppers, or corn to add more vegetables.
- Crunchy Topping: Instead of pretzels, top the casserole with crushed tortilla chips, panko breadcrumbs, or even crushed nacho-flavored chips for a crunchy texture.
What Should I Serve with Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole?
Steamed Broccoli, green beans, or asparagus, lightly steamed, make a healthy and colorful side.
The crispy texture of the tortilla chips pairs well with the creamy and spicy flavors of the casserole
A side of Air Fryer Garlic Bread or cheesy garlic toast can be a delicious accompaniment, perfect for soaking up any creamy sauce.
A side of plain Jasmine Rice, brown rice, or quinoa can serve as a neutral base to complement the spicy and creamy flavors of the casserole.
A tangy coleslaw can add a crunchy texture and a bit of acidity to balance the creamy, spicy casserole.
A slice of warm Cornbread is a comforting addition.
If you're feeling adventurous, Mexican street corn is a flavorful side that complements the casserole's flavors.
A light and refreshing Cucumber Salad can offer a cool contrast to the dish.
Like Jalapeño Peppers? Try These!!!
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