Chicken in a creamy cheesy sauce with pieces of jalapeno and loads of crispy bacon. This Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole is one of the best casseroles ever. You can control the heat level so everyone from small kids to adventurous adults will enjoy it.
When I decided to make this for dinner I knew I needed another jalapeno toslice to put on top. So, I called my husband and asked if he could stop at the farmer's market. He said yes. Great. And then he was late. So I had to bake the Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole without the sliced jalapenos on top. Not a big deal until I topped it with fresh jalapeño slices and he said, "You know you aren't supposed to serve raw jalapenos? You should blanch those first."
Since then we have explored other types of peppers and ways to use jalapenos and other peppers. Make sure to try my easy recipes for Low Carb Jalapeno Popper Dip, Bacon Jalapeño Poppers, and Keto Chile Relleno Casserole.
This easy chicken casserole recipe is low carb, keto, gluten-free, grain-free, and Trim Healthy Mama friendly.
Chicken Breasts - I prefer chicken breasts in this recipe but you can also use chicken tenderloins, boneless skinless chicken thighs, or rotisserie chicken.
Fresh Jalapeño Peppers - Use as few or as many as you like with or without the seeds to adjust the spiciness to the perfect amount of heat for your family.
Cream Cheese - Cream cheese makes the sauce very rich and creamy.
Mayo - Mayonnaise will also make the sauce in this keto casserole taste indulgent.
Sour Cream - My combination of sour cream with mayo and cream cheese makes the perfect trio to use in casseroles in place of canned soups.
Cheddar Cheese - I prefer to shred my own cheese when possible. It tends to melt better than pre-shredded cheese that is coated with potato starch.
Bacon Crumbles - You can use freshly cooked bacon or packaged 100% bacon crumbles.
Garlic Powder - Garlic enhances the other flavors of the casserole.
Salt - You can add salt to taste or omit it if you prefer.
How To Make Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole
There are some meals that make me drool when I think of them, and this is one of them. Even the children will have happy plates when I make this!
Expert Tip: See that pic below? You can just stop here and eat that creamy mixture with a spoon if you want. Or use it as a dip. It is awesome just as is.
First Step: In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon, diced jalapeño peppers, salt, and garlic powder. Mix until combined and smooth.
Second Step: Pour the casserole mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and spread in an even layer. Add some more bacon, shredded cheese, and sliced jalapeños on top.
Third Step: Bake the jalapeño popper chicken casserole recipe at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. When it’s bubbly and hot, it’s ready to serve. It pairs well with a side salad. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container or cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil.
Can you believe that it’s this simple to make jalapeno chicken casserole? Besides the flavor, this is one of our go-to recipes because it’s beyond simple.
More Creamy Sauce - If you like your casseroles saucier mix in ½ cup of chicken broth, half and half, or heavy cream to the cream cheese mixture.
Poblanos - We love poblano peppers and they work well as a milder sub for jalapenos in this recipe.
Onions - If you enjoy onions you can add some onion powder or stir in sliced green onions.
How to Cook Chicken for Casseroles
To cook the chicken for this jalapeno popper chicken casserole I put it in a 9 x 13 casserole dish, cover it with foil, and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes until it is 160 degrees on a meat thermometer. These were huge chicken breasts. You may need to adjust the time depending on the size of your chicken.
The main trick for chicken casseroles is not using dry chicken. Make sure to take the chicken out of the oven once it reaches 157 degrees and let it rest to go up to 160. That way your chicken casserole will not be dry!
Alternatively, you can always used shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken or just leftover chicken instead.
Can I Double This Recipe?
Yes, of course, you can double this jalapeno popper chicken casserole recipe. I will let you know that this makes 8 servings that will feed a whole crew of hungry people. So depending on how many people you are cooking for, you will just need to double or triple the ingredients.
The jalapeno chicken casserole will last in the fridge for 3-4 days, so it’s easy to make in advance too. Before serving, just warm it up in the oven or microwave, and you will be all set.
Is This Chicken Casserole Spicy?
No, the jalapenos don’t make this jalapeño popper chicken casserole spicy. As jalapeno peppers are seeded, then diced they lose a lot of their heat. They are delicious but don’t give you lots of spice and heat. If you want it to be spicier, you can add more jalapenos, some cayenne pepper, or even some red pepper flakes to the dish.
Is Jalapeno Popper Casserole Healthy?
In addition to being low carb, grain-free, and gluten-free, this chicken casserole is also really healthy for you too.
- Chicken - The chicken itself has lots of protein, vitamin B6, niacin, calcium, zinc, and iron. Those all seem like great reasons to eat chicken!
- Cheddar Cheese - Cheese is more than just the most amazing topping for almost any meal! It’s also full of vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.
- Bacon - While you should eat a diet that primarily consists of bacon, there are many advantages to eating it. You will find that there is protein, iron, selenium, b vitamins, phosphorus, and potassium. Plus, we all know how great it tastes too!
- Jalapenos - Whether they are eaten fresh or cooked, jalapenos are a great source of vitamin C as well as potassium. It’s also rich in vitamin K, vitamin B, and antioxidants.
So, as you can see, you will get various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from eating this meal. Plus, it’s straightforward, so it’s a great meal to add to your list of favorites.
Raw Jalapenos vs Cooked Jalapenos
I'm not a big fan of very spicy food, the hottest I can do it medium heat. I like a little kick but not having my mouth hurt. Cooked jalapenos are milder than raw jalapenos. We really like roasted jalapenos.
Both are edible, raw jalapenos are used in salsas a lot, but these jalapeno slices were supposed to be baked on top of the casserole.
But I really wanted to share this with you today. And my kids really wanted dinner at the usual time. So it got topped with raw jalapenos. Que Sera, Sera. I can hear my grandmother singing it in my head whenever I think of that song.
What should I serve with Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole?
I like to serve this with a green salad with my Paleo Ranch Dressing but any non-starchy vegetable will work as a side dish. It is great on top of white rice or cauliflower rice for a keto diet. Other good choices are Oven-Roasted Green Beans or Keto Cauliflower Potato Salad.
If you enjoy a little kick to your food (and you probably do since you are looking at a jalapeno recipe after all) make sure to try my Jalapeno Popper Hasselback Chicken and my friend Sarah's Buffalo Chicken Casserole over at My Montana Kitchen!
For a milder flavorful casserole, my Keto Philly Cheesesteak Chicken Casserole can't be beaten!
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar
- ¼ cup crumbled bacon
- 1 thinly sliced and seeded jalapeno optional
- Combine the casserole ingredients (except the chicken) in a large bowl. Mix until smooth. Fold in the cooked chicken.
- Put into a greased casserole dish. Top with the reserved cheddar, bacon, and sliced jalapenos (if using).
- Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until bubbly and hot. Serve with a side salad.
Originally Published December 2, 2016. Revised and Republished with a Video on March 24, 2023.