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Turn the popular jalapeño poppers appetizer into a cozy dinner! This easy jalapeño popper chicken casserole is a flavorful meal with minimal prep. The creamy filling includes shredded rotisserie chicken, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and zesty jalapenos, with sharp cheddar and crispy bacon on top. It’s high in protein, low in carbs, and delicious served with rice, noodles, or a crisp green salad.

Chicken jalapeno popper casserole on a white table with a salad and rice on the side.

If you love chicken casserole recipes, don’t miss this classic chicken casserole with ritz crackers, this comforting chicken and stuffing casserole, a simple chicken and rice casserole, and this cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole, too!

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Easy. Thanks to store-bought rotisserie chicken and minimal prep work, this hearty casserole is ready for the oven in about 15 minutes. Minimal prep time for the win!
  • Flavorful. No boring chicken casseroles allowed! Plenty of fresh jalapeno peppers, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and crispy, smoky bacon give this dish so much satisfying flavor and texture.
  • Versatile. Keep the meal low-carb and pair it with a simple green side salad. For a more filling dinner, spoon the creamy casserole filling over rice, cauliflower rice, noodles, or pair it with a loaf of bread.
Square side shot of a bowl of white rice with jalapeno popper chicken casserole.

The Easiest Way to Enjoy Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Jalapeno poppers are spicy appetizers made by stuffing jalapeno peppers with cream cheese or other fillings, then coating them in breadcrumbs and frying or baking until crispy and golden brown. They offer an irresistible balance of heat and creaminess, and are even better when combined with tender, shredded chicken.

Baking the jalapeno popper chicken in a casserole is much easier than stuffing and frying individual jalapeno peppers, and it means that you can enjoy this flavorful dish for dinner any night of the week. It’s perfect for Game Day, but also simple enough for busy evenings.

Overhead shot of a jalapeno popper chicken casserole with rice in a bowl.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for this easy jalapeno popper chicken casserole recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Cream of chicken soup: I use the Healthy Request variety, but any similar version is fine.
  • Cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream: the creamy, cheesy base of the casserole filling that helps to bind the ingredients together.
  • Onion powder and garlic powder: for savory flavor.
  • Chicken: shred the meat from a large store-bought rotisserie chicken. If you prefer to cook your own chicken at home, see my notes below.
  • Jalapeno peppers: finely diced so that you don’t have to bite into any big chunks of peppers in the casserole. If you like a spicier dish, leave some of the ribs and seeds intact.
  • Green onions: for fresh, savory flavor.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Cheddar cheese: or sub with another variety of shredded cheese, such as Monterey Jack cheese, Pepper Jack cheese, or even American cheese.
  • Bacon: I use this fully cooked bacon for a shortcut. If you’re frying the bacon strips at home, cook them just until the fat is rendered (but they’re not too crispy). The bacon will continue to crisp and brown in the oven on top of the casserole, and you don’t want it to burn.
Process shot showing how to make jalapeno popper chicken casserole.

How to Cook Chicken for a Casserole

You’ll need cooked chicken for this recipe, and a variety of options will work. Pick the most convenient method for you:

  • Boiled and Pulled Chicken: Boil about 2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs until cooked through (about 10-15 minutes). If it’s easier, you can also cook the chicken in a crockpot with salt, pepper, and a little bit of chicken broth for 1-2 hours on HIGH or 3-4 hours on LOW. When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken. I find that 2 lbs. of chicken breasts or chicken thighs yields about 4 cups of pulled chicken.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: This is a great shortcut! Purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, shred or chop into bite-sized pieces, and use in the recipe as instructed. One large rotisserie chicken should yield about 4 cups of meat, which is exactly what you need here.
  • Leftover Chicken: If you have leftover grilled or baked chicken from a previous meal, put those extras to good use in this casserole.
  • Canned Chicken: Yep, you can even use canned chicken in this casserole!
Jalapeno popper chicken casserole in a white dish before baking in the oven.

Directions

This zesty jalapeño popper chicken casserole recipe is a twist on Southern Living’s famous Million Dollar Chicken Casserole. It’s so much more flavorful than a traditional chicken casserole, and is incredibly easy to stir together. You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Stir together the jalapeno chicken filling.
  • Transfer the chicken and cream cheese mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle with shredded cheddar and bacon.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Serve with rice or noodles, if desired.
Square overhead shot of jalapeno popper chicken casserole in a white dish with crispy bacon on top.

Serving Suggestions

Jalapeno popper chicken casserole with rice is a classic combination. You might also like to spoon the creamy, cheesy filling over noodles or scoop it up with a loaf of crusty bread or crunchy tortilla chips. If you would like to round out the meal with additional sides, try a green salad with Dijon vinaigrette, a marinated vegetable salad, corn on the cob in the vven, roasted asparagus, Southern-style green beans, roasted yellow squash, or okra and tomatoes.

Close up side shot of a white bowl full of jalapeno popper chicken casserole served on a bed of rice.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: This is the ultimate prep-ahead meal to get dinner on the table quickly and easily — even on busy nights. Assemble the casserole, wrap tightly, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30-60 minutes before putting it in the oven.
  • How to Freeze: I do not recommend freezing this particular casserole. The creamy, dairy-based filling may “break” or separate when thawed, which will yield an undesirable texture.
  • Storage: The leftover baked casserole will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat the casserole in a 350°F oven, covered, just until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for about 1 minute.
Overhead image of jalapeno popper chicken casserole in a white dish on a white table.

Recipe Variations

  • For a crunchy topping, add a layer of crushed Ritz crackers tossed with melted butter. Buttered panko breadcrumbs or crushed potato chips would also be great.
  • For even more flavor, add fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, chives, basil, parsley, or oregano.
  • Instead of a rotisserie chicken, purchase a package of pulled chicken from the frozen section at your grocery store (thaw it before using). You can also boil about 2 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breasts and then shred the meat yourself.
Horizontal side shot of jalapeno popper chicken casserole in a white bowl with rice.

Expert Tips

  • If you remove all of the seeds and ribs from the jalapenos, this dish isn’t very spicy at all. If you like a spicier taste, leave some of the ribs and seeds in the peppers, or garnish individual servings with additional jalapeño slices.
  • The peppers will soften slightly in the oven, but will still be crisp-tender in the finished dish. This is our preference for great texture. That said, if you like your peppers softer in the the filling, sauté them in a skillet for about 5 minutes before adding them to the casserole.
  • I use this fully cooked bacon for a shortcut. If you’re frying the bacon strips at home, cook them just until the fat is rendered (but they’re not too crispy). The bacon will continue to crisp and brown in the oven on top of the casserole, and you don’t want it to burn.
  • You’ll need a 2-quart casserole dish for this recipe. This 11 x 7-inch dish works well. I’ve shown this small white baking dish in these photos, which is also a great option.
Overhead shot of a white dish full of jalapeno popper chicken casserole.

More Easy Chicken Casseroles to Try

Square overhead shot of jalapeno popper chicken casserole.

Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 504 kcal
Rich, creamy, and zesty, this flavorful and satisfying chicken casserole only requires about 15 minutes of prep!

Equipment

  • 11 x 7-inch baking dish

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup (I use the Healthy Request variety)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (from 1 large whole rotisserie chicken)
  • ½ lb. fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely diced (leave some of the seeds and ribs intact if you prefer a spicier casserole)(see notes below)
  • 3 medium green onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked until the fat is rendered but not completely crisp, then chopped (I use this cooked bacon for a shortcut)
  • Optional garnish: additional sliced green onions; chopped fresh parsley
  • Optional for serving: hot cooked white rice or noodles

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, stir together cream of chicken soup, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, onion powder, and garlic powder until well combined. Add the chicken, jalapeños, and green onions. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired (it might not need any additional salt).
    Process shot showing how to make jalapeno popper chicken casserole.
  • Transfer the chicken mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with shredded cheese and bacon.
    Jalapeno popper chicken casserole in a white dish before baking in the oven.
  • Bake uncovered until the edges are bubbly and the bacon is crisp on top, about 30 to 35 minutes. Tent loosely with foil after the first 15-20 minutes if the bacon starts to get too dark.
    Square overhead shot of jalapeno popper chicken casserole in a white dish with crispy bacon on top.
  • Garnish with additional green onions or chopped fresh parsley. Serve over rice or noodles if desired.
    Horizontal side shot of jalapeno popper chicken casserole in a white bowl with rice.

Notes

    • If you remove all of the seeds and ribs from the jalapenos, this dish isn’t very spicy at all. If you like a spicier taste, leave some of the ribs and seeds in the peppers or garnish individual servings with extra jalapeno slices.
    • The peppers will soften slightly in the oven, but will still be crisp-tender in the finished dish. This is our preference for great texture. That said, if you like your peppers softer in the the filling, sauté them in a skillet for about 5 minutes before adding them to the casserole.
    • I use this fully cooked bacon for a shortcut. If you’re frying the bacon strips at home, cook them just until the fat is rendered (but they’re not too crispy). The bacon will continue to crisp and brown in the oven on top of the casserole, and you don’t want it to burn.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the casseroleCalories: 504kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 37gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 675mgPotassium: 802mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1155IUVitamin C: 56mgCalcium: 208mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: chicken jalapeno popper casserole, easy jalapeno popper chicken casserole, jalapeno chicken popper casserole, jalapeno popper chicken casserole
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Ann says:

    5 stars
    Deliciously Delicious!!!! 🙂
    Thank you!!!! 😉

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Ann!