Spice up your lunchtime routine with this Jalapeño Popper Chicken Salad. Filled with jalapeños, bacon, and cheddar cheese, these bold flavors will leave you craving more.
So why not use these flavors to give chicken salad a spicy makeover? The result is a delicious mash-up that is ultra creamy, moderately spicy, and filled with plenty of smoky bacon.
This delicious salad is sure to liven up those often boring weekday lunches.
- Cooked chicken - Rotisserie chicken is an excellent shortcut here or use up leftover chicken breast.
- Jalapeños - I prefer fresh for their crunch and bright green color. Control the spice level by removing the seeds and membranes.
- Bacon - I use thick-cut bacon for a meaty bite. Cook up your favorite variety.
- Cheddar cheese - This is one of the few times I recommend using packaged, pre-shredded cheese. The anti-caking ingredients that prevent it from clumping will prevent it from turning gummy in the salad.
- Whipped cream cheese - While this may seem like an odd ingredient, this addition is a nod to the filling of jalapeño poppers. I prefer using whipped because it blends easily with the mayo and doesn't weigh down the dressing.
- Pickled jalapeño juice - This juice provides much-needed acid to the dressing and adds more jalapeño flavor.
- Garlic powder - Add based on your taste.
- Pickled jalapeños - Adds extra briny flavor.
- Diced red onions or scallions
How to make Jalapeño Popper Chicken Salad
See the recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayo, cream cheese, and jalapeño pickle juice. Stir until well-blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken, cheese, and jalapeños. Fold together. Add the bacon and gently fold it into the mixture.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can blend.
- Sandwich style - Serve on croissants, bread, rolls, or in a wrap.
- Salad style - Add a scoop to a bed of lettuce.
- Stuffed tomato (or avocado) - Fill a hollowed-out tomato with the chicken salad mixture.
- Snack time - Serve with crackers, pita crisps, or bagel chips.
The chicken salad should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.
Chicken salad is traditionally served cold as a sandwich or on top of a salad. For a warm version, try this Hot Chicken Salad recipe and serve with a green salad for a complete meal.
This salad is mildly spicy when the seeds and membranes are removed from the jalapeños. Every jalapeño is different, so some may be hotter than others - even after the seeds are removed. For extra heat, leave the seeds and membranes intact. Pickled jalapeños can also be added for extra spice.
Jalapeño Popper Chicken Salad
- 3½ - 4 cups diced cooked chicken
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 jalapeños (seeds and membranes removed, finely diced)
- 8 slices bacon (cooked and crumbled)
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup whipped cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons pickled jalapeño juice
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cream cheese, pickle juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Add the chicken, cheddar cheese, and jalapeños to a mixing bowl. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Gently fold in the bacon.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
- Serve on croissants or add a scoop to a bed of greens. Garnish with jalapeño slices if desired.
- Optional add-ins include garlic powder and pickled jalapeños.
- Pre-shredded packaged cheese is recommended to prevent the cheese from turning gummy in the salad.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.