Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili Recipe

Learn how to make Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili, a delicious creamy and spicy chili-type soup recipe that is the perfect comfort food. It’s a great way to use excess peppers from your garden and you can make it as spicy or mild as you like. Everyone who tries this chili recipe raves about it, so give it a try and see what you think.

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

What To Do With A Bajillion Peppers…

My garden did fantastic this year which made me super happy (and trust me, I’ve had plenty of bad garden harvest years…), but one thing that has happened that still has me overwhelmed is that I’ve got WAY too many peppers coming from the garden. 

It’s November now, and I’m still harvesting a bucket-full of peppers every other day. I’m trying my best to stay on top of things, and here’s what I’ve done so far with my peppers:

  • Fermented banana peppers (I didn’t like the recipe…too much garlic, but I’ll tweak it a bit and share it with you someday when it’s perfect).
  • Quick Pickled Jalapenos: this is my FAVORITE pepper recipe, and they last me about 6-8 months. I made 3 quarts of them this year. One jar was a mix of other spicy peppers (here’s a list of the peppers and other veggies I grew this year) from my garden, and I’m curious if I love the mixed peppers as much as the pickled jalapenos. 
  • Pineapple Mango Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce: this is my FAVORITE homemade hot sauce. I made two quarts of it this year, and I’m already half-way through with one of the jars. It’s pretty mild for a hot sauce made with ghost peppers, and it’s super flavorful. I’ll make one more quart yet this year with the ghost peppers still remaining in my garden.
  • Citrus Grapefruit Habanero Hot Sauce: I love using my habaneros to make this hot sauce. Habaneros have a flavor that works really well with citrus. I made two small jars of it this year so far.
  • Roasted Hot Pepper Hot Sauce: This is a GREAT hot sauce recipe for random spicy peppers. I make a bunch of it and my friends love getting it for Christmas.
  • Homemade Salsa: Readers like to complain that my homemade salsa is more pico-de-gallo than typical salsa. But whatever you want to call it, this remains my favorite salsa recipe and we eat it TONS in the late summer.
  • Freezing Peppers: I made little bags of chopped peppers for my more-traditional Family-Favorite Chili Recipe. The most time-consuming part of this chili recipe has always been chopping the peppers, so I’m really excited to see if this works well (if freezing peppers works, I’ll write a post about it, I promise).

So this is what I’ve been doing with all of my peppers this year. I also like to check out my list of Ways to Use a Huge Jalapeno Harvest for new inspiration all of the time. In the past, I have also dried peppers in a food dehydrator and grinded them into powder to use like cayenne pepper for recipes, but I find it to be too much work to dehydrate peppers (or anything besides herbs, really). 15-20 hours later, you’ve got one small jar of powder and a larger electricity bill. Meh. Maybe someday I’ll get a really nice dehydrator and it will have more shelves and work better.

After all of the amazing things I’ve made so far this summer and fall with my bountiful harvests of peppers, I still have way too many peppers. Fortunately, we are also pretty obsessed with eating jalapeno poppers, especially while watching football. It’s such a classic appetizer, and it is always requested when we go to family/friend potlucks and parties. 

We can only eat so many jalapeno poppers, though, without feeling guilty (it is an appetizer, after all…) BUT fortunately another way to enjoy this flavor is by making a Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili.

Making Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili from the huge harvest of peppers from my garden
My daily harvest of peppers…

Why I LOVE this Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

If you love jalapeno poppers and/or chicken chili, then you will probably love this chili recipe. It’s that perfect combo of spicy and creamy, and it’s super filling and flavorful with the addition of beans, corn, bacon, and chicken. It’s basically the perfect comfort food.

Also, you can use up a bunch of your jalapenos from your garden with this recipe. You can adapt the spicy-levels to make your whole family happy. My husband doesn’t like things to be as spicy as I do (I like to cry and sweat through the heat), so we make it more medium-heat, and then I add tons of hot sauce to mine in order to make my own bowl of chili spicier. 

My best friend LOVES this jalapeno popper chicken chili recipe, and he also loves super spicy things. When he makes a batch of this recipe, he adds more jalapenos than the recipe calls for and it’s super spicy and we eat it while crying/sweating and my husband laughs at us. According to my bestie, this recipe freezes really well, too. He likes to make big batches of it and freezes it to bring to work with him.

So feel free to edit this recipe to make your family/friends/you happy with the spice-levels. If you are nervous about making spicy chicken chili, I recommend starting with the lower amounts of hot peppers that are suggested in the recipe, and add more next time you make it if you feel like it needs more of a kick. You can always add hot sauce the first time around! 

Close up of Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili


Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or bacon fat
  • 1 pound bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium  yellow or sweet vidalia onion, diced
  • 6 – 10 jalapeno peppers diced, seeds removed (see notes)
  • 1-2 habaneros, diced very small (optional, see notes)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 1.5-ish pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • few dashes of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (add more if you like spicy food)
  • 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Rotel)
  • 2 – 4 cups chicken broth (see directions & notes)
  • 1 (14 oz) can cannelloni or navy beans, drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can corn, drained
  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • Sour cream and shredded cheese for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, cook 1 pound of bacon. Remove to paper-towel covered dish and pat off excess fat. Leave bacon fat in the pot. Depending on how much bacon fat there is in the pot, you might need to remove some or add some (either bacon fat or olive oil) to make sure you have about 2 Tbsp. oil/fat in the pot.
  2. Bring your fat/oil to medium heat and sauté your diced onion, jalapenos, and (optional) habaneros for about 5 minutes. Add your minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Add your chicken pieces to the pot and season everything with some salt and pepper. If necessary, add 1 Tbsp. of extra bacon fat/oil to prevent sticking and burning. 
  4. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Toss chicken/veggies and seasonings together and mix it very well and cook until the chicken is lightly brown on all sides (approx. 10-15 minutes).
  5. Add in the diced tomatoes, 2 cups of chicken broth, corn, and cannelloni/navy beans and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, lower the temperature and allow it to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Remove the lid and check out your chicken chili. If you want a thicker chili, leave it as it is. If you like a thinner-broth chili (or you want your chili to last longer), add 1 – 2 cups of extra chicken broth. If you add more broth, wait a few minutes to allow your chili to heat up again before adding the cream cheese (next step).
  7. Stir in the cream cheese and mix it constantly until the cream cheese is completely melted into the chili. Adding dairy products to hot soups can result in curdling, but I have found that if you add the cream cheese and stir constantly at the same time, you can prevent curdling (making sure your soup is a low temp during the simmering part helps, too).
  8. Add half of your cooked bacon pieces to the chili. Mix it all and then taste and adjust as necessary. (Too spicy? Add a bit of either sour cream or more cream cheese or some extra broth. Too bland? Add some more spices. Etc.). 
  9. Serve and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, the rest of the crumbled bacon, and sour cream (optional).

Notes:

**The first time you make this, I suggest you start with 6 jalapenos and zero habaneros. You can always make your batch spicier with some additional hot sauce, but it’s hard to combat the heat of a lot of peppers in the chili if you find it too spicy with the 10 jalapenos and additional habaneros (I can admit here that I am a spice-addict and I really like my food super-spicy).

**If you cannot find those awesome cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies, go ahead and make this with normal diced tomatoes OR just buy a can of diced tomatoes and a can of green chilies and add a spoonful of the green chilies to the chicken chili recipe. I’ve added 14 oz. of diced tomatoes to my chicken chili before and it’s still delicious.

**Adjust the chicken broth to make the thickness of this chili satisfactory to you. I often keep the chili at 2 cups of chicken broth for the first serving, but then I add another 1  – 2 cups of broth on the next day, because the veggies/meat have soaked up the broth and it has become too thick. 

**Cooking Tip: If you feel like something is missing but you can’t figure it out, simply add some more salt and pepper, which are wonderful cooking agents for boosting the melding of existing flavors. Just start small amounts of each, wait 5 minutes and then taste again. Repeat if necessary.


Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili Recipe

Close up of Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili Recipe

If you love Jalapeno poppers, you will love eating this Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili. Creamy and spicy meld together in a happy combo, and it's extra filling with the addition of bacon, corn, beans, and tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or bacon fat
  • 1 pound bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium yellow or sweet vidalia onion, diced
  • 6 – 10 jalapeno peppers diced, seeds removed (see notes)
  • 1-2 habaneros, diced very small (optional, see notes)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 1.5-ish pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • few dashes of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (add more if you like spicy food)
  • 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Rotel)
  • 2 – 4 cups chicken broth (see directions & notes)
  • 1 (14 oz) can cannelloni or navy beans, drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can corn, drained
  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • Sour cream and shredded cheese for topping (optional)

Instructions

1) In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, cook 1 pound of bacon. Remove to paper-towel covered dish and pat off excess fat. Leave bacon fat in the pot. Depending on how much bacon fat there is in the pot, you might need to remove some or add some (either bacon fat or olive oil) to make sure you have about 2 Tbsp. oil/fat in the pot.

2) Bring your fat/oil to medium heat and sauté your diced onion, jalapenos, and (optional) habaneros for about 5 minutes. Add your minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

3) Add your chicken pieces to the pot and season everything with some salt and pepper. If necessary, add 1 Tbsp. of extra bacon fat/oil to prevent sticking and burning. 

4) Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Toss chicken/veggies and seasonings together and mix it very well and cook until the chicken is lightly brown on all sides (approx. 10-15 minutes).

5) Add in the diced tomatoes, 2 cups of chicken broth, corn, and cannelloni/navy beans and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, lower the temperature and allow it to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

6) Remove the lid and check out your chicken chili. If you want a thicker chili, leave it as it is. If you like a thinner-broth chili (or you want your chili to last longer), add 1 – 2 cups of extra chicken broth. If you add more broth, wait a few minutes to allow your chili to heat up again before adding the cream cheese (next step).

7) Stir in the cream cheese and mix it constantly until the cream cheese is completely melted into the chili. Adding dairy products to hot soups can result in curdling, but I have found that if you add the cream cheese and stir constantly at the same time, you can prevent curdling (making sure your soup is a low temp during the simmering part helps, too).

8) Add half of your cooked bacon pieces to the chili. Mix it all and then taste and adjust as necessary. (Too spicy? Add a bit of either sour cream or more cream cheese or some extra broth. Too bland? Add some more spices. Etc.). 

9) Serve and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, the rest of the crumbled bacon, and sour cream (optional).

Notes

**The first time you make this, I suggest you start with 6 jalapenos and zero habaneros. You can always make your batch spicier with some additional hot sauce, but it’s hard to combat the heat of a lot of peppers in the chili if you find it too spicy with the 10 jalapenos and additional habaneros (I can admit here that I am a spice-addict and I really like my food super-spicy).

**If you cannot find those awesome cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies, go ahead and make this with normal diced tomatoes OR just buy a can of diced tomatoes and a can of green chilies and add a spoonful of the green chilies to the chicken chili recipe. I’ve added 14 oz. of diced tomatoes to my chicken chili before and it’s still delicious.

**Adjust the chicken broth to make the thickness of this chili satisfactory to you. I often keep the chili at 2 cups of chicken broth for the first serving, but then I add another 1  – 2 cups of broth on the next day, because the veggies/meat have soaked up the broth and it has become too thick. 

**Cooking Tip: If you feel like something is missing but you can’t figure it out, simply add some more salt and pepper, which are wonderful cooking agents for boosting the melding of existing flavors. Just start small amounts of each, wait 5 minutes and then taste again. Repeat if necessary.

I hope you love this Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili recipe as much as I do! Please let me know in the comments below.

More Delicious Garden-Inspired Recipes:

Homemade Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili Recipe

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