Jalapeño Poppers are such a classic appetizer at some many restaurants. And who can blame why? A juicy (sometimes bacon-wrapped) pepper stuffed with creamy cheese – bursting with every bite.
And while eating them is a breeze, making them is definitely a chore. Hollowing, stuffing, wrapping, baking…not everyone has the time. So how about we take everything we love about jalapeño poppers, and turn it into the most lavish sauce to cascade over tender chicken, done quickly and to perfection in the Instant Pot.
Yes folks! Bacon Jalapeño Popper Chicken has arrived – and it’s a dish to remember!
Here’s How I Made It! (scroll to the bottom for the fully-written recipe):
Are you surprised? Like basically all recipes, it begins with an onion…
Now we’ll focus on our jalapeños, which are a medium-heat pepper (although some would say mild-medium).
But we’re going to eliminate most of the spice since we’re going to remove the ribs and seeds. Do this a pairing knife but if you’re not wearing gloves, be sure to throughly wash your hands after handling the peppers. If you don’t and if you touch your mouth or eyes with the pepper rib and seeds still lingering on your fingers, prepare to feel the burn!
…so they look like this when done.
Then, cut them into little sticks.
Reserve one of the jalapeños…
…and slice it into disks with the seeds and rib intact. This will be for garnish at the end of the recipe.
Now take some bacon…
…and slice it into little pieces.
And, of course, take some chicken breasts…
…and slice them into wide strands.
Head over to the Instant Pot, add some butter and give it some heat.
Once it’s melted…
…add in the bacon.
Allow it to sauté for about 10 minutes until it is somewhere in between chewy and crispy.
Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined bowl and let it rest.
Now back to the pot. You’ll see plenty of bacon grease in there. Good! Leave it. You’ll also notice the bottom of the pot is caked on with browning from the bacon. We’re about to get that up!
Add in the onion and jalapeños.
As you begin to sauté the veggies, they’ll begin to sweat and release water. Scrape/deglaze the bottom of the pot often.
About a few minutes into sautéing, the browning on the bottom of the pot will really begin to come up. Once it looks like this, you’re good to go!
Add in some garlic…
…sauté for a few moments more.
Time to add the chicken!
Sauté until pinkish-white in color, but it should still be quite raw.
Pour in the broth, secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
When done, it’ll look like this – not the prettiest. But, like most recipes in the Instant Pot, that’s soon about to change! If you want a thicker sauce, remove half the broth now. If you want a thinner, but wonderful sauce to drape over rice, leave it as is (which is what I did).
Add in some key spices…
…as well as a bunch of shredded cheese…
…and a spreadable herb cheese or brick of cream cheese.
Stir everything together until combined.
Once the cheese is fully melded into the sauce, allow it to rest for a few minutes to come together and thicken slightly.
Remember that delectable bacon?
Add it to the sauce (reserving some for garnish). Stir well.
Serve it up in some bowls (over rice is a great idea)…
…top with additional bacon…
…and the jalapeño disks!
Looka that folks!
Play a game of airplane…
Take a moment to process the magic…
…and savor the flavor! You’ll get everyone poppin’ for Bacon Jalapeño Popper Chicken the second it enters their mouths!
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) salted butter
- 1 pound thick-cut bacon, diced (cutting with kitchen shears makes this very easy)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 5 large jalapeño peppers, divided (see the yellow “Jeffrey Sez” section). Slice 4 longways into thin strands with ribs and seeds removed and slice 1 into thin disks with ribs and seeds in tact for garnish.
- 3 cloves (1 tablespoon) garlic, minced or pressed
- 3 pounds chicken breasts, sliced into bite-size strands
- 1 cup chicken broth (I used 1 teaspoon Chicken Better Than Bouillon + 1 cup water)
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried cilantro (optional)
- 4 cups (two 8-ounce bags) shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Two 5.2 ounce packages of Boursin or 8-ounce brick of cream cheese, cut into small chunks
- Add the butter to the Instant Pot and hit Sauté and Adjust so it’s on the More or High setting. Once melted, add in the bacon and sauté for about 10 minutes until it’s somewhere in between chewy and crispy. Remove the bacon with the slotted spoon and let rest in a paper towel-lined bowl. Leave the bacon grease in the pot. (NOTE: You’ll notice the bottom of the liner pot will be very brown and caked on with firm bacon grease. Have no fear! That will all come up shortly.)
- Add in the onion and long-sliced jalapeños. Sauté for 5 minutes. While this is happening, frequently scrape the bottom of the pot as the moisture released from the veggies help get most of the browning off. You’ll really notice it coming up around the 2-3 minute mark.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Then, add the chicken and sauté for 3 minutes until pinkish-white in color (it shouldn’t be fully cooked and still appear partially raw).
- Pour in the broth. Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, hit Keep Warm/Cancel and then and hit Manual or Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release when done.
- Add in the seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder (if using), dried cilantro (if using), shredded cheese and Boursin or cream cheese. Stir until the cheese is fully melded and then add back in the bacon, reserving some for garnish. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving for the sauce to come together and slightly thicken.
- Serve topped with additional bacon, a few jalapeño disks, and any other toppings you may desire. Goes PERFECT over Spanish Rice!
Take care when cutting the jalapeños. If not using gloves (like I did), be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after removed the seeds and ribs as that’s the spiciest part of the pepper. If you rub your eyes directly after handling, you’ll be in for a rude awakening!
Once the seeds and ribs are removed and they’re sautéed and pressure cooked, the jalapeños become very mild with basically no spice factor at all. So if you wish to double or even triple the amount of jalapeños used in the dish, go for it!
Although I love the consistency of the sauce as is (it goes GREAT over rice!), if you want a thicker sauce, do the following. After quick releasing in Step 4 and before adding the seasonings in Step 5, feel free to remove about half the broth in the pot. After adding in the spices and dairy, then feel free to thin it out by returning the broth until it’s your desired consistency.