Crunchy Baked Buffalo Chicken Jalapeño Poppers
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Easy crispy buffalo chicken jalapeño poppers are the perfect snack! Fresh, cleaned jalapeños filled with a creamy buffalo chicken mixture and topped with seasoned breadcrumbs! You can bake or air fry these jalapeño poppers. Serve with a side of ranch dressing!
Buffalo chicken jalapeño poppers dipped in ranch dressing! Can you tell I’m just a little bit obsessed with all things buffalo wing sauce right now?
Tender jalapeños filled with a creamy buffalo chicken mixture topped with crunchy seasoned panko. That first bite has it all. A little heat, lots of creaminess to cool it down, and loads of crunch! We love making a large batch of these and serving them to friends and family when they come over with a big bowl of ranch dressing on the side.
And if you ask my husband, he’s already declared that he wants a big batch of buffalo chicken jalapeño poppers for all of his super bowl get-togethers from now on! The good thing is, I can prep these jalapeño poppers several hours in advance then bake them in the oven or the air fryer in batches. And you can easily double or triple the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd!
What ingredients do you need to make buffalo chicken jalapeño poppers?
- Fresh jalapeños: I found giant fresh jalapeños at the grocery store (perks of living in Texas!) I used 10 of those. If you find smaller peppers, you’ll need more for the same amount of filling. Be sure to wear gloves when cleaning the peppers if you’re sensitive to them!
- Cream cheese: you’ll need softened cream cheese for this recipe. I like to use full-fat cream cheese as it yields the best results. And we are baking them, so there’s already half the guilt! You could also use ⅓ fat cream cheese, but I don’t suggest using non-fat cream cheese. It won’t have that delicious creamy flavor.
- Shredded cheese: I use a blend of Mexican-style cheeses as the flavors work well together. You could also use just cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese if you prefer.
- Cooked chicken: You can use a store-bought or homemade shredded rotisserie chicken or poach chicken at home for this recipe. I usually use the rotisserie chicken if I happen to roast some or just poach a small chicken breast with a few fresh herbs and garlic in chicken broth.
- Buffalo sauce: I use this hot sauce for this recipe, but honestly, any buffalo wing sauce will work here.
- Lemon juice: a small splash of lemon juice gives these jalapeño poppers a little brightness.
- Panko breadcrumbs: I like to use panko for this recipe as it’s flakey and gives the poppers a nice crunch.
- Seasonings: simple seasonings like garlic powder, dried parsley, and smoked paprika will bring flavor to seasoned breadcrumbs we’ll sprinkle on top.
- Melted butter: will help bind the breadcrumbs and seasonings and allow the panko to get crunchy in the oven when the poppers bake.
How to make buffalo chicken jalapeño poppers at home:
- Clean out those peppers. The first step is to preheat the oven and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, remove the ribs and seeds, and place them on a flat surface.
- Fill them up. In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken, cream cheese, shredded cheese, buffalo sauce, lemon juice, and a small pinch of garlic powder. Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and the cream cheese is no longer lumpy. Fill the peppers using a spoon, or my favorite hack to filling jalapeno poppers, is to use a freezer bag or a piping bag to fill them, so it’s quick and easy!
- Top them and bake. Combine the panko, seasonings, and melted butter in a small bowl. When all of the panko breadcrumbs are evenly coated in the butter, sprinkle the panko mixture over the peppers. I like to do this over the panko bowl so that the excess falls back into the bowl instead of the baking sheet (where it might burn in the oven.) Bake the peppers in the preheated oven until golden brown on top and serve them with ranch for the best flavor!
FAQs about buffalo chicken jalapeño poppers:
- Can I clean, fill, and top the peppers in advance, then bake them later? Yes, you can prep the peppers several hours in advance and then bake before serving. Just pop them in the refrigerator (covered) until you’re ready to bake. You can either remove them from the fridge 20 minutes before baking them to bring them to room temperature or give them an extra minute or two in the oven.
- What’s the best way to shred the chicken? I usually poach the chicken with a few herbs and garlic cloves in chicken stock. Once cooled, I break the chicken into a couple of pieces, toss it into a food processor, and give it a couple of pulses until it’s evenly shredded. I’ve also seen people shred the chicken with a hand mixer. I find that the food processor works better because it chops the chicken super finely, which is important if you’re piping the mixture, as shown.
- Can I use gluten-free panko instead of the regular stuff? Theoretically, it should work just fine. However, I haven’t tested the recipe with gluten-free panko, so I can’t say for certain how quickly the panko will brown. For best results, I suggest keeping an eye on the peppers after 15 minutes. You can lightly tent them with a piece of foil if you find that the crumbs are browning too quickly, and the peppers aren’t quite done yet.
- Are these jalapeño poppers spicy? We used the regular buffalo wing sauce (not the extra hot kind!) and luckily, our jalapeños were pretty tame too, so we didn’t find these spicy at all. I find the peppers mellow out as they bake, so even if you end up with a spicy batch of fresh jalapeños, they shouldn’t be incredibly hot after baking!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Southwestern Egg Rolls with Avocado Sauce
- Texas Green Chili Queso Dip
- Sheet Pan Street Corn Nachos
- Creamy Greek Whipped Feta Dip
- Loaded Sheet Pan BBQ Chicken Nachos
- Slow Cooker Honey Chipotle Meatballs
- Parmesan Garlic Ranch Seasoned Pretzels
- 10-12 Jalapeños, sliced in half lengthwise (seeds and ribs removed)
- 4 ounces (½ block) full-fat cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup shredded Mexican cheese
- 4 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
- ⅓ cup buffalo wing sauce (regular or hot)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- ½ teaspoon EACH: smoked paprika AND garlic powder (plus a bit more)
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley flakes (fresh works, use 2 teaspoons)
- 3 tablespoons melted salted butter
- PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment for easier clean-up. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, shredded cheese, chicken, buffalo sauce, lemon juice, and a tiny pinch of garlic powder.
- FILL: Grab the cleaned peppers and either use a spoon to fill them with the prepared mixture or pop the prepared filling into a piping bag (or a freezer bag works too) snip off the end and pipe the mixer into the peppers.
- CRUNCHY STUFF: In a small bowl, combine the panko, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, dried parsley flakes, and smoked paprika. Add the melted butter and use a fork to toss and combine the mixture. Sprinkle the panko mixture evenly over the peppers. Place the peppers on the prepared baking tray and bake them for 28-32 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve with ranch dressing while still hot!
- Use 12-14 jalapeños if yours are on the smaller side. I had huge jalapeños and needed only 10 of them.
- AIR FRYER - if you'd like to make these in the air fryer, preheat the air fryer on 325ºF and bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown on top.
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