Buffalo Chicken Poppers

by Alonzo Cantu January 23, 2020 4 min read

Buffalo Chicken Poppers

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: a day full of game day foods of epic proportions. There’ll be so much to choose from, but you only have two things on your mind: poppers and hot wings! 

You’re imagining it now! Creamy poppers and hot wings drenched in sauce lay waiting for you at the end of the table. There’s only one problem! In your left hand, you’re holding an ice-cold beer tucked safe inside your favorite GCS koozie. Only one hand remains. Which will you grab: the popper or the wing? You make your way down the table past the veggie tray and various bowls of chips. You’re almost there, you’ve made it to the end zone, and…TOUCHDOWN! You chose…both?! That’s right, because this Super Bowl Sunday you’ve decided to make our legendary Buffalo Chicken Poppers! These jalapeño poppers stuffed with buffalo chicken bring the best of both worlds to your family’s game day get-together.

Here's what you’ll need:

  • 10-12 jalapeños
  • 1 chicken breast, boiled and shredded
  • 8 oz of cream cheese at room temperature
  • ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup of Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 24 slices of bacon (about 2 packs)
  • Toothpicks
  • Ranch dressing (optional)

The Filling:

The buffalo part of these poppers is made up of a combination of shredded chicken and hot sauce. One of my all-time favorite sauces to use on wings is Frank’s Red Hot sauce. This recipe calls for ¼ cup of sauce and provides just the right amount of heat. If you don’t like things too spicy, you could start with 1/8 of a cup and add more as you see fit. Likewise, if you can handle more heat, you can add more sauce. Cream cheese is the classic popper filling and complements the spice of the pepper and hot sauce, while the cheddar cheese adds great flavor and color.

One package of cream cheese and one chicken breast may not seem like a lot, but this makes a lot of filling. The halved jalapeno can only hold a tablespoon depending on the size of the jalapeño. I had very large jalapeños when making this recipe, so I used about 1 ½ tablespoons when filling, but the average jalapeño is smaller and will hold less. If you don’t want to make that many poppers, you can save the remaining filling to use as a dip.

The Process:

Start by boiling your chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. While your chicken is cooking, begin prepping the jalapeños. Cut the tops off the jalapeños and slice each one in half. Remove the seeds from the jalapeños. It helps to wear gloves while you do this. Once it’s done let it cool slightly and shred it by hand or with a fork. Mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chicken, and hot sauce in a bowl using a spoon.

Fill the halved jalapeños with the cream cheese mixture. You don’t want to make a mound of filling. You want the filling to be pretty level with the jalapeño. If you put too much, it can seep out of the jalapeño when cooking.

Once you’ve filled the poppers, wrap them with bacon. My goal when wrapping the poppers is to make sure the entire thing is covered with the bacon. Some people will use half a strip of bacon just to wrap around the middle, but you don’t want to lose any of that filling in your popper, and the bacon is the perfect way of keeping it wrapped inside. I use a full strip of bacon per popper. I don’t like to use bacon right out of the refrigerator. If you let it sit out for a couple minutes, the bacon will be more pliable, and you can stretch it slightly to get more out of it. This helps especially when you have a larger jalapeño.

Use toothpicks to secure the bacon. This is optional, but it really helps to keep the bacon from unwrapping and the filling from coming out.

Using a pellet, charcoal, or gas grill or the oven, cook at 325°F for 45-50 minutes, or until the bacon is fully cooked on the outside. Let these cool for a couple minutes. Dip 1 or 2 or 5 into your favorite ranch dressing and enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Poppers

Prep Time: 30 minutes     Cook Time: 45 minutes

Makes: 24

10-12 

Jalapeños

1

Chicken breast, boiled and shredded

8 oz

Cream cheese

½ cup

Shredded cheddar cheese

¼ cup

Frank’s Red Hot sauce

24 slices 

Bacon 

  1. Boil 1 chicken breast until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 25 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is boiling, cut the tops off the jalapeños and cut them in half. Using gloves, remove the seeds.
  3. When the chicken is done, shred with a fork or by hand while it is still warm so it shreds easily. In a bowl, mix the shredded chicken, cream cheese, cheddar, and hot sauce with a spoon. 
  4. Fill the jalapeño halves with the cream cheese mixture, about a tablespoon per popper, making sure not to overfill.
  5. Wrap the poppers using 1 strip of bacon each. Secure with a toothpick.
  6. Cook at 325°F for 45-50 minutes or until the bacon is fully cooked.
Alonzo Cantu
Alonzo Cantu


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