Candied Jalapeno Chicken Salad is gonna go down in my recipe hall of fame! Ok, at least it’s gonna get a top rating in my recipe box!
I’m absolutely in love with this simple chicken salad recipe. It’s bright, tangy (not hot), creamy, and super delish!! It’s great hot or cold. It can be served in veggies, in a sandwich (a pita would be great), or broiled for an open-faced sandwich. Here I served it in mini bells.
About Candied Jalapeno Chicken Salad:
Before I go any further, let me talk a bit about the Candied Jalapeno in this recipe. They’re the same thing as Cowboy Candy, and I have a recipe already on my site – just click the link. (If you’d like to geek out and learn more about Pickled Peppers, check out this Wiki Article.)
It’s super easy to make Cowboy Candy, but store-bought works too. If you’re worried about heat, just know that the syrupy mixture the jalapenos are “candied” in tames a good amount of that heat.
The cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, and chicken, which are mellow, tame down any heat as well. Actually, if you want a bit of heat in your Candied Jalapeno Chicken Salad, taste and then decide if you’d like to add in a touch of cayenne or a slash of hot sauce or some other heat-generating substance!
The main flavoring ingredients in this Chicken Salad are the Cowboy Candy, some of the juice from the Cowboy Candy, and the somewhat heavy seasoning on the Chicken. Of course, there’s salt and pepper. If you’re into more flavor, you can always add a little garlic or onion powder or another seasoning of choice.
Making Candied Jalapeno Chicken Salad:
You’ll want to prepare your chicken breast first. Now on a lot of recipes for chicken salad, the chicken is poached – lovely, but it doesn’t add a lot of flavors. In this recipe, chicken breasts (how many breasts depend on the size of the chicken. I go for about a pound) are cut in half horizontally (into a cutlet). That’s going to maximize the surface area for the rub to penetrate. I like my Homemade Rotisserie Chicken Rub but use your favorite and don’t be afraid to use it heavily,
Rub your chicken, let it marinade in the fridge for an hour if you can, longer is even better, but it’s ok with just a few minutes, then pan fry. Let it rest, then dice it into small pieces. If you’re stuffing something small like mini bells, you’ll want very small pieces.
Toss it into a bowl with room temp cream cheese, chop up the Cowboy Candy, and add to the bowl along with a tablespoon or two of the juices from the Cowboy Candy. Toss in some shredded Cheddar and season to taste. Easy, peasy!
You don’t have to use chicken cooked especially for this recipe. The flavor may vary slightly, but use Rotisserie if you’d like, or any leftover chicken. I’m all about maximizing your ingredients!
Storing & Using:
This recipe will make about 2 1/2 cups of Candied Jalapeno Chicken Salad. Store in the fridge promptly, covered for the standard 4 to 5 days.
As mentioned above this salad can be used hot or cold. I’d prefer to stuff something like these mini bells or spread onto a piece of good bread and broiled if serving hot.
It’s amazing served cold, as well, and again, stuff or spread!
Saving Money on Candied Jalapeno Chicken Salad:
- Chicken regularly goes on sale, so make it a habit to know the lowest price and what’s a good buy in your area. Usually, the best pricing is in larger packages. Break it down into amounts that suit your family and freeze.
- Cream cheese has gotten to be crazy spendy! Watch for deep sales around holidays, check at your discount stores like Aldi or Lidl, and check your buyer’s club. If you buy in bulk, know that cream cheese last well beyond its “buy date.”
- Grocery Store Cheese is a great item to pick up at rock-bottom prices and keep on hand. It keeps for weeks, unopened, and can be frozen. After freezing, it will be a little crumbly but still great for casseroles or dishes like this.
Ok, guys, you’ll hafta let me know if you try this recipe. I want to now if you like it as much as I do or if I’m just nuts! And let me know how you use that Candied Jalapeno Chicken Salad!
I’ve been visiting Minnesota (so nice to be back home) and now I’m gonna try to beat that big storm that’s going to be working its way across the country. If I can get South below the snow line it’s smooth sailing to Georgia. Cross your fingers for me!
Candied Jalapeno Chicken Salad
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: varies
- Total Time: 17 minute
- Yield: 2 to 2 1/2 cups 1x
- Category: salad
- 1 pound package mini bells, sliced in half, seeds & ribs removed
- 2 small chicken breasts, about a pound, sliced in half horizontally
- seasoning or rub for chicken about a tablespoon and a half
- 1 tablespoon oil
- a tablespoon or two of any Chicken Seasoning or Rub
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar
- 1/4 cup finely diced Cowboy Candy (Sweet Hot Pickled Jalapenos)
- 2 tablespoons of brine from the Cowboy Candy; this is approximate. Go by taste.
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- about 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
- about 1/4 teaspoon pepper, to taste
- garnish 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
Heavily sprinkle chicken breasts with spice rub. If time allows, place in fridge for one hoiur at least or even better, overnight. It will still be fine if the chicken needs to be used asap, but will be better with a little time to marinade.
Add chicken to preheated pan with about a tablespoon of oil. Cook on one side until cooked through, turn and repeat. When finished, move chicken to a plate and allow to rest before cutting into a small dice.
In the meantime, mix cream cheese with the Cheddar, diced Cowboy Candy and about 2 tablespoons of brine or to taste, the parsley, salt, and pepper. Fold in the diced chicken.
Serve as a sandwich, hot or cold, or as a stuffing for vegetables, again, hot or cold.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
Keywords: Appetizer, Chicken, Chicken Breast, Chicken Salad, cowboy candy, Cream Cheese, Green Onion, Salad