Chicken breast, but make it interesting! This recipe features chicken breast stuffed with a flavorful mixture of cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and diced jalapenos, all wrapped up in bacon and air fried to perfection. Drizzled with a cooling crema made with sour cream and lime juice, bacon-wrapped jalapeno stuffed chicken is a flavor explosion. Who knew eating healthy could taste so great?
All about this recipe
I created this recipe during the height of the pandemic, when no one was really grocery shopping unless it was really necessary. I looked in my fridge one day, and came up with a meal based on what I could find. What did I find? A rogue jalapeno, chicken breast (I always have that on hand), half a package of bacon, some sour cream. Hey, it worked! This recipe was born out of forced creativity, and sometimes I wonder if I ever would have attempted a recipe like this given a different situation.
I am so glad I experimented with these ingredients, because not only do they work, but this recipe is so delicious. It tastes like something you would order out at a restaurant, but it’s lightened-up. When it came time to re-write this recipe and give it the love it deserves, I decided to change the cooking method to the air fryer instead of the oven. It’s the middle of the summer, and people really don’t want to use their ovens as much. Extra appliances like the air fryer and slow cooker really come in handy during these times.
The recipe came out awesome in the air fryer, and dare I say, even better than the oven. But don’t fret… if you don’t have an air fryer, you can totally do this in the oven. If you are looking for an air fryer, this is the one I use.
What exactly makes this recipe “lightened up?”
A few components help lighten up this recipe. Simple swaps lower the calories and fat content here, without compromising flavor.
- The filling is made with reduced-fat cream cheese and fat free cheddar cheese.
- I love using reduced-fat cream cheese in recipes, because it is one of those ingredients where I truly can not taste the difference between the lower calorie version and the original.
- Although fat-free cheddar cheese doesn’t melt as well as the full-fat version, it works really well here when combined with the other ingredients to make a thick, paste-like filling inside of the chicken. It gives the recipe that cheddar taste we are looking for. If you can’t find fat free cheddar, you can absolutely use any variation you can find.
- The chicken is wrapped with center cut bacon, which is just like regular bacon, but leaner and less fatty.
- I use center cut bacon all the time. I discovered it early into my journey, and it’s one of my favorite ingredients. It is real, pork bacon, except it has a little less fat on it. When it cooks, it does not render as much fat as regular bacon does, but it has the same exact flavor.
- I do not recommend using turkey bacon here (I am not a fan), but since it doesn’t have the same fat content of pork bacon, I don’t think it is a good replacement in this particular recipe.
- The chicken is air fried, which gives it that crispy taste and texture without the use of extra oil.
What will I need to make this recipe?
Since I created this recipe based on what I had on hand, there aren’t a ton of required ingredients here.
- chicken breast
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- reduced fat cream cheese
- fat free cheddar cheese
- garlic powder
- center cut bacon
- lime juice
- sour cream
How to make bacon-wrapped jalapeno stuffed chicken
To make this dish, start out with your chicken. I use full chicken breast here, and then slice them in half myself. You want four pieces of chicken for this recipe.
Since the chicken is being rolled up, it’s a good idea to pound the chicken breasts thin. I do this easily by covering the chicken with plastic wrap, and then using a rolling pin to pound them. Pounding the chicken gives you a nice, flat work surface which makes it ideal for rolling.
Next, season the pounded chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and the diced jalapeno. Stir this mixture together to form a thick paste. Spread the paste on each chicken breast evenly, and then roll each breast up. Secure with toothpicks, making sure the ends are closed to prevent the cheese from oozing out.
Next, wrap two slices of center cut bacon around each chicken roll up, and add extra toothpicks if necessary. Air fry the rolls at 375 for 25 minutes, flipping halfway. Directions for the oven are included below in the recipe card.
Mix the sour cream with the lime juice and drizzle on top of the cooked chicken rollups, or serve on the side for dipping.
Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Stuffed Chicken
- air fryer
- 1 lb chicken breast cut into 4 pieces
- kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 8 slices center cut bacon
- ¾ cup fat free cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup reduced fat cream cheese
- 1 jalapeño small, or 1/2 medium, seeded and diced
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- Cut the chicken breast into 4 pieces and pound them thin. For this, I cover the chicken with plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to pound them thin.
- Season the chicken breast with a dash of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper on both sides.
- Remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapeno and dice it (depending on your heat preference, you can use half or whole).
- Combine the cream cheese, cheddar, diced jalapeño, salt, garlic and paprika together in a bowl. It will form a paste.
- Put a heaping tablespoon of the filling mixture at the base of each piece of chicken, and then spread evenly across the entire piece of chicken.
- Roll the chicken up and secure with toothpicks.
- Wrap two slices of bacon around each piece of chicken and secure with extra toothpicks. Make sure the entire chicken breast is wrapped by the bacon.
- Repeat for all pieces of chicken.
- Air fry at 375 for 25 minutes, flipping halfway. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165F.
- Combine the sour cream with the lime juice and drizzle on top of the cooked chicken rollups.
- Remove all toothpicks before serving.
- Oven method: Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, flipping halfway. Use a wire rack on top of a sheet pan to mimic the air fryer. Broil for 2-3 minutes to crisp the bacon up.
- 5 WW points for 1 rollup and 1 tbsp crema (green plan)
- 4 WW points for 1 rollup and 1 tbsp crema (blue and purple plans)
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