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Lightened Up Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole

If you’re a huge fan of Jalapeño poppers, then you will LOVE this Lightened Up Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole! This Lightened Up Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole has the perfect amount of heat from jalapeños, creamy cheese sauce, with chicken and pasta, and then topped with crispy bacon!

Makes 8 servings

Some of my favorite recipes to recreate are easy chicken casseroles and this one is currently my favorite because it is has bit kick from the jalapeños, it’s filling, and super flavorful.

This is the perfect recipe to make with leftover chicken. I also love using a rotisserie chicken from my local Costco and making this casserole the night before, then I just pop it in the oven the next day…and it’s ready to go!

It’s quick and easy for those busy weekday nights!

What ingredients do I need to make this Lightened Up Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole?

  • Rotini pasta or any small pasta– you can use gluten-free pasta to make it gluten-free, or whole grain pasta
  • Center cut bacon
  • Onion-chopped
  • Garlic- minced 
  • Light butter– to make the roux 
  • All purpose or gluten-free flour
  • Low sodium chicken broth
  • Milk- you can use unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk or skim milk 
  • Light cream cheese– softened, and if using block light cream cheese-cut into small cubes 
  • Reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese blend-divided 
  • Diced jalapeños-canned. Note: if you’re sensitive to heat- you can substitute the jalapeños for green chiles 
  • Cooked shredded chicken– I like to use rotisserie chicken without the skin or bone. 
  • Jalapeño– deseeded and sliced

How do I make this Lightened Up Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole?

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Cook bacon in a large nonstick pan until bacon is crispy and golden brown.

While the bacon is cooking, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

Drain and set aside.

Crumble bacon and set aside. Discard grease. 
Add onion to the same pan or another large skillet and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, then add butter to pan. When butter has melted, sprinkle flour into pan to make a roux.

Stir and cook 1 minute. 
Gradually whisk in chicken broth and your choice of milk.
Add light cream cheese and stir until melted. Add diced jalapeños.

Stir until well combined.

Simmer until sauce begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.


Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup cheddar cheese.

Pour cooked pasta into prepared casserole dish, layer with cooked chicken.

Pour cheese sauce over the top. Stir until well combined. 


Stir until well combined.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and dispose of the foil.
Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, crumbled bacon, and sliced jalapeños.

Bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted. 

Remove from oven.

Enjoy!

What side dishes can I serve this casserole with?

  • Cornbread-Click HERE for a lightened up recipe that we love making at our house.
  • Garlic Knots-Click HERE for the recipe.
  • Cheesy Sheetpan Breadsticks- Click HERE for the recipe.
  • Side Salad
  • Bicuits
  • Steamed Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. rotini pasta-you can use gluten-free pasta to make it gluten-free or whole grain pasta
  • 6 slices center cut bacon
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic 
  • 1 Tbsp light butter- I use Land O’ Lakes light butter made with canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose or gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or skim milk 
  • 8 oz. light cream cheese, softened, and if using block light cream cheese-cut into small cubes 
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese blend, divided 
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced jalapeños or green chiles 
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, deseeded and sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Cook bacon in a large nonstick pan until bacon is crispy and golden brown.
  3. While the bacon is cooking, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.
  4. Crumble bacon and set aside. Discard grease.
  5. Add onion to the same pan or another large skillet and cook until soft.
  6. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, then add butter to pan. When butter has melted, sprinkle flour into pan to make a roux.
  7. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and your choice of milk.
  8. Add light cream cheese and stir until melted. Add diced jalapeños. Cook until sauce begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese.
  10. Pour cooked pasta into prepared casserole dish, layer with cooked chicken, and then pour cheese sauce over the top. Stir until well combined.
  11. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and dispose the foil.
  13. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, crumbled bacon, and sliced jalapeños and bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted. 

Makes 8 ( 1 and 1/4 cup) servings

9 Points® per serving

How do I track this recipe in my WW app? 

Click the link below to go to the recipe builder. You’ll first need to sign into your WW account and then the recipe builder will upload. Be sure to edit the recipe with any ingredients that you use that are different. The recipe builder is the most accurate way to create, obtain, and track the Points®

The recipe builder link only works for WW members located in the United States. If you are located outside of the United States, you’ll need to access the WW app manually to create the recipe in the recipe builder. 

Yield: 8

Lightened Up Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole

Lightened Up Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole

If you're a huge fan of Jalapeño poppers, then you will LOVE this Lightened Up Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole! This Lightened Up Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole has the perfect amount of heat from jalapeños, creamy cheese sauce, with chicken and pasta, and then topped with cheese, fresh jalapeños, and crispy bacon!

Author: thepounddropper.com

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. rotini pasta-you can use gluten-free pasta to make it gluten-free or whole grain pasta if you have that as a zero point food.
  • 6 slices center cut bacon or turkey bacon
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic 
  • 1 Tbsp light butter- I use Land O' Lakes light butter made with canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose or gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or skim milk 
  • 8 oz. light cream cheese, softened ( if using block light cream cheese-cut into small cubes)
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese blend, divided 
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced jalapeños or green chiles 
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, deseeded and sliced

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
    2. Cook bacon in a large nonstick pan until bacon is crispy and golden brown.
    3. While the bacon is cooking, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.
    4. Crumble bacon and set aside. Discard grease.
    5. Add onion to the same pan or another large skillet and cook until soft.
    6. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, then add butter to pan. When butter has melted, sprinkle flour into pan to make a roux.
    7. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and your choice of milk.
    8. Add light cream cheese and stir until melted. Add diced jalapeños. Cook until sauce begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.
    9. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese.
    10. Pour cooked pasta into prepared casserole dish, layer with cooked chicken, and then pour cheese sauce over the top. Stir until well combined.
    11. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
    12. Remove from oven and dispose the foil.
    13. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, crumbled bacon, and sliced jalapeños and bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted. 
    14. Remove from oven and enjoy!

    Makes 8 ( 1 and 1/4 cup) servings

    9 Points® per serving

Notes

Smartpoints: GREEN: 10 smartpoints per serving BLUE: 9 smartpoints per serving BLUE: 5 smartpoints per serving if using whole grain pasta

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 388Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 486mgCarbohydrates: 51gNet Carbohydrates: 49gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 16g
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