Copycat Wendy's Spicy Jalapeño Popper Sandwich Recipe

Applewood bacon, a juicy chicken breast, jalapeños, shredded pepper jack cheese, cream cheese, cheddar cheese sauce, and a toasted bun — Wendy's nailed the ingredients for the Spicy Jalapeño Popper Sandwich. And now, you can cook this mouth-watering sandwich in the comfort of your home thanks to this copycat Wendy's Spicy Jalapeño Popper sandwich recipe perfected by chef and recipe developer Angela Latimer of Bake It with Love.

Latimer's recipe isn't necessarily short on ingredients, yet it can go from the recipe list to your table in about 20 minutes (prepping and cooking time). This copycat Wendy's Spicy Jalapeño Popper Sandwich recipe makes four sandwiches and therefore four servings. But don't let the ingredients intimidate you. As Latimer said, "This is still a pretty easy recipe. Frying the chicken is the hardest part, and it's pretty straightforward."

Fast-crafted sandwiches are beloved because of how quick they can go from the stove to your mouth — whether you're venturing to a Wendy's drive-thru or, in this case, making copycat Wendy's Spicy Jalapeño Popper sandwiches in your kitchen.

Gather the ingredients for this copycat Wendy's Spicy Jalapeño Popper Sandwich recipe

Get ready for a full counter. First things first, you'll need to gather frying oil, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed to fit your buns, each approximately a half-inch in thickness), Red Hot sauce, a large egg, all-purpose flour, cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, celery seed, ground mustard, pepper jack cheese, Cheez Whiz (or cheddar cheese sauce), applewood bacon, cream cheese, pickled jalapeño slices, a red bell pepper, and hamburger buns.

Latimer recommends brioche buns for this sandwich, although a simple bun or potato bun will suffice. You'll also want to take this time to finely chop the red bell pepper and dice the pickled jalapeño slices.

Turn on the frying pan and prepare the chicken

Next, you'll heat the frying oil in a deep fryer, Dutch oven, or a large heavy-bottom frying pan to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. When frying in a pan, you'll need about one and a half to two cups of oil so the oil is at least one inch deep.

Then, you'll combine the Red Hot sauce, water, and a beaten egg in a shallow bowl, pie pan, or dish that'll fit your chicken breasts. In a second shallow dish, you'll combine the all-purpose flour and the seasoning (cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, celery seed, and ground mustard).

If your chicken breasts are thick, cut them butterfly-style (in half), or use a meat tenderizer to pound them until they're thinner. Then, place the chicken between two sheets of plastic cling film and begin pounding at the center, working your way toward the edges.

Cook the chicken

After the chicken is ready for cooking, you'll dredge the chicken breasts by starting in the liquid mixture. Coat both sides of each chicken breast and then transfer them into the flour mixture. Once both sides of the chicken are coated in flour, they can be placed on a tray or rack while you cook in batches (if needed).

Then, you'll deep fry the chicken pieces for eight to 12 minutes. Then, pan-fry the chicken for three to five minutes per side until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the now-fried chicken and place it on a paper towel-lined plate or tray. Put a portion of the grated pepper jack cheese on each chicken breast, and let the cheese melt.

Make the bacon

Next, you'll crisp the applewood bacon in a skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is fully heated, place the bacon slices on the pan and cook for two to three minutes per side. As a rule of thumb, the bacon is typically ready to flip when it releases from the pan. When finished, remove the bacon from the pan and place the pieces on a paper towel-lined plate.

Toast the buns, make the cream cheese sauce, and heat the Cheez Whiz

Toasting the buns is optional but recommended. Naturally, you'll place the buns — with the open sides facing down — in a pan or skillet on medium heat. Once they're lightly toasted, you can remove and set the buns aside.

Next, you'll mix the cream cheese in a small bowl until it's creamy. Then, add the diced jalapeño peppers and red bell pepper plus a pinch of onion powder, and mix.

Finally, heat the Cheez Whiz in 30-second increments in a microwave, stirring between heating (one minute is adequate). If you're toasting the buns last, heat the Cheez Whiz at this time or while crisping the bacon. It's a last-minute step so the cheese is nice and toasty when you assemble the sandwiches.

Assemble the copycat Wendy's Spicy Jalapeño Popper Sandwiches

Feasting time is right around the corner as it's time to assemble the Copycat Wendy's Spicy Jalapeño Popper sandwiches. First, you'll place the chicken with pepper jack cheese on the bottom bun. Next, spoon some of the heated Cheez Whiz over the chicken. Place two half-slices of bacon (or more!) on top of the cheese. Then, add about five jalapeño slices on top of the bacon. Next, you'll spread a portion of the cream cheese mixture on the top bun. Close the sandwich and enjoy!

Although Latimer describes this sandwich as "a meal in itself," she also said, "but I love crispy thin fries with it." So if you're craving a side dish, crispy thin fries will do the trick. Happy eating!

Copycat Wendy's Spicy Jalapeño Popper Sandwich Recipe
5 from 12 ratings
You can cook this mouth-watering sandwich in the comfort of your home thanks to this copycat Wendy's Spicy Jalapeño Popper sandwich recipe.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
10
minutes
Servings
4
servings
Chicken sandwich recipe
Total time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
  • Frying Oil
  • ⅓ cup Red Hot sauce
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (plus a pinch for the cream cheese)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed to fit your buns, each approximately ½ inch in thickness)
  • ½ cup pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 4 slices applewood bacon
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened, room temperature
  • ¼ red bell pepper, washed and seeds removed, finely diced
  • 32 pickled jalapeño slices (plus 12 more for dicing into cream cheese)
  • ½ cup Cheez Whiz (or cheddar cheese sauce), heated
Directions
  1. Heat your frying oil in a deep fryer, Dutch oven, or a large heavy-bottom frying pan to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. When frying in a pan, you'll need about 1 ½ to 2 cups of oil.
  2. Combine the Red Hot sauce, water, and beaten egg in a shallow bowl, pie pan, or dish that will fit your chicken breasts.
  3. In a second shallow dish, combine the all-purpose flour and seasoning (cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, celery seed, and ground mustard).
  4. If your chicken breasts are thick, cut them butterfly-style (in half) or use a meat tenderizer and pound until thinner. Place the chicken between two sheets of plastic cling film and begin pounding at the center, working your way toward the edges.
  5. Dredge the chicken breasts by starting in the liquid mixture. Coat both sides of each chicken breast, and then transfer into the flour mixture.
  6. Once both sides of the chicken are coated in flour, they can be placed on a tray or rack while you cook in batches (if needed).
  7. Deep fry the chicken pieces for 8 to 12 minutes. Pan-fry the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes per side until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the fried chicken and place them on a paper towel-lined plate or tray. Place a portion of the grated pepper jack cheese on each chicken breast to melt.
  8. Crisp your bacon in a skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the bacon slices on the pan once heated and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan when done and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  9. Toasting the buns is optional but recommended. Place the buns –– with the open side facing down –– in a pan or skillet at medium heat until lightly toasted, and then remove and set the buns aside.
  10. Mix the cream cheese in a small bowl until creamy, and then add the diced jalapeño peppers and red bell pepper, plus a pinch of onion powder.
  11. Heat the Cheez Whiz in 30-second increments in a microwave, stirring between heating (one minute is adequate). If you're toasting the buns last, heat the Cheez Whiz at this time (or while crisping the bacon). It's a last-minute step so the cheese is nice and toasty when assembling the sandwiches.
  12. To assemble the jalapeño sandwiches, place the chicken with pepper jack on the bottom bun and spoon some of your heated Cheez Whiz over the chicken. Place two half-slices of bacon (or more!) on top of the cheeses, add about five jalapeño slices, and then spread a portion of the cream cheese mixture on the top bun. Close the sandwich and enjoy!
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