My Prize-Winning Soup Recipe: Jalapeño Popper Chicken Chili

Last week, our office hosted a SOUPer Bowl Cook-off Lunch in celebration of last weekend’s big game. Employees were invited to enter a soup in the running for a $50 first-place gift card to Target or a $25 gift card to Target for second place. I had been on a big soup kick at home lately due to the chilly months we’ve been having, and knew immediately I had a contender up my sleeves. A soup recipe I found randomly online one night when looking for something comforting and spicy (for Baby Girl Irvin – you know how she’s been craving spicy) was just the ticket – and it won FIRST PLACE!!!!


Four ways to make it:
Creamy or broth-y, with or without bacon … all four ways taste GREAT!

Side note: The bacon is clearly included to match the “popper” aspect of the name … since most jalapeño poppers are wrapped in bacon. I’ve made it all four ways at this point, and while all were good, I prefer it without bacon (mainly bc it’s healthier to leave it out). And, as it turns out, my winning version of the soup was CREAMY, WITHOUT BACON.


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 5 fresh jalapeño peppers diced, seeds removed – leave some seeds if you want extra heat
  • minced garlic – 1 to 3 tsps, per your liking)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 + 1/4 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 (10 oz) can dice tomatoes with green chiles – I use 1 can of Rotel—Original
  • 1 + 1/2 cups chicken broth – I use 2 cups to make the soup slightly less chunky … you can totally eyeball this!
  • 1 (14 oz) can cannelloni or navy beans, drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can corn, drained
  • 8 ounces cream cheese – Optional
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled, divided – Optional


  • In a large saucepan (deep enough for soup) heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, jalepeno, and garlic until tender.
  • Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then add to the saucepan adding another tablespoon of olive oil as well. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Toss chicken and seasonings together and lightly brown chicken on all sides.
  • Stir in can of diced tomatoes, chicken broth, corn, and cannelloni beans and increase heat to bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Stir in cream cheese and stir until completely melted.**
  • If desired, stir in 1/2 of the cooked & crumbled bacon.
  • Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • **Add more chicken broth if the soup seems to thick.
  • Serve, garnishing with shredded cheese and the rest of the crumbled bacon.


4 thoughts on “My Prize-Winning Soup Recipe: Jalapeño Popper Chicken Chili

    • I used Adobe Photoshop Elements. It’s like $50. It’s not an app, but a computer program. I also got the fonts online. I download cool free ones from typography blogs and stuff … when i happen to stumble across ’em. 🙂

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