Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken is a delicious, spicy Instant Pot creamy chicken recipe. Made with jalapeños and chili powder, this recipe is mildly spicy but can be made even spicier with more jalapeños. Chicken and veggies are cooked into a creamy cheese sauce that can be served over rice, noodles and in burritos or tacos.
"Made this for dinner tonight! WOW soooo good. "
🌶 Heat Factor: Medium
Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken is an extra creamy, spicy 1 pot Instant Pot recipe that takes about 30-40 minutes to have on the table. Chicken tenders, jalapeños, corn, and onions are cooked into a cheesy cheddar cream sauce and then served with veggies or over rice and noodles.
The Instant Pot makes this dinner an easy 1 pot meal that's perfect for anyone who likes a spicy kick to their dinner. Use less jalapeños for a mild version and add more for a hotter version. If you have a family who isn't too keen on a very spicy meal, eliminate the jalapeños to create an Instant Pot creamy chicken dinner that tastes just as amazing.
This recipe has been tested in both a 6 quart and 8 quart Instant Pot. Use either size pot without changing the ingredient quantities.
And while Instant Pot jalapeño cheddar chicken is the perfect size for a family of 4-6, there will be extra cream sauce to reserve for later use. It's so creamy and tasty, it's like a queso dip for tortilla chips or a topping to drizzle on enchiladas!
How To Serve Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken:
- over rice
- as a burrito stuffing
- to make loaded nachos
- shred and use as spicy enchilada filling
- as a taco filling with extra cheddar cheese and green peppers
- over noodles to create a spicy jalapeño pasta
- with green vegetables, like broccoli or asparagus
And because the sauce is extra creamy and thick like queso it can be used as a cheese dip for tortilla chips. Enjoy it drizzled over taquitos too!.
- Chicken tenders: chicken tenders cook quickly, but you can also use sliced chicken breasts.
- Jalapeños: I use 6 jalapeños. For a milder meal use 2-3 and for a spicier meal use 8-10.
- Corn: canned or frozen both work.
- Scallions: you can leave these out if you do not have them on hand.
- Heavy cream: don't substitute with regular milk, as it may curdle while pressure cooking. Heavy cream has a high fat content, which prevents it from doing so.
- Chicken broth: use water if you don't have chicken broth (the difference is insignificant).
- Cheddar cheese: always use freshly shredded cheese, as it melts better than pre-shredded cheese.
- Spices/herbs: chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, fresh cilantro.
Turn the Instant Pot to saute mode on high and set to 6 minutes. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the pot and add the chicken tenders. Brown on each side for 2 minutes (for a total of 4 minutes).
Then add the jalapeños, onions, and garlic. Toss with the chicken and saute for the remaining 2 minutes. When done, add the broth and deglaze, scraping any stuck pieces of food from the bottom of the pot. Deglaze thoroughly to avoid the burn notice!
Add the corn, scallions, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper.
Add the heavy cream. DO NOT STIR!
Seal the lid and set to pressure cook on high for 6 minutes. When it's done, let the steam naturally release for 10 minutes. Then quickly release the remaining pressure. You'll have a watery sauce here, but the next step thickens it up.
Use tongs to remove the chicken and set aside. Transfer the inner pot to another heat-proof surface and let it cool for 2 minutes. Then add the cheese 1 cup at a time, stirring between additions to melt and integrate the cheese into the broth. *It's important to remove the pot and let it cool for a few minutes so that the cheese isn't added to broth that's too hot, which causes it to turn into rubbery chunks rather than melt.
Melt the remaining butter in the microwave. Whisk the flour into the butter to create a thick paste.
Put the inner pot back into the pressure cooker and set it to saute for 6 minutes. Add the butter/flour paste to the pot and whisk until it's incorporated. Stir the sauce occasionally while it simmers, gently scraping the bottom to release any cheese that may have stuck. You'll feel the sauce thicken as it simmers.
Turn the pot off. Stir the cilantro into the sauce and put the chicken back in. Let the meal rest for 5-10 minutes before serving, to further thicken the sauce if desired.
More Instant Pot Recipes:
- Instant Pot Salsa Verde
- Mango Habanero Salsa
- Instant Pot Taco Pasta
- Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken
- Instant Pot Iced Green Tea
How to Store
Fridge: store for up to 7 days in a covered container.
Freezer: store chicken and sauce separately in freezer bags. Lay flat for easy storage and use within 2 months.
That's all there is to making this creamy, spicy jalapeño cheddar chicken dinner. I hope you enjoy it and will let me know how it turned out in the comments below.
Jalapeño Cheddar Chicken (Instant Pot Recipe)
- 2 lbs chicken tenders or breasts
- 4-6 jalapeños with or without seeds and sliced
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 can corn
- 6 scallions chopped
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup fresh cilantro torn
- 4 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 6 tablespoon butter divided
- 3 tablespoon flour
Instant Pot Method
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute on high for 6 minutes. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the pot. Add chicken tenders and brown on each side for 2 minutes. Add jalapeños, onions, and garlic, toss with the chicken, and saute for the remaining 2 minutes.
- Add the broth to the pot and deglaze, scraping any stuck pieces of food from the bottom. Add corn, scallions, heavy cream, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Do not stir.
- Seal the lid and set to pressure cook on high for 6 minutes. Let naturally release for 10 minutes, then quickly release the remaining pressure. Remove the chicken and set aside while completing the next 3 steps.
- Remove the inner pot to a heat-proof surface and let cool for 2 minutes. When cooled, add the cheese 1 cup at a time, stirring between additions to melt the cheese *The sauce will be watery at this stage.
- Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Whisk the flour into the butter to form a thick paste.
- Put the inner pot back into the pressure cooker and set to saute on high for 6 minutes. Add the butter/flour paste to the pot and whisk until incorporated, about 1 minute. Stir the sauce occasionally while it simmers for the remaining 5 minutes, gently scraping the bottom to remove any cheese that may have stuck. You'll feel the sauce begin to thicken as it simmers.
- Turn off the Instant Pot and add the chicken back to the pot along with the cilantro. Let rest for 5-10 minutes if desired to thicken the sauce further. There will be extra sauce for serving over rice, noodles, or to use as a dip for tortilla chips.
Slow Cooker Method
- Add all ingredients to the slow cooker except for cilantro, shredded cheese, butter and flour. Set to low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. With 1 hour remaining open the lid and stir. Add in cheddar cheese.
- Melt 3 tablespoons of butter (this is less butter than in the ingredient list) in the microwave. Whisk the flour into the butter to form a thick paste. Put into the slow cooker and stir into the sauce. Close the lid and let cook for the remaining hour. Serve topped with cilantro, extra jalapeno and cheddar cheese.