Home » Recipe Index » Salad Recipes

Almost Wendy’s Jalapeño Popper Salad

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Affiliate if you purchase through those links I earn a small commission. Thank you!

This Jalapeño Popper Salad is 110% our NEW favorite salad! There’s so much to love in here like crispy chicken, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños and so much more. If you’re looking for a salad everyone will love THIS IS IT!

Start with a base of fresh lettuce and microgreens, add hot or cold crispy chicken, sliced tomatoes, shredded pepper jack, bacon, jalapeños, and the best jalapeño ranch dressing (recipe included), and this salad is a FULL MEAL!

Jalapeño Popper Salad on a platter for serving.

Wendy’s Chicken Salad Recipe, JalaPeño popper edition!

I first saw this Jalapeño Popper Salad as an advertisement for Wendy’s and KNEW I had to have one. Sadly ours didn’t have them yet when I saw they introduced it. That’s how Alaska is, ALWAYS. So I decided to make my own.

I’ll never buy one now because they’re SO easy to make. AND I can make a HUGE salad for our whole family for dinner and spend much less than buying 4 of Wendy’s salads. Should you try the Jalapeño Popper edition of Wendy’s Chicken Salad?? YES, I think you should but then you should make your own at home!

Halfway done with a Jalapeño Popper Salad.

What do I need to make a Jalapeño Popper Salad?

This is what I used to make the salad at home, you can certainly make ANY adjustments to your Jalapeño Popper Salad that suit your family. I’ll give you substitutions ideas along with the ingredients.

  • romaine or iceberg lettuce, ANY other lettuce can be used here
  • microgreens, you can skip them if you like
  • shredded pepperjack cheese, it’s not spicy so no worries about heat! you can ALSO use sharp cheddar
  • canned sliced jalapeños, get mild or flaming hot, OR slice fresh jalapeños, you can even serve these on the side for those in your house that don’t like heat, it’s no fun to hit a hot pepper in your salad!
  • bacon, you can fry some up, or use real bacon bits
  • tomatoes, any will work, use what you have or like
  • crispy chicken, baked, fried, spicy OR mild, hot or cold this is personal preference and also what you can actually FIND in the stores, I think Buffalo or Nashville Hot would be good for spicing up the chicken
  • salad dressing, use my recipe for Jalapeno Ranch included below OR use your favorite creamy dressing!
Jalapeño Ranch Dressing in a jar with a spoon.

What Salad Dressing goes with Jalapeño Popper Salad?

I’ve included a recipe for Jalapeño Ranch Dressing in the recipe card below because it IS POPPING and pairs perfectly with this salad. Don’t want to make it? Try a Jalapeño Ranch Salad Dressing from the store.

You can swap that out and use ANY dressing you like. I do think this salad needs a creamy dressing, not a vinaigrette dressing. Plain old ranch is AMAZING.

Crispy chicken for the Jalapeño Popper salad.

What kind of Crispy Chicken Should I use for this salad?

You can use ANY kind of crispy chicken you have or can get. Weirdly right now we’re having supply chain issues so for a few weeks I’ve only found frozen chicken strips. But I do actually like to make these with the premade chicken strips from the store deli, it makes it SO easy.

If you buy frozen chicken strips or nuggets be sure that you pre-cook them so they’re ready to be served on your salad. As far as using them hot or cold? Use them how you like them! I used them cold but hot fresh from the oven is delicious too!

If you LOVE a BIG Salad…

Try my Club Sandwich Salad, everything from a Clubhouse Sandwich as a SALAD! Or go for the Classic Cobb Salad, shop the Deli and it practically makes itself!!

If you Love jalapeño Poppers Try these Recipes!

Yield: 4 Servings

Jalapeño Popper Salad

Vertical image of a Jalapeño Popper Salad. Lettuce, crispy chicken, tomatoes, bacon, colbyjack, and jalapeños.

Everything you love in a Jalapeño Popper (and MORE) is stuffed into this Crispy Chicken Salad. Seriously, everyone loves this salad!!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


Jalapeño Ranch Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream OR plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice OR vinegar OR juice from the caned jalapeños
  • 1/2 cup milk OR buttermilk, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped canned jalapeños

Jalapeño Popper Salad

  • 6 cups chopped fresh lettuce, any kind you like
  • 2 cups micro-greens, Or substitute 2 more cups of lettuce
  • 1 pound baked or fried chicken strips, or nuggets, if they're not pre-cooked do it now!
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced, you can use ANY kind of tomatoes you like
  • 1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons cooked bacon
  • 1/2 cup sliced jalapeños, fresh or canned


  1. * QUICK NOTE* Be sure you've got chicken strips or nuggets that have been cooked, so they're ready to eat, if you like them hot warm them up, if they're not cooked cook them while you make everything else
  2. make the dressing by combing the mayo and sour cream, all the spices, and lemon juice or jalapeño liquid, thin it down with enough milk or buttermilk to your preferred consistency, stir in the chopped jalapeños, put in the fridge until ready to use to let the flavors meld
  3. assemble the salad by layer the lettuce and micro-greens on a large serving platter
  4. place the cheese, jalapeños, chicken, tomatoes, and bacon bits on top to make a pleasing pattern
  5. serve right away OR cover and refrigerate until ready to use, best made no more than 4 hours before you're ready to serve it
  6. serve with the dressing

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 892Total Fat 58gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 37gCholesterol 118mgSodium 1796mgCarbohydrates 53gFiber 9gSugar 19gProtein 43g

This nutrition information was calculated using a computer program, results may vary.

Would you pin this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

laura sampson

About Laura

Laura is on a mission to teach modern family oriented women how to make old-fashioned foods new again. A wife and mom of 3 boys, Laura understands the struggles of trying to serve a home-cooked meal each night. She provides recipes and cooking hacks for busy moms to create dishes they may think take more time or skill than they have to make. Read more...

Leave a Comment

Skip to Recipe