BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese with Candied Jalapeños

Last year for Christmas, I made these candided jalapeños to can and give away as gifts. They are addicting! Sweet, spicy, crunchy, and good on just about every type of food. I kept a couple of jars for myself and used them on sandwiches, tacos, salads; ate them on crackers with every kind of cheese that went through my kitchen. Unfortunately, my two jars only lasted me so long. Wanting to avoid the trouble of the canning process (knowing they don’t last me long enough to warrant a 1-year shelf life!), I tweaked the original recipe to make one that is less vinegary, just as sweet, and can be ready to eat in about 15 minutes.

My favorite use for them? Grilled cheese! The sweet, spicy, crunchy jalapeño just begs to be paired with gooey, melted cheese. Throw in some BBQ chicken, and grill it all up on ciabatta rolls slathered in garlicky butter, and you have one killer grilled cheese on your hands. As an added bonus, this makes for a quick and easy weeknight meal when you have some of this shredded chicken ready to use.


BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese with Candied Jalapeños

  • Servings: 2-4
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For the jalapeño:

  • 3 ounces jalapeño (about 3 medium peppers)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed

For the sandwiches:

  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, sliced lengthwise


For the jalapeño:

  1. Slice the jalapeños into 1/8-inch rounds, discarding the stems. In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, vinegar, granulated garlic, turmeric, and celery seed to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Near the end of the 5 minutes, the mixture will become viscous – don’t worry, it will thin out once the jalapeños are added. Add the jalapeño rounds to the saucepan and simmer 5 minutes longer. Remove the jalapeño slices to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Discard the remaining liquid.

For the sandwiches:

  1. Heat the chicken with the barbecue sauce, making sure it is evenly warmed and all the chicken is covered in the sauce.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, salt, and garlic powder. Spread on the outsides of the ciabatta rolls.
  3. To assemble sandwiches, begin with a layer of cheddar cheese on the bottom half of the ciabatta, top that with the BBQ chicken, then the jalapeño. Place more cheddar cheese on top of the jalapeño and top with the other half of the ciabatta roll. Be careful to divide the cheese, chicken, and jalapeño evenly between each sandwich.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the sandwiches and cook, partially covered, for 5-6 minutes per side, until the outside is crunchy and browned, and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Candied Jalapeños adapted from Foodie with Family


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