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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Southwest Crispy Chicken Sliders

I am on a Cooking Light sandwich kick. This time we're making Southwest Crispy Chicken Sliders on a cheesy jalapeno cornbread muffin. While bacon, avocado, crispy chicken breast and cheese are on the ingredients list, two of these colorful sandwiches are just over 400 calories! We had them for lunch, but they would also make great appetizers or a fun addition to your next small plates dinner.

The recipe suggests you make your own cornbread muffins, and I was surprised at how quickly I mixed up the batter and got them into the oven. Not gonna lie - these muffins are on the "mini" side, but they stand up to the challenge of holding together some guac, chicken, and a thick tomato slice.

While the cornbread muffins are baking, I made some guacamole with chopped bacon and also prepared the crispy chicken pieces. Simply bread the chicken cutlets in panko breadcrumbs and then pan fry in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Building this towering slider is fun and easy - cut the muffins in half, layer on some guacamole, chicken, and a tomato slice and then finish with the muffin top! We enjoyed the subtle spice from the jalapeños in the cornbread and the crispy, salty bacon in the guacamole. The chicken stayed moist on the inside thanks to the crunchy panko bread coating. Nick and I both thought the chicken needed more seasoning, so next time, I am going to sprinkle some salt and pepper on the chicken breasts before breading them.

For a time-saving tip, you could also make the cornbread muffins in advance. They will stay fresh 2-3 days in an airtight container. If you have leftover muffins, serve them with some barbecued chicken and baked beans.

Southwest Crispy Chicken Sliders
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 6 (serving size - 2 sliders)


Muffins -
  • 3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • Cooking spray
Chicken -
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 6  skinless, boneless chicken cutlets, cut in half 
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
Additional ingredients -
  • 1 ripe, pitted, peeled avocado
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 slices applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices small, ripe tomato
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare muffins, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine buttermilk, butter, and 1 egg, stirring well. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in cheese and jalapeño. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove muffins from pan; cool on a wire rack. Cut muffins in half crosswise.

To prepare chicken, place panko in a shallow dish. Combine fat-free milk and 1 egg in a shallow dish, stirring well. Cut each cutlet piece in half, crosswise, to form 12 pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Dip chicken in egg mixture; dredge in panko. Coat panko lightly with cooking spray. Add 6 chicken cutlets to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden and done. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining 6 chicken cutlets, and cooking spray.

To prepare additional ingredients, combine avocado and lime juice; mash to desired consistency. Stir in bacon. Place 2 muffin bottom halves on each of 6 plates. Divide avocado mixture evenly among muffins; top each slider with 1 chicken cutlet and 1 tomato slice. Sprinkle tomato evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper; top with muffin tops.


  1. I was just yearning for chicken and this slider recipe is just what I was looking for. Thanks!

    1. You are welcome, and I hope you enjoy them!

  2. I tried this recipe with a few modifications. I used Jiffy cornbread muffin mix (directly from beautiful Chelsea, Michigan), but I think they don't make a dense/moist enough muffin although the flavor is good. I used fajita chicken strips which worked out well. The blend of flavors in this slider is delicious - the bacon in the avacado is a great idea - I will make them again (with different corn bread).

    1. Great time-saving tip to use chicken strips! You could even do store-bought cornbread muffins in a pinch.

    2. Good idea. Whole Foods has a jalapeno/cheese corn bread that could be used, although you would lose the "muffin" look.