A few years ago, my friend and I were participating in an appetizer cooking contest among family/friends. We are competitive and were determined that we were going to win! We searched and searched online for a crowd-pleasing appetizer and landed on this super simple yet highly recommended recipe: Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps. (Could a Paula Deen recipe ever really let us down? I didn't think so!) Guess what? We did win the appetizer contest, and, if I have to choose my favorite appetizer, these sweet chicken bacon wraps will win every time! It's embarrassing how many of these little things I can eat. Let's just keep that secret between you and me, ok? 



Over the years, we've improved our technique for creating these bites. Detailed instructions are below! Can't wait to hear if you "win the prize" for best appetizer at your next party!



Step 1: Preheat oven (350° F) and gather all of the ingredients.



You'll need:

  • 1.25 - 1.5 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken breast tenderloins

  • 12 oz. package of sliced bacon (Be sure to avoid thick-sliced bacon)

  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder

  • 2/3 cup of firmly packed brown sugar

  • Large baking sheet with baking rack OR broiler pan with broiler rack

  • Aluminum foil


Step 2: Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.

      • In case you missed it in step 1, preheat the oven to 350° F.

      • Remove chicken from packaging. Place chicken on cutting board and use knife to remove any visible pieces of fat.

      • Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces. If you use chicken breasts, you may need to cut the chicken breast lengthwise 2-3 times to get an appropriate-sized strip to then cut into 1-inch pieces. If you use chicken breast tenderloins, there is no need to do anything to them except to cut into 1-inch pieces.

      • Warning: If you do not like to see pictures of raw chicken, scroll down quickly. I admit that it's sort of a gross picture, but I also thought it might be helpful to some readers to see the typical size of my cut chicken pieces.

      • Wash your hands often when working with chicken! :-)



      Step 3: Cut each piece of bacon into 3 pieces and then wrap each piece of chicken with a cut piece of bacon.

          • Remove bacon from packaging. Place bacon on a new cutting board and cut each piece of bacon into thirds/three pieces.

          • Wrap each piece of chicken with a cut piece of bacon.

          • Secure the chicken bacon wrap with a toothpick.  (Tip: Try to avoid using colored toothpicks. Ask me how I know... I used red toothpicks one time, and the red color bled into the chicken. NOT a good idea!!)



          Step 4: Prepare baking sheet/broiler pan.

              • This is the most boring step, but you'll thank me later for including this important step!

              • Cover the bottom of your baking sheet or broiler pan with aluminum foil. Then place the baking rack or broiler rack on top.

              • It is pretty important that these wraps are elevated above the pan on a baking/broiler rack. The bacon can be extra soggy and the smoke can be intense if you skip this step.

                Here's a link to the baking racks that we use. They fit perfectly with our half sheet cookie pans.



              Step 5: Create topping and then cover each wrap with the topping goodness.

                  • Combine 2/3 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of chili powder in a small mixing bowl.

                  • A special note about the chili powder: chili powder seems like a weird ingredient for this topping, right? We thought so! My friend actually dislikes a strong chili powder flavor and was worried about the end result...but...she wants you to know that these chicken bacon bites do not taste like chili powder AT ALL! Apparently, it's just a magical ingredient that transforms when mixed with everything else!

                  • Place 1 chicken bacon wrap into the mixing bowl. Spoon the topping all over the wrap (or you can gently toss the wrap in the topping).


                  • Place the chicken bacon wrap (with topping) on the prepared baking/broiler rack.

                  • Continue adding topping to all of the wraps and arrange them on the prepared baking/broiler rack. They may need to be quite close to each other on the pan, but that works out just fine in the end!



                  Step 6: Bake the sweet chicken bacon wraps.

                      • Place pan in a preheated 350° F oven.

                      • Bake wraps for 30-35 minutes. You want to ensure that the bacon (on the top of the wrap) is crisp.

                      • Remove the pan from the oven.

                      • Quickly turn each sweet chicken bacon wrap over, and then place the pan back into the oven.

                      • Bake for another 5-10 minutes to ensure that the bacon is crisp on this side also.

                      • Remove pan from the oven. Allow sweet chicken bacon wraps to rest on the pan for a few minutes before serving.