Jalapeño poppers stuffed with cream cheese, bacon and cheddar filling. A crispy and smokey appetizer that’s always an instant crowd-pleaser!
Jalapeno poppers, similar to jalapeño cheese bites, are bite-size snacks made of cheese, bacon, and jalapeño peppers, hollowed out to accommodate the other ingredients. They are usually eaten as appetizers. With jalapeños in the mix, it’s pretty apparent that these poppers are spicy hot. They also have a creamy yet smoky flavor when you broil them.
- Jalapeño peppers. It’s best to work with the bigger jalapenos that can easily hold the other ingredients. Use fresh green jalapenos, which will bake better. The fresher the pepper, the better it will hold up as it bakes.
- Cream cheese. The best cheese to use is soft cream cheese. This is because it helps to soften the harsh spiciness of the jalapenos. You will need 8 ounces of cream cheese. You will also need 1½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese, which gives a solid cheesy flavor.
- Bacon. You will need ½ a pound of cooked, crumbled bacon. Make sure the bacon is precooked and ground into tiny pieces so that you can sprinkle them over the jalapenos.
- Seasoning. You will need ½ a teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of black pepper, and minced fresh garlic. This is the all-important seasoning needed to make the poppers pop. Add the seasoning to your taste.
- Green onions. You will need ¼ cup of thinly sliced green onions, which will serve as both a color enhancer and a flavor enhancer.
Other filling ideas
Want to experiment? Here are some of our favorite jalapeño popper filling ideas.
Cheese is a common filling used for jalapeño poppers. The type of cheese you choose is entirely up to you, making your poppers taste different from the next person’s poppers. For example, try goat cheese mixed with garlic, parsley, and lemon.
You could also choose to go to the Mediterranean by using feta cheese, olives, and the cream cheese of your choice, and then grilling and broiling the peppers. You can also use buffalo sauce and blue cheese as a filling. You could also fill them with Mexican chipotle chorizo sausages.
You can also stuff jalapeno poppers with Italian sausage, cheese, and onion. Another option is chicken salsa verde, which has the added Mexican touch from tomatillo salsa and cilantro in addition to rotisserie chicken. You can also stuff the peppers with different types of ground meat, like ground lamb or ground beef. For a vegetarian option, press the peppers with mushrooms.
You can dip the poppers in different sauces, depending on the taste that you are going for. You can use adobo sauce, which is hot and spicy. Since they are hot, it helps to have something that will counter that heat, and cream cheese or sour cream dipping sauce will work well with jalapeno poppers. You can also dip it into blue cheese or sweet chili sauce and mayonnaise.
Side Dish Ideas
- Cornbread – For a full taste of the South, serve with our classic cornbread without buttermilk.
- Guacamole – you can also have them with guacamole, which will add a cool refreshing twist to the heat of the jalapenos.
- Meat – you can serve them with whatever type of meat you prefer, such as pork, lamb, or fish.
How to Make Jalapeno Poppers
Start by cutting the stems, then cut from the tail end to the wide end and down the length of the peppers so that you end up with two pepper halves.
Scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Ensure the pepper remains sealed at the top and bottom so that the stuffing doesn’t leak out. As you scoop out the seeds, make sure that you steer clear of the skin and that you don’t end up with a hole in the base of the pepper.
It should take about 10 minutes to prepare the filling and stuff the peppers and 20 minutes to cook it so that you will need a total of 30 minutes. When handling the jalapenos, be careful not to get caught up in the heart of things. Try to wear gloves to protect your hands and be wary of the juices from the peppers as you deseed them.
You can make jalapeno poppers ahead of time. Make sure that you put all the stuffing ingredients together and store them in an airtight container. The filling will stay fresh for between 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
If you want a longer shelf life, you can put them in the freezer. The same method goes. Place them in an airtight container and then in the freezer. It helps to keep them in portions equal to what you would ordinarily use for each popper. This way, you only defrost what you need at a time. Also, avoid placing them one on top of the other. This method will keep the filling fresh and usable for about one month.
- 12 jalapeno peppers
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 3 strips bacon precooked and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ cup green onions thinly sliced
- 1 cup cheddar cheese sharp or mature
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400˚F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and cooking spray
- Slice jalapeño peppers in half. Deseed and remove pith, keeping pepper skin intact.
- In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, minced garlic, salt, black pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions. Combine well.
- Spoon the mixture into the hollow jalapeno peppers
- Arrange loaded peppers on the baking tray, leaving at least half an inch of space between each one
- Bake for 20 minutes. Peppers should start to turn soft.
- Remove from oven and top with more shredded cheddar. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before serving.