If you love spicy and you love cheesy, you’ll definitely love Jalapeño Poppers! This cute little appetizer recipe has New Year’s Eve written all over it, and it’s perfectly easy and delicious for football games as well. …Or, if you’re just as obsessed with them as I am, they’re also great for a regular Monday afternoon. 😜
What Are Jalapeño Poppers?
Jalapeño poppers are a staple in American pop food culture and are often served at sports bars or other fast-casual restaurants. They can take several forms, sometimes breaded and deep fried, sometimes baked, and sometimes wrapped in bacon, but they always consist of fresh jalapeño peppers stuffed with a flavorful mix of cheese for that spicy-cheesy-creamy flavor combo.
For this jalapeño popper recipe, we went the easy and budget-friendly route (obvi) and opted for baked poppers with just enough bacon added in to give great flavor without making them over-the-top expensive. These jalapeño poppers are easy enough for even a beginner to make, and tasty enough that you’ll be thankful you didn’t drop a ton of cash on ordering out!
Ingredients for Jalapeño Poppers:
Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious jalapeño popper recipe at home:
- Fresh Jalapeños: Luckily, jalapeños are usually some of the least expensive items in the produce aisle, but if you can’t find them for a good price at your local chain grocery store, look for a Hispanic or Latin grocery store where they’re guaranteed to be super affordable. Look for Jalapeños that are about 3 inches in length for this recipe.
- Cheese: We used a mix of cream cheese and cheddar cheese for this recipe so we could get an ultra-creamy finish with a nice cheddar bite. You can also try using Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack (if you like it EXTRA spicy!).
- Bacon: Bacon is a classic flavor in jalapeño poppers and it gives a nice smokey finish to the flavor profile. We use just enough to give these poppers flavor without driving up the price too high.
- Seasoning: These jalapeño poppers are seasoned with garlic powder, Everything Bagel Seasoning, and green onions. They’re flavorful but not so complicated that you lose the flavor of the jalapeños and bacon. If you don’t have Everything Bagel Seasoning you can increase the garlic powder in the recipe to ½ tsp, and add ⅛ tsp of both salt and pepper.
Are Jalapeño Poppers Spicy?
Yes, jalapeño poppers are pretty spicy! Despite removing the seeds and ribs (the spiciest part of the jalapeño), some of the spicy oils remain in the jalapeño, giving these poppers just the right amount of spicy heat to balance the creamy cheeses. If you’re not a spicy foods fan you’ll probably want to skip this one!
How to Remove Jalapeño Oil From Your Hands
If you’ve ever cooked with jalapeños before, you know the horror of accidentally touching your eyes afterward. Jalapeños contain natural oils that can easily transfer from your hands to your eyes or any other delicate skin, causing an intense burning sensation, and sometimes just washing your hands isn’t enough to remove the oils. Here are a few extra steps you can take to reduce the burn:
- Massage a teaspoon or two of cooking oil into your hands. The oil will help dissolve the spicy oils from the jalapeños that are stuck to your hands.
- Wash your hands with dish soap instead of hand soap. Dish soap is formulated to break up oily residues whereas hand soaps are often designed to keep skin moisturized.
- Rub your hands with an acidic substance, like lemon juice, vinegar, or tomato sauce. This can help break up any spicy oils left on the skin.
- OR just wear gloves while working with the jalapeños and avoid the risk. 😉
What to Serve with Jalapeño Poppers
I love these little poppers on their own, but if you want a dipping sauce I would definitely recommend ranch dressing. I’m not usually a ranch person, but the flavor combination between the spicy jalapeño poppers and cooling ranch dressing is hard to beat! I’d also serve them with another starchy appetizer, maybe something like our Steak Fries or Loaded Smashed Potatoes.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it is brown and crispy. Remove it from the pan and let it cool on a paper-towel-lined plate.
- Slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise and then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and white ribs, being careful not to tear or puncture the peppers.
- Once the bacon is cool, crumble it into tiny pieces and reserve about 1 tablespoon to use as a topping. Add the bacon to a bowl with the cream cheese, shredded cheddar (reserve a small amount for topping as well), sliced green onion, Everything bagel seasoning, and garlic powder. Mix the ingredients together until they’re evenly combined.
- Divide the cheese filling between the 12 pepper halves and then spread it out to fill and smooth out the top.
- Place the filled peppers on a large parchment-lined baking sheet then sprinkle the reserved crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese over the top.
- Bake the peppers for 15 minutes or just until the cheese is melted and slightly bubbly. Avoid over-baking the peppers or else they’ll become too soft to pick up and enjoy. Allow the poppers to cool just enough to handle, then serve and enjoy!
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How to Make Jalapeño Poppers – Step by Step Photos
Cook about 2 oz. of bacon (about 2 slices) in a skillet over medium heat until it is brown and crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and let it drain on a paper towel-lined plate as you prepare the rest of the dish.
Slice six jalapeño peppers in half length-wise, then scrape out the seeds and white ribs with a spoon, taking care not to tear the outside of the pepper. To prevent the transfer of spicy oils from your hands to your eyes, mouth, or nose, either use gloves while preparing the peppers or see our tips above for removing jalapeño oil from your hands.
Once the bacon is cool enough to touch, crumble it into tiny pieces. Reserve about 1 teaspoon of the bacon to use as a topping, then add the rest to a bowl with 4 oz. of room-temperature cream cheese, ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (reserve about 2 Tbsp for topping), 1 sliced green onion, 1 teaspoon Everything Bagel Seasoning, and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Mix these ingredients together until evenly combined.
Divide the cheese mixture evenly between the 12 jalapeño halves, then spread it out to fill the peppers, smoothing out the top.
Place the filled jalapeños on a large parchment-lined baking sheet, then sprinkle the reserved bacon bits and shredded cheddar over top.
Bake the jalapeño poppers in the preheated 425ºF oven for 15 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted and bubbly on top. Avoid overcooking the poppers or else the peppers will get too soft to pick up and eat. Allow the peppers to cool just enough to handle, then serve and enjoy!