This Jalapeño Poppers Recipe with Cheddar Cheese (Air Fryer and Oven) are made with jalapeños, cream cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon and air fried to crispy goodness.
Jalapeño poppers might actually be one of my favorite appetizers ever. They are perfectly filled with cheese which helps balance the spiciness from the jalapeños. I used fresh jalapenos which are sliced in half and baked or air fried until golden and bubbly. This appetizer is perfect for gameday or just a fun night in.
Whatever you do, when cutting the jalapeños, wear gloves or just do not touch your face. From experience, I once cut jalapeños and rubbed my eye and had to run my eye under cold water for 10 minutes, so be careful! Once you slice the jalapeño lengthwise WHILE wearing gloves, use a small spoon to scoot out the seeds and membranes.
What are Jalapeño Poppers?
Jalapeño poppers are a popular appetizer in Tex-Mex and American cuisine. They are typically made by stuffing halved jalapeño peppers with a filling, then breading and frying or baking them until crispy and golden. The filling is often a combination of cheese and other flavorful ingredients, and the heat of the jalapeño is balanced by the creamy and savory filling.
Jalapeño poppers are usually served as a finger food or appetizer at parties, gatherings, or game day events. They are known for their spicy kick from the jalapeño pepper, which is mellowed by the creamy and cheesy filling. The breading adds a crispy texture that complements the spicy and creamy flavors.
Jalapeño poppers are easy to make at home and can be customized with different fillings and variations to suit your taste preferences. They are typically enjoyed hot and can be served with various dipping sauces such as sour cream, ranch dressing, or salsa.
Jalapeño Poppers Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Jalapeno peppers
- Cream cheese
- Cheddar cheese
See recipe card for Jalapeño Poppers with Cheddar Cheese (Air Fryer and Oven) quantities.
How to make Jalapeño Poppers
Cut and core the jalapeños.
Add the cream cheese and finely grated cheddar cheese in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Take the halved and cored jalapeño and place the cheese mixture inside the pepper. Repeat with the rest.
Wrap a piece of bacon around the stuffed pepper half. Repeat with the rest.
Cook at 375 for 10-12 minutes, until the bacon is crispy and the cheese is browning.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Add the cream cheese and finely grated cheddar cheese in a bowl and mix well with a fork.
- Take the halved and cored jalapeño and place the cheese mixture inside the pepper. Repeat with the rest.
- Wrap a piece of bacon around the stuffed pepper half. Repeat with the rest.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until the bacon is crispy and the cheese is browning.
Jalapeños: Ripe jalapeños are usually fat, firm, and develop a bright sheen. When they are ripe, they are bright green, then begin to darken and eventually turn black.
Cream cheese: The cream cheese will be in the dairy section of your grocery store. I bought regular Philadelphia original cream cheese, but you can always mix up the flavors. Scallion cream cheese I’m sure would taste awesome!
Jalapeño Poppers Recipe Variations
- Vegetarian Jalapeño Poppers: Use a vegetarian cream cheese or a combination of cream cheese and shredded cheese as the filling. You can also add diced vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, or mushrooms to the filling for added texture and flavor.
- Buffalo Chicken Jalapeño Poppers: Mix cooked shredded chicken with buffalo sauce and cream cheese for the filling. The tangy and spicy buffalo chicken filling adds a delicious twist to the classic jalapeño poppers.
- Seafood Jalapeño Poppers: Mix cooked and chopped seafood such as shrimp, crab, or lobster with cream cheese and seasonings for the filling. The seafood adds a rich and savory flavor to the poppers.
- BBQ Jalapeño Poppers: Mix cooked pulled pork or shredded chicken with BBQ sauce and cream cheese for the filling. The sweet and tangy BBQ flavor pairs well with the spicy jalapeño and creamy filling.
- Mexican-Style Jalapeño Poppers: Mix cream cheese with Mexican spices such as chili powder, cumin, and cilantro for the filling. You can also add diced tomatoes, corn, or black beans to the filling for a Mexican twist.
Check out these Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe.
- Cutting board and knife: For slicing the jalapeño peppers and preparing the filling.
- Mixing bowl: For mixing the filling ingredients together.
- Spoon or piping bag: For filling the jalapeño halves with the prepared filling.
- Toothpicks or skewers: For securing the bacon around the jalapeño halves.
- Baking sheet or baking dish: I like using a baking sheet with the wire rack for baking the prepared jalapeño poppers.
- Oven or grill: For baking or grilling the jalapeño poppers.
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper: Optional, for lining the baking sheet or dish to ease clean-up.
- Oven mitts or grilling tongs: For handling hot pans or grilling the jalapeño poppers.
- Cooling rack: Optional, for placing the cooked jalapeño poppers to cool and drain excess grease.
- Serving platter: For presenting and serving the finished bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers.
How to store Jalapeño Poppers
If you have leftover jalapeño poppers or want to prepare them ahead of time for later consumption:
- Refrigerator: Place leftover jalapeño poppers in an airtight container or wrap them tightly with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If the jalapeño poppers have already been baked, it's best to store them in the refrigerator without any breading, as the breading can become soggy when reheated.
- Freezer: If you want to store jalapeño poppers for a longer period, you can freeze them. Place the unbaked jalapeño poppers on a baking sheet and freeze for a few hours until they are firm. Then transfer them to an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag. Label with the date and store in the freezer for up to 1-2 months. When ready to eat, bake them directly from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time.
- Avoid stacking: Whether storing in the refrigerator or freezer, it's best to avoid stacking the jalapeño poppers on top of each other, as this can cause them to stick together or become squished, resulting in loss of shape and texture.
- Reheating: To reheat stored jalapeño poppers, simply bake them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10-15 minutes (adjust time as needed), until heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly. If reheating from frozen, bake for a few extra minutes.
Jalapeño Poppers Recipe Top tips
- Choose fresh jalapeño peppers: Look for jalapeño peppers that are firm, glossy, and without any visible signs of mold or soft spots. Fresh jalapeños will have a more vibrant flavor and texture in the final dish.
- Wear gloves or handle with care: Jalapeño peppers can be spicy and may cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. It's recommended to wear gloves or handle the peppers with care, avoiding touching your face or eyes, and washing your hands thoroughly after handling them.
- Remove seeds and membranes for milder flavor: If you prefer a milder heat level, you can remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeño peppers before stuffing them. The seeds and membranes are where most of the heat resides in the jalapeños.
- Use toothpicks or skewers to secure bacon: When wrapping jalapeño poppers with bacon, use toothpicks or small skewers to secure the bacon in place. This will help prevent the bacon from unraveling during cooking and serving.
- Preheat the oven or grill: Make sure to preheat your oven or grill to the recommended temperature before cooking the jalapeño poppers. This ensures that they cook evenly and thoroughly.
- Keep an eye on cooking time: Cooking time can vary depending on the size of the jalapeño peppers, the filling, and the cooking method. Keep an eye on the poppers while they are cooking to avoid overcooking or burning them.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving: Jalapeño poppers can be very hot when they come out of the oven or grill. Allow them to cool slightly before serving to avoid burning your mouth.
- Enjoy fresh: Jalapeño poppers are best when enjoyed fresh from the oven or grill, while the cheese is still melty and the bacon is crispy. Serve them immediately for the best taste and texture.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove