Creamy, spicy, and cheesy baked jalapeno poppers with crispy bacon. What could be better? It is so easy and quick to make. These fresh jalapeno poppers are sliced horizontally and packed with a rich filling, then baked until golden brown and bubbly.
I love jalapeno poppers. I often make them ahead of a game day party or company coming over. The best part is you can make the filling ahead of time and just stuff them and bake them when people arrive. Another option is to make the entire appetizer and refrigerate or freeze them until they are ready for the oven or air fryer.
What makes them a great stuffing pepper? Jalapenos are a lot thicker than some of the other spicy peppers so they retain a crunchier texture and are able to hold the filling without getting soft.
To layer more flavor into each bite, simply pair and serve the peppers with a bowl of blue cheese dressing, ranch dressing, French onion dip, spinach and artichoke dip, or sour cream for dipping. This will help cool things off a bit.
How to Make Jalapeno Poppers
- Cook bacon.
- Cut jalapenos.
- Remove seeds and ribs from jalapenos.
- Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, seasoning, and bacon.
- Stuff peppers with cheese filling.
- Bake in 400°F oven for 20 minutes.
- Garnish with extra green onions.
I enjoy spicy cuisine having lived in New Orleans for 10 years but I know plenty of family and friends in the Midwest who do not care for or crave the same heat level that I do in food but let me tell you, these peppers are not as spicy as many may think they are. First, the seeds and ribs are removed which hold an incredible amount of heat. Secondly, the dairy in the cream cheese helps to tame any spiciness.
A little on jalapeno anatomy. The spicy heat comes from the chemical compound, capsaicin, which is found in the pith, also called the ribs which is why it is so important to wear rubber gloves when cutting up these little vegetables. Please note that the heat will stay on your fingers all and is painful if you touch your eyes or lick your fingers. The vertical ribs of the inside of a jalapeno travel from the top stem to the bottom and are hotter closer to the seeds which is why people mistakenly think the heat is in the seeds. I like to remove the seeds and the ribs and then place some of the seeds in the filling for added spice.
Jalapeno Popper Ingredients
Bacon: Use a center cut bacon or a thick cut bacon. Cook in a pan, air fryer, or oven and drain all the fat. Once the bacon is cooled, crumble it into pieces and add it into the bowl. Bacon bits also work in this recipe.
Jalapenos: When shopping for jalapenos, chose ones that are bright green and not wrinkly. Larger ones work best. They are sturdy and will support the filling. Wear plastic medical gloves or at least put zip lock bags on the hands or hold a stack of paper towels to the jalapeno when cutting it in half and removing the seeds and ribs. Make sure to cut the jalapeno lengthwise then simply scoop out the centers by scraping a spoon on the insides.
Cream Cheese: Take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator at the start of the recipe. This should be enough time to bring it to room temperature where it should be soft enough to hand mix with the other ingredients. Otherwise, simply microwave it for 30 seconds. Hand beaters or a mixing bowl may be used to prepare the filling but I find a spatula and some hand work works just fine to blend everything together. In addition, the dairy in the cream cheese will help cool some of the spice.
Cheese: A sharp cheddar makes the cheese stand out against the cream cheese and the peppers but feel free to experiment with a variety of cheeses like monterey jack, munster cheese, blue cheese, goat cheese, brie cheese, mozzarella cheese, pepperjack cheese, or colby cheese.
Stuffed peppers have been around for a long time. From stuffed bell peppers to spicy peppers, these vegetables make the perfect canvas for a variety of fillings and stuffings. Here are some of my go to recipes when I’m entertaining guests for the holidays or a party.
- wrapped in bacon slices
- cream cheese mixed in with pepper jelly
- dipped in ranch
- topped with breading crumbs
- cut up shrimp
- pulled chicken
- ground beef
- added blue cheese
- any variety of cheese
- coat cheese
- added jalapeno seeds
- stuffed with guacamole
- added onions or garlic
- dipped in garlic butter
- mini pepperoni slices
- served with french onion dip
- stuffed with cranberry goat cheese
- garden vegetable cream cheese
- southwestern poppers with taco seasoning
- everything bagel seasoning jalapeno poppers
- macaroni and cheese stuffed poppers
- deep fried in breaded coating
- air fryer
Reader Tips and Questions
Q: Can I make these ahead of time?
A: Yes. The jalapenos may be stuffed with filling and refrigerated for 1-2 days before baking. Simply wrap in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container.
Q: Can I use different peppers?
A: Yes. Smaller bell peppers that are similar in size to jalapenos will work perfectly.
Q: Are the peppers really spicy?
A: No. Once the seeds and white ribs are removed, the jalapeno will lose much of its heat. If you’d like to add some spicy back in, simply stir in some of the seeds which should have plenty of spiciness from nesting close to the ribs.
Q: Can I air fry the peppers?
A: If preparing in an air fryer, air fry the peppers at 400°F for 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan.
Q: Will these work on the grill?
A: Jalapeno poppers work perfect on the grill.
Party Appetizer Recipes for Any Crowd
- Bacon ranch cheese ball
- Jalapeno cornbread
- Steak bites
- 5 cheese dip recipes
- Spicy Creole butter kolaches
- Baked zucchini sticks
- Buffalo chicken wings
- North Caroline pulled pork sliders
- French dip sliders
- 10 slices thick cut bacon crumbled
- 11 jalapenos deseeded
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- ½ tsp garlic salt
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1½ cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 7 green onions diced
- Cook bacon according to package directions. Crumble into pieces once cool.
- Cut jalapenos lenghtwise. Using a spoon, carve out (deseed) the seeds; discard.
- Mix softened cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, garlic salt, salt, and green onions until combined well.
- Using a butter knife, scoop and spread mixture into each jalapeno.
- Place on baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes.
- Garnish with any remaining diced green onions.
- Serve once cool. I like to serve mine with french onion dip.
Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.
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