Absolutely delightful baked jalapeno poppers with extra crispy tops and a creamy, cheesy filling inside. These little morsels are a hit every time and are a perfect party food if you want to impress.
I've been a long-time fan of turkey stuffing filled jalapeno poppers and never thought I'd enjoy something else just as much. Not until I tried these little morsels. They blew me away. I didn't even miss the smoky flavor. The filling is sheer goodness. It's not overly cheesy yet rich, creamy and has a nice texture to it. If you are tired of plain cream cheese or cheddar inside you popper, you must try this. The tops are crunchy and tasty and add a great contrast to the creamy filling.
Making jalapeno poppers
Jalapeno poppers are one of the easiest foods to make. All you have to do is cut jalapeno peppers in half, stuff with some kind of a stuffing and bake until done.
The simplest types of stuffing used are cream cheese and cheddar cheese. You can use one or the other, or a combination. Often jalapeno poppers are wrapped in bacon for extra flavor. The challenge with these simple recipes is that the filling comes out a little too rich and 'cheesy'. It also tastes too plain and boring. The bacon wrapped around a pepper and baked for 20 minutes or so also doesn't have enough time to get crispy. It comes out a bit raw tasting and rubbery.
My solution is to cook the bacon separately until crispy, chop it and mix it into the stuffing. Adding more ingredients to the stuffing, such as green and white onions, will make it more flavorful and more balanced. You will also appreciate the added texture and volume.
To make the poppers even more exciting, I topped them with a mix of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. The tops will crisp up in the oven and create a tasty, crunchy layer that's impossible not to love.
Serving jalapeno poppers
These poppers are fantastic on their own. Just make sure to serve them hot from the oven. The abundant creamy filling inside them does not warrant a need for a dipping sauce. That said, there is nothing wrong with 'saucing' them up.
A dairy based dipping sauce is especially good if you want to balance out the heat from the peppers. My favorite sauce for jalapeno poppers is the homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. Or just plain sour cream or Greek yogurt which work surprisingly well too.
Tips and tricks
- Wear food gloves when cutting and seeding jalapenos to prevent hot juices getting on your hands and causing stinging and burning.
- To reduce heat, keep cut and seeded peppers in a bowl with cold water for up to 2-3 hours.
- The filling in this recipe does not run off easily, allowing you to stuff them with small 'heaps'.
- Never leave these peppers under the broiler unattended. They will begin browning very quickly so make sure to have long tongs and an oven mitt handy to quickly move the browned peppers aside or take them out of the oven altogether.
- Instead of bacon, use chopped smoked kielbasa. It adds a lot of flavor.
- Add garlic, red onion and minced celery as a filler in place of white and green onions, or make a combination.
- Use Neufchâtel cheese in place of cream cheese. It has less fat and doesn't feel as rich and heavy.
- To get even more flavor, add a teaspoon or so of BBQ rub mix to the filling or to the dredging mix.
Crispy Baked Jalapeno Poppers
- 8 jalapeno peppers large; or 10-12 smaller jalapenos
For the filling
- 2 cups sharp cheddar shredded; about 1/2 lb
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 6 bacon strips
- 1/3 cup sliced green onions
- 1/3 cup chopped white onion
For the topping
- 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400F.
To make bacon bits
- Spread the bacon slices on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 15 minutes, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess grease. Let cool for a few minutes then chop with a large kitchen knife.
To make jalapeno poppers
- Rinse the peppers, slice in half, remove the membranes and the seeds.
- Collect the ingredients for the stuffing: cream cheese, chopped green and white onions, chopped bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the cheeses, the onions, and the bacon bits.
- Stuff jalapeno pepper halves. The stuffing can stick out a little.
- Prepare the dredging mix by combining seasoned bread crumbs with an equal amount of grated Parmesan cheese on a plate or a shallow bowl.
- Dredge the stuffing side in the mix. Gently press on it to ensure the mix sticks well.
- Transfer the peppers to a baking sheet, stuffed side up. Sprinkle the remaining dredging mix on top of the peppers.
- Bake on the third rack from the top (about 8-10 inches from the top) for 20 minutes or until the tops start to brown and the filling has melted.
- Turn on the broiler and cook on high with the oven door half-way open for about 3-5 minutes or until the tops are well-browned. Keep an eye on the poppers at all times as they will brown very quickly. Some will brown faster than others so have long tongs handy to remove them or move away from under the heating element as soon as they are ready.
- Serve the poppers hot, on their own or with your favorite dipping sauce.