How To Make Homemade Jalapeno Poppers: The Basics
Jalapeno poppers are a classic appetizer with endless customization options. Before we dive into the recipes, here are a few guidelines to review.
Handling Jalapenos Safely
Jalapenos contain a volatile oil called capsaicin. When this oil touches your skin, it triggers your body’s pain receptors and creates a burning sensation. It’s best to wear gloves when working with fresh jalapenos to protect yourself from this uncomfortable situation. Carefully remove the gloves when you finish, and wash your hands with warm, soapy water.
Remember that any knives, cutting boards, and other surfaces that touched the pepper will still have these oils on them, so rewash your hands after putting the jalapenos in to cook to ensure you haven’t picked up any oils.
Be especially careful not to touch your eyes after handling jalapenos. Capsaicin is especially painful to your delicate eye membranes. If you get it in your eye, rinse it with cool water and flush it with a saline solution. Though some people advise using milk to neutralize the pain, eye specialists warn against it. Milk naturally contains bacteria and can lead to an eye infection.
Preparing the Peppers
To prepare the jalapenos:
- Cut off the tops.
- Slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out the seeds using a spoon or melon baller.
The seeds are what give the peppers their kick. If you want your poppers spicy, leave a few seeds in. For milder poppers, take the time to remove all those seeds.
Choosing Your Cheese
The most traditional filling for jalapeno poppers is a mix of cream cheese and shredded cheddar. If you’re after that classic flavor, you don’t need to depart from this combo. If you want to go gourmet and change things up, try a different cheese or add something fresh to the cheddar and cream cheese blend. Some tasty options include the following:
- Smoked gouda: Blend with cream cheese for a rich, smoky flavor.
- Colby Jack: Mix with cheddar instead of the cream cheese.
- Parmesan: Use with cream cheese and a touch of Italian seasoning.
- Feta: Combine with sundried tomatoes and olives to give your poppers a Mediterranean twist.
- Herbed goat cheese: Mix with a splash of lemon juice, minced fresh garlic, and Italian parsley for a gourmet popper.
Upgrading the Filling
A no-frills jalapeno popper doesn’t need anything but cheese for the filling, but you can change things up any way you’d like. The options are endless. Try creating a custom popper by stirring any of the following extra ingredients into the filling:
- Crumbled bacon.
- Finely chopped pepperoni.
- Thinly sliced green onion.
- Minced garlic.
- Cayenne pepper.
- Ground cumin.
Filling Your Poppers
Stir together your custom filling and get ready to fill your jalapeno poppers. You can spoon the filling into the jalapenos or transfer it to a plastic bag and pipe it in. Cut the tip off the bag and squeeze your filling onto each popper. It makes the filling a little smoother but requires an extra step.
How To Make Jalapeno Poppers in an Air Fryer
Cooking jalapeno poppers in the air fryer is a great way to make them healthier. You can eliminate the oil used for fried poppers but still get a perfectly crisp coating. To make air-fried jalapeno poppers, follow these steps:
- Crack two or three eggs into a bowl and whisk them together.
- Fill a second bowl with flour.
- Fill a third bowl with panko breadcrumbs.
- Dip a filled popper into the egg mixture and shake off the excess.
- Roll the popper in the flour and set aside.
- Repeat with the remaining poppers until they’re all coated in egg and flour.
- Return to the first popper and dip it in the egg mixture.
- Roll the popper in the panko breadcrumbs.
- Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees while you finish the remaining poppers.
- Spray the poppers with cooking spray and place them in the air fryer basket. Position the poppers so air can flow between them easily.
- Air fry the poppers for 12 to 14 minutes. Cook in batches if necessary.
How To Make Jalapeno Poppers in the Oven
If you don’t have an air fryer, baking your jalapeno poppers is a convenient option that still lets you avoid the mess and oil of frying them. To make baked jalapeno poppers, do the following:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix four parts panko breadcrumbs and one part melted butter.
- Roll the filled jalapeno poppers in the breadcrumb mixture to coat.
- Place the poppers on a baking sheet and bake for five to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Order Your Jalapeno Poppers Hot and Ready in Chicago
If you don’t have the time or ingredients to make jalapeno poppers yourself, never fear. When you’re craving these cheesy, spicy bites, order them hot and ready from Pequod’s Pizza. Pair your poppers with one of our mouthwatering pizzas with our famous caramelized cheese crust to complete your evening. Place your order now.
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