Jalapeño Poppers – Once Upon a Chef

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Perfect for game days and parties, these cheesy bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers combine a crispy exterior with a gooey center—they are irresistibly poppable!

jalapeno poppers on platter with drinks

For those yet to experience the deliciousness, a “popper” refers to a bite-sized snack ready to be “popped” straight into your mouth. Originating from a blend of American and Mexican cuisines, aka Tex-Mex, jalapeño poppers highlight the piquant flavor of their primary ingredient: the jalapeño pepper, native to Mexico. These fiery peppers are halved and generously stuffed with a seasoned cheese blend, then snugly wrapped in bacon and baked to achieve a crispy exterior and a gooey center.

Perfect for game days, festive gatherings, or whenever that spicy food craving hits, jalapeño poppers never fail to wow a crowd. A word to the wise: the heat of a jalapeño primarily lies in its ribs and membranes, so if you lean toward milder flavors, give the peppers a thorough scrape before stuffing.

Table of Contents

What You’ll Need To Make Jalapeño Poppers

jalapeno poppers ingredients.
  • Jalapeño Peppers: The base for the poppers, providing mild to moderate heat.
  • Cream Cheese: The creamy and slightly tangy base for the filling. Soften the cream cheese by letting it sit at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese: A mix of 4 cheeses including Monterey Jack and cheddar. It melts beautifully and adds a gooey, rich texture to the filling.
  • Scallions: Provide a mild onion flavor without being overpowering.
  • Cilantro: Offers a fresh, herbal note and balances out the richness of the other ingredients.
  • Lime juice: Adds citrusy brightness to the filling.
  • Cumin: Infuses the filling with a warm, earthy flavor.
  • Bacon: Wraps the peppers, providing a savory, crispy layer. Additionally, it keeps the jalapeños moist during cooking.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-By-Step Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F and set one oven rack in the middle position and one in the top position. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, then top with a wire rack; spray the wire rack with nonstick cooking spray.

Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise, leaving the stem intact on one half. 

jalapeños cut in half lengthwise on a cutting board

Using the tip of a small spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and ribs (the ribs are where most of the heat is, so scrape them thoroughly if you have a milder palate).

jalapeños cut in half lengthwise with seeds and ribs scooped out

In a medium bowl, stir the cream cheese, Mexican blend cheese, scallions, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and salt until combined.

cream cheese, Mexican blend cheese, scallions, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and salt in a medium bowl

Stir until combined.

cream cheese, Mexican blend cheese, scallions, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and salt combined in medium bowl

Stuff and wrap the jalapeño peppers: Begin by filling each jalapeño half with approximately 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture.

jalapeno halves filled with cream cheese, Mexican blend cheese, scallions, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and salt filling

Once filled, wrap each half snugly with bacon. To do this effectively, start by draping the bacon over the top of the jalapeño half. Then, spiral it around the popper, ensuring all the exposed cheese filling is covered by the bacon. This method ensures the cheese remains contained during cooking and allows the bacon to achieve a crispy texture. Once wrapped, place the poppers on the prepared wire rack with the cheese side facing up.

rack with all wrapped jalapeño halves on rack over baking sheet

Bake for 25 minutes, then move the baking sheet to the upper rack and turn on the broiler. Broil until the bacon is crisp on top, about 2 minutes (keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn). Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then transfer to a paper napkin-lined platter (to absorb any grease) and serve warm.

jalapeno poppers on wire rack after being baked and broiled

Frequently Asked Questions

Can jalapeño poppers be made in advance?

Yes! You can stuff and wrap the jalapeños with all the ingredients, then store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before you plan to cook them.

How spicy are jalapeño poppers? Can I make them less spicy?

While jalapeño peppers are naturally spicy, much of their heat comes from the seeds and membranes inside the peppers, as these parts contain the most capsaicin, which is responsible for the heat. To reduce the spiciness of jalapeño poppers, make sure to scrape all the seeds and membranes from inside the peppers. Wearing gloves during this process can protect your hands from irritation.

What is the best way to secure the bacon so the poppers stay wrapped?

While many recipes suggest using toothpicks to secure the bacon around jalapeño poppers, my recipe is designed to keep everything in place without them. By carefully wrapping the bacon according to the instructions provided, the bacon should adhere to itself and the jalapeño as it cooks, creating a snug wrap that holds the filling inside. This method not only makes preparation cleaner and easier but also ensures that you won’t have to worry about removing toothpicks before serving.

jalapeno poppers on platter with drinks

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Jalapeño Poppers

Perfect for game days and parties, these cheesy bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers combine a crispy exterior with a gooey center—they are irresistibly poppable!

Ingredients

  • 12 jalapeño peppers
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces Mexican blend cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice, from 1 lime
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Big pinch salt
  • 24 slices thin-cut bacon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and set one oven rack in the middle position and one in the top position. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, then top with a wire rack; spray the wire rack with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Prep the jalapeños: Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise, leaving the stem intact on one half. Using the tip of a small spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and ribs (the ribs are where most of the heat is, so scrape them thoroughly if you have a milder palate).
  3. Make the filling: In a medium bowl, stir the cream cheese, Mexican blend cheese, scallions, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and salt until combined.
  4. Stuff and wrap the jalapeño peppers: Begin by filling each jalapeño half with approximately 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Once filled, wrap each half snugly with bacon. To do this effectively, start by draping the bacon over the top of the jalapeño half. Then, spiral it around the popper, ensuring all the exposed cheese filling is covered by the bacon. This method ensures the cheese remains contained during cooking and allows the bacon to achieve a crispy texture. Once wrapped, place the poppers on the prepared wire rack with the cheese side facing up.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, then move the baking sheet to the upper rack and turn on the broiler. Broil until the bacon is crisp on top, about 2 minutes (keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn). Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then transfer to a paper napkin-lined platter (to absorb any grease) and serve warm.
  6. Make-Ahead Instructions: You can assemble the poppers up to a day in advance and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator. Allow a few extra minutes baking time if starting from cold.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (24 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 popper
  • Calories: 169
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1 g
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Sodium: 290 mg
  • Cholesterol: 33 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you’re following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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