These Jalapeño Poppers are one of my favorite easy appetizers! They’re perfectly spicy and layered with a creamy filling, salty bacon, and crispy Panko.
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These Jalapeño Poppers are pretty much everything you could want in an appetizer. Spicy? Yes. Creamy? Yes. Cheesy? Yes. Crispy? Also yes. I mean, come on. It doesn’t get better than this!
These poppers take just 10 minutes to prep and can be easily prepped ahead of time. They’re a total crowd-pleaser, are so darn easy to make, and are incredibly delicious.
- Jalapeño Peppers: the number you need will depend on how large they are and how much you fill them. I recommend grabbing a couple extra just in case. You can always use extras for Taco Dip or BBQ Chicken Jalapeño Popper Cupcakes!
- Cream Cheese: you can use a block of cream cheese or a container, full fat or light. It won’t make a difference in this recipe!
- Seasonings: we’re spicing up the filling with a simple combination of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
- Cheddar Cheese: shred the cheddar finely so it incorporates well into the filling. You can use another cheese you have on hand if you prefer.
- Bacon: finely chopped, cooked bacon adds the perfect smoky, salty crunch. You’ll need 2 thick-cut slices, or about 3-4 thin slices.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are the key to a crispy topping. You can skip them or use regular bread crumbs if you don’t have any!
How to Make Jalapeño Poppers
Here are some step by step photos to guide you! Please see the detailed recipe down in the recipe card.
- Prep the peppers: Slice the peppers in half lengthwise, then remove membranes and seeds.
- Make the filling: In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then mix in garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- Add the cheese and bacon and stir to combine.
- Assemble and bake: Spread the cream cheese onto each jalapeño half, sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs, then line on a baking sheet. Bake at 425ºF until golden.
Jalapeño Popper FAQs
Jalapeño poppers! The base of this delicious appetizer is literally halved jalapeño peppers, so it’s a great way to use a ton of them.
Naturally, Jalapeño Poppers are a little bit spicy. However, the seeds are much of what makes the peppers spicy. Removing them before assembling the poppers helps a ton with controlling the spice level.
There are a couple of ways you can get these poppers prepped in advance. First, assemble the filling and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Second, assemble the poppers without adding the Panko, then store them in the fridge for 1-2 days. When you’re ready to serve, simply add the Panko and bake as directed.
Finished Jalapeño Poppers will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen, then bake at 350ºF to warm and re-crisp.
Tips and Notes
- Pick the bigger jalapeños. Smaller will work too, but the larger ones are easier to fill.
- Wear gloves! If you slice with bare hands, you’re in danger of the jalapeño juice getting all over your fingers. Touch your eyes with that and you’re in for an uncomfortable evening. I recommend wearing gloves. If you don’t have gloves, wash your hands very thoroughly (and multiple times) with soap, the proceed with caution when it comes to touching anything.
- Cut the jalapeño lengthwise. Each half should basically be a mini platform for the filling to sit in/on top of. You can leave the stem on or cut it off.
- Line the baking sheet. Lining the sheet with parchment paper helps prevent the poppers from sticking or burning.
For ultimate crispiness, I recommend serving these poppers right away! They’re delicious on their own or with a side of Ranch dressing, blue cheese dip, or even Homemade Cheese Sauce.
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- 5-6 jalapeno peppers*
- 4 oz cream cheese (125 grams or ½ package)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup finely chopped, cooked bacon (about 2 thick-cut slices)
- 2 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
- Turn the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice peppers in half the long way (so you have two long jalalepno "boats") — try to make sure that the bottoms are flat so that they sit well on the pan. Remove the seeds and membranes.
- In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
- Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and mix until combined.
- Add cheese and chopped bacon and stir until combined.
- Spread cream cheese mixture onto each jalapeno half, filling the opening but not overfilling.
- Sprinkle each filled jalapeno with bread crumbs, then place on the baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the jalapenos have softened somewhat and the top looks golden.
- Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
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