Classic Jalapeño Poppers Recipe

Did you know the name "jalapeño popper" is actually trademarked? Or at least, it was back in the '90s when Anchor Foods, and later Heinz, were introducing this new-ish snack to the frozen foods market. And today, poppers are a pretty ubiquitous bar food. Recipe developer Melissa Olivieri of The Olive Blogger calls these particular poppers "easy to make," and says they "can be totally customized to your tastes."

Olivieri says the cheese and fillings "can be substituted to your heart's content," with possible substitutes including peanut butter, sausage, bacon, and more. You could also switch out the spices and breadcrumbs, if you wish. In this recipe, Olivieri uses garlic powder, as she feels this "gives [the poppers] a nice zest." She also favors breadcrumbs mixed with Italian seasoning, explaining "they have herbs in them that add to the flavor," but says you can certainly use plain crumbs or whatever breadcrumb substitute you prefer. If you use unseasoned bread crumbs, however, you might want to add your own spices such as chili powder, dried chipotles, Tajín, etc. 

However you choose to season them, these jalapeño poppers are sure to be a hit.

Assemble the ingredients for the jalapeño poppers

To make these classic poppers, you'll need fresh jalapeños, then cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, salt, and garlic powder for the filling. For the breading, you'll need all-purpose flour, milk, Italian breadcrumbs, and vegetable oil for frying. 

Olivieri advises using enough oil to cover the peppers halfway, so that you're not quite deep-frying them, as they won't be entirely submerged.

Stuff the jalapeños

First, mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, salt, and garlic until smooth. Cut the tops off each pepper, then use a paring knife or a corer to remove the membranes and seeds. (If you're prone to eye rubbing, you may want to follow Olivieri's lead and wear disposable gloves for this step.) Starting with 1 teaspoon of filling, pack it into the pepper, then add more filling until the pepper is full. Push the filling down so it's level with the top. Continue this process until you run out of filling or cored peppers.

Bread the jalapeños

Dip each filled pepper into the milk, then into the flour. Once they're dipped, let them rest on a foil-covered baking sheet or plate for 10 minutes. After, dip them again into the milk, and then into the breadcrumbs. As you do so, Olivieri explains to "Make sure to dip the open end of the pepper well, as this will help keep all that cheesy goodness in when frying." Put the peppers back on the foil, and let them rest for another 10 minutes.

Fry the jalapeño poppers

While the peppers rest, heat the oil to 380 F, using a thermometer to check the temperature. Once it's reached the proper temperature, take your well-rested peppers, just a few at a time, and fry them for 3 to 5 minutes. As Olivieri tells us, "3 minutes will leave you with a crisper pepper and 5 minutes a softer one." Halfway through the cooking time, flip the peppers so they fry on both sides.

Once finished, drain the cooked jalapeño poppers onto paper towels as you continue to fry the other batches. These are best enjoyed warm and freshly made, but if you don't think you can eat them all in one sitting, it should be pretty easy to make a smaller batch.

Classic Jalapeño Poppers Recipe
5 from 32 ratings
Jalapeño poppers are a great way to get a party started, and this classic, no-frills recipe is no exception
Prep Time
Cook Time
jalapeño poppers on white plate
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 20 jalapeños
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  1. Mix the cream cheese, cheddar, salt, and garlic powder until smooth.
  2. Slice the tops off of the jalapeños, and remove the seeds and membranes. Fill each jalapeño with as much cheese filling as it will hold, then push the filling down so it's level with the top.
  3. Dip each filled pepper into the milk, then into the flour, tossing to coat evenly. Set the floured peppers on a foil-covered baking sheet, and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  4. After, dip each floured pepper back into the milk, and then into the breadcrumbs, making sure they are entirely coated. Let the peppers rest for another 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the oil to 380 F.
  6. Fry a few peppers at a time for 3 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Drain the jalapeño poppers on paper towels, and serve warm.
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