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These super-flavorful, crowd-pleasing baked jalapeño poppers are much easier and even better than the fried version. Don’t miss them.

baked jalapeno poppers on plates
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Why we love this recipe

I started craving jalapeño poppers five minutes after I had my first one at TGI Friday’s sometime in the late 1980s, and I can’t say I’ve ever really stopped. These days, though, it’s not the industrial version I reach for — it’s this updated classic.

This recipe is:

  • Packed with flavor
  • Quick and easy, with no deep-frying
  • Satisfying and indulgent, yet lighter and fresher than the original
  • Prep-ahead friendly

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Fresh jalapeños sold in the U.S. can vary pretty wildly in size and heat level. If you’re not already familiar with your source, buy an extra one and test it out. Most of the heat comes from the seeds and white ribs. I remove all of them so that a wider variety of eaters can enjoy this recipe, but you can leave the ribs intact to keep a bit more heat if you prefer. If there’s a flatter side to your jalapeños, try to slice them in half so that it will be on the bottom to keep the peppers more stable while baking. 
  • Extra-sharp cheddar melts well but still packs a super-savory, creamy punch. Shred it on the large holes of a box grater.
  • Use good old blocks of full-fat cream cheese. Don’t use whipped cream cheese or the softer kind that comes in tubs. It won’t yield the right consistency.
  • A little bit of minced shallot yields pure magic in this recipe.
  • Panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs) cooked in a little bit of butter lends a satisfying crunch to these poppers. It’s an easy but elevated take on the breading that coats the fried version. This recipe is keto-friendly as-is. To make it gluten-free, just use GF panko.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a fabulous batch baked jalapeño poppers. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll halve the jalapeños and scrape out the seeds and ribs.
  2. Mix up the cream cheese, shallot, and salt.
  3. Fill the pepper halves with the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake in the center of a 400°F oven for 15 minutes, then flip the oven to broil to brown the tops.
  4. While the poppers bake, cook the panko in the butter. Sprinkle a little bit over each popper before serving. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Do I need to wear gloves?

It’s a good idea to wear disposable gloves when handling jalapeños, even though they’re not super-spicy. The heat comes from the capsaicin in the white membranes, which you’ll remove before stuffing if you like. It’s amazing how long the oils can linger on fingertips, so unless you never touch your face (or other sensitive-skinned body parts whaaaat never mind), I recommend wearing latex or other disposable gloves.

Where do jalapeño poppers come from?

Fun facts, “Only in America” edition: Poppers most likely evolved from the traditional Mexican dish chiles rellenos, those magical cheese-stuffed, battered poblano peppers. 

Before they were industrialized and named jalapeño poppers, they existed in Tex-Mex cuisine and were sometimes called Armadillo Eggs for their combined resemblance to armadillo shells and Scotch eggs. 

The more you know.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

This recipe is 100% prep-ahead friendly. You can stuff the peppers up to a few days in advance, keep tightly wrapped in the fridge, and bake and top right before serving.

I’ve also found that baked jalapeño poppers reheat surprisingly well in the microwave, so you can totally make them earlier in the day and reheat quickly in the microwave, in small batches if you like, right before serving (or replenishing them on the buffet). 

Leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, though the panko will lose some of its crunch. You can reheat and re-crisp in the oven or toaster oven rather than the microwave if you prefer.

Psst…there’s a dip version, too

For an even more low-maintenance version of jalapeño popper happiness that’s great for game day and basically any party where you want to make new friends, check out my Jalapeño Popper Dip. We especially love it with hint of lime tortilla chips.

More favorite baked appetizers for game day

baked jalapeno poppers on plates

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baked jalapeno poppers on plates
5 from 4 votes

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
These super-flavorful, crowd-pleasing baked jalapeño poppers are much easier and even better than the fried version. Don't miss them.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 8 large jalapeño peppers
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 ounces (60 grams) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) butter
  • ¼ cup (13 grams) panko breadcrumbs

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
  • Wearing latex gloves, slice each jalapeño in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds. The heat of jalapeños comes from the capsaicin in the white inner membranes. I usually remove all or most of this, too, so kids can enjoy this dish. If you want more heat, leave some or all of the white ribs intact.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese, shallot, and salt.
  • Spoon some of the mixture into each jalapeño half and smooth the top.
  • Place stuffed jalapeños on lined baking sheet and sprinkle with cheddar.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until peppers have softened and cheese is soft and bubbly. Then switch the oven to broil to brown the tops a bit. This will only take a minute or two.
  • While the poppers bake, melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring frequently and watching carefully, until lightly browned. (Panko tends to hang out at the pale stage for minutes up on minutes and then burn in a flash, so pay attention.)
  • Sprinkle a little of the toasted panko on top of each popper and serve warm.

Notes

  1. Fresh jalapeños sold in the U.S. can vary pretty wildly in size and heat level. If you're not already familiar with your source, buy an extra one and test it out. Most of the heat comes from the seeds and white ribs. I remove all of them so that a wider variety of eaters can enjoy this recipe, but you can leave the ribs intact to keep a bit more heat if you prefer. If there's a flatter side to your jalapeños, try to slice them in half so that it will be on the bottom to keep the peppers more stable while baking. 
  2. Extra-sharp cheddar melts well but still packs a super-savory, creamy punch. Shred it on the large holes of a box grater.
  3. Use good old blocks of full-fat cream cheese. Don't use whipped cream cheese or the softer kind that comes in tubs. It won't yield the right consistency.
  4. A little bit of minced shallot yields pure magic in this recipe.
  5. Panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs) cooked in a little bit of butter lends a satisfying crunch to these poppers. It's an easy but elevated take on the breading that coats the fried version. This recipe is keto-friendly as-is. To make it gluten-free, just use GF panko.
  6. This recipe is 100% prep-ahead friendly. You can stuff the peppers up to a few days in advance, keep tightly wrapped in the fridge, and bake and top right before serving.
  7. I've also found that baked jalapeño poppers reheat surprisingly well in the microwave, so you can totally make them earlier in the day and reheat quickly in the microwave, in small batches if you like, right before serving (or replenishing them on the buffet). 
  8. Leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, though the panko will lose some of its crunch. You can reheat and re-crisp in the oven or toaster oven rather than the microwave if you prefer.

Nutrition

Serving: 2pieces, Calories: 150kcal, Carbohydrates: 3.7g, Protein: 3.7g, Fat: 13.7g, Fiber: 0.5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Snacks and Starters
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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