We all have one party appetizer that causes us to do a mini happy dance whenever we spy it on a plate, and mine is Jalapeno Poppers. Inspired by my love for these cream-cheese stuffed, spicy little bites, I created a lightened-up twist on the beloved classic. This recipe is every bit as cheesy and satisfying as the original, easier to make (no messy frying!), and your guests will flip when they take a bite.
Jalapeno poppers are fresh jalapeno peppers that are split in half, stuffed with a decadent cream cheese, shredded cheese, and bacon filling, then sprinkled with panko breadcrumbs and cooked to golden, crispy perfection. Honestly, they should come with a warning label: ADDICTION INEVITABLE. Take your first cheesy, creamy, and crunchy bite, and see if you don’t agree.
The best part? Because this easy jalapeno poppers recipe is baked, it doesn’t require any of the mess or work of frying. In fact, they only take 15 minutes of prep work and are ready to serve in just under 40 minutes total. If you’re looking for a simple, crowd-pleasing party appetizer that’s easy to pick up and polish off, this is definitely the recipe for you.
How to Make Baked Jalapeno Poppers with Cream Cheese and Bacon
Not only are these jalapeno poppers just as decadent tasting as the original recipe, they are incredibly simple to prepare.
- Bacon. Adds the familiar addictive flavor and crispiness to each bite. I love using my perfectly Baked Bacon for this recipe.
- Jalapeno Peppers. The delicious vessel for our poppers. When I make this recipe, I try to find small and medium (bite-sized) jalapeno peppers.
- Cream Cheese. The key to our creamy, cheesy filling. I used light cream cheese as a healthy swap.
- Pepper Jack Cheese. For a little heat and ooey-gooey. For a less spicy version, swap Monterey jack or cheddar.
- Green Onion. You’ll love the mild flavor and balance these add.
- Panko Breadcrumbs. To create the most delicious crispy, crunchy topping.
- Cook the bacon, then dice it into small pieces. Try not to eat it all.
- Beat the cream cheese filling ingredients together, then spoon the mixture into each prepared jalapeno. I like to do this with a small spoon. Lay the peppers filling-side up on the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle panko on top of each pepper. Then, lightly coat the tops with nonstick spray. Bake the jalapeno poppers at 350 degrees F for 15 to 18 minutes, until tender and golden. Remove, sprinkle with additional bacon. Serve hot and DIG IN!
Jalapeno Popper Recipe Tips
- Look for jalapenos that are similar in size, so that they bake in about the same amount of time.
- Most jalapeno peppers are fairly mild once the seeds and membranes are removed, but every now and then you’ll hit a hot one. If that happens to you, consider it good luck, then move on to the next.
- Avoid touching your eye after working with jalapenos. The jalapeno oil will stick to your fingers and if it gets into your eye, it will sting them—believe me, I’ve done it more than once.
- If your skin is especially sensitive, it’s a good idea to wear gloves when working with jalapenos.
- Jalapeno Poppers with Sausage. Swap the bacon for 1/2 pound of ground sausage. Use a skillet to brown the sausage, then lay it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Once cooled, mix it in with the other filling ingredients and bake as directed.
- To Make Jalapeno Poppers Keto. Nothing! This is a keto-friendly recipe as written. If you’d like it to be even more low carb, you can omit the breadcrumbs.
How to Store, Reheat, and Make Ahead
- To Store. Place cooked and cooled jalapeno poppers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm jalapeno poppers on a baking sheet in the oven at 325 degrees F until heated through. You can also reheat them on a microwave-safe plate in the microwave.
- To Make Ahead. You can stuff the jalapeños a day in advance, then bake them just before serving.
- I would not recommend freezing these, as the texture may be negatively impacted once the jalapeno poppers are frozen. They tend to turn mushy and the topping will become more soggy.
What to Eat with Jalapeno Poppers
- Chicken. Serve your poppers alongside Lemon Pepper Wings, Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders, or Baked Chicken Meatballs for the perfect party spread.
- Other Appetizers. Tater Tots, Mozzarella Sticks, and Ham and Cheese Pinwheels would all be great.
- Ribs. Everyone will love these with Instant Pot Ribs or Crockpot Ribs
Recommended Tools for Making Healthy Baked Jalapeno Poppers
- All-purpose baking sheet. These are an essential tool in my kitchen.
- Mixing Bowls. There’s a great variety of sizes in this set, and they stack nicely for storage.
Bacon Jalapeno Poppers
- 4 strips bacon - cooked
- 12 jalapeno peppers - small/medium-sized, split in half length-wise with seeds and membranes removed
- 6 ounces light cream cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated pepper jack cheese
- 2 small green onions - finely sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Nonstick cooking spray
- If necessary, cook the bacon according to these easy steps. Once cool, dice the bacon into small pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, grated cheese, three-quarters of the bacon, green onion, garlic powder, and salt. Spoon the filling into each jalapeño cavity. Arrange the peppers on prepared baking sheet, filling-side up.
- Sprinkle a small amount of panko on top of each jalapeno, then lightly coat the top of the jalapenos with nonstick spray. Bake until the jalapenos are tender and the breadcrumbs are golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. If the panko isn't browned to your liking when the peppers are soft, switch the oven to broil and broil for 1 minute or so watching VERY CAREFULLY to make sure the breadcrumbs do not burn (don't walk away!). Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining bacon. Serve hot.
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