This jalapeño poppers recipe is one of the simplest party or game day appetizers you can make! These addictive bite-size treats are loaded with bacon, cheddar, and cream cheese.
Try my Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip next for another fantastic appetizer.
Why you'll love them
If you like it a little bit spicy, these baked jalapeño poppers are the ideal party snack. They're always a hit at gatherings, and since they're so hassle free to make in the oven, you're never going to feel stressed when entertaining and don't have to deal with any messy frying.
The cheesy, buttery filling has crispy bacon in every single bite. The crunch from the panko breadcrumb topping is irresistible, and these classic jalapeño poppers will be the star of the snack table and are sure to vanish quickly.
How spicy are they?
- Jalapeño peppers are quite low on the Scoville scale, which is what they use to measure the heat level of peppers. Most of the spice is in the membrane, which we're removing in this recipe. The cream cheese is cool and creamy and tempers the heat of the pepper as well, so they're not that spicy at all! They just have a delicious kick.
Ingredients you'll need
- Jalapeños - they're readily available in the produce section of most grocery stores. Try to get peppers that are around the same size, and look for fairly large ones, about 3-4 inches long.
- Bacon - I quickly cooked it in a skillet, but you can also use my oven bacon method if you prefer
- Cream cheese - use whichever brand is your go-to, but I prefer Philadelphia
- Garlic powder - to infuse savory aromatic flavor
- Scallions - for a pop of freshness. They're a mild green onion.
- Cheddar - it's always best to grate your own for maximum freshness and taste from a block of good-quality cheese. I use this grater for it.
- Butter - for binding together the panko topping and crisping it up in the oven
- Panko - it's the Japanese version of breadcrumbs that you'll find in the grocery store in a box beside the regular variety. They're lighter and less dense.
How to make jalapeño poppers
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven. In a skillet, fry the bacon until crispy. Meanwhile, put on your protective gloves and cut each jalapeño in half lengthwise. Discard the seeds and membrane.
In a medium mixing bowl, add in the cream cheese filling ingredients, followed by the cooked bacon. Our kitchen likes to add a little bit of the leftover bacon grease from the skillet for extra flavor. Mix together until smooth.
Stuff each pepper with the cheesy filling, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Microwave the butter, and make the butter-panko mixture in a small bowl, mixing it with a spoon.
Top the jalapeños with the panko mix. I find it easiest to just sprinkle it on by hand. Bake until they're golden and melty. Serve after they cool off a touch!
- Please remember to wear protective gloves when cutting jalapeños or any hot pepper! They contain an oil called capsaicin which causes an awful burning sensation on skin. I know this from experience. If you accidentally forget, my friends at Chili Pepper Madness have a guide to stopping the hot pepper hands effect.
Make ahead tips
- Assemble the jalapeño poppers up to the step before adding the panko mixture, and cover and refrigerate for a day or two.
- When you're ready, simply top with the panko and butter mixture, and bake as instructed.
- You could also freeze them up to this same step for 1 month, and add the panko topping when about to bake them. Cook them from frozen, adding on a couple more minutes to the baking time.
Substitutions and variations
- Don't have panko? Crush up some Doritos or tortilla chips instead. You could also swap in regular breadcrumbs, or skip the breadcrumbs altogether if you need this to be keto.
- If you do want more heat, go ahead and leave in some of the seeds and membrane.
- I love a classic version, but you can change up the filling in so many ways. Add in a protein like ground beef, change up the cheese to parmesan or Monterey Jack, or chop up some veggies. The sky is the limit to personalize them!
Leftovers and storage
- Leftover jalapeno poppers will be fine in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Reheat in the oven until they're nice and hot again. Try the middle rack at 350F for 15 minutes or so.
- I don't recommend freezing cooked leftovers, but see the make ahead tips above if you want to freeze ahead of time!
Are you making these easy jalapeño poppers for your next party? I'd love to hear from you with any comments or questions below!
- 12 large jalapeno peppers 3"-4" length
- 4 slices bacon cut into small pieces
- 8 ounces cream cheese (block of Philly) softened
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup scallions chopped
- 1 cup cheddar grated
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Cook the bacon in a skillet until crispy (about 10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, slice the jalapeno peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and the ribs (leave some pith/membrane in for extra spice if you like). I recommend using rubber gloves when handling hot peppers.
- Add the cream cheese to a medium bowl, along with the garlic powder, scallions, and cheddar cheese. Once the bacon is cooked, spoon it out of the pan and into the bowl (leave most of the bacon fat in the pan but adding a little to the cheese mixture adds more flavor). Mix/mash together until you've got a smooth mixture.
- Spoon the filling into each jalapeno pepper half, pressing it down a bit so the surface is even for the panko topping.
- Add the butter to a small bowl and melt it in the microwave, then stir in the panko. Sprinkle over each pepper half (I find it easiest to do this by hand).
- Bake the jalapeno poppers uncovered for 20-25 minutes, season with salt & pepper if needed, and let them cool for a few minutes before enjoying.
- Bacon is quite salty, so that's why I don't include salt in the filling.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.