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These fresh, rich jalapeno poppers are stuffed full of a tangy cream cheese and shredded cheddar filling, then topped with a crunchy Panko and garlic topping before being baked to golden perfection. This 30-minute recipe is spicy, cheesy, and easy to make!
It’s always fun to experiment with new recipes, but with potlucks and game day, I like to stick to the tried and true. And these jalapeno poppers always fly off the platter!
They’re a great grab-and-go snack with a firm exterior, creamy center, and crispy topping. These layers are flavored with subtle heat, tanginess from the cream and sharp cheddar cheese, and a hint of garlic. Simple yet delicious!
Table of Contents
Have leftover peppers or lactose-intolerant guests on the list? These Texas toothpicks are a crispy, zesty, tasty alternative!
How Hot Are Jalapenos?
A jalapeno pepper, depending on when it’s harvested, is somewhere between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). But what does that mean?
The hottest pepper in the world, the Carolina Reaper, is a whopping 2,200,000 SHU. At the other end of the spectrum, the least hot pepper is the bell pepper all the way down at 0 SHU.
To compare with a more common kitchen pepper, the cayenne is between 25,000 and 50,000 SHU. So the jalapeno is actually relatively mild! And baking them takes away even more of the heat, giving these jalapeno poppers a very tolerable, pleasant level of heat.
- Jalapenos – I always recommend wearing gloves when working with peppers – and keep your hands away from your nose, mouth, and eyes! The oils on the peppers will easily get on other surfaces in your kitchen, so take care.
- Cream Cheese – Leave the block sitting at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour ahead of time to soften. Chopping it into smaller pieces will help it soften faster.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese – I sometimes like to use Pepper Jack cheese – or a combination of the two!
- Worcestershire Sauce – This is a versatile sauce worth having in your pantry! But if you don’t, you can whip up a quick substitute with soy sauce, ketchup, and vinegar.
- Garlic Powder – You could also use fresh, minced garlic, or even chives, to the filling for a stronger garlic flavor.
- Panko Bread Crumbs – These are my favorite bread crumbs for a really crisp crunch. Italian or regular bread crumbs are both suitable substitutes.
- Paprika – This adds just a bit of extra heat to the topping. Cayenne will make it even hotter!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare Jalapenos. Halve the peppers lengthwise with a knife — if possible, preserve the halved stem on each piece. Then, scoop out the seeds and transfer peppers to a baking sheet with the hollowed center facing up.
- Mix the Filling. Combine the cream cheese, cheddar, Worcestershire, and garlic in a small bowl.
- Prepare Topping. In another bowl, whisk together the Panko, paprika, and melted butter.
- Fill Jalapenos. Fill each pepper with the cream cheese mixture, pressing it into the shell but not to the point of overflowing. See the recipe card and process shots for tips! Divide and sprinkle the topping on each stuffed pepper.
- Bake & Serve. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving your baked jalapeno poppers with desired sauces.
- Grater – Bagged, shredded cheese is typically coated in potato starch that prevents it from melting smoothly — it’ll be clumpy no matter what you do! Instead, grate your cheese right off the block.
Storing and Making Ahead
To make this jalapeno poppers recipe ahead of time, prepare the peppers up until the baking step and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake.
Once baked, leftover jalapeno poppers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. While they’re really best fresh, you can reheat them in the oven with a bit more of the topping to add revived crunch.
Some baked jalapeno poppers recipes do begin with brief blanching — a quick boil followed by an ice bath — before baking.
This step will do even more to reduce the spiciness of the peppers. It also makes them softer. However, you don’t want them too soft or they’ll be harder to hold and eat.
Feel free to add a blanching step to my jalapeno poppers recipe if you want to try it!
You can freeze the peppers, but I wouldn’t recommend freezing the filling. Dairy fillings simply do not freeze well and tend to separate while thawing.
I think you’ll find that this jalapeno poppers recipe will go well with almost any other game day favorite!
As a side, they’re great for adding texture alongside a sandwich: Bahn Mis, pineapple pork sandwiches, and BBQ sliders are all popular in my circle. They’re great alongside a bowl of chili too.
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This recipe post, first published on Kevin Is Cooking Jan 24, 2020, has been updated with new content and a recipe video.
Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Wearing gloves (optional), slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise being sure to keep stem on if possible. Using a small spoon, scoop out the veins and seeds, discard. Place on lined baking sheet cut side up.
- In a bowl mix together the softened cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder.
- In a small bowl, combine Panko crumbs, paprika and melted butter. Set aside.
- Carefully fill each jalapeño with the cheese mixture. I take a small scoop and mold it in my hands into a small cigar shape and press it into each jalapeño shell. Divide and sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of each popper.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving. I like to also serve with Ranch dressing, but that’s optional.
- Consider shredding your own cheddar cheese! Most pre-shredded cheeses are coated with potato starch which makes the melted cheese a little clumpy. You could also use pepper jack cheese, or a combo of each.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.