These poppers are warm, cheesy, creamy, and spicy little bites of pure heaven. There’s a reason that jalapeno poppers are the ubiquitous tailgating or game day appetizer. They’re delicious and very easy. They’re also a huge crowd pleaser – so make plenty.
I think every home cook has his/her own recipe for jalapeno poppers. Some are fried. Some are breaded and fried. Some are grilled. The fillings vary and they may or may not have bacon. I’ve had some that included hot sausage in the cheese filling that was interesting and delicious. I’ve never met a popper that I didn’t like!
For this recipe, I added a few spices, some green onions, and additional cheeses to transform them into what has become known in my circle of family and friends as ‘the extra flavorful jalapeno poppers’.
Plus the thin coating of brown sugar and chili powder on the popper balances out the heat of the pepper and the richness of the cheeses. It’s an optional addition, but well worth the extra step. The sweet and spicy exterior is an unexpected flavor that makes these poppers unforgettable. They are basically the food equivalent to “crack”.
TIPS ON MAKING EXTRA FLAVORFUL JALAPENO POPPERS
If you are using thicker bacon slices, cook them about halfway before wrapping around the pepper. This will help to ensure that your bacon gets a nice, crispy edge without overcooking the pepper.
Allow your bacon to ‘warm up’ a bit before wrapping it around the pepper. I like to place the bacon on the counter while I whip up the filling and fill the peppers. Warmer bacon is more pliable and easier to get a pretty wrap on the pepper.
Room temperature cheeses will incorporate with the other ingredients much faster and become creamier than cheeses straight out of the refrigerator.
If you like heat, leave in some of the veins in the jalapeno.
Not a heat fan? Be sure to remove all the veins in the pepper and rinse it under cold water just to flush some of the capsaicin away.
HOW TO PICK PERFECT JALAPENOS
Look for jalapenos with smooth, unblemished, bright green skin for a milder pepper. Peppers with lines or wrinkles are older and will be hotter than the smooth ones.
Red jalapeno peppers are older and will provide more heat, but they are also sweeter which helps to balance out the capsaicin.
Choose larger peppers. They hold more of the delicious filling. Also, try to pick ones similar in size for even cooking.
Finally, I have a quick aside to the recipe. You may have noticed that I don’t have as strong of a filter as most people.
But we’re friends, right? Okay, here it is. When you clean your peppers, wear gloves. Trust me on this. The capsaicin in the pepper, the oil that brings the heat, doesn’t wash off as well as you’d think. You don’t want to rub your eyes or nose. It burns. A lot.
Also, you REALLY, REALLY don’t want to use the bathroom with residual capsaicin on your hands. Follow me here and think about it. It REALLY burns. A lot…and it’s embarrassing. I know. Take my word for it. Use gloves. You’re welcome.
The ultimate appetizer, tailgating dish, or game day snack, these extra flavorful jalapeno poppers will be a crowd favorite. Plan on making a double batch just to be sure to have enough.
10–12 fresh jalapenos, halved lengthwise and seeded
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 green onions, very finely minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
10–12 slices of bacon (I like thin sliced bacon. It gets extra crispy)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
Ranch dressing for dipping
Prepare the jalapenos. Slice them in half lengthwise and remove the stem, seeds and veins. Set aside.
Line a large baking pan with foil. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine cheeses, green onion, and seasonings. Mix well. Fill each pepper half with the cheese filling, smoothing the top. Wrap a piece of bacon around the half, secure with a toothpick, if necessary.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and chili powder. Roll each bacon wrapped jalapeno popper in the sugar/chili mixture. Arrange the poppers on the prepared baking pan.
Bake, uncovered, until the peppers are softened and the bacon has crispy, browned edges, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest on the pan for 10 minutes before serving.
I like to serve these with ranch dressing for dipping.
Serving Size:8 - 10
Need help on cleaning all of those jalapenos? Check out this quick video: