It's hard to believe you can stuff this much flavor into one tiny, little jalapeno, but make no mistake -- these Baked Jalapeno Poppers are the real deal.
Fresh jalapenos get loaded up with a savory cream cheese filling speckled with bacon, Cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheese. Then, they're topped off with more bacon, more cheese and shipped off to the oven until melty, creamy, and positively irresistible.
Baked Jalapeno Poppers with Bacon are spicy, savory, salty, cheesy, and quite possibly the greatest appetizer of all time.
Serve them at parties, game days, movie nights, or whip up a tray to cure your spicy snack-time hankerings once and for all!
PREVENT CURDLED CHEESE AND UNCOOKED BACON
The problem with Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers in the oven is (unfortunately) the bacon.
Even if you opt for thin-cut bacon, you still have to bake the Poppers at such a high temperature, for such a long period of time in order to cook that bacon through, the cheese on the inside ends up curdled. The other alternative is sacrificing the crispy texture of the bacon by cutting back on the bake time, and ultimately serving up gummy bacon that's both difficult to bite into and chew.
Neither one of these options are particularly easy on the eyes or your palate.
The solution? Cook the bacon in advance, and instead of wrapping the jalapeños with it, stuff it in the filling and on the top.
With this method, you get perfectly baked Jalapeno Poppers with a gorgeously smooth cheese filling and bacon in every single bite.
HOW TO MAKE BAKED JALAPENO POPPERS
- Cook the Bacon - Dice thick-cut slices of bacon into small ¼" cubes. Then, add them to a pan over medium-high heat and cook until browned and crispy to your liking.
- Make the Filling - In a small mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, about a ¼ cup of the cooked bacon bits, salt, and garlic powder. Use a handheld mixer (if desired) to combine.
- Split the Jalapenos - Cut the jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membrane. You'll find more help on this below, if needed!
- Stuff the Jalapenos - Fill the jalapenos with the cream cheese mixture and transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil. Top each pepper with a pinch of shredded cheese and a few more crumbles of bacon.
- Bake - Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes (more on bake time below). Allow your Baked Jalapeno Poppers to cool at least 10 minutes before eating.
HOW TO CUT JALAPENOS
Before you slice into your jalapenos, the first thing you want to do is set them on the counter to locate the side each jalapeno naturally "settles" on.
This little tactic will help you to find the flattest side of the pepper, which is handy for making sure your jalapenos remain stationary in the oven and don't wobble to one side or the other and ooze out their yummy cream cheese filling onto the sheet pan while your Baked Jalapeno Poppers are in the oven!
Then, turn the jalapeño (at about a 90°angle from the side it settled on) and cut it down the center lengthwise. You can leave the stems intact if you'd like, but take care not to take the top off completely!
If you are sensitive to heat, consider using kitchen gloves for this task. Jalapeno Hands is a thing, and although this chili pepper isn't necessarily "up there" on the Scoville scale, they can still burn your skin. Especially if you're working with a bundle of them!
You can remove the seeds and membrane by using the tip of a small spoon to scrape out the core of the jalapenos. Then, they're officially ready for stuffing!
HOW LONG TO BAKE JALAPENO POPPERS WITH BACON
How long you bake your jalapeno poppers depends on how tender you want the jalapeno itself to be.
The cheese will be perfectly melty and beautiful right around the 20-minute mark, but the peppers will be a bit al dente. If you want your peppers a little on the softer side, shoot for the 25 or even 30-minute mark.
CAN I MAKE BAKED JALAPENO POPPERS IN ADVANCE?
If you'd like to prepare them in advance, just complete the recipe to the point of stuffing and topping them off with shredded cheese and bacon, and instead of baking them, refrigerate them!
If you have the room, store them on the prepared baking sheet. This will ensure they don't get smooshed in containers or lose their toppings! Just cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to a day in advance.
If you don't have room for a baking sheet in your refrigerator, you can transfer them to an airtight container to store, but don't use a container too snug, and be sure to separate each layer of Poppers with a sheet of wax paper.
And, since your jalapeno poppers will likely be going into the cold, you'll need to add 3 to 5 minutes to the total bake time.
BAKED JALAPENO POPPER INGREDIENTS
- Jalapenos | Clearly, you can't have Baked Jalapeno Poppers without the jalapeno! For this recipe, it's best if you can find large, fat jalapenos. They're just right for stuffing! Also, try to avoid peppers with a good deal of curve to them. Straight peppers are easier to stuff!
- Bacon | In most Popper recipes, you'll find thin-cut bacon is called for. For this recipe, you'll want the good stuff -- thick-cut bacon.
- Cream Cheese | Full-fat cream cheese is best for this recipe; it's creamier and melts into a nice, smooth texture. Make sure the cream cheese is softened (but not melted) so that your other filling ingredients will evenly mix in with it.
- Shredded Cheese | Whenever possible, freshly grated cheese is best. The flavor and texture of freshly grated cheese are exponentially better than anything you could pour out of a bag! For these Poppers, we used a classic Mexican cheese mix of both Cheddar and Monterey Jack.
- Seasoning | The seasoning for your cream cheese interior is extra, extra simple! All you need is Kosher salt and garlic powder.
5 MORE PARTY APPETIZER YOU’LL LOVE
The best Baked Jalapeno Poppers with bacon! Featuring fresh jalapenos and a savory cream cheese filling speckled with bacon, Cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheese.
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese, softened
- 1 ½ cup freshly grated Mild Cheddar cheese, separated
- ¾ cup freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese, separated
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 12 large jalapeños, slit in half lengthwise, seeds removed
Preheat the oven to 350°F and have ready a large, rimmed sheet pan lined with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Add the bacon to a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, until the bacon is crisped to your liking, stirring every so often. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
In a small mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheese, ½ cup Cheddar, ¼ cup Monterey Jack, about a ¼ cup of the cooked bacon, the salt, and garlic powder using a handheld mixer on medium speed.
In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup of Cheddar and ½ cup Monterey Jack and mix. Fill the jalapeños with the cream cheese mixture and transfer to the baking sheet. Add a pinch of the Cheddar-Monterey Jack Mix on top of each jalapeño, and disperse the remaining bacon bits evenly on top of the cheese.
Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the jalapeños have cooked through to your liking and the cheese is bubbly and melted. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before eating.