I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve had an obsession with finding ways to recreate some of my favorite crispy appetizers. Chicken wings, french fries, and now, jalapeño poppers! However, the interest in recreating these favorite foods is to find healthier ways to make them. Now I admit, it’s not healthier by a huge margin. I’m interested in finding ways to make a crispy item by using less oil for deep frying and less batter to slash the calories, while still incorporating some of that amazing flavor. So these baked jalapeño poppers have all the bells and whistles, but for fewer calories. Ya feel?
The crispy part of these baked jalapeño poppers is coming from crushed tortilla chips. The inspiration came from the fact that, well, we had an almost empty bag of tortilla chips all crushed up at the bottom. Felt like an easy way to use them without totally wasting those crumbs! Some recipe developers like to use breadcrumbs on the top, but based on all the flavors happening in these baked jalapeño poppers, crushed tortilla chips just seemed like the right vibe.
The filling is made with a combination of all kinds of deliciousness: Cream cheese, shredded cheddar and Monterey jack, bacon bits, and green onion. Topped with crushed tortilla chips, they are the perfect spicy, creamy, and crunchy appetizer to start off any celebration. And boy, are we celebrating a lot lately.
These jalapeño poppers are totally game-day food, but honestly, they could work really well for a Thanksgiving appetizer as well. They’re certainly a crowd-pleaser, and extremely easy to throw together. You could even prep the filling for these beforehand and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge before stuffing the jalapeños and baking them.
Oh, and speaking of Thanksgiving appetizer ideas, I’ll have a roundup at the end of the week so you can get some ideas for your little gathering this year. These baked jalapeño poppers are clearly already on the list.
Now because I was making these baked jalapeño poppers for just the two of us (my poor husband…all he does is try my recipe creations lately…he’s so good to me), I didn’t make a huge batch of them. The following recipe below makes 12 jalapeño poppers. If you’re making a recipe for a crowd, I suggest doubling—or tripling—the recipe below.
Also, you’ll notice in the recipe that I have you cooking the bacon bits in a small skillet or frying pan. However, another easy way to cook bacon is in the microwave—which, I admit, is one of my favorite ways to cook bacon. It’s quick, easy, and less messy than the stove or the oven. I use a bacon plate like this, lay out the slices of bacon, cover it with a paper towel, and cook the bacon for 4 to 5 minutes on high. Once crispy, I chop them up and proceed.
If that sounds a lot easier for you, here’s a bacon plate similar to the one I have. It really is a magical thing to have in your kitchen. Especially when you’re really craving bacon but don’t want to deal with the mess.
On the hunt for more appetizer ideas? I’ll share a few with you here—but stay tuned for that roundup soon!
- Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Prosciutto Cucumber Bites
- Italian Bruschetta with Goat Cheese
- Blistered Shishito Peppers
- Roasted Salsa Verde
And don’t forget the beer or soda to pair!
Baked Jalapeño Poppers
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- 6 jalapeño peppers
- 3 strips of bacon diced
- 4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 1/4 cup green onions sliced thin
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the jalapeños in half the long way (slicing through the stem). Deseed the centers and remove the membranes. Set aside and wash your hands right away.
- In a small frying pan, cook the bacon bits until crispy. Remove to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- In the same medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the bacon bits, softened cream cheese, shredded cheeses, and green onions until combined.
- Fill the jalapeño halves with the cream cheese mixture.
- Place the crushed tortilla chips in a bowl.
- Dip the jalapeño poppers into the bowl, cream cheese side down, so the crushed chips will attach to the top.
- Place the stuffed jalapeños, chip side facing up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 20 minutes.