Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about jalapeño poppers. There are so many variations of this bar menu classic, but sometimes, simpler is better. I recently read a recipe on seriouseats.com that gave some good suggestions for poppers, so I’ve taken some of those suggestions and added some of my own. This recipe calls for peppers, cream cheese, bacon, chives and bread crumbs. I made about 16 peppers the other day, and they lasted all of five minutes. It was Handan and Barish’s first time trying jalapeño poppers, and they hoovered them up like a turbo-charged vacuum at a dirt-sucking convention. Printer-friendly recipe at end of post.
Time to put on some latex gloves. Trust me on this. There have been three times in my life that I’ve worked with jalapeños (or habaneros), not worn gloves, forgotten to wash my hands, then gone to the bathroom. You don’t want that kind of pain, I assure you.
For starters, we’re going to slice the peppers into rings. A jalapeño pepper is too big to pop all at once, so we’re going to make bite-sized pieces. Instead of cheddar or queso fresco, we’re going to use cream cheese – it is soft, it melts easily, and it will not release steam when heated like other cheeses. Escaping steam causes poppers to have messy blow-outs in the fryer. We want to pack that cream cheese in there nice and tight, making sure there are no air pockets – another cause of rupturing. (This pic was taken from a batch I made without the bacon and chives.)
Don’t try to be neat with this process! We need the outsides of the jalapeño poppers to get coated with cream cheese. This is what the flour will stick to. Jalapeño peppers have slick skins that bread crumb coatings have trouble adhering to. A base of cheese and flour will help things stick. Once all the rings are stuffed with cheese, we’ll roll them in about 3/4 cup of flour.
Then we’ll stick those poppers back in the fridge and let the cheese firm up again. When they’ve cooled down, we’re going to coat them with beaten eggs and shake them up with seasoned bread crumbs. Then we’ll do it again.
Next, the jalapeño poppers are off to a luxurious bath in 375 degree vegetable oil. Let them fry for a few minutes until they are golden brown.
Give them a minute or two before eating. Sprinkle with additional salt, if necessary.
Enjoy your crispy, melty, delicious jalapeño poppers!
- 15-20 jalapeño peppers
- 2 8- ounce packages of cream cheese - softened at room temp
- 6 strips thick-cut bacon - cooked until crispy and crumbled
- small handful of chives - minced
- 3/4 cup flour
- 4 eggs - beaten
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- vegetable oil for frying
- Combine cream cheese, crumbled bacon and chives in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Place flour in a large, lidded Tupperware container and set aside.
- Wearing latex or nitrile gloves, cut each pepper into 2-4 rings, depending on the size of the pepper. With a small, thin knife, remove all seeds and ribs.
- Using your fingers, fill the rings with cream cheese mixture, making sure to get a thin coating of cheese on the outside of the pepper rings.
- Place rings in container of flour. Cover and shake gently.
- Remove rings, place on a plate and refrigerate until cheese has hardened.
- Beat the eggs in a medium-sized bowl.
- Combine bread crumbs and salt in a large, lidded Tupperware container.
- Place about 10 rings at a time into the beaten eggs and mix around with your fingers. When coated, place into container of seasoned bread crumbs.
- When all the rings have been added to the container of bread crumbs, cover and shake gently to coat.
- Repeat steps 9 and 10
- For softer, more fully cooked peppers, let the breaded rings come to room temp before frying. For slightly crisper peppers (the way I like them), start frying immediately.
- Fry in two batches. Carefully lower breaded rings into 375 degree vegetable oil and deep fry a few minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
- Let cool a bit and salt if necessary