Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers

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Jalapeño Poppers are an easy, cheesy, hot, and crunchy appetizer that’s perfect for holidays, game days, and beyond. Ready in under 15 minutes, these irresistible Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers are always a crowd-pleaser!

a plate full of air fryer jalapeño poppers with a small bowl of white dipping sauce

Better make a double batch of these Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers for your next party because this appetizer will be gobbled up in a flash! These zesty poppers are quickly assembled and heated to crispy perfection using an air fryer.

If you’re looking for more air fryer appetizers, try these air fryer stuffed mushrooms, air fryer potato skins, air fryer pull apart garlic bread, or air fryer teriyaki chicken drumsticks.

WHY MAKE THESE IN AN AIR FRYER?

I have three reasons why I use an Air Fryer for this recipe. They are:

  1. It’s quick
  2. It’s easy cleanup
  3. The “frying” process from an air fryer makes the poppers come out perfect every time!

Did you know that air fryers are a healthier way to “fry” food? You’ll use less oil in your recipes because the air combined with the heat is actually cooking or frying. Plus, you get no splatter of hot oil when you pan fry.

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE AN AIR FRYER?

Don’t stress! I wouldn’t leave you without a way to cook these awesome Jalapeño Poppers! These can be made in the oven, too! Line a baking sheet with foil and place the filled jalapeños on it. Pop them in a preheated 400°F oven and bake for 18-22 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tops are crispy.

Check out these delicious buffalo chicken dip or lemon cheesecake cheese ball – they’re both great appetizers that don’t need an air fryer.

ARE THESE SPICY?

Not at all! With the seeds and membranes removed, these aren’t spicy at all. They’ll taste almost like green peppers. If you’re sensitive to spice, rinse the jalapenos after removing the membranes and seeds.

If you’re like me and you love a little heat in your food, you can adjust the spiciness by adding the seeds back into the cream cheese mixture. Looking to really spice things up? Chop up the membranes and add it in too!

CAN I ADD BACON?

Absolutely! You can do this two ways:

  1. Add cooked, crispy and crumbled bacon to the cream cheese mixture, or
  2. Leave out the Panko crumbs and instead, wrap uncooked bacon around the stuffed jalapeño poppers and secure it with a toothpick. You’ll need to adjust the cooking time to 10-12 minutes to make sure the bacon is fully cooked and crispy. I like to use thin strips of bacon rather than the thick-cut for this recipe. The thin-cut will finish cooking around the same time as the jalapeños and prevent it from getting too mushy.
Jalapeños stuffed with a cream cheese mixture and wrapped in bacon with a toothpick securing it

CAN I USE REGULAR MINI PEPPERS INSTEAD OF JALAPEÑO?

Yes! This is a great idea, especially if you have kids that are sensitive to or don’t like the spiciness of jalapeños. You’ll want to look for mini bell peppers. I usually purchase a bag of the red, yellow and orange mini peppers in the produce department.

CAN I MAKE JALAPEÑO POPPERS AHEAD OF TIME?

Sure! Just assemble and fill the poppers, cover them tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate them overnight or up to 3 days until you’re ready to cook them.

They can also be frozen for up to 2 months prior to cooking. Make sure they’re wrapped and sealed in an airtight ziploc bag or container. If cooking from frozen, they may need a little longer in the air fryer before they reach crispy perfection.

HOW TO CUT A JALAPEÑO

I suggest wearing plastic gloves when working with jalapeños. No matter how much you think you’ll be able to be careful and not touch anything while in the middle of preparing this recipe, you will get an itch on your face. It’s just a fact! It’s the Murphy’s Law of cutting onions, jalapeños or garlic – the face itch! You do not want to scratch when working with jalapeños because you’ll be feeling the effects for a long time afterwards, so I recommend wearing food-safe plastic gloves while you cut them.

Jalapeños sliced lengthwise on a cutting board and a spoon hallowing out the some of the jalapeños

For this recipe, you’ll be slicing each jalapeño lengthwise with a sharp knife and removing and scooping the seeds and membranes out with a spoon. Discard the seeds and continue on with the recipe.

Equipment Needed

INGREDIENTS

Please scroll ⬇️ to the recipe card to see the full ingredient amounts and instructions.

  • Jalapeños – use fresh, same-size jalapeños so they all cook uniformly
  • Cream Cheese – softened and at room temperature
  • Cheddar Cheese – shredded. I like to use sharp cheddar cheese for a more intense flavor
  • Garlic Powder – gives it that extra zing
  • Panko Bread Crumbs – necessary for that crunch on top, plus it keeps the filling from bubbling over when cooking
  • Cooking oil spray – make sure to use one that has a high smoke point such as avocado oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil. Whatever you do, AVOID propellant pumps or sprays in your air fryer! Get a cooking spray with no propellant for your air fryer. Don’t have an oil spray? That’s ok, just use a brush to oil the jalapeño poppers.

HOW TO MAKE AIR FRYER JALAPEÑO POPPERS

  1. Make sure you preheat your air fryer to 375°F while you’re preparing the poppers.
  2. With a spoon, mix together softened cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the jalapeños. Note: I suggest wearing gloves if you are sensitive to the heat from the jalapeños that will get on your hands. Wash and dry the jalapeños. Using a sharp knife, cut them in half lengthwise. Take a spoon and hollow out the seeds and membranes on the inside of each pepper.
  4. Stuff each jalapeño with the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle Panko bread crumbs on top of each one. Gently pat the Panko crumbs down and shake off any access. Spritz the top of the jalapeño poppers with cooking oil spray.
  5. Place the poppers in the air fryer basket leaving an inch or so of space around each one. Air fry at 375°F for 6-10 minutes or until the Panko bread crumbs are golden brown.
plate of jalapeño poppers in the background and a hand holding up a bitten jalapeño popper to show the inside

Kick off your next celebration with these awesome Air Fryer Jalapeño Popper appetizers. Full of flavor and texture, these creamy bite-sized pieces of spicy goodness will be a hit at your next party!

RECIPE

a plate of air fryer jalapeño poppers with a white dipping sauce

Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers

Quynh Nguyen
Air Fryer Jalapeño Popper – an easy appetizer that's full of flavor and texture, these creamy bite-sized pieces of spicy goodness will be a hit at your next party.
5 from 40 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people
Calories 105 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 jalapeños
  • 6 oz cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoon panko bread crumbs
  • cooking oil spray

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat the air fryer to 375°F.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and garlic powder. Set aside.
  • Prepare the jalapeños. Note: I suggest wearing gloves if you are sensitive to the heat from the jalapeños that will get on your hands. Wash and dry the jalapeños. Using a sharp knife, cut them in half lengthwise. Take a spoon and hollow out the seeds and membranes on the inside of each pepper.
  • Stuff each jalapeño with the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle Panko bread crumbs on top of each one. Gently pat the Panko crumbs down and shake off any access. Generously spritz the top of the jalapeño poppers with cooking oil spray.
  • Place the poppers in the air fryer basket leaving some space around each one. Air fry at 375°F for 6-10 minutes or until the Panko bread crumbs are golden brown.

Notes

This recipe was tested with an Instant Air Fryer Omni Plus and a COSORI Air Fryer Max XL. Each air fryer model is so different, which is why there’s a big range in the cooking time for this recipe.

Helpful Tips:

  • Preheat the air fryer before placing the jalapeño poppers in
  • If you’re having trouble spooning out the membrane and seeds of the jalapeño, use the tip of a knife to make an outline and then use a spoon to scoop it out


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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hello for Yakima Washington!
    I love this recipe and used garlic croutons to crush up instead of Panko and added crispy fried onions crushed up with it!!!!
    Sprinkled crispy bacon on top!
    Ohhhhhhh Boy my family goes crazy over these!!!
    Merry Christmas Friends