It’s football season, and it’s about time for a proper jalapeño popper recipe on this food blog! These jalapeño poppers are lighter than most since they’re baked, not fried, and bacon-free (more on that in a minute).
These jalapeño poppers are stuffed with a fresh, herbed cream cheese mixture and topped with just enough cheddar cheese to turn golden. They are beyond delicious, and they’re not greasy at all. If a popper could be gourmet, this one is! I think they’re going to be your new favorite.
The inspiration for these stuffed jalapeños came from my assistant-turned-friend Megan’s birthday party for her husband. The guests all brought party snacks and a few even brought Cookie and Kate recipes, which was a fun surprise.
Someone brought jalapeño poppers wrapped in bacon, and I eyed them enviously. Being a vegetarian and a former bacon lover, I can appreciate the crisp, rich, smoky flavor that bacon must have brought to those poppers.
I came home with the mission to make bacon-free jalapeño poppers that taste just as good. Around that time, Kettle Brand reached out for a sponsorship and sent me the most amazing Organic Country Style Barbecue potato chips. I have a soft spot for potato chips and they made my jalapeño popper dreams come true!
The barbecue potato chips offer a similarly crisp, rich, smoky flavor that I can’t get enough of. Bonus? The chips are gluten free, so that means these poppers are gluten free as well. Poppers for everyone!
Jalapeño Popper Notes & Tips
How to slice your peppers
Most jalapeño popper recipes suggest slicing the jalapeños in half, but there is a better way! If you slice off the top one-third of the pepper lengthwise, you’ll have a stronger pepper shape to stuff. It will retain its shape better in the oven, and you can stuff a little more into each one this way.
Top with cheddar cheese
Instead of mixing cheese into the cream cheese mixture (which makes the mixture bubble up and turns the poppers to the side), I simply topped each popper with a small amount before baking. That way, you get the best of the cheese flavor (the golden part) without the trouble.
Keep an eye on them
Pull the poppers out of the oven just as the cheese is turning golden, around 11 to 12 minutes into baking. If you go much longer, the cheese might turn the poppers to the side. If that happens, though, no worries—just use a spoon to scoop it back inside. You’re going to cover them with a potato chip-and-herb mixture anyway.
How to crush your chips
To crush the chips, you can blend them in a food processor until they’re broken into fine crumbs. If you don’t have one, you can crush them with a rolling pin or smash them around in a sturdy bag!
Watch How to Make Jalapeno Poppers
Please let me know how these jalapeño poppers turn out for you in the comments! Your feedback is so important to me.
Craving more meatless party snacks? Here are a few more to love: Baked Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Chunky Avocado Salsa, Ultra Crispy Baked Potato Wedges, Loaded Veggie Nachos, and the Best Red Salsa.
Baked Jalapeño Poppers
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 12 peppers 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
This lightened-up baked jalapeño popper recipe will be a big hit! They’re stuffed with fresh, herbed cream cheese, and topped with a crispy and irresistible barbecue potato chip topping. Plus, they’re vegetarian and gluten free. Recipe yields 12 stuffed peppers.
- 12 large jalapeño peppers
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
- ¼ cup chopped green onion, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅓ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese, optional
- 1 big handful Kettle Brand Country Style Barbecue potato chips
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Cut off one-third of each pepper lengthwise (see photos). Use a small spoon (a serrated grapefruit spoon works great) to scoop out the seeds and membranes from each pepper, and discard those pieces.
- In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, ¼ cup chopped cilantro and green onion, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Stir to combine.
- Stuff the peppers with the cream cheese mixture (you might have a small amount left over). Top each of the peppers with a small mound of cheese lengthwise.
- Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and starting to turn golden.
- Meanwhile, place a big handful of chips in a food processor and process until the chips are broken into tiny pieces (or, you can crush them under a rolling pin). Stir the feta, if using, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of cilantro and green onion into the chips.
- Transfer the jalapeño poppers to a large serving dish and top each pepper with the crushed chip mixture. Serve!
Storage suggestions: If you have leftovers (which is unlikely!), they keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. Gently reheat in the microwave or oven before serving.
Prepare in advance: I haven’t tried, this, but I believe you could stuff the peppers in advance and refrigerate for later. When it’s time to bake, top them with cheese and proceed as written.
▸ Nutrition Information
This post was created in partnership with Kettle Brand chips. Check out their Instagram page for more snack inspiration! Opinions are my own, always. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who support C+K.
Made this and t’s the best of many recipes I tried. I like the way the pepper is cut and the chips make a big difference.
(Forgot my star rating)
I love this recipe – the way to cut the pepper keeps the stuffing in them. I like to use Jalapeno/Cheddar kettle chips for this too, makes them extra spicy.
These jalapeño poppers were incredible! We doubled the recipe and still finished them within minutes! 1 batch we used the bbq chips but for our second batch we topped it off with ms. vickies jalapeño chips. Loved the tip on how to cut the peppers into a “boat” shape it really helped when filling the pepper. We also used a piping bag for that, so much fun!
Thank you, Em! I’m excited you loved them.
I’ve made these twice and my family loves them! I cut the jalapenos in half rather than as boat shapes only because I wanted as many as I could get (without having to double the recipe), and the aesthetics didn’t matter so much since my family doesn’t care about scraping the pan for the extra cheese. (I know–you might say that 12 jalapenos makes 12 jalapenos, no matter how you cut them, but if you have kids who count out their share, 24 makes for “more” to divvy up.) I added 1/4 tsp cumin and 1/4 tsp chili powder to the cream cheese mixture and threw in some shredded cheddar as well as mounded it on top as the recipe states (again, they are not nearly as pretty as yours, Kate, but really yum). This recipe is so much easier than other popper recipes and tastes just as good if not better. Thank you for sharing!
That’s great to hear your family loves it, Elle! I appreciate you taking the time to review.
Love this recipe. Followed the recipe step for step and it was absolutely delicious. Way better than pre-made poppers and cheaper. Thanks!
You’re welcome! Thank you for your review.
Hi. I have your cookbook and love your recipes. I have an abundance of jalapenos from my garden right now and was thinking about making this recipe.
I have a large family to feed, so I will have to make something else to go with these for dinner.
Any suggestions to serve with these?
Hi Kathryn! Thank you for purchasing my cookbook. You could serve these with any Mexican inspired dish (think rice, salad, etc) or make it an appetizer night and through another one in there!
It was great, my whole family enjoyed it. Will definitely make it again.
Hooray! Thank you for sharing, Susan.
I love these!
I will be making them for a large crowd. What are your thoughts about making them earlier in the day and then cooking later.
You could try it! Let me know how they turn out, Elena.
Yum – I left out the cilantro (didn’t have any fresh) but added the feta to the cream cheese. I also spread some on the thin jalepeno sliced off the top and baked with the others.
I made the jalapeños with cream cheese when l took them out they were still hard how do l make them soft
Hi, I’m sorry to hear that. How long did you bake them?
I have made these twice for parties and everyone loved them. I always get requests for the recipe.
The last party was for 60 people so I needed to make them in advance. I stuffed them the day before, put on baking sheets,covered with wax paper and then foil. I made the BBQ chip and feta topping afternoon of the party. Baked the poppers, put topping on and put in the chafing dish. Back up poppers went in the warming drawer. Worked great and still tasted delicious! They were all gone. Glad I ate one in the kitchen before putting them out!
Thank you for sharing, Shawnie!
Very yummy! Didn’t have the chips this time around, but still delicious. I did find we had to cook a tad longer though, to soften the jalapeños a bit more. Will definitely make again!
That’s great to hear, Lorna!
Not being vegetarian i made these and added chopped tiny pieces of chorizo very spicy almost didn’t make it to the table, thank you(also served them with a peri peri mayonnaise to dip
Got a bunch of jalapeños for almost no money (yay!!) & was looking for an vegetarian recipe. FOUND IT! (Another yay!) It’s just gonna be a quick pantry-cook-adjustment recipe for me today, but I’m super excited that 1) I paid next to nothing for the ingredients; & 2) I get to eat every last one myself!) Will be stuffing w cheesy polenta mixed w spinach, corn & onion. Thanks for the tip of just cutting-edge off the top 1/3 of the pepper—that’s helpful! Headed to the kitchen now. :))) Love this site for recipes!
You’re welcome, Sarah! I appreciate you taking the time to review.
We love these every time we make them! Never any left over! Any suggestions on what we can do with the left over cream cheese filling?
I’m glad you have made these so many times! The cream cheese filling would be good on toast or even a dip, if you have it leftover.
I made these poppers and OMG they were a hit! Thank you so much for the recipe! #cookieandkate #onceyoupop #youdontstop
I’m glad you loved them, Richard! I appreciate your review.
Living in Texas, we make jalapeno poppers all the time but I absolutely love this healthier version! I made half with chips and the other half without. Chips were the favorite.
I’m glad you loved it, Lorna! Thank you for your review.
I have a bumper crop of jalapenos this year. Can I freeze these poppers? If so, would you recommend freezing before or after cooking? Thanks.
Hi Frank, I haven’t tried to freeze these, so I’m not sure.
I made baked jalapeño poppers using your recipe and served them at a party I hosted last night. I had never before eaten or made poppers but will definitely being doing so going forward. The poppers were an unexpected hit. They received many compliments and were the only food item with no leftovers. Thank you for a great recipe that was easy to follow.
This was so good! We used just regular bbq chips and it was still really good. Better than fried!
I’m glad you agreed, Genevieve!
I have a lot of hung curd at home can that be using in place of cream cheese ?
I wouldn’t like to waste that and cream cheese is pretty expensive in India.
Hi Divya, I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure. If you try it, let me know!
Well the turn out good . And very tasty. Only thing I did differently was I added crush crackers on them . When I bake them. It give them just the right salted taste. Frozen some for later .
Thank you for sharing, Stan! Let me know how they turn out once frozen.
Would grated Parmesan cheese work well instead of cheddar cheese?
It won’t melt quite the same, but you could try it. Let me know what you think!
Could I cut the peppers in half lengthwise to make 24? I have a larger gathering but 24 whole peppers is quite costly. Would the baking time be the same?
Hi Amanda, you will likely need less filling than two. The timing may be less since you are cutting the peppers smaller. Keep an eye on them about the halfway mark and see the adjustments you may need to make.
Always been a big fan of Jalapeno poppers and wanted to try making them myself. Kroger was out of peppers so I subbed pickles instead. Was honestly pretty disappointed with how they came out, tasted nothing like the poppers from Texas roadhouse. Not sure if I would want to make again.
Yeah, I don’t think pickles would be a great option here. I hope you try them next time!