Baked Stuffed Jalapeños

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Are you a risk taker? I think one has to be a bit adventurous to eat jalapeños.

You never know if biting into one is going to yield that wonderful flavor and kick that is the basis for so much of Southwestern food, or if that one little bite will pack such a fiery punch that you’ll be running around the room mouth agape and tears in your eyes, begging for something to cool it all down.

If you find that the pepper you’ve bit into is just too hot for your tongue, cool it off with sour cream, milk, or cream cheese. That’s the trick, and the reason why cheese is so often paired with hot chiles.

There’s something in the milk protein that lessens the impact of the capsaicin (the molecules that give chiles their heat). Which is one very good reason why stuffed jalapeños are stuffed with cheese, among other things.

The other good reason why stuffed jalapeños are filled with cheese is they taste good that way! Hank and I decided to experiment with stuffed jalapeños this week.

We stuffed them with cheddar, with jack, with pepper jack, with cream cheese, with bacon mixed with lots of other things, and we ended up with two favorites.

Stuffed Jalapeños

One is stuffed with a cream cheese filling with onions, cilantro, cumin and a little bit of jack cheese. The other is similar but has more jack cheese, and bacon instead of the cream cheese. But you can really do whatever you want here.

Mix it up. Try adding some shrimp, or barbecue sauce. Use queso fresco instead of the cream cheese. With the following recipes, I loved the way the cream cheese enveloped the jalapeños in my mouth. Hank likes the bacon and jack (well he would like the bacon version, no duh.)

Baked Stuffed Jalapenos

Do you have a favorite stuffing for stuffed jalapeños? We would love to hear about it.

Baked Stuffed Jalapeños Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12-24 servings (depending on how you've cut the jalapeños).

When working with jalapeños, it helps to wear disposable gloves. If you don't have gloves, coat your hands with some oil before working with the peppers, then once you are done, wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water. Do not touch your eyes for several hours after handling the peppers.

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Filling Version

  • 12 jalapeño peppers*
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
  • 2 ounces jack cheese, cut into 2 1/2-inch long batons

Bacon and Jack Cheese Filling Version

  • 12 jalapeño peppers*
  • 1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded jack cheese, plus another 2 ounces of jack cheese cut into 2 1/2-inch long batons
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

* When buying jalapeños for this recipe, if you want mild peppers, look for peppers with smooth skins. Striations tend to indicate that the pepper has been stressed while growing, and that can mean a hotter pepper.

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2 You can either slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise or you can slice off the top one-third (lengthwise) of each jalapeño to make a boat shape out of each pepper.

The halved jalapeños will go further (twice as many stuffed peppers), but you can put more filling into the boat-shaped peppers. Your choice.

If you choose to make the boats, you can mince the tops and add them to the filling if you want some extra heat, or save them for another recipe. Scrape out all the seeds and ribs from each jalapeño with a spoon (a grapefruit spoon works great).

3 Mix together all the filling ingredients except the jack cheese batons.

4 Pack the filling into the peppers and nestle a baton of jack cheese onto the filling of each one. Arrange the peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned, and the peppers are cooked.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Links:

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Thingies - from The Pioneer Woman

Baked Jalapeño Bacon Poppers - from Steamy Kitchen

Armadillo Eggs - from Homesick Texan

Baked Stuffed Jalapenos

Showing 4 of 73 Comments

  • Ann

    Someone asked me how I make my stuffed jalapenos so I sent them to you! If you like spicy, after you scrape the ribs and seeds out, chop the ribs then add them and the seeds to your mixture. Usually, I just leave the ribs and seeds in and pack my cheese in around them. Also, pepper jack cheese works really well to add a bit of additional heat. I never make these the same way twice. I get my jalapenos from a Latino grocery and they’re always hot, like a serrano. More so than the the regular grocery store and always cheaper. Not for the faint of heart or sensitive digestive tract. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  • Vic Henderson

    I added bread crumbs and finely minced red pepper to the cheese. I agree with a previous post who noted it was too much cheese.

  • Troy F

    I read your recipes and then varied it. I had some chicken I smoked the weekend before. I sliced the jalapeños down one side, pulled out the veins and seeds chopped the smoked chicken in small chunks, mixed it with cream cheese, garlic powder and black pepper then wrapped with bacon. Baked 25 minutes then broiled for three minutes to crisp the bacon. OMG delicious. BTW, I selected jumbo jalapeños.

  • Manar

    I tried this recipe a couple of years ago and since then, I became a big fan.It is easy and successful every time.It is one of the best appetizers.

  • Marsha

    Can jalapeno poppers be prepared, refrigerated, then removed from refrigerator next day and immediately roasted in oven?

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