Cheesy, crunchy and a good hit of spicy heat, we love these easy to make air fryer jalapeno poppers. Served with a sour cream and chives dip, they are perfect for game day snacks or to bring as a side dish for your next potluck gathering.
Why You’ll Love This Side Dish
Oh wow, these jalapeno poppers were a big hit with my eldest. The crunchy topping with the creamy cheese stuffing and a hit of chilli heat at the end was delicious! He literally was popping them one after one!
Air fryer jalapeno poppers are often made as a game day snack, and I totally get why they are so popular.
- Easy to make, and you can freeze them ahead of time.
- Frying is made easier by using the air fryer.
- You don’t need plates and cutlery to eat.
- The flavours are awesome!
However, who says you only need to enjoy jalapeno poppers on game day? Ha. We are not big game day people here, but I can see air fryer jalapeno poppers at my next gathering.
Together with a delicious sour cream and chives dip, jalapeno poppers are great as an appetiser or side dish as part of a large potluck dinner. Put them next to meatballs and a crunchy Cantaloupe and Snow Pea Salad, and watch your air fryer jalapeno poppers disappear.
What Are Jalapeno Poppers?
So what are jalapeno poppers? Do they pop in your mouth? Well, yes, in a way.
Jalapeno poppers are typically stuffed jalapeno peppers with your favourite creamy filling, crumbed and then deep fried to crunchy perfection.
They are poppers because you literally pop them in your mouth. I guess the other way to look at poppers is that the heat definitely “pops” into your mouth afterwards!
As we don’t have equipment to deep fry at home, I make jalapeno popper the air fry way: less oil, less mess and a whole lot of crunch.
Are Jalapeno Poppers Spicy?
Yes, they can be! However, you can control the heat to some extent in your jalapeno poppers.
Jalapeno peppers are part of the capsicum annuum family. They are a medium sized chilli with a round middle.
The heat in jalapeno peppers will vary depending on when harvested during the growing season and other environmental factors. Dark green jalapeno peppers are harvested when they are not fully ripe hence are less spicy. Red jalapeno peppers are generally the spiciest as they are fully mature.
Like other hot chilli peppers, jalapenos can cause pain in your eyes and mouth when you touch them. The chemical that stings and triggers heat sits in the white membrane and seeds inside the jalapeno pepper.
If you scrape all of the seeds and membranes from the inside of the jalapeno pepper, you will get mild jalapeno poppers. Therefore you can adjust the heat according to your taste and heat tolerance level.
You can try some of our favourite recipes with jalapenos:
With this recipe, I also added a sour cream and chives dip to help cool the chilli sensation. With added chopped cornichons and lemon juice, the sour cream and chives dip delivers coolness and extra tang to this air fryer recipe.
How Long To Fry Jalapeno Poppers In Air Fryer?
To create a healthier version of this popular game day side dish, I placed the jalapeno poppers in an air fryer to fry them.
If you are not familiar with an air fryer, this piece of popular kitchen equipment uses rapid circulation of hot air to crisp up the food in the basket, similar to deep frying. The difference with deep frying is that it uses barely any oil. Therefore it is considered to be healthier than traditional frying.
How long to fry your jalapeno poppers in the air fryer will depend on the size of your air fryer. It took between 7-8 minutes in my 3.2L / 3.4 Qt air fryer. However, I did them in two batches to avoid overcrowding.
Tips For Air Fryer Jalapeno Peppers
- If you would like, you can use gloves to cut jalapeno peppers to avoid stinging or make sure you wash your hands well after. The chemicals left from the membranes and seeds can stay on your hands for a while.
- Use a teaspoon to help with deseeding jalapeno peppers.
- Do not overcrowd the air fryer as jalapeno poppers will not crisp up as well.
- Try not to overcook the jalapeno poppers as they will lose shape, and the cream cheese stuffing will ooze out too much.
Flavour/Texture: Crunchy bite with the buttery panko topping together with a cream cheese stuffing for peppers, the texture is a delicious contrast of hard and soft.
With the added savoury bacon bits and onion and, of course, a good kick of spicy heat from the jalapeno peppers, flavour-wise, jalapeno poppers satisfy in so many ways.
Ease: There is a little prep work required, but nothing is technically too hard. There’s just creating the creamy cheese filling, the stuffing and then adding a panko crumb topping. Once that part is done, we let the air fryer do its job.
Time: From start to finish, jalapeno poppers in the air fryer will take less than 25 minutes. Most of the time is spent stuffing the jalapeno peppers.
These are the ingredients you need in Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers:
Jalapeno peppers: I’ve seen some jalapeno peppers to be long and thin, so I would recommend choosing plump jalapeno peppers to make it easier to stuff.
Bacon: Many popular jalapeno popper recipes use bacon to wrap around the pepper. I preferred to chop it all up and add to the creamy mixture.
Chives: To add a gentle peppery herb flavour in the creamy filling and sour cream dip.
Onion: Cooked onions add a little sweetness to the overall profile of the dish.
Cream cheese: Jalapeno poppers would not be so delicious without a cream cheese stuffing for peppers. Cream cheese forms the base and is to help bind all the ingredients together and create a creamy filling.
Cheddar cheese: I use cheddar for another layer of texture and flavour. Cheddar added to the cream cheese will help hold the ingredients together and develop a delicious stringy melted cheese texture.
Panko breadcrumbs: Panko originated from Japan and is a flaky type of breadcrumb. The main difference between panko and regular breadcrumbs is the texture and the kind of bread used.
Typically panko is made with white bread without any crust. I find panko to be lighter than regular breadcrumbs.
Butter: A little butter to help panko breadcrumbs stick together for the crunchy topping.
Sour cream: Using sour cream as the base of the dip will help counterbalance the lush, creamy cheese filling of the jalapeno poppers. I know sour cream is creamy, but it has a delicious tang to help cut through the richness.
Cornichons: Baby pickles to create a texture in the sour cream chives dip and add a little extra tang. Any pickle will do if you don’t have cornichons readily available.
Lemon juice: Again, to add extra tang in the dipping sauce.
Salt: To taste.
Follow these instructions on how to make Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers:
Cut the jalapenos in half lengthwise. Use a teaspoon and scoop out the seeds and membranes.
Finely chop bacon and onions.
Heat a large frypan and gently fry bacon pieces and chopped onions until softened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool down.
Finely chop chives.
To make the cream cheese stuffing for peppers, add cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cooked bacon bits and onion, and chopped chives together in a mixing bowl.
Mix until it is combined to form a sticky paste.
Add melted butter with panko breadcrumbs and mix.
Take each jalapeno half and stuff with cream cheese mixture. Then top with panko breadcrumbs.
You can use a teaspoon to cover the jalapeno peppers with panko. Alternatively, place the breadcrumbs on a plate and dunk the top of the jalapeno poppers into the breadcrumbs.
Repeat until all jalapeno peppers are stuffed.
Preheat the air fryer at 200°C or 400°F for 3 minutes.
Remove the basket carefully as it is hot, and place jalapeno poppers evenly in the basket. You may need to do two batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
Fry for 5-7 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
Whilst the jalapeno poppers are in the air fryer, you can make the sour cream and chives dip.
Add sour cream, finely chopped chives, cornichons, lemon juice, and salt to taste in a small mixing bowl. Mix so that everything is combined well.
Serve air fryer jalapeno poppers with sour cream and chives dip.
Variations and Substitutions
Gluten free option: Switch panko breadcrumbs for a gluten free breadcrumb option.
Bacon variation: Rather than adding chopped bacon to the cream cheese filling, you can wrap individual air fryer jalapeno poppers with bacon. This will add another minute or so to the frying time. Alternatively, if you prefer a vegetarian option, omit bacon completely.
Vegan option: Look for vegan substitutes for cream cheese and cheddar. Also, remove the bacon from the recipe.
Panko breadcrumb topping: I’ve seen other recipes that use crushed corn chips rather than breadcrumbs which I can imagine gives an interesting crunchy texture.
How to Serve
Here are some main dishes that will go well with Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers:
Cheesy chicken enchiladas: Start your Mexican themed dinner with these stuffed jalapeno poppers and then make your way to these easy to make and extra cheesy enchiladas. You’ll love the special ingredient: homemade nacho cheese sauce!
BBQ ranch burgers: These BBQ Ranch Burgers take a classic cheeseburger to a whole other level! Quality ground beef infused with ranch flavour, basted in BBQ sauce and then topped with melted cheddar, BBQ ranch coleslaw and a delicious burger sauce. Top it off with some air fryer jalapeno poppers on the side!
Sheet pan honey garlic chicken: This sheet pan honey garlic chicken is an easy meal to put together, gets done in 30 minutes, and is super flavourful, with a delicious honey-garlic sauce! And while that’s cooking away, bring out the air fryer to make these delectable jalapenos poppers for a bit of extra kick to the the meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can stuff the air fryer jalapeno poppers ahead of time and freeze or leave them in the fridge for 1 day or so. You can then air fry when ready to eat.
Yes, you can freeze uncooked jalapeno poppers. However, frying frozen jalapeno poppers in the air fryer will take a few minutes more.
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can make the jalapeno poppers in the oven. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F and bake for 7-8 minutes until the top is golden brown.
There is no excuse not to make your favourite restaurant quality jalapeno poppers now! The perfect snack for game day or a great side dish for large gatherings. The spicy, crunchy and creamy combination is so tasty that everyone would want you to make them again and again.
More Side Dish Recipes
Cooking up a storm and need a good side dish or two? We have a comprehensive collection of side dish recipes for you to choose from. Here are some recipe you may like:
- Air Fryer Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- Saltbush, Purple Beans and Garlic Oil
- Red Brussels Sprouts and Zhoug Sauce
- Pan Fried Gnocchi with Tomato, Corn and Zucchini
- Easy Sautéed Mushrooms with Soy Sage Butter
Delicious Salad Recipes
Get inspired by the biggest collection of salad recipes in one place. We have recipes for simple dinners right through to occasions big and small, dietary preferences, all seasons and many more!
- Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing
- Spicy Tuna Salad and Red Pomelo
- Baby Cucumber and Golden Berry Salad
Ingredient Pairing Ideas
If you’d like to create your own side dish or salad and have an ingredient you’d like to hero, we have some great pairing suggestions to help you work out what flavours go well together!
Don’t want to miss out on a recipe? Feed your FOMO and we’ll deliver it into your inbox!
Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers
- 8 jalapeno
- 1 bacon rasher
- 1 tbsp chives, chopped
- ¼ onion, white, chopped
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 100 g cream cheese
- 4 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Cut the jalapenos in half lengthwise. Use a teaspoon and scoop out the seeds and membranes.
- Finely chop bacon and onions.
- Heat a large frying pan and gently fry bacon pieces and chopped onions until softened.
- Finely chop chives.
- Add cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cooked bacon bits and onion, chopped chives, and mix in a large bowl.
- Add melted butter with panko breadcrumbs and mix.
- Take each jalapeno half and stuff with cream cheese mixture.
- Top with panko breadcrumbs. Repeat until all jalapeno peppers are stuffed.
- Preheat the air fryer at 200°C or 400°F for 3 minutes.
- Place jalapeno poppers into a basket and fry for 5-7 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
- Add sour cream, finely chopped chives, cornichons, lemon juice, and salt to taste in a small mixing bowl. Mix so that everything is combined well.
- Serve air fryer jalapeno poppers with sour cream and chives dip.
- Use gloves to cut jalapeno peppers to avoid stinging, or make sure you wash your hands well after.
- Do not overcrowd the air fryer as jalapeno poppers will not crisp up as well.
- Try not to overcook the air fryer jalapeno poppers as they will lose shape, and the cream cheese filling will ooze out too much.
- Gluten free option – switch panko breadcrumbs for a gluten free breadcrumb option.
- You can wrap individual jalapeno poppers with bacon rather than putting chopped bacon inside the cream cheese filling.
- For a vegan option, swap cream cheese and cheddar for vegan substitutes. Also, remove the bacon from the recipe.
- You can freeze jalapeno poppers and cook them frozen. This will add another couple of minutes to cooking time.
- If you don’t have an air fryer, bake the jalapeno poppers in a preheated 180°C or 350°F oven for 7-8 minutes until the top is golden brown.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
Disclaimer: This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.