Frozen jalapeno poppers are the perfect snack for every occasion. They also happen to be one of the most convenient snacks of all time too, especially when frozen.
If you have an air fryer in your kitchen then you are in luck, you get to enjoy not only one of the best snacks in the world but also get a healthier option to munch on too.
How do you cook frozen jalapeno poppers in an air fryer? It’s simple! Just make your favorite jalapeno popper recipe, lay them out in a container over a baking sheet, and then freeze them. When completely frozen, fry them in an air fryer for 8 minutes at 380°F and you’ll be good to go.
Of course, there are a few more things to keep in mind here. Don’t worry, it’s still going to be super simple but you will just have to keep an eye out for some important factors if you want perfect air-fried jalapeno poppers.
Here’s how you can air fry frozen jalapeno poppers!
Tools Of The Trade
Before anything, you must make sure that you have everything that you need to fry the poppers. This includes having an air fryer.
Will any air fryer do? Yes. Most air fryers have a similar approach to cooking food.
They just redirect and circulate air differently and while this small difference can affect the quality of the food, you will always get more or less the same results across the board.
Air fryers use the convection method to cook food. This is where hot air is blown over and around the food to cook it evenly, just like you would if you were to bake anything.
Deep frying is ideal because it uses hot liquid (oil) to cook the food to golden brown perfection.
But if you’re looking to avoid any extra oils in your diet, air fryers offer a much better solution.
They do the frying without the fat (oil) and even though the result is a bit inferior to good old oil frying, you are still better off with air frying than regular frying because of the benefits and convenience.
Even then, you can spray your favorite oil on your food and then air fry it for more or less the same results.
Air fryers come in various sizes ranging from 2kgs and more.
Make sure you buy one that best fits your budget because as we mentioned above, most air fryers use the same technique to cook food so you may be losing money on more expensive brands for more or less the same result.
Now, on to the poppers.
Most people freeze jalapeno poppers and store them for a rainy day. Cooking them in an air fryer is simple.
All you need to do is make the poppers, freeze them and store them properly in a well-maintained freezer that isn’t susceptible to temperature variances.
The ideal temperature to store the poppers would be -18°C. This temperature is outlined by the CDC and FDA to prevent spoilage and it will also ensure that your food tastes great and maintains its quality over time.
How To Cook Jalapeno Poppers
Once you are ready you can begin with the cooking steps outlined below:
- Get the poppers out and plug in your air fryer.
- You will not need to preheat the air fryer. Just take out the frying basket and give it a good wipe to remove dust or other particles.
- Place the poppers in a batch of 2-3. Each fryer is different so we are first going to check how well the test batch cooks before committing to a larger number of poppers.
- Crank the temperature to 380°F and cook for about 8 minutes.
- Check the poppers for doneness and then serve hot.
- In step 2, you can spray the bottom of the basket and the poppers with your favorite oil for added flavor and color.
- You may also have to move the poppers around, depending on your air fryer. If the above steps result in unevenly cooked poppers, then you may have to first cook the poppers for 5 minutes at the same temperature then turn them around and cook them for another 4 minutes.
Things To Look Out For
As mentioned before, air fryers, although all use the same method, may produce different results.
This is why it is important to cook food in small batches. This way, if something does go wrong, you can easily adjust your technique for better results.
Fortunately, there is very little that can go wrong with frying poppers in air fryers to begin with so any adjustment that you do end up making is only going to move you closer to perfection.
The foremost thing to keep in mind is the cooking time and temperature.
Once you have the right temperature and cooking time you will be able to cook large batches without a problem.
Also, while most air fryers don’t need to be preheated, they do spread air around differently. This may cause small discrepancies while cooking.
To combat this, we encourage you to check on the poppers midway to see if they are cooking evenly and properly.
If they are, then you don’t need to do anything but if you notice the poppers catch on color more on one side then you may need to flip them and move them around.
This is a small step but will take you closer to making perfectly “fried” jalapeno poppers. Once you have all these things figured out, you can use the same technique to scale to a larger number of poppers.
A good pro tip is to not spray the base of the basket with pressurized oil. This may lead to discoloration and degradation of the basket. If you value the longevity of your air fryer then you may have to use it carefully.
In the context of regular oil frying, there is very little that you need to take care of beforehand but the cleanup is always going to be much more prominent than with air fryers.
All you need to clean the air fryer is to wash the basket and you’ll be done. No extra pots or clean-up is required.
This is in contrast to regular oil frying where you might have to first take out a large pot, pour oil, cook, then filter the oil for debris, store the oil after use and then clean the pot vigorously to get that notorious oil residue off the pot.
In the case of jalapeno poppers, if you fry them in regular oil then there is a chance that you might end up with loose breading particles within the oil that darken over time and ruin the oil.
Not to mention the fact that you will also have to be careful of splashes and hot oil spraying out due to the frozen poppers.
With air frying, you will have less of a hazard on hand and you will always be left with crunchy, full of texture and flavor, jalapeno poppers.
Cooking Times And Temperature
The cooking time should be consistent since air fryers are great at spreading hot air all around the basket.
However, if you do notice some inconsistencies then we encourage you to A) increase the cooking time only and B) give the basket a quick shake or toss to move the jalapeno poppers around.
The poppers will be really hot once out of the basket, even if they don’t look hot, allow them to sit and cool for a while before biting into them to avoid burns.
A temperature of 380°F is going to be enough to cook the poppers evenly and thoroughly.
8 minutes is ideal for jalapeno poppers in a medium-sized air fryer, but you may have to adjust the time if you are using a larger-sized air fryer or if you notice any inconsistencies while cooking in bigger batches.
The great thing about air fryers is that you can continue right where you left off, so you can increase the cooking time with 3–4-minute intervals. Just remember to keep an eye on them.
Once you have the time and heat figured out, you can use that information for every subsequent batch without issues.
Speaking of heat, please be advised; cooking the poppers for a longer time and at higher temperatures may result in the poppers getting either burned or the cheese melting/bursting out.
Storage And Freezing Poppers
Also, when freezing the poppers make sure that you don’t introduce moisture. Adding in moisture will only result in soggy poppers. This means that you will have to wipe up any water that’s left either on the poppers or in the container.
Since the poppers will be breaded, you will need to keep them separated to prevent them from sticking to one another.
Use fresh and high-quality ingredients for your recipe because you will probably end up storing them for a long time.
You can freeze and use the poppers for up to 3-6 months.
Please note that the poppers will generally start to lose their quality and taste over time and it is essential that you keep them frozen at the same temperature without introducing any variances.
Air Fried Vs Fried
Most air fryers are great at cooking food properly but many may find the idea of air frying to be inferior to regular cooking methods but there is so much more than just cooking techniques.
Regular frying will always have a special place in everyone’s heart because, let’s be honest, we all have grown up on fried food and for the longest time, the cooking method has largely remained the same: oil.
Oil has many benefits in the context of frying.
Since you are essentially dipping food in hot liquid, it cooks more evenly because the oil reaches every part of the food and even pushes against it to create better and equal surface temperatures.
Oils also impart a distinct flavor and many restaurants will use different oils to fry food.
For example, you can cook food in lard, butter, peanut oil, and so on. Any animal or vegetable fat is great for cooking and will also add a flavor to the food too.
The thing with air fryers is that it cooks using air so you don’t need any oil unless you want to add some color to your food. Remember, the main difference and sometimes a dead giveaway between air-fried and deep-fried food is color.
If you compare air frying and deep frying to baking then the results will be completely different because baking breaded food may not turn out as expected due to the variance in temperature within a conventional oven.
You may have to flip and turn around the poppers every 8 minutes and keep them in for longer to get good results, this is why air frying and deep frying are usually preferred over baking food.
Regular, breaded deep-fried food will always have a golden texture compared to air-fried food that may only catch on a lighter shade.
However, a great way to combat this issue is to spray the food with oil before cooking them in the air fryer for more or less the same color.
The taste of the food may also vary. As mentioned above, the type of oil used greatly affects how the food tastes. In the case of deep-fried food, you will get a distinct flavor and crunch thanks to the oil.
In the context of air fryers, you will also get the same crunch and flavor but it would be wise to add in your choice of oil to match the flavors even more.
With technological improvements and better air fryers coming to market, there may come a day when oil frying may largely be replaced.
But until then, you should be glad that you have not one but two great ways to cook your frozen jalapeno peppers.
Now that we’ve gone over how to cook frozen jalapeno poppers in the air fryer, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Can I cook prepackaged jalapeno poppers in an air fryer?
Yes. You can use any brand or home-cooked jalapeno poppers in an air fryer. If you are using prepackaged poppers, make sure that you follow all the instructions mentioned on the packaging.
Most brands have yet to add instructions for air fryers so you may have to set the time and temperature yourself.
As a basic rule of thumb, a temperature of 380°F and a cooking time of 8 minutes is ideal for most jalapeno poppers in any air fryer.
You may have to adjust the cooking time according to the size of your air fryer but for most medium-sized air fryers, 8 minutes is enough.
How do you reheat jalapeno poppers in an air fryer?
Air fryers can reheat and cook jalapeno poppers very easily. They cook at the same time as you would if you were to deep fry them. Air fryers don’t usually need to be preheated and can be used instantly.
Just put the jalapenos in the frying basket and fry at the stated time for golden, crispy, and deliciously hot jalapeno poppers. You can spray a bit of oil on the poppers for added flavor and color too.
Why does the cheese come out when I cook jalapeno poppers in an air fryer?
This may be a sign of overcooked jalapeno poppers. When cooking at higher than instructed temperatures and with longer cooking times, you may find the cheese melting out.
This means that you will probably have to adjust the time and temperature to prevent this from happening.
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