It’s the holiday season and snacks for meal opportunities abound. One of my favorite things is a spread of snacks that replace a meal with so many flavors and textures, and it just feels so fun.
I highly recommend it whether you are gathering this holiday season or hunkering down at home.
These jalapeno poppers are the absolute perfect appetizer, snack, or side dish.
Instead of using cream cheese, I have opted for mascarpone cheese. Mascarpone is an Italian cheese that offers a richer and creamier taste and texture than cream cheese.
Paired with bacon, garlic, and chives it is a flavor explosion that will have you reaching for one after the other.
How to Prep Jalapeno Poppers Ahead of Time
If you are prepping a few different dishes, jalapeno poppers are an excellent one to prep ahead of time and pop in the oven just before serving. To do this, slice your jalapenos and prepare your filling.
Keep it separate, or go ahead and fill the poppers. If you choose to fill them, do not stack them, line them up in an even layer in an airtight container.
These will stay in great condition for 3-5 days.
My Best Tips for Jalapeno Poppers
The steps are super simple, but I will begin with a few tips to make the process as smooth as possible:
- Cook your bacon ahead of time, and make it crispy. You won’t want to wait for it to cool when your oven is preheated and you’re ready to get these assembled.
- Set your mascarpone cheese out about an hour early. Letting it come to room temperature will make the mixing process much smoother and help the ingredients to fully combine.
- If you are sensitive to spice, use gloves when slicing and de-seeding the jalapenos. I have found it doesn’t bother me much and I skip that step, but I hate to have you regret making this recipe with burning fingers or eyes.
- Most jalapeno popper recipes you find will call for green onions. If you love green onions feel free to use them in place of chives. I find the flavor a bit overpowering in this instance and that chives provide the perfect compromise.
Assembling Jalapeno Poppers – Step By Step
When you’re ready to put these babies together, begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F.
If you haven’t cooked your bacon ahead of time, begin with that and let it cool. Once cool, chop it into small bits.
Slice each of the jalapenos in half lengthwise. With a spoon or your gloved fingers, scoop out the insides, being sure to get all of the seeds and the veins of the pepper.
Being thorough on this will help control the spice level of the poppers. You can chop off the tops or leave them on, personally, I prefer the look of them still attached.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the mascarpone, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped bacon, garlic powder, chives, and salt. Mix it until well combined and uniform.
Scoop the filling into each of the jalapeno halves. You’ll want them slightly more full than the top of the jalapeno sides, the top will get a nice, toasty char while in the oven.
Arrange the jalapenos on a baking sheet, lined in parchment paper for easy cleanup. Bake until the jalapenos are tender, about 20 minutes. Let them cool for about 5 minutes.
Serve them hot with an extra sprinkle of chopped chives and sea salt. Enjoy!
The poppers will not keep for long and are not made for storing, but I don’t think you will have to worry about that as they will fly off the serving tray.
Jalapeno Popper Variations
For jalapeno popper variations, I’ll offer a few recommendations.
1. Wrap It up
Bacon WRAPPED jalapeno poppers. This is for all of you next-level bacon lovers who don’t find bits of bacon to be enough.
To accomplish this, you skip the original bacon instructions. You will need the same amount of strips of bacon as poppers.
When they are stuffed with the cheese mixture wrap the bacon around each popper and arrange it on the pan.
You’ll want to pay closer attention to the cooking time to avoid burning the bacon, I would start checking at 18 minutes.
If you love other bacon-wrapped goodies, be sure to check out our bacon-wrapped smokies!
2. Switch Out the Cheese
I love jalapeno poppers stuffed with goat cheese. If you are a fan of goat cheese this variation is an easy swap with a whole new flavor profile.
3. Add Protein
Make your poppers extra hearty by adding shredded chicken or ground beef. Just add a layer of meat below the cheese mixture and bake as directed.
How to Make Jalapeno Poppers Without Cream Cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Slice each of the jalapeños in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cheddar, bacon, and chives.
Spoon the mixture evenly in the jalapeños and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the jalapeños are tender.
- 8-10 jalapeños
- 8 oz container of mascarpone, room temperature
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
- 2 tbs chopped chives
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice each of the jalapeños in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cheddar, bacon, and chives.
- Spoon the mixture evenly in the jalapeños and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the jalapeños are tender.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 2 poppers
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 458mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g
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