Brenda Gantt

Stuffed Jalapeños are a beloved classic among bar foods, known for their fiery kick and cheesy indulgence. Traditionally, these jalapeños are filled with cream cheese or cheddar, then coated in batter and deep-fried to a golden crunch. However, this recipe offers a modern twist, making the appetizers easier to prepare and enjoy.

Stuffed Jalapeños might be delicious, but the traditional method can be cumbersome, resulting in hollow batter shells and challenging eating experiences. This revamped recipe addresses these issues by replacing the deep-frying step with a crunchy breadcrumb topping and baking the jalapeños open-faced. The filling, a harmonious blend of cheddar and cream cheese, presents a balance of flavors and textures. The addition of scallions, chili powder, and lime juice elevates the taste profile, while panko bread crumbs add an extra layer of crispiness.

 

SERVES 8

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 12 medium jalapeño chiles, preferably with stems
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1½ cups)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 scallions, chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil spray

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, toss the panko bread crumbs with the vegetable oil.
  4. Toast the panko over medium-high heat, stirring often, until well browned, for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Cut each jalapeño in half lengthwise through the stem.
  6. Remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeños.
  7. In a bowl, combine the shredded cheddar cheese, softened cream cheese, chopped scallions, lime juice, chili powder, and salt.
  8. Spoon the cheese mixture evenly into the jalapeño halves.
  9. Transfer the filled jalapeños to the prepared baking sheet.
  10. Top the filled jalapeños with the toasted panko bread crumbs.
  11. Lightly spray the top with vegetable oil spray.
  12. Bake the stuffed jalapeños in the preheated oven until they are hot throughout, for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  13. Once baked, remove from the oven and serve the delicious stuffed jalapeños.

 

TIPS:

  • Seeding for Spice: If you prefer a spicier kick, retain and include some jalapeño seeds in the cheese filling.
  • Toasting Panko: Toasting the panko bread crumbs in oil enhances their flavor and ensures a crisp topping. Keep an eye on them while toasting to prevent burning.
  • Even Filling: When spooning the cheese mixture into the jalapeño halves, distribute it evenly to ensure consistent flavors in every bite.
  • Baking Time: Bake the stuffed jalapeños until they are heated through and the topping is golden brown. This ensures a satisfying texture and temperature.
  • Presentation: Serve the baked stuffed jalapeños as a delightful appetizer for gatherings, parties, or game nights. They’re sure to be a hit with their appealing appearance and zesty flavors.

 

VARIATIONS:

  • Sweet and Spicy Stuffed Jalapeños:
  • Add a touch of sweetness by mixing a small amount of apricot or mango preserves into the cheese filling. The contrast between the sweet and spicy elements will be delightful.
  • Crab-Stuffed Jalapeños:
  • Elevate the recipe with a seafood twist by incorporating lump crab meat into the cheese mixture. This luxurious variation is perfect for special occasions.
  • Asian-inspired Stuffed Jalapeños:
  • Infuse Asian flavors by incorporating minced ginger, garlic, and soy sauce into the cheese filling. Top with sesame seeds and sliced green onions before baking.

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