Change Up Jalapeño Poppers By Swapping The Main Ingredient

Jalapeño poppers are crispy, creamy, and spicy — essentially, everything we'd want in a snack or appetizer. While there's no replacing this classic type of popper, you can make delicious ones with all the same tasty elements using pepperoncinis. 

This swap is ideal if you're not a fan of intense heat, as a pepperoncini can be anywhere from five to 80 times less spicy than a jalapeño. But you'll get the added benefit of a little tang, a little sweetness, and a slight vinegar taste, perfect for balancing out the cheesiness and crispiness in a popper.

Essentially, you can make pepperoncini poppers the same way you would jalapeño poppers, keeping in mind that the former are smaller and have a thinner skin than the latter. First, you'll want to make your filling and stuff it in pepperoncini halves. With these peppers, however, you don't need to carve the seeds out since they don't pack as much heat as jalapeños' do. Once they're properly stuffed, you can toss them in the air fryer or oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Pepperoncinis give poppers a tangy twist

Just like with jalapeño poppers, you can use cream cheese, cheddar, or a combination of the two to fill your pepperoncini halves. However, you can also mix it up and add in some flavored cream cheese (like onion and chive), pepperjack, feta, gouda, or even Greek yogurt. To step up your game even more, try adding diced meat like salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, or bacon, or some diced veggies like bell pepper or onion — and don't forget to season the mixture with a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, or onion powder.

Since pepperoncinis typically come pickled in a jar, make sure you drain and thoroughly pat your peppers dry before slicing them open — after all, we want them crispy, not soggy. If you're having trouble slicing the delicate peppers in half without cutting all the way through, you can also try making a slit and piping your filling in the middle. Once your pepperoncinis are stuffed, you can top them with nothing at all or classic breadcrumbs — but for even more flavor, try crushed hot Cheetos or bacon bits.

Pepperoncini poppers should only take about 12 minutes in a 425-degree Fahrenheit oven or eight minutes in the air fryer at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're feeling extra adventurous, you can even drizzle a little hot honey on the finished product.