Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers Recipe

If you're looking for an appetizer that's a little bit savory, a little bit spicy, and a little bit crunchy, then you simply cannot go wrong with a jalapeño popper. There are countless ways to make the classic dish, from frying to broiling to baking, but sometimes the simplest (and quickest!) methods are the best. Take, for example, recipe developer Miriam Hahn's air fryer jalapeño poppers: They're easy to make, come together in less than 30 minutes, and hit on every flavor profile that you might expect from a popper. 

"My favorite thing about this recipe is how delicious and easy they are to make," Hahn says of these poppers. "They make a great impression and are the perfect thing to put out for so many events." And, while this recipe does use dairy (as do most recipes), Hahn notes that making the swap to plant-based products is a breeze. "It is also super easy to make them healthier if you want by switching to plant-based cream cheese and cheddar cheese," she explains. Of course, sometimes they hit the spot when they aren't all that healthy, but hey — there's a fresh pepper half as the base of each popper, so that's got to count for something, right?

Gather the ingredients for air fryer jalapeño poppers

To make these air fryer jalapeño poppers, you'll need an air fryer and jalapeños, naturally, but you'll also need a few other ingredients to round out the recipe. Be sure to also have chive-flavored whipped cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, scallions, garlic powder, onion granules, salt, smoked paprika, butter, and panko breadcrumbs on hand. "I like using whipped cream cheese because you save the step of letting the brick cream cheese soften — which can take longer than you think," Hahn explains. "It is also not so dense, which makes the filling a lot lighter and won't weigh you down as much." If you only have regular cream cheese on hand or prefer it, then Hahn also notes that you can simply use that; just make sure to let it soften.

Make the creamy filling

First, you'll want to mix together the creamy popper filling. In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chopped scallions, garlic powder, onion granules, salt, and smoked paprika. Combine these ingredients together, stirring until you have a cohesive, smooth filling. You'll probably be glad that you followed Hahn's advice and used whipped cream cheese, which will save you an arm wrestle with a stiff block of the regular stuff!

Halve those jalapeños

Now, it's time to work with the vehicle for the poppers, aka the jalapeños themselves. Slice each one in half lengthwise, then remove the seeds and the inner white parts. During this step, Hahn recommends wearing gloves, as direct contact with jalapeños can sometimes irritate the skin. Also, if you were to rub your eyes with jalapeño residue on your hands, it would be quite tragic, to say the least — so protective gloves it is. As you cut and clean each jalapeño half, place them cut side-up on a cutting board or large plate. 

Stuff the peppers

Distribute the cream cheese filling into each jalapeño half, ensuring that each one has an equal amount of the mixture. Now, in a small bowl, mix together the melted butter and panko breadcrumbs, then top off each popper with an even amount. 

It's time to get (air) frying

Place each popper into the air fryer (face-up), then cook them for 17 to 20 minutes at 375 F. You'll know that they're done cooking when the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the jalapeños have softened considerably.

Hahn also provides a method for cooking the poppers in the oven, and it doesn't take too much more time. Set the oven to the convection setting, then bake the poppers for 20 to 25 minutes at 375 F.

Dunk these jalapeño poppers in ranch or blue cheese

Once the jalapeño poppers are finished crisping up in the air fryer, there's only one step left in the recipe: enjoy! Hahn says that these are great with ranch or blue cheese dressing, but she does offer more in-depth serving suggestions, too. "These are so fun to serve on game days, but also great appetizers for a dinner party, book club, or neighborhood gathering," she says, adding that you could even serve these up during brunch. "They go great with cold beer or a seltzer [and are] perfect to serve as an appetizer with a fun Mexican-themed meal like fajitas or tacos!" With the subtle spice of the jalapeño, the creamy goodness of the filling, and the ease of making them in the air fryer, it's pretty easy to see why these jalapeño poppers are truly, well, popping.

Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
You can't go wrong with these savory, spicy, and crunchy jalapeño poppers, which come together quickly thanks to the magic of the countertop air fryer.
Prep Time
Cook Time
jalapeno poppers with dipping sauce
Total time: 27 minutes
  • 1 (8-ounce) container chive-flavored whipped cream cheese
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion granules
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 7 jalapeños
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, scallions, garlic powder, onion granules, salt, and smoked paprika. Set aside.
  2. Slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and ribs.
  3. Put roughly 1 tablespoon of the cheesy mixture into each jalapeño half.
  4. Combine the melted butter and panko together in a small bowl.
  5. Top each jalapeño half with the breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Place the poppers filling-side up in the air fryer. Cook for 17 to 20 minutes at 375 F, until the breadcrumbs turn a golden brown and the jalapeños are soft.
  7. Serve the poppers with ranch or blue cheese dressing.
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