After trying some of the highest-rated jalapeño popper recipes online with disastrous results, we set to work developing a method that won't let you down. These poppers have a crisp golden crust and soft melted cheese interior—all in the perfect bite-size package.
Why this recipe works:
- A double-layer dredging of milk, then flour, then more milk, and finally bread crumbs, creates a crispy crust that won't slip off the poppers.
- A seasoned cream cheese filling melts beautifully without expanding and rupturing, as many other cheeses do.
- Yield:Makes about 30 bite-size poppers
- Active time: 40 minutes
- Total time:40 minutes
- 1 pound jalapeños
- 1 pound (16 ounces) cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 2 limes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fine breadcrumbs
- 1 to 2 quarts vegetable or canola oil, for frying
- 1 batch roasted tomato salsa or your favorite salsa, for serving
Wearing gloves if you have them, trim off and discard the top and bottom of each jalapeño. Cut each jalapeño crosswise into 1-inch rings. Remove seeds and white inner ribs from each ring (a small melon-baller works well for this).
In a medium mixing bowl, stir cream cheese with lime juice, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin until thoroughly blended. Season with salt. Using a butter knife, pack cream cheese into each jalapeño ring, filling it completely and smoothing the surface.
Fill 1 bowl with milk, 1 bowl with flour, and 1 bowl with breadcrumbs. Working 1 popper at a time, dip in milk, then transfer to flour.
Coat popper in flour all over. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining poppers. Let floured poppers stand for 5 minutes.
Working 1 popper at a time, return floured popper to milk, turning to coat. Transfer to breadcrumbs.
Pack popper in breadcrumbs, turning to coat, until an even coating has formed. Repeat with remaining poppers.
Heat 2 inches of oil to 350°F. Add poppers and fry, gently turning and stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and season with salt. Let stand 5 minutes before serving with salsa.