After testing many, MANY jalapeno poppers in my quest to find the best recipe, I think I have finally created one that outshines the rest. The bacon and sharp cheddar cheese in the filling add just the right amount of saltiness to balance the heat and acidity of the jalapenos. The smooth filling is offset by the crispy panko coating, giving the perfect ratio of creamy to crunchy. I really can’t think of a better combination. It is a real keeper and I feel privileged to share it with you!
- 18 to 20 large jalapenos
- 8 ounces cream cheese, warmed to room temperature
- ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Leaving the stem intact, cut each jalapeno lengthwise to create a pocket for the filling. Carefully scrape the insides of the jalapeños with a paring knife to remove seeds.
- In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and bacon. Place mixture in a resealable plastic storage bag, then cut one bottom corner of the bag. Squeeze the mixture through the resulting hole, filling each pepper with the cream cheese mixture. Press the edges of the peppers back together.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, cayenne, garlic powder, eggs, and buttermilk. Stir until mixture has the consistency of pancake batter. (It needs to be thick, but if it seems too thick, add a little more buttermilk.)
- Place panko breadcrumbs on a third dish. Working with one pepper at a time, coat each jalapeno in the batter, then press it gently into the crumbs, coating all sides.
- Place each pepper cut side up on a cookie sheet and spray liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for about 30 minutes or until tops are golden. Remove from the oven and transfer jalapeno poppers to a serving dish. Sprinkle with a little extra salt and serve immediately.
Stacy Harris is pioneering the farm-to-fork eating movement that includes harvesting wild animals in addition to domesticated animals and homegrown fruits and vegetables. She’s the author of several books about sustainable living for healthy families. For more recipes like this, check out her website at GameandGarden.com and her Facebook page.