Perfect Jalapeño Poppers {Gluten-Free}

Delicious and utterly irresistible, these baked jalapeño poppers are the perfect party food! Packed with a cheesy, creamy filling, the smoky bread crumb topping adds the perfect crunch.

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

Occasionally I’ll make and post a recipe, and later in the day, I’ll get a text from Brian at work saying, “Uh, when did you make those? Did you save me some?”

To which I usually respond with “Who is this? You have the wrong number.”

Even though I usually have a reasonable excuse (a daytime event that I made something for), often the reason poor Brian missed out is because even though I didn’t leave my house or share with anyone outside of the kids, the deliciousness simply was all gone by the time he got home.

Which is a longwinded way to say: I had no self-control and ate my body weight in {fill in the blank}.

Such is the case with these easy, dreamy, delicious jalapeño poppers.

We gobbled them up before I even had time to think about Brian. Insanely delicious.

Sorry, Bri. Love your guts despite not saving you even a leftover jalapeño stem.

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

My very favorite appetizer is a big tray of jalapeño poppers, and I’ve wanted a killer go-to recipe for a long time. I should have known I would find a great recipe from my friend, Nicole, food master and gluten-free guru that she is.

Nicole’s new cookbook is all about gluten-free small bites. Or in other words, sweet and savory bite-size and handheld treats.

What a fun treasure trove of gluten-free recipes! Many of the recipes can be made without buying a lot of special ingredients (I can easily swap in my everyday ingredients for the gluten-free ingredients). Perfect for conventional or gluten-free eaters.

There’s a lot to love in this little book.

And there’s also a lot to love with these stuffed jalapeño poppers.

I seriously cannot stop eating them when they are around. Their arrival in my life is provident timing considering there is a huge football game tonight (ahem, go Cougs!). As my family knows and can attest, the food is the best part of football season for me.

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

One Year Ago: My Favorite Kale Salad {Lemon Vinaigrette + Pecan Parmesan}
Two Years Ago: Homemade Nutter Butter Cookies {Simple Halloween Mummy Variation}
Three Years Ago: Soft Pretzel Rolls

Perfect Jalapeño Poppers {Gluten-Free}

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Ingredients:

  • 15 jalapeño peppers
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (not light), room temperature
  • 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free panko-style bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Put on disposable plastic gloves (the best option when working with this many jalapeños) and cut each jalapeño pepper in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and ribs.
  3. For the filling, mash together the cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese until combined. Fill each jalapeño evenly with the filling mixture, mounding it inside the empty shell of the jalapeño rather than pressing the filling flat (so it doesn’t leak out while baking).
  4. For the bread crumb topping, in a shallow dish toss together the panko bread crumbs with the garlic powder, salt, chili powder, smoked paprika and black pepper.
  5. Grab each jalapeño pepper by the bottom and roll the top (the part with the filling) in the bread crumbs so the mixture sticks to the cream cheese filling. Take care not to smash down the filling; try to keep it nice and mounded while still getting a healthy dose of bread crumbs stuck to it.
  6. Return the jalapeño to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining jalapeños. Sprinkle any remaining bread crumbs over the peppers for additional crunchiness. It’s ok if there’s a bit of bread crumb mixture left over – you don’t need to use it all.
  7. Bake the jalapeño poppers for 18-20 minutes until the peppers are tender and the bread crumbs are golden.
  8. Serve immediately.

Notes:

Smoked paprika, even though it’s a small amount, is key in this dish! Don’t leave it out if at all possible. Also, if you don’t have to worry about gluten-free eating, it’s obviously ok to use panko-style bread crumbs that aren’t gluten-free.

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Recipe Source: adapted a bit from my friend Nicole’s new cookbook: Gluten-Free Small Bites