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

Even though the excuse is usually reasonable (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. They are so insanely good that they literally were gobbled up before I even had time to think about Brian (in my defense, I only made a half batch this time, and I learned that my kids have a thing for jalapeño poppers, so I had help devouring). Sorry, Bri. Love your guts despite not saving you even a leftover jalapeño stem.

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

Jalapeño poppers are one of my very favorite appetizers, and I’ve wanted a killer go-to recipe for a long time. I should have known my friend, Nicole, food master and gluten-free guru that she is, would come through with a recipe.

I’ve never met anyone who is more specific, careful, and meticulous with recipes than Nicole. She’s amazing, and it’s no wonder she’s as successful as she is. I have very few friends that are bloggers, but Nicole is one of them. She has always been so genuine and kind to me, which isn’t always easy to find in the blogging world (especially when you are a keep-to-yourself homebody like me).

I am so proud of Nicole; I truly don’t know any blogger that works as hard as she does. When I found out her new cookbook was being released, I knew immediately I wanted to help get the word out. And then when I found out she had a recipe for jalapeño poppers in the book, I begged her to let me have at it.

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

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! Maybe I’m not allowed to say this (will I get in trouble?), but I love that so many of the recipes can be made whether you are gluten-free or not without buying a lot of special ingredients (I can easily swap in my everyday ingredients for the gluten-free ingredients). 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, and their arrival in my life is provident timing considering there is a huge football game tonight (ahem, go Cougs!), and as my family knows and can attest, I’m mostly excited about football season because of the food.

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}

Yield: Makes 30 jalapeño poppers

Perfect Jalapeño Poppers {Gluten-Free}

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.


  • 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


  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.

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

24 Responses to Perfect Jalapeño Poppers {Gluten-Free}

  1. Linda says:

    Made these the Saturday of the NCAA football national championship games. Forgot to buy cream cheese at the store, but had a 10 oz. log of goat cheese in the fridge. Very yummy!

  2. Pauline says:

    Oh WOW!!!! These came out wonderfully!

    Since my husband works out of state, I don’t have to share (YEA!). I did make the entire recipe, but just bake a couple at a time. The cream cheese mixture and panko mixture keep very nicely. I did end up turning the broiler on for the last minute or two. Thanks, AGAIN!

  3. Jay says:

    Super good and easy to prepare. Thanks

  4. Shelly E. says:

    Made these yesterday for game day and they were super good and much easier than my normal popper recipe. Thanks Mel!

  5. Sarah D says:

    Hi Mel! I made these last night as an appetizer for a dinner party and they were a hit! Everyone (even the kids) loved them! I need to make some more so I can get my fair share!

  6. Amy W. says:

    So excited about this recipe, and about your friend’s gluten-free site! I signed up for her newsletter and can’t wait to get baking! Thanks so much! You’re the best!!

  7. Brooke says:

    Hi! I’m trying to purchase your ebook and having trouble. I click on the link in the sidebar and it takes me to a screen that says “pay” but when I click on it the page refreshes and nothing changes. Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

  8. Laurie says:

    Hi Mel, any thoughts on making these ahead of time and freezing them, or even just the night before and refrigerating them?

    • Mel says:

      Yes, I for sure think you could make them the night before and refrigerate; I’d probably add the bread crumb topping right before baking though so it doesn’t get soggy.

  9. Nicole Hunn says:

    Thank you, Mel! All the kindness right back atcha.

    xoxo Nicole

  10. Fiona Chain says:

    Hi Mel, oh my these sound delish. My darling mum used to pickle jalapeños and I would eat them with country cheese biscuits and loads of butter. I am thinking that these little bites would be similar in taste. Will be trying this recipe very soon. Have a wonderful weekend.

  11. Carrie says:

    I’ve never made these before and they look delicious! Maybe a dumb question, but do you eat the stem part?

  12. Michelle says:

    I really would like to take these to a football party. Would the top stay crisp if was 30 minutes before people ate them?

  13. Paige says:

    Jalapeno poppers are one of my favorite foods, and yet I’ve never made them! Time to change that up!


  14. Renay says:

    Well this is just perfect! I had to clean out the garden last night because it was supposed to hard freeze (it didn’t) and now I have a counter full of jalapenos just waiting to be poppers!

  15. Mel says:

    These look absolutely delicious! And now I am sad that I have to work the rest of the day instead of trying this recipe right this instant! These are going to be on the table for sure tonight!

  16. Heather says:

    I *love* Gluten Free on a Shoestring, but somehow I missed that she has a new book! Thank you for bringing it to my attention – can’t wait to try it. I know Nicole’s stuff is usually excellent, as is yours, so this double endorsement will have me making these in no time!

  17. Alicia says:

    I actually have never tried a jalapeno popper, but my husband loves them. I just might have to make them for the next Cougars’ game (no time today) — these look yummy!

    I had to mention, because I didn’t see you post about it, a CONGRATS on being in the top 30 of the top 100 food blogs (I just saw a list online yesterday) — well deserved! You’re #1 in my book, and my go-to site. 🙂

  18. Katee says:

    These look wonderful. Thank you! I love it when BYU plays BSU (I am cougar but am from Boise). I thought I wouldn’t care who wins because I love both teams. However I’ve realized how blue I bleed. Go Cougs!!!

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