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Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Baked Jalapeno Poppers
Photo by Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post


Everything about jalapeño poppers is fun. It’s no wonder they’re a bar food staple. They require minimal commitment — each is just a bite or two with no cutlery necessary. As the name suggests, you just pop one in your mouth and let the flavor begin. Inside their golden crisp coating there’s the thrill of the pepper and eating it is a little like accepting a playful dare, because you never know exactly how much heat it will pack. No worries though, because the center is packed with a creamy, cheesy filling to immediately quench any heat.

This recipe delivers all that enjoyment, but in a more healthful way than the typical fried version, so you feel just as good after eating them as you do while you are popping away. These are baked, so while they are amply crispy thanks to their olive oil-coated panko bread crumb crust, they are not at all greasy. Also, their creamy stuffing is less dense, taking advantage of a light blend of cheeses, ricotta and whipped cream cheese spiked with just enough shredded Monterey Jack. You will love serving them at a game-day party not only because they are fun for your guests, but also because they can be made in advance and reheated — which means you’ll be in on the fun as well.


Baked Jalapeno Poppers



½ cup packed, grated Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces)
1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
10 medium fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded and deveined, stems trimmed to ½-inch long
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
2 large eggs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing the pan



Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush a baking sheet lightly with oil. In a small bowl stir together the Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and cilantro. Fill each jalapeno half with about two teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture.

Put the flour on a plate and season with ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. In a small bowl beat the egg. Put the breadcrumbs on another plate and season them with the garlic powder and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Toss the seasoned breadcrumbs with olive oil to combine.

Toss each stuffed jalapeno in the flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess. Each piece should be coated all around in the mixture. Place the coated jalapenos, cut side up, onto the baking tray.  Bake on the upper rack until coating is golden brown and crisp and cheese has melted a bit, 30-35 minutes.


Makes 6-8 servings

Serving size 2-3 poppers


Per serving (2 poppers): Calories 90 ; Total Fat 6 g; (Sat Fat 4 g); Protein 4 g; Carb 6 g; Fiber 0  g; Cholesterol 40 mg; Sodium 160 mg, Total Sugar 0  g (Added Sugar 0 g)

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