These Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers are crispy thanks to a quick “fry” in the air fryer. Everyone will rave over the melty three-cheese filling and crunchy panko topping.
Crispy Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers
Oh, jalapeño poppers. How I love you. ? How I look forward to devouring you. I mean, who wouldn’t? A spicy jalapeño pepper, perfectly bite-sized, fried up into mellow, yet still sliiiightly spicy perfection, and filled with cheese? Yes. Please. I’ll take a dozen.
My recipe for jalapeño poppers is so simple, but the combination of three kinds of cheese, fresh garlic, and chives gives you flavor for days! If you’ve never made real homemade jalapeño poppers, I’m sure you’ll love these—and you’ll love how easy they are to make.
For even more super ideas, be sure to check out my archive of easy air fryer recipes.
Why Use an Air Fryer?
Air Fryers make frying up your favorite snacks so much easier, and healthier! Unlike deep frying, which uses a lot of oil and can be very time-consuming, air fryers get the job done with just a spritz or two of oil and a very easy process.
Just pop the ingredients in the air fryer, spray on a little bit of non-aerosol cooking spray (or your favorite cooking oil), and push a button! A few minutes later, you have amazing jalapeño poppers with the perfect texture. The breading is sizzling and crunchy, the pepper is perfectly soft, and the cheesy filling is ooey, gooey, scrumptious.
Here’s a rundown of the recipe ingredients (for the full recipe card with amounts and nutrition facts, scroll on down to the bottom of the post).
- Cream Cheese: Soften the cream cheese to room temperature. You can use low-fat cream cheese here, if you prefer.
- Cheddar Cheese: Sharp cheddar is the best! It really adds a powerful punch of flavor, and melts beautifully. Finely grate it (or buy it pre-shredded).
- Feta Cheese: Crumbled feta is my secret weapon! It’s extra tangy, and elevates the dish in a special way. If you don’t have feta, use crumbled goat cheese instead, or substitute more cheddar.
- Garlic: Mince or press fresh garlic for the brightest flavor. Garlic powder is fine, though, if you prefer to use that.
- Chives: I use chopped fresh chives, but dried chives will work as well.
- Salt and Pepper
- Jalapeño Peppers: You’ll need to halve the jalapeños lengthwise, and remove the seeds (more on that in a minute).
- Panko: Use regular panko breadcrumbs, or for a low-carb version, use pork rind panko.
- Cooking Spray: Make sure to use non-aerosol cooking spray to avoid damaging the finish on your air fryer basket.
How to Hollow Out a Jalapeño Pepper
To hollow out your jalapeños, the easiest way is to just cut the jalapeños lengthwise, leaving you with two identical halves. Then, take a teaspoon and gently scrape the seeds and any white membrane away.
Be sure to wear gloves if your hands/skin are at all sensitive or dry, since jalapeño juice can really burn sensitive skin! And your eyes, if you touch ’em. Been there, done that. ouch! ?
How to Make Jalapeño Poppers in the Air Fryer
Now that you’ve got your ingredients list nailed down, here’s how to make these addictive little appetizers. The process is really easy, and even fun!
- Preheat the Air Fryer and Make the Filling Mixture. Before you get started, make sure to preheat air fryer to 325˚F. Preheating tends to give the best results. Next, mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, feta, garlic, chives, salt, and pepper in a big bowl. Use a spoon or fork to stir everything together until it’s well-blended.
- Stuff the Jalapeño Halves. Line up your jalapeño (cleaned out) halves on a plate or tray. Use a tablespoon to stuff each jalapeño half with 2 tablespoons or so of the cheesy filling.
- Arrange the Poppers in the Air Fryer Basket. Spritz the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Then arrange the poppers in the basket in one layer. Don’t crowd the basket, and don’t stack the poppers or have them overlapping. Top each popper with crumbs, and give them a light spritz with a bit more oil.
- Cook. Air-fry the poppers for 15 minutes or so, until cheese is melted and gooey, and peppers are tender.
Tips & Variation Ideas
Here are my best tips and hacks for making awesome jalapeño poppers. Read on, and happy cooking!
- Protect Your Hands: If you do find that your hands are stinging or burning from the jalapeño peppers, wash them, and then rub them well with a small amount of oil. Wash again. The oil helps dissolve the spicy jalapeño liquid and wash it off your hands.
- Add Bacon: You can definitely wrap each popper in half a strip of bacon before frying (use a toothpick to secure the bacon), or just sprinkle diced, cooked bacon into the filling.
- Make Ahead: If you want to make these ahead for a gathering, simply prep everything up until air frying the poppers. Then cook them just before you’re ready to serve. Or you can cook them and then reheat the poppers in the oven. See more on how to do that towards the end of this post.
Want to Make These in the Oven?
If you don’t have an air fryer or just want to make these in the oven instead, here’s how to do it: Arrange them on a baking sheet, and bake at 425°F for 10 to 15 minutes. So easy!
What to Serve with Jalapeño Poppers
To serve these, I like to create a sampling of several appetizers. It’s perfect for an afternoon of snacking, or even for a “small plate” type of meal.
- Skewers: Anything on a skewer is automatically more festive, especially when it’s these Grilled Chimichurri Steak Skewers! They are so tangy, garlicky, and tender. Yum.
- Shrimp: I adore shrimp, and this easy recipe pairs them with barbecue sauce for an out-of-this-world sweet and savory snack! Skillet Barbecue Shrimp—so much to love.
- Crack Chicken: Serve it with bagel chips. Serve it with pita chips. Serve it with crudites. Whatever you do, just make this addictive Slow Cooker Crack Chicken! It’s full of creamy, cheesy, bacon-y goodness!
- Dips: This Buffalo Chicken Dip was pretty much made for game day type gatherings, as was this easy Artichoke Dip.
How to Store and Reheat Extras
- Refrigerate leftover poppers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Reheat your jalapeño poppers in the oven at 350°F. Just place them on a wire rack or cookie sheet, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until hot and crispy. For extra crispiness, broil for a minute or two.
Can I Make These in Advance and Freeze Them?
- Yes! Jalapeño poppers actually freeze very well. Just flash-freeze them in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet, and then transfer to freezer bags or airtight containers.
- Frozen jalapeño poppers will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. Reheat directly from frozen, adjusting the cooking time (frozen poppers will take 5 to 10 minutes longer to reheat, depending on the size of the jalapenos and your oven).
Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chives
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 fresh jalapenos, halved lengthwise and seeded
- ¼ cup pork rind crumbs, or you can use panko crumbs
- Cooking spray
- Preheat Air Fryer to 325˚F.
- In a large mixing bowl combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, feta, garlic, chives, salt, and pepper; mix and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture into each jalapeno pepper half.
- Lightly grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray.
- Working in batches, arrange poppers in a single layer in the basket.
- Top poppers with panko crumbs and spritz the panko crumbs with cooking spray.
- Cook the poppers for 15 to 18 minutes, or until cheese is melted and peppers are tender.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.