Jalapeno Popper Bites give you all the flavors of my bacon jalapeno poppers in a lightly breaded and fried cheesy bacon mixture. For another bite-sized appetizer, try my Bacon Ranch Cheeseball Bites.
Jalapeno Popper Bites
Jalapeno Popper Bites are just the right size to pack in as much jalapeno popper flavors in each little bite. Loaded with cream cheese, shredded cheese, jalapeno peppers, and bacon, this appetizer really ‘pops’ (Get it?😀). It’s not too spicy, but it has just enough kick to satisfy those spicy food lovers out there.
Jalapeno Popper Bites Recipe
With a little prep work, it’s easy to get these flavorful and cheesy bites coated and lightly fried to perfection! I will let you know how you can bake the bacon ahead of time so you have it ready to use in this recipe, as well as the best way to seed and dice the jalapeno peppers.
How to Seed and Dice a Jalapeno Pepper
Jalapeno peppers are hot peppers, so be careful when you cut them! If you have any cuts on your hands, I would suggest to wear food-safe gloves, or be prepared to feel some pain if some oil gets in those cuts! If you don’t have gloves, just be sure to wash your hands with white vinegar and cold water when you are done with the jalapenos.
There are a couple of ways you can seed and cut a jalapeno. One way is to simply slice the jalapeno down the middle, vertically, and carefully remove the seeds with a spoon. Another way to remove the seeds is to hold the jalapeno up by the stem–you can always cut across the bottom of the pepper so it can stand a little flatter– and slice along the sides of the pepper, hopefully leaving the seeds attached to the core.
Then, simply stack the pepper strips and chop them into pieces, throwing away the core and seeds, of course. Remember, the capsaicin (what makes the pepper hot) will be on your hands, so don’t touch your fingers to your mouth or eyes until you wash your hands.
Coating the Cheese Balls
Remove the cheese balls from the freezer and prepare them for frying. Take out three deep plates or bowls. On the first plate, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper. On the second plate, whisk the two eggs with water. Finally, combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper on the third plate.
Dip the cheese balls in the flour mixture, followed by the egg and water mixture, and then, the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure the cheese balls are well coated after each step.
Frying the Jalapeno Popper Bites
Once the cheese balls are coated, heat up the oil in a large skillet. The oil should measure about 1/4-inch in depth. Heat the oil to 350°F, checking the temperature with a candy thermometer. A candy thermometer, also known as a deep-fry thermometer or sugar thermometer, is used to measure the temperature of a sugar solution. It is definitely an important tool to have when making candy or checking hot oil temperatures.
If you don’t have a thermometer, it usually takes 12-15 minutes for the oil to reach a temperature of 350°F. You can always try a few testing methods as well:
- One method to test the oil temperature is to put the handle of a wooden spoon into the hot oil. The oil will start to bubble steadily when it’s good to go. If you are seeing the oil bubbling like crazy, it’s too hot and needs to cool down a bit. If there are only a few to no bubbles, it’s not hot enough.
- Another method is using a 1-inch square of bread. Carefully put the bread into the oil and if it browns in 60 seconds, the oil is ready.
- My favorite method is the popcorn test. Put a kernel of popcorn into the pan of oil as soon as you begin heating up the oil. As soon as that kernel pops, the oil is ready!
Once the oil is hot enough, fry the cheese balls for about 3 minutes, making sure to get each of the cheese balls a golden brown. Place the lightly fried cheese balls on a plate with a paper towel to soak up extra oil. Serve hot, with a side of ranch dressing or a dipping sauce of your choice.
Can I Make Jalapeno Popper Bites Ahead of Time?
Yes! You can get this appetizer made, fried, and stored in the freezer. Or, you can get them coated and freeze them before frying. If storing after frying, first, let the bites cool to room temperature. Next, place the bites onto a lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for an hour or two, or until solid. After that, store the bites in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
If freezing before frying, place the bites on a lined baking sheet to harden. Then, store in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Be sure to label and date the packaging.
Air Fryer Jalapeno Popper Bites
If you want to make this appetizer in the air fryer, you can! Follow the instructions until frying in oil. Instead, air fry the bites for 5-7 minutes at 350°F, or until they reach your desired crispness.
Jalapeno Popper Bites
- 1 cup (113 g) Monterey jack cheese, freshly shredded
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 medium jalapeños, seeded and finely diced
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- ½ cup (62.5 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 cup (108 g) plain bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- vegetable or canola oil
- In a large bowl combine the shredded cheese, cream cheese, jalapenos, cooked bacon, and garlic.
- Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and form it into a tight ball. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cheese mixture.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and chill for about 20-30 minutes.
- Set out three wide and deep plates.
- On plate one, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper.
- On plate two, whisk together the eggs and water.
- On plate three, whisk together the bread crumbs, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
- Dredge each cheese ball into the flour first, then the eggs and water mixture, and finally the bread crumb mixture. Ensure that the cheese ball is well coated after each step. Repeat with remaining cheese balls.
- In a large skillet, heat a ¼ inch of oil over medium heat (should register about 350°F).
- Working in batches, fry the cheese balls until golden brown on all sides (about 3 minutes).
- Set on a paper towel to soak up excess oil.
- Serve hot.
Did you make this recipe?
You can tag me at @iamhomesteader.
Can you make these in an air fryer?
Hi, Angie! I work with iamhomesteader and am happy to help with questions. Yes, you could make these Jalapeno Popper Bites in the air fryer. Follow the instructions until frying in oil. Instead, air fry the bites for 5-7 minutes at 350°F, or until they reach your desired crispness. I hope this helps, and have a great day!
Have you made ahead & froze? Before or after frying?
Hi, Kelly! I work with iamhomesteader and am happy to help with questions. The jalapeno popper bites can be assembled and frozen before frying or frozen after being fried in the oil. If freezing before frying, first, place the coated bites in the freezer for an hour or two before storing them in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. If freezing after frying, let the bites cool completely. Then, place them in the freezer until solid, followed by storing them in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. I hope this helps, and have a fantastic day!
Did you instantly fry the frozen ones or do you let slightly defrost?
How do you reheat if taking to a party the same day after frying them?
Great recipe, ran out of jalapeño peppers, I used hot yellow wax. Might have killed myself.
I usually experiment when I cook.
lol Glad you lived to talk about it!
Can you make ahead and freeze?