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Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers

It's everyone's favorite appetizer—faster!

the pioneer woman's air fryer jalapeno poppers
Caitlin Bensel

It's a proven fact: an air fryer transforms the way you cook! This handy oven speeds up the cook time of jalapeño poppers—one of the best foods for tailgating or finger food for serving a crowd—to only five minutes per batch. Just five minutes and all that cheesy, spicy, crunchy deliciousness is yours! Of all the many air fryer recipes out there, these air fryer jalapeño poppers are one of the best—your guests are guaranteed to love it!

What's the best way to handle fresh jalapeños?

Ever gotten jalapeño juice in your eye? It burns! But don't be scared: just grab some rubber gloves. Spicy peppers like jalapeños aren't a problem until they're cut open—the heat lives in the seeds and ribs. Use a spoon to scrape those away, and you're good to go. No gloves? No problem. Place a halved pepper in your palm, cut side up. Use a spoon to scrape the seeds and ribs away into a bowl, being careful to avoid touching them. If the juices do get on your hands, rub them with olive oil, and wash with warm soapy water to beat the heat.

How do I make jalapeño poppers less spicy?

Believe it or not, these jalapeño poppers aren't that spicy. The trick to taming the heat is to use a spoon to scrape away all of the ribs and seeds from inside the peppers. Once that task is done, and the inside of the peppers are a rich green color with little or no white remaining, the stuffed peppers will be quite tame. Looking for even milder jalapeño poppers? Swap the pickled jalapeño peppers in the cheese mixture for mild, diced pimento peppers, which are sweet like red bell peppers, with little to no heat.

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Yields: 6 - 8 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 10 mins
Total Time: 0 hours 20 mins

jalapeño peppers

2 c.

shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 5 oz.)

4 oz.

cream cheese, softened

2 tbsp.



slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 

1/4 c.

diced pickled jalapeños, drained

1/4 c.

finely chopped red onion

1/2 tsp.

salt, divided

1/2 tsp.

smoked paprika, divided

1/2 tsp.

garlic powder, divided

1/2 c.

panko breadcrumbs

Ranch dressing, for serving

  1. Cut the jalapeño peppers in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out and discard the seeds and ribs from the peppers. Set the halved peppers aside.
  2. Stir together the cheddar, cream cheese, mayonnaise, bacon, pickled jalapeños, onion and 1/4 teaspoon each salt, paprika, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Stir together the panko breadcrumbs, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each paprika and garlic powder in a small bowl.
  3. Fill each pepper half with the cheese mixture, and place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops of the peppers evenly with the breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Transfer half of the stuffed peppers to an air fryer basket sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and space evenly. Spray tops of peppers with cooking spray. Cook at 380° for 5 to 7 minutes, until the tops are browned and cheese mixture is melty.
  5. Place the cooked peppers okra on a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in a 200° oven while air-frying the remaining stuffed peppers.
  6. Serve jalapeño poppers with ranch dressing, if you like.

Love spicy food? Stir a pinch of cayenne pepper into the cheese mixture to crank up the heat.

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