3 Cheese Jalapeno Poppers are stuffed with 3 types of cheese and bold herbs and spices. Next, it’s coated in a light breadcrumb mixture, and then deep fried to perfection!
Last weekend, while John.e and McKenna went into town to pick up pizza for dinner, I decided to make some appetizers. One of those were these 3 Cheese Jalapeno Poppers. With quite a few jalapenos and lots of cheese on hand, they would go great with pizza!
I knew I had time to prepare everything, fry them, and then photograph them too. But, I needed to keep them warm until they arrived back home with the pizza. I’ll tell you how I did that, but first, let’s talk about jalapenos!
OVERCOMING MY FEAR OF JALAPENOS
Yes, that might sound funny, but I used to be so afraid of anything that was spicy. I used to think that just be touching jalapenos I would put myself at risk. You see, I would surely be that one person who would rub his eye right after! It took me years to master the ability to eat spicy food.
You must understand, Dear Reader, I grew up in a house where the spiciest and hottest ingredient ever used with regular black pepper. Even that was used sparingly! Eventually, I was able to increase my heat/spice level tolerance bit by bit until I could comfortably eat a jalapeno.
Now, I think we have jalapenos on hand all the time. I’ve even managed to incorporate them into many of our regular dishes. Both John.e and McKenna will eat them too, which totally surprised me! I think the key is removing the heat factor first – the seeds!
PREPPING THE JALAPENOS
To properly prepare the jalapenos, these are the steps you should take. First and foremost, like in the case of all produce, you should wash the jalapenos first. Once washed, cut the jalapenos lengthwise into two even halves. Notice that I tried to cut straight through the stem and left it on. You can trim it if you wish.
Next, use the back of a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds. I hold the jalapeno half in the palm of my hand to support it. This will prevent the jalapeno from breaking. I find that if they are really fresh and crisp, the snap easier if pressure is applied to them.
The next thing you want to do is to dry each jalapeno half really well with paper towels. Ensuring that they’re really dry will most certainly result in the egg and crumb mixture sticking better. Once they are all dried, you can start with the filling
FILLING AND FREEZING
To fill the jalapeno halves with the cheese mixture, I like to use a small spatula. A spoon is a little to rough, but a spatula will allow you to get the cheese into the cavity without breaking the jalapeno.
Be sure to really fill in the cavity. In fact, you will want to mound the cheese mixture. Al of the cheese should be evenly distributed among the jalapenos. Remember that once cheese heats up, it will melt and therefore, deflate. By overfilling, you’ll ensure that the jalapeno poppers are nice and plump.
Now that they’re filled, you will need apply the coating. Working with one jalapeno popper at a time, roll it into the egg and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat and set the prepared popper onto a sheet pan. Once done, place in your freezer for one hour. Yes – one hour! The poppers won’t be frozen solid, but will be cold enough to deep fry without making a mess.
DEEP FRYING SUCCESS
Be sure you’re frying oil is hot enough before you drop your poppers in. The optimum frying temperature is 350 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the temperature of the oil by dropping in a pinch of the leftover breadcrumb mixture. If it sizzles and floats to the top, the oil is ready.
I have an electric stove with a 1-10 dial for the burner temperature. When frying these, I kept the heat between 7 and 8. This is meant just as a guide – each stove is different, so do the breadcrumb test.
When ready, fry the poppers in batches. Lower four or five poppers into the oil and allow them to fry until golden brown. Turn them over and fry them for another minute or two. Remove from the oil and place onto a wire cooling rack with a sheet pan underneath to catch any oil that drops.
Depending on the amount of moisture in the jalapeno, the crispy batter might be a little loose on the jalapeno side of the popper. The batter covering the cheese though, will be crispy and secure. And, that’s most important. I tend to always get a few poppers without any batter on the bottom, because it falls off, so don’t worry about it.
MAKING JALAPENO POPPERS AHEAD OF TIME
Yes, you can do this, but the poppers do get a little compromised. Once fried, I like to place them in the oven on that wire rack we talked about. The oven is set at 200 degrees. This will keep the cheese melted and gooey. However, the popper will lose some of it’s crispiness.
In our home, we are fine with that. The jalapeno itself still has crunch left to it and the taste far outweighs the need for a crispy exterior. If you must have crunch, re-heat the oil and drop them in for a minute just until the batter is crispy again. You can also place them under a broiler for a minute or two to crisp them up.
I served these with hot cheese sauce, but they would be really good with ranch dressing too!
3 Cheese Jalapeno Poppers
- 8-10 jalapenos, cut lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 cups seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- oil for frying
- Once the jalapenos have been prepped, dry each jalapeno half really well with paper towels and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, use a handheld mixer to cream the cream cheese. Add the goat cheese and beat into the cream cheese.
- Next, add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, basil, black pepper, and salt. Beat to combine.
- Lastly, fold in the shredded cheddar cheese.
- To assemble the poppers, use a small spatula to fill in the cavity of each jalapeno. Mound the cheese mixture. All of the cheese should be evenly distributed among the jalapenos. Set aside.
- Pour the breadcrumb mixture into a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the water.
- Next, working with one jalapeno popper at a time, roll it into the egg and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat and set the prepared popper onto a sheet pan.
- Once done, place in freezer for one hour.
- When ready to fry, heat oil to 350 degrees.
- Fry the poppers in batches. Lower four or five poppers into the oil and allow them to fry until golden brown. Turn them over and fry them for another minute or two. Remove from the oil and place onto a wire cooling rack with a sheet pan underneath to catch any oil that drops.
- Plate, garnish, and serve immediately or place in 200 degree oven to keep warm.