Air Fryer Armadillo Eggs are an appetizer made with stuffed jalapeno peppers that are encased in seasoned ground sausage and wrapped with slices of thick-cut bacon. Try my Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites for another bacon-wrapped appetizer.
AIR FRYER ARMADILLO EGGS
Armadillo Eggs, which are not eggs at all, get their name from the appearance of an armadillo’s shell. The bacon wrapped around the outside of the ‘egg’ (sausage-wrapped jalapeno pepper) represents the bands in the animal’s shell. This is a hearty appetizer that takes jalapeno poppers to a new level. And, the best part is, our version of this recipe is keto-friendly and cooked in an air fryer!
ARMADILLO EGGS INGREDIENTS
As I stated, there are no eggs in this recipe. But, there is plenty of savory deliciousness in every bite! And, it’s a keto-friendly appetizer!
Jalapeno Peppers: You will be boiling and stuffing the whole jalapeno pepper. To do this, hollow out the pepper by cutting off the stem and removing the seeds.
Cream Cheese Mixture: Make sure the cream cheese is softened before mixing with the cheddar cheese and garlic.
Sausage Mixture: I used both pork sausage and Italian sausage in the appetizer, along with brown sugar, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
Bacon: We used thick-cut bacon in this recipe, so the cooking times are based on that. If you do use regular bacon, you may have to adjust the final few minutes of cooking time (after the sausage has been fully cooked to 160°F).
PREPARING THE JALAPENO PEPPERS
To get the jalapeno peppers prepared for this appetizer, first, wash the peppers and cut the top off (where the stem is). Next, use a paring knife to carefully cut around the seeds and pith to remove it from the pepper. Continue to run the knife around the inside of the pepper to hollow it out. You may want to wear gloves for this since you never really know how hot the peppers are!
Once the peppers are hollowed out, fill a large saucepan halfway full of water and set it over high heat until the water is boiling. Add the hollowed-out jalapeno peppers to the boiling water and let boil for 5 minutes. Drain the water and remove the jalapenos from the saucepan. Boiling the jalapenos makes them softer; however, you could skip this step. Let them cool until they are cool enough to touch.
HOW TO MAKE AIR FRYER ARMADILLO EGGS
After the jalapenos have been hollowed out, boiled, and cooled, make the cream cheese filling. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and garlic. Mix until well blended. Stuff each jalapeno pepper with the mixture all the way to the top.
Next, in a medium bowl, mix together the pork sausage, Italian sausage, brown sugar, minced garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Scoop out about a quarter cup of the sausage mixture and form it into a patty or disc shape. Wrap the sausage around a stuffed jalapeno pepper, making sure to cover the entire stuffed pepper and seal it. It will look like an egg, or as in this case, a giant egg!
Finally, wrap two slices of thick-cut bacon around the outside of the sausage and secure with a toothpick, if needed. Repeat with the remaining jalapenos, and, working in batches, add the armadillo eggs to the basket of an air fryer. Bake for 15 minutes at 400°F, flip them over, and bake another 10 minutes.
The internal temperature of the sausage should be 160°F when cooked. That takes about 20 minutes, with the extra 5 minutes of cooking time to crisp up the bacon. Again, I used thick-cut bacon, so the cooking time is based on that. If you do use thin-cut bacon, you may not need to cook a full 5 minutes after the sausage is completely cooked; you will have to watch to monitor that.
CAN I MAKE ARMADILLO EGGS IN THE OVEN?
This recipe was specifically made for an air fryer. I would not recommend cooking these in an oven (the bacon never got crispy). You could also grill them or smoke them.
WHAT IS THE BEST AIR FRYER?
I have tested 3 brands in my home and I recommend the Ninja Air Fryer. (affiliate link) You can go up a size if needed, but it is superior in achieving consistent results and also ease of use. I’ve been very happy with this Air Fryer!
- 8 large jalapeño peppers
Cream Cheese Mixture
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 pound pork sausage
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 16 slices bacon, thick-cut
Preheat an air fryer to 400°F.
Remove the stem and use a paring knife to carefully remove the insides of the jalapeno peppers.
Fill a large saucepan halfway with water set it over high heat until boiling.
Add the jalapeños to the boiling water for 5 minutes.
Drain the water and remove the jalapeno peppers. Allow them to cool enough to touch.
Cream Cheese Mixture
In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, cheese, and garlic and mix until well blended.
Stuff each hollowed-out jalapeño with the cream cheese mixture, all the way to the top.
In a medium bowl, mix together pork sausage, Italian sausage, brown sugar, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
Scoop out ¼ cup of the meat mixture and make a disc (or patty) shape. Wrap the disc around the stuffed jalapeño, sealing it inside. (It should look like an egg).
Wrap two slices of bacon around the outside of the meat, and secure with a toothpick as needed. Repeat with the remaining jalapeños.
Working in batches, add the armadillo eggs to the air fryer basket. Bake for 15 minutes. Then, flip and cook for an additional 10 minutes. The appetizer is done when the internal temperature of the sausage is 160°F and the bacon is crispy.