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.
Ingredients (full recipe below)
- Shredded Monterey jack cheese
- Cream cheese
- Jalapeno peppers
- Kosher salt
- Bread crumbs
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
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.
HOW TO MAKE JALAPENO POPPER BITES
After you have cooked and crumbled the bacon as well as seeded and diced the jalapeno peppers, shred the Monterey jack cheese. I like to buy blocks of cheese and shred them myself for the best results. Next, mince the garlic and combine the shredded cheese, cream cheese, jalapenos, bacon, and garlic in a large bowl.
Once you have the cheeses mixed with the bacon, peppers, and garlic, scoop out about a tablespoon of the mixture and form it into a ball. Place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet, repeating with the rest of the cheese mixture. I was able to make 15 cheese curds with this recipe. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and chill for about 30 minutes before continuing with the recipe.
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.
- 1 cup 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
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 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 1/4 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.