Whether you’re hosting trivia night or a Super Bowl party, having a selection of hors oeuvres and nibbles ready and hot at the same time always presents a challenge. You’ve got chili in the slow cooker, wings in the fryer, and cheesy canapés in the oven. Now what?

Enter these air-fried jalapeño poppers. They’re quick to assemble, ready in less than 30 minutes, and can be cooked quickly without using oven or stovetop space. Hosting game day just became a lot more fun.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers were delighted that these crispy snacks were “simple to make with easy-to-find ingredients” and loved the convenience of making them in the air fryer.

Jennifer W. chimed in with, “Air fryer jalapeño poppers are a true crowd-pleaser any time of year. They are spicy and creamy with a touch of crunch, thanks to the panko crust.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for jalapeno poppers -- eggs, bread crumbs, Cheddar, jalapenos, onion and garlic powders, and whipped cream cheese.
  • Whipped cream cheese–You can substitute regular cream cheese here if you prefer a thicker filling.
  • Cheddar cheese–Regular or reduced-fat cheese will work in this recipe.
  • Jalapeño peppers–Choose large, firm, blemish-free peppers. If you use smaller-than-average jalapeños, reduce the cooking time by 2 to 3 minutes, and increase the number of peppers to use up all the filling.
  • Egg white–This will help the bread crumb topping stick to the poppers. Save your egg yolks for Hollandaise sauce or custard-based desserts, like this lemon meringue tart or dark chocolate ice cream.

How to Make This Recipe

Cheddar and cream cheese being mixed in a small bowl and three bowls -- one with cheese filling, one with egg white, and one with bread crumbs.
  1. Combine the cheese and half of the garlic and onion powders in a small bowl.
  2. Mix the panko, salt, pepper, and remaining garlic and onion powders in another bowl. Put the egg whites in a third bowl.
Six jalapeno poppers filled with cheese mixture and a bowl of egg whites and bread crumbs for dredging and a hand dipping one in bread crumbs.
  1. Cut the peppers in half and fill with the cream cheese filling mixture.
  2. Dip the pepper halves in the egg to coat, then cover in panko.
Uncooked jalapeno poppers in an air fryer, and the same batch of poppers cooked.
  1. Set the air fryer to 390°F. Add the peppers in a single layer.
  2. Cook until golden. Serve warm.

Common Questions

How spicy are jalapeños?

With an intensity of 2000 to 8000 Scoville units, jalapeño peppers are considered mildly spicy. Compared to other fresh chile peppers, they fall in the middle of the scale, with poblanos and shishitos being milder and Thai and habanero chiles being much spicier.

How can I make these less spicy?

If you are very sensitive to heat, make sure that you remove all of the seeds and white membrane from inside the peppers after halving them. You can also reduce the heat level in your peppers by soaking them in a mixture of 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water for an hour before cooking.

Can I double the recipe?

You can double or even triple the recipe if you’re feeding a big group. However, you will need to air fry the poppers in batches. Fry only as many poppers as will comfortably fit in a single layer in your air fryer basket.

Helpful Tips

  • Always wear gloves when handling hot peppers, and avoid touching your eyes.
  • After halving the peppers, run them under water to remove the seeds and membrane easily.
  •  To make your jalapeño poppers hotter, don’t remove all of the seeds and membrane after halving.
  •  If your jalapeño peppers are smaller than average, reduce the cooking time to 6 minutes.
  •  This recipe is suitable for a vegetarian diet.

More Great Air Fryer Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A grey plate filled with jalapeño popper halves and a bowl of white dip on the side.

Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers

5 from 1 vote
These easy jalapeño poppers are filled with a creamy cheese mixture, topped with crunchy panko, and air-fried until golden.
David Leite
Servings6 poppers
Calories66 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes



  • 1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, divided
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large jalapeño peppers
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (from 2 large eggs) or fat-free liquid egg substitute
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


  • In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, Cheddar, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/8 teaspoon onion powder. Mix thoroughly.
  • In a wide bowl, combine bread crumbs, salt, black pepper, remaining 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon onion powder. Mix well.
  • Place egg whites or egg substitute in a second wide bowl.
  • Halve jalapeño peppers lengthwise, and remove seeds and stems. Spread the cheese mixture into the pepper halves.
  • Coat the pepper halves with the egg, followed by the seasoned bread crumbs.
  • Spray an air fryer with nonstick spray. Place pepper halves in the air fryer, and spray with nonstick spray.
  • Set air fryer to 390ºF (200°C). Cook until golden brown and tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from the air fryer. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.


  1. Protect your hands–Always wear gloves when handling hot peppers, and avoid touching your eyes.
  2. Remove the seeds easily–After halving the peppers, run them under water to easily remove the seeds and membrane.
  3. Make it spicier–To make your jalapeño poppers hotter, leave some seeds and membrane behind after halving.
  4. For small jalapeños–If your jalapeño peppers are smaller than average, reduce the cooking time to 6 minutes.
  5. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for a vegetarian diet.
Hungry Girl Simply Comfort Cookbook

Adapted From

Hungry Girl Simply Comfort

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 popperCalories: 66 kcalCarbohydrates: 4 gProtein: 3 gFat: 4 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 12 mgSodium: 138 mgFiber: 0.4 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2022 Lisa Lillien. Photos © 2023 Angie Zoobkoff. Photo © 2023 Jennifer Davick. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

After putting it off for years, I finally gave in and joined the ranks of air-frying home cooks. And honestly? I haven’t stopped using it since.

These jalapeño poppers were really easy to whip up and cooked quickly. I used regular cheese (because low-fat cheese isn’t something I believe in) and regular cream cheese, which worked out just fine. I assume the addition of these two ingredients was to make them a little more diet-friendly, but we don’t roll that way around here, darlings. In fact, I saved the egg yolks and made eggs Benedict with them, so here we are.

I had enough filling to make an extra popper with a red mini pepper I had on hand. This might have been due to the size of the jalapeños I bought. Eight-half peppers made two servings; again, they weren’t all that big.

The spice level was perfect for those of us who don’t need fiery levels of heat in everything. Zippy but not unbearable. The coating was nice and crisp, while the interior was filled with gorgeous, creamy, and melty cheese after about 6 minutes. The red pepper was slightly more tender, so the jalapeños might need a minute more next time.

It’s football season, plus the farmer’s markets are brimming with fresh-grown peppers! This dish is the perfect food to have in one’s cooking arsenal this time of year. Plus, a bonus is making them in an air fryer.

The final product was tasty and easy to make. The amount of filling was adequate and was a nice taste combination with the peppers. If you want them hotter, then I would suggest leaving some of the seeds in the peppers.

Air fryer jalapeno poppers are a true crowd-pleaser any time of year. They’re spicy and creamy with a touch of crunch, thanks to the panko crust. As a vegetarian, I’m pleased with the ingredient list, but I’m sure you wouldn’t hear complaints if you added crumbled bacon to the cheese mixture.

A lot about this recipe depends on the peppers–how spicy and how big or small they are. I used peppers from my garden, and since they were on the small side, I used five small jalapenos to yield 10 halves enjoyed by the two of us.

I started by preheating the air fryer to be ready once the peppers were stuffed and rolled in egg white and panko. My only complaint about this recipe…it didn’t make enough!

I waffled on giving this recipe a TC rating, but as it can be customized to personal taste, I did give it one. It’s simple to make with easy-to-find ingredients and cooks quickly in the air fryer.

What didn’t wow me was how loose the filling in the peppers was when cooked. It was almost runny. It would have been better had regular cream cheese been used and more cheese added to the filling. That being said, it was still pretty tasty.

I made a second batch with more of the shredded cheddar in the mixture, and it was a little firmer when cooked, so it was easier to cut and eat. I also missed the bacon that usually wraps, or is in, this type of popper. I would add that next time.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Shrimp Toast

Crispy, golden, sesame-topped shrimp toast that’s just like what you’ll find at your favorite Chinese restaurant.

50 mins

Air Fryer Shoestring Fries

These shoestring fries have all the crispy, crunchy goodness you love about traditional French fries, but are made healthier in your air fryer.

35 mins

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating