These Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers are an easy appetizer recipe to make, and inherently gluten free - though you'd never know it by the taste!
This is the easiest way to make the perfect spicy appetizer for your next party - and you can choose from 2 coatings!
One thing that's difficult about living in Hamilton now is that the restaurant food is *off the charts*, pretty much everywhere.
I'm covered when it comes to pizza - Mai Pai is like... supernaturally good - a Deep Dish pizza that rivals non-GF versions. Pizza Nova is a chain, but makes a fantastic thin crust pizza that really is better than most normal thin crust pizzas, etc.
... but then my husband goes and orders Jalapeno poppers with a meal, and AAAAUGH.
They looked and smelled fantastic, I’m a sucker for spicy jalapenos, and jalapeno poppers are one of my favorite snacks!
Obviously I'd have to make my own homemade jalapeno poppers, because that started a spicy snacks craving that wasn't going to go away.
Also? More excuse to mess around with our new air fryer!
Spoiler: The air fryer was a GAME CHANGER for us!
Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers
While I love poppers, I'm not so big on deep frying. We got rid of our deep fryer when we moved, and I haven't really missed it.
Then, when the whole 2020 THING got going, we (curbside!) picked up an air fryer, and haven't looked back.
It’s been a great option not only for healthy eating, but for cooking in the extreme heat of summer!
So far, we've mostly done things that weren't wet battered in any way - it’s been a game changer for tater tots, fries, air fryer bacon, that sort of thing. (Air fryer chicken wings are the BEST, btw! Hot air > a lot of oil, IMHO!)
We hadn’t really played around with any actual air fryer recipes at that point, so making jalapeno poppers made me a bit nervous.
I've seen comments made about having to secure sandwiches with toothpicks, or that everything would "just fly around" in there.
I had no idea what to expect with something as fragile as a freshly breaded popper.
Well, my air fryer jalapeno poppers recipe worked out WONDERFULLY... honestly even better than deep frying. I suspect that the air in the air fryer is somewhat less rough on the stuffed jalapenos, than boiling oil.
They were the perfect poppers - All the crisp, delicious appetizers... without the grease and hassle. Score!
This is the perfect appetizer for game day, and just a great party appetizer in general.
Eventually, I’m going to have to convert some of my favorite recipes for deep fried goodies into bunch of easy air fryer recipes.
When designing my new jalapeno poppers recipe, I couldn't make up my mind on how I wanted to coat them, so I tried both ways. Both turned out fantastic, but both had a bit of caveat attached.
Here are some notes on each:
Gluten-Free Panko BreadCrumbs
We loved the flavour and texture of the poppers we coated with Kikkoman's Gluten Free Panko Crumbs, with one small note:
The "bread crumbs" in the panko bread crumbs were a bit big for our liking - much bigger then regular breadcrumbs. Since photographing this recipe, I’ve taken to running them through the food processor a bit, so they're a much finer crumb.
Either way, these are fantastic, crispy breadcrumbs.
Corn Flake Crumbs
The flavour and texture of these ones were amazing also... but corn flake crumbs ended up not being gluten-free here. (I swear I used GF corn flake crumbs at some point?).
It looks like that will vary between different brands, and even within a brand, in different countries.
If you are super sensitive to gluten, be sure to check before using corn flakes!
Otherwise, they're a great wheat-free alternative that even those who don't have an issue with wheat will love. Minimal prep, too!
I like to pick fairly large jalapenos that are straight (not curled), with smooth, unblemished skin.
Note: I like to wear gloves when cutting these spicy peppers - the jalapeño juice can BURN!
Gloves are a great way to avoid some pain later!
This recipe for the cheesy center uses both (room temperature, for best results!) cream cheese and cheddar cheese.
Gluten Free Flour
For this recipe, the type of GF flour you use... doesn’t really matter much. (Unlike the vast majority of my recipes!).
I’ll usually avoid the rice flours, as there’s not a lot of liquid/time for them to absorb, and they could end up gritty in this usage.
You will also need:
Cooking spray (I use spray olive oil)
Salt and Pepper
Try Different Cheeses
I’m a sucker for the traditional cream cheese and cheddar mix for these, but don’t be afraid to change it up a bit!
Swapping out some or all of the sharp cheddar cheese for a bit of feta cheese, Colby Jack, Parmesan cheese, or even smoked cheeses or a bit of goat cheese can bring some great flavours to this recipe!
Add Extra Flavour to the Cream Cheese Filling
Want to dress up the filling a bit? Try flavouring it different ways, adding some:
- Thinly sliced green onion. (I LOVE green onions!)
- Finely crumble up a crispy bacon slice or 2.
- Press or finely mince some fresh garlic.
- Season it with a bit of whatever you like. Some suggestions:
Low Carb Jalapeno Poppers
Looking for a low carb option?
Both feature stuffed jalapenos wrapped with a slice of bacon!
(Pro tip: Thin cut / restaurant cut bacon works better than thick-cut bacon).
Our Air Fryer
As I mentioned in my Honey Jeow Glazed Wings post on the main blog, we bought an air fryer back when the whole 2020 thing started up.
It seemed like a fun way to make some of the frozen foods that we bought - just in case - more palatable.
We had no idea what type of air fryer to get, so we just picked one with the best price/ratings combo... AND WE LOVED IT.
As of this update in June 2022, we’ve had it - and used it frequently - for over 2 years now. No complaints!
If I had my time back, I may have ordered this one - a size bigger - but we had no idea how much we'd use it, so we weren't really willing to pay more or sacrifice more counter space for it!
How to Make Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers
The full recipe - including the full list of ingredients - is in the recipe card at the end of this post. This is a pictorial walk through, with full instructions.
Prepare the Jalapenos
Fill a medium pot about halfway with water, bring to a boil.
As water is coming to a boil, slice jalapeno peppers in half - lengthwise - and use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds and ribs. I HIGHLY recommend using gloves while doing this!
A NOTE ON SAFETY: Boiling the jalapenos softens them, and absolutely makes for better poppers... but it can also basically create pepper gas in your kitchen. Don't get too close to the steam, and have a window open, if possible!
Strain jalapenos, rinse with cold water, blot jalapeño halves dry with paper towel, and set aside.
Fill the Jalapeno Poppers
In a medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Combine cream cheese with the cheddar, season with salt and black pepper to taste (You may not need the salt!)
Spoon cream cheese mixture into a pastry bag, cut enough tip off to make a ¾" hole.
Place stuffed jalapeños on a plate - or baking sheet lined with parchment paper - cover with plastic wrap, and chill until cheese firms up.
Coat the Jalapeno Poppers
Place GF flour in a small mixing bowl. In another small bowl, whisk your eggs. Measure your gluten-free crumbs into a third bowl.
One at a time, dip a jalapeno popper in the egg, gently shaking off excess.
Roll it in flour, again shaking off excess. Place each on a parchment lined work surface, as you finish.
One at a time, dip in egg. Allow excess egg to drip off, before rolling in crumbs. Return to parchment surface.
I like doing the prep work ahead of time, when time allows!
Sometimes I’ll make them later the same day, sometimes I just like having them in the freezer, ready as an easy spicy snacks!
Air Fry the Poppers
Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees F.
Spray each popper all over with cooking spray as you arrange them (cheese side up, to start) in a single layer in the basket of an air fryer.
Be sure to leave plenty of room between each popper for air flow - you will likely need to cook them in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer basket.
Air fry your jalapeno poppers for 12-14 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.
Serve hot, with ranch dressing to dip it in.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Best reheated in the air fryer for a few minutes.
- Cook time will vary based on your air fryer and the size of your poppers. The number of batches will depend on the size of your air fryer.
- If you’re cooking them from frozen, add a couple minutes to the cooking time, and flip them over at the halfway point.
More Gluten-Free Snacks and Delicious Appetizer Recipes!
Looking for even more fantastic gluten-free munchies that *everyone* will love? Look no further, I’ve got some great recipes for you !
Ahi Tuna Nachos
Gluten-Free Beaver Tail Recipe
Gluten Free Cheez-Its
Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets
Gluten Free Chicken Pakora
Gluten-Free Chicken Satay
Gluten Free Corn Dogs
Gluten-Free Doughnut Holes Recipe
Gluten Free Fried Brie
Gluten Free Mixed Vegetable Pakora
Gluten Free Mushroom Turnovers
Gluten-Free Paneer Pakora
Gluten Free Pizza Bites
Gluten-Free Samosa Recipe
Gluten Free Soft Pretzels
Gluten-Free Sauerkraut Buns [Piroshki]
Gluten Free Tempura
Jalapeno Popper Dip
Loaded Mini Baked Potatoes
Marinated Feta Cheese
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Gluten Free Jalapeno Poppers [Air fryer]
- 10 Jalapenos
- 8 oz Cream cheese softened
- 1 cup Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper
- GF flour of choice* We used Cassava flour
- 2 Large eggs
- 2 cups Gluten-Free Panko crumbs
- Cooking Spray
- Fill a medium pot about halfway with water, bring to a boil.
- As water is coming to a boil, slice jalapenos in half - lengthwise - and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and ribs. I HIGHLY recommend using gloves while doing this!
- Once water is boiling, add the jalapeno halves and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. (2 for more crisp, 3 more softer).
- Strain jalapenos, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
- Beat cream cheese until smooth, add cheddar and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste (You may not need the salt!)
- Spoon cheese mixture into a pastry bag, cut enough tip off to make a ¾" hole.
- Generously pipe cheese mixture into each jalapeno half, as shown. Place on a plate, chill until cheese firms up.
- Place GF flour in a small mixing bowl. In another small mixing bowl, whisk your eggs. Measure your gluten-free Panko crumbs into a third bowl.
- One at a time, dip a jalapeno popper in the egg, gently shaking off excess. Roll it in flour, again shaking off excess. Place each on a parchment lined work surface, as you finish.
- Once all have been coated with egg and flour, they need a second coating.
- One at a time, dip in egg. Allow excess egg to drip off, before rolling in panko crumbs. Return to parchment surface.
- The poppers can be chilled or frozen at this point, or you can proceed directly to air frying them:
- Preheat your air fryer to 350 F.
- Spray each popper all over with cooking spray as you arrange them (cheese side up, to start) in your basket.
- Be sure to leave plenty of room between each popper for air flow - you will likely need to cook them in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer.
- Air fry your jalapeno poppers for 12-14 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.
- Serve hot, with ranch dressing to dip it in.