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Homemade Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers

These Homemade Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers are a quick and easy appetizer or snack that has all the flavor but none of the oil or extra calories since there’s no frying!

Do you love jalapeño poppers but have been a little intimidated to try making them from scratch at home? Don’t be! Using the air fryer makes it so fast and simple!

That’s right. In only about 20 minutes, you could be enjoying these little bites of deliciousness that are just as good – if not better – than any deep-fried jalapeño popper I’ve ever had!

They’ve got it all…spicy jalapeños, a flavorful creamy cheese filling, and buttery, crunchy breadcrumbs.

And since they’re not fried, there’s no oil, no mess, and a lot less calories than traditional poppers.

This, my friends, is one of those recipes that have made the price of my air fryer worth every single penny (check out my air fryer recipes page for more).

We have sooo many jalapeños in our garden that I’ve been making these homemade jalapeño poppers a lot for the past few weeks, and I look forward to making and enjoying them again and again!

They’re perfect as a starter to any Mexican or Tex-Mex meal, as a party or game-day appetizer, or just as a yummy anytime snack!

homemade jalapeno poppers in an air fryer basket with tongs on the side

Ingredients You Need:

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card below.

  • Jalapeño peppers
  • Cream cheese
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • Butter

Note: The video above is just a brief overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe with detailed instructions.

Tips & Tidbits:

  • The numbers of poppers that you get will depend on the size of your jalapeños; I used 8 peppers that were about 3 inches long and weighed about ¾ to 1 ounce each.
    • If your jalapeños are bigger, you won’t need as many, and you’ll get fewer poppers.
    • If your jalapeños are smaller, you’ll probably need a few more, and you’ll get more poppers.
  • Jalapeños can very greatly in the amount of heat they have, ranging from super-hot to not hot at all.
    • If yours aren’t very hot and you want more heat, consider leaving in some of the membranes and seeds instead of removing them all (that’s where most of the heat is), or you could add some cayenne pepper to the filling.
  • If you’re in a hurry or forgot to soften your cream cheese: remove the wrapper, place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave it for about 20 seconds to warm slightly and soften.
  • Regular seasoned breadcrumbs can be used instead of panko, but they probably won’t be quite as crispy.
  • Be careful not to overcook these; you want the peppers to be crisp-tender. If they get too soft, they will be flimsy and won’t be as easy to pick up.
  • Like bacon in your poppers? Cook up a few slices, crumble it up, and mix it in with the filling.
  • I like to let my poppers rest in the air fryer basket for a minute or two before taking them out so they aren’t super-hot.
homemade air fryer jalapeno poppers on a white plate with a small bowl of ranch dressing on the side

Make-Ahead, Storing, and Freezing:

  • To make these ahead:
    • Assemble the poppers up to the point of stuffing them with the cream cheese filling; cover and refrigerate until ready to cook (you can do this a few hours up to a day or two ahead of time).
    • When ready to cook, remove them from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill off.
    • Combine the panko and melted butter; top the poppers (you don’t want to do this ahead of time because the panko will get soggy).
    • Cook as per the recipe instructions.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days (if you made them ahead of time, be sure to take that time into account).
    • Reheat leftovers in the air fryer at 325°F just until heated through (keep an eye on them so the tops don’t get too brown).
  • Although you technically could freeze these, I don’t recommend it because peppers tend lose their crispness and get watery once frozen and thawed, and the bread crumbs wouldn’t be as crisp.
hand holding up a homemade air fryer jalapeno popper over a plate of jalapeno poppers and a bowl of ranch dressing

These babies are absolutely yummy as is, and they’re also fantastic served with some sour cream or ranch dressing for dipping. YUM!

I hope you try this Homemade Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Appetizer Recipes You Might Like…

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

homemade air fryer jalapeno poppers on a white plate with a small bowl of ranch dressing

Homemade Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers

These Homemade Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers are a quick and easy appetizer or snack that has all the flavor but none of the oil or extra calories since there's no frying!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes
Servings: 16 poppers (approximately; amount will depend on the size of your jalapeños)
Estimated Calories: 49

Ingredients

  • 8 jalapeño peppers, each about 3 inches long and weighing about ¾ to 1 ounce
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, yellow or white
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste (if using regular table salt, you might want to use less)
  • teaspoon black pepper, or to taste, preferably freshly-ground
  • ¼ cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • teaspoons melted butter

Special Equipment

  • air fryer (I use a 6-quart basket-style air fryer)

Instructions

  • Slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise.
    You can remove the stems or leave them on (leaving the stems on is a prettier presentation, but you probably don't want to eat them).
  • Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and membranes.
    Jalapeños can vary in their heat level with some being super-hot and some not hot at all. If yours aren't hot and you want more heat, you can leave in some of the membranes and seeds (that's where most of the heat is in a pepper).
  • In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper until well-combined.
  • Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly among the jalapeño halves (each half should be completely filled).
  • In a small bowl, mix the the panko breadcrumbs and the melted butter until well-combined and all of the breadcrumbs are coated in butter.
  • Divide the breadcrumb mixture evenly among the filled jalapeño halves, pressing them down gently so they adhere to the filling.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 390°F.
  • Once the air fryer is preheated, carefully add the poppers to the air fryer in a single layer, leaving a little bit of space between each one if you can (but it's okay if they touch a little).
    I can fit all 16 poppers in the basket of my 6-quart air fryer. If your air fryer is smaller or if they won't all fit at once, cook them in 2 batches.
  • Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, just until the breadcrumbs are lightly golden brown and the jalapeños are crisp-tender.
  • Serve immediately.
    I like to remove the basket from my air fryer and let the poppers sit in there for a minute or two before I remove them just so that they're not super-hot, but this is optional.

Notes

  • I recommend wearing plastic gloves when prepping the jalapeños, and don’t touch your eyes or any other sensitive areas.
  • These are fantastic as is or served with some sour cream or ranch dressing for dipping!
  • Regular seasoned breadcrumbs can be used instead of panko, but they probably won’t be quite as crispy.
  • Like bacon in your poppers? Cook up a few slices, crumble it up, and mix it in with the filling.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days (if you made them ahead of time, be sure to take that time into account).
    • Reheat leftovers in the air fryer at 325°F just until heated through (keep an eye on them so the tops don’t get too brown).
  • Estimated calories shown are for one popper.
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