Jalapeño Poppers for a Game Day Party

Can we talk about how game-day snacks are (not so) secretly the best category of snacks out there? Wings, nachos, chips to dip… they all make it worth showing up to the party for the food alone. Your classic spread is packed with crunchy things galore, overflowing with melty cheese, and chock full of bold, unapologetic flavors. And one snacking staple that really isn’t afraid to go big and hit all those notes is the jalapeño popper. 

While you can find prepared, frozen poppers out there, it’s worth the fairly low-key effort to make them fresh, which brings out the flavor and texture of the peppers. Simply slice some fresh jalapeños down their length, then scoop out the seeds and white pith (this is where most of the spice lives, so if you prep them well, the end results won’t be too hot to handle). Stuff them with some shredded cheese, scatter a few toppings over, and bake them in the oven until the insides are gooey and the shells wonderfully tender. Linger by the platter you serve them on for too long and you might just start continuously popping them into your mouth one after another. 

Below you’ll find our basic jalapeño popper method, which uses both cream cheese and cheddar to make the filling extra creamy. We also like to add in bacon bits for their smoky flavor and crispy edges, but feel free to substitute with some panko breadcrumbs or vegetarian crumbles for a meatless version. Try to halve the peppers through their stems for a nice presentation, and to create a convenient handle to hold them with, but no worries if that doesn’t happen. Feel free to add in any extra seasonings you like, such as garlic, cilantro, or a few shakes of paprika or chili powder.

Follow the recipe below and make sure to check out our other ideas for foods to serve at a game-watching party.

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Jalapeño Poppers Recipe

What you’ll need:
4 oz cream cheese (about half a block)
2 oz shredded cheddar or other cheese (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped chives or scallion greens, plus more to garnish
1/4 cup bacon bits, or 1–2 slices bacon cooked until crispy and chopped, plus extra for garnish
6 fresh jalapeños
Sliced scallion greens, to garnish (optional)

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 375 F.

With a rubber spatula, fold together cream cheese, shredded cheese, chives, and bacon bits in a bowl. 

Slice the jalapeño peppers lengthwise and scoop out the insides, removing the seeds and as much of the white pith as possible (you may want to wear latex gloves while doing this to avoid getting the spicy residue on your hands). If you can, try to slice through the stems as well, leaving them attached.

Spoon in the cream cheese mixture into the hollowed-out jalapeños. Bake in the oven until the cheese is golden brown on top and the peppers are tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a platter for serving, then sprinkle over additional bacon bits and chives to finish and get poppin’.

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