Healthier Jalapeno Poppers are filled with soft cream cheese and smoky paprika, cradled in a spicy jalapeno and tucked beneath a crunchy breadcrumb topping.
I’m a late bloomer when it comes to trying a variety of new foods. Jalapeno Poppers were one of the unfortunate foods that fell into the Yuck category until about ten years ago. Thanks to the drive-in restaurant, Sonic, my perceived distaste for jalapeno poppers permanently changed.
When I lived in Northwest Arkansas, Sonic was on my way home from work, and I frequently stopped there for a quick drink or dinner. One day something on the menu caught my eye. These little, deep fried, cheese filled, jalapenos with a side of Ranch dressing called Ched-R-Peppers looked good so, I placed an order and tried some. Jalapeno poppers have been a favorite ever since.
Times have changed a bit since then. Even though I’m a Florida resident now, there’s still a Sonic on my way home from work. However, I prefer to make healthier jalapeno poppers by baking them instead of using a fryer.
Prep and Preheat:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil, and set a cooling rack on the sheet pan on top of the foil. Lightly spray the cooling rack with cooking spray.
I highly recommend purchasing some latex gloves for this part. Wash the jalapenos and dry thoroughly. Cut each in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon or small melon baller to scoop all the seeds and membranes out and discard.
Make the filling:
Combine the softened cream cheese, shredded cheese, paprika, and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
Make the Breadcrumb Topping:
Combine the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese in a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until frothy but not whipped. Set aside.
Use a small spoon to place the cream cheese filling into the jalapeno halves. Finish filling the peppers, then one at a time, dip them into the egg whites. Gently shake off any excess. Next, place the filled jalapenos into the breadcrumb mixture and press lightly to coat. Continue the process using all the jalapenos, and place the assembled poppers on the sheet pan as you go.
Place the healthier jalapeno poppers in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the breadcrumb topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with ranch dressing.
- 8 large jalapenos
- 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 egg Whites
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack on top of the foil.
Wash and dry jalapenos. Cut in half lengthwise and remove all seeds and membranes.
In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, paprika, and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside.
Combine the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese in a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until frothy.
Use a small spoon to fill the jalapenos with the cream cheese mixture. Take each filled jalapeno and dip into the egg whites. Shake off any excess. Next, place the jalapeno into the breadcrumb mixture and press lightly to coat. Put the assembled jalapeno popper onto the cooling rack.
Continue the process using the remaining jalapenos.
Place the poppers in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the breadcrumb topping is golden brown.
Remove and serve immediately with your favorite ranch dressing.
*The calories listed are approximate and account for 2 jalapeño slices (halves). The calories will vary based on the size of the jalapeño and the amount of filling used.