This Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese is everything you know and love about the traditional appetizer, but in sandwich form! Roasted jalapeño peppers, a creamy cream cheese scallion mixture, crispy bacon, and melty cheddar cheese. Completely addicting.
This recipe really spices up a typical grilled cheese sandwich with just a few additional ingredients to make an even better grilled cheese, if you can believe it.
- Jalapeños: wouldn't be a jalapeño popper grilled cheese without them!
- Cream cheese: full fat regular cream cheese (not whipped) to make the layer that resembles the popper filling.
- Scallions: these go in the filling as well - greens and whites!
- Garlic powder: also for the filling - add a little more flavor without chunks of garlic.
- Bacon: crispy bacon on the inside adds such a good salty crunch. If you can, use smoked thick cut bacon.
- Bread: any of the more sturdy breads with a crispy crust will do. I love sourdough for grilled cheese sandwiches.
- Cheese: sharp cheddar hand-grated is best and will be the most melty.
- Butter: to slather the outside of the bread to get a crispy crust.
While the more "traditional" jalapeño popper grilled cheese would use the above ingredients, there's no harm in substitutions for what you have in your kitchen or based on personal preference! See below for some solid swaps.
- Bacon: you can omit this all together if you want to keep it vegetarian.
- Bread: sourdough is great but you can also use an Italian loaf, baguette, whole wheat, multigrain, etc. – anything that is a little sturdy.
- Cheese: you can use monterey jack, pepper jack, colby, or even American cheese. For grilled cheese the best cheeses are the ones that are melty.
- Butter: instead of butter you can use mayo – which is another fatty product that helps get a nice crisp bread and that beautiful golden brown color.
Step by step instructions
- Roast the jalapeños, steam them and take out the seeds and membrane, and peel off the skin.
- Combine cream cheese, scallions, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Cook the bacon.
- Spread the outside of bread with butter.
- Layer cream cheese mixture, then jalapeños, then bacon, then shredded cheese. Top with remaining bread.
- Cook medium heat 3-5 mins until golden on both sides.
1. Roast the jalapeños. Drizzle the jalapeños with olive oil and bake at 400℉ for 20 minutes until roasted.
2. Cook the bacon. Place the bacon strips on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet (even better if you have a wire rack!). Bake in the oven with the jalapeños for 15 minutes or until desired crispness.
3. Steam and slice the jalapeños. Add them to a bag, bowl, or container, and seal closed to steam for 10 minutes. Then cut in half and cut out the seeds and membrane.
4. Make the cream cheese mixture. In a small bowl combine the softened cream cheese, chopped scallions, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
5. Assemble. On two pieces of bread spread the cream cheese mixture, followed by slices of jalapeño, followed by slices of bacon, topped with cheese. Butter the remaining 2 pieces of bread and top the sandwich off.
6. Grill the sandwich! In a pan on medium heat, place the sandwich buttered bread-side down. While that side is cooking, spread the top slice with butter. Cook each side for 3-5 minutes until golden.
Tips and tricks
- When buying jalapeños, the ones with the deeper green color and striations on the skin are more spicy. Lighter color and smoother skin are more mild.
- Use gloves when handling the jalapeños if you're not used to cooking with peppers. If you don't use gloves just make sure you don't touch anything (especially your face) when cutting the peppers and wash your hands right away.
- If you want to make these a spicy, you can keep in the seeds and membrane for the jalapeños.
- You can cut the jalapeños before you roast if you prefer, just cut them in half and remove the seeds and membrane first, then roast skin side up.
- Shred your own cheese! Pre-shredded has additives that make it less melty. This isn't necessary, but is better.
- Use a cast iron if you have one - I find that cast irons or heavy-bottomed pots help get a really nice crust on grilled cheese sandwiches.
- Since this is a bit of a hearty dish, serve with something on the lighter side like a fresh tomato salad or a cozy soup to dip it in.
It definitely has a little kick but it won't blow you away. If you want to stay away from heat all together, try this Caramelized Onion and Apple Grilled Cheese.
Air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days!
Reheating in the oven at 350ºF until warmed through keeps it nice and crispy without burning!
Between 2,500 - 8,000 on the Scoville scale of heat. So they are hotter than a poblano pepper, but more mild than a serrano or habanero pepper. More on jalapeños here.
Make sure you get all the seeds and white-ish membrane out before you eat them – that's where they hold most of their heat.
You are likely either using too low of heat and/or did not cook it long enough.
Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese
- 4 jalapeños
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 oz full fat cream cheese room temp
- ¼ cup scallions chopped greens and whites
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 slices bacon
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 4 slices sourdough bread
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter room temp
- Drizzle the jalapeños with olive oil and bake at 400℉ for 20 minutes until roasted.
- Place the bacon strips on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet (even better if you have a wire rack!). Bake in the oven with the jalapeños for 15 minutes or until desired crispness.
- Add the cooked jalapeños to a bag or bowl and seal closed to steam for 10 minutes. Then cut in half and cut out the seeds and membrane.
- In a small bowl combine the softened cream cheese, chopped scallions, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- On two pieces of bread spread the cream cheese mixture, followed by slices of jalapeño, followed by slices of bacon, topped with shredded cheese. Butter the 2 remaining pieces of bread and top the sandwich off.
- In a pan on medium heat, place the sandwich buttered bread-side down. While that side is cooking, spread the top slice with butter. Cook each side for 3-5 minutes until golden.