These Healthy Roasted Garlic and Bacon Jalapeño poppers are packed with flavor, subtle heat and creamy cheese. Perfect finger foods for a party!
This recipe was originally published in December 2017 – I’ve since updated the photos and added additional blog content. Enjoy!
Ah, it’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s. A week where most people aren’t sure what day it is…or when the last time they may have eaten a vegetable. Hey, pass me another cookie, would you?!
Whether that’s you or not, I think we can definitely say we are all at least pretty burnt out on cooking big intense family meals.
So why not spend New Year’s Eve snacking on these delightful jalapeno poppers?!
Why You’ll Love This Appetizer:
First off – appetizers are just the most fun food ever. It’s food…leading up to more food. Could it get any better? I’ve always loved filling up a tiny plate with loads of chips, dips, raw veggies and finger foods right before the entree.
Food just makes my heart happy, okay? Especially now that I’m in my 3rd trimester and seem to always be hungry! HA! 😉
Anyway – these cute little poppers are very reminiscent of my childhood – with one difference, they’re WAAAAY healthier.
I remember when I was young, we would have a “frozen food night” and load up 2 different baking sheets with frozen brown things such as: mozzarella cheese sticks, jalapeño poppers, french fries and pizza rolls. It was a childhood dream.
This recipe is a lightened up version of that classic appetizer you love. Pair them with a creamy ranch dipping sauce, a glass of red wine and you’re full until the main course. Or you can just continue to eat the entire batch – no judgement here.
I seriously love these poppers because they have SO much flavor. A lot of appetizers can be kind of greasy or just loaded down with too much everything – but I love these because it has such an incredible balance of flavors.
You have the heat from the fresh jalapenos of course – and let’s be honest, you never really know how spicy one might be until you pop it into your mouth. It’s high risk, high reward, baby!
And to help balance out the heat, you have that tangy and delightfully delicious cream cheese.
Oh – and why not add in some roasted garlic to help up the ante when it comes to flavor town?
AND last but certainly not least….BACON. This salty, crunchy addition to these poppers is the real MVP.
All together – the flavors are spicy, creamy, tangy, and perfectly poppable. So let’s get into what you need to make them!
Ingredients You Need:
- Fresh jalapeños
- Softened cream cheese
- Garlic bulb
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Ranch to serve with (if desired)
Best Tips on How to Make The Poppers:
First, I would begin by roasting the garlic.
If y’all know me – by now you know I have *many* roasted garlic recipes on my website.
If you’ve never had roasted garlic before, you must walk to your oven NOW and do it. It’s such a game changer and it’s the easiest thing to make in the world to add serious flavor to your dishes.
All you do is cut the top portion of the garlic off to expose the cloves. Next, you put it on foil, add a dash of olive oil and salt and pepper. Wrap it up in the foil. Put it in the oven at 400 for 30-40 minutes.
When it’s done, not only does your house smell like a dream – you get this extremely soft, flavorful, edible straight from the clove itself, roasted garlic. It’s smooth, creamy, and delightful. Look at the caramelization on it! So beautiful.
While the garlic is roasting – feel free to fry up that bacon in a pan until crispy 🙂 I find it easier to slice the bacon into small pieces to help it cook faster. Once it’s done, remove it onto a paper towel lined plate to help reduce some of the grease.
Alright, so now that the garlic is roasted – grab some fresh jalapeños and then you put on gloves because anytime a hot pepper touches your skin it literally burns and then you forget to wash your hands and then you take out your contacts and it feels like your eyeballs are on fire…oh wait, is that just me? 😉
Okay, you can put on gloves if you want to! Next, cut each jalapeño in half. Remove the seeds. Take a moment to look at how beautiful they are.
Okay, moment over.
Add the softened cream cheese to a bowl along with the roasted garlic, cooked bacon, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Add a generous portion to each jalapeño as you stuff it.
Place the poppers on a baking sheet (hello easy clean up!) and then bake for 20 minutes.
Broil for 1-2 minutes after baking for extra golden-ness on top. Make sure to keep an eye on them though! Broiling is a dangerous game.
After that, they’re ready to be devoured! Serve them hot and with a dipping sauce of your choice! I used my homemade ranch dressing recipe and it HIT THE SPOT.
Enjoy this recipe pals, and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
Did you like this recipe? Here are some other appetizer recipes you might like:
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Healthy Roasted Garlic and Bacon Jalapeño Poppers
A lightened up take on a classic appetizer, filled with creamy cheese, crunchy bacon and roasted garlic.
- 10 medium jalapeños, cut in half and de-seeded
- 8 oz softened cream cheese
- 5 slices bacon, cooked until crispy
- 1 whole bulb garlic, roasted
- splash of olive oil
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the excess skin of the garlic off as much as possible before cutting it to expose the cloves. Place on small sheet on tin foil and add a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper.
Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes or until the cloves are easily pierced with a fork. When finished, unwrap from foil and let it cool.
Making Jalapeno Poppers
Grab some plastic gloves or something to help shield your hands from the fresh jalapenos. Next, slice 10 medium sized jalapeños in half. Remove the seeds. Set aside.
Cut up 5 slices of bacon into small pieces and fry in the pan for 4-5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally until done and crispy.
Place 8 oz of softened cream cheese in a large bowl. If not softened, place in microwave for 15 seconds.
Remove the cloves of roasted garlic from the bulb and transfer to the cream cheese and mash it in with a fork until the garlic becomes like a paste.
Add crumbled bacon and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed (add more salt, pepper etc.)
Stuff peppers generously with mixture.
Place on baking sheet.
Mix the panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 tsp of salt and a some freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle on top of the peppers.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. If you want the tops to be extra golden brown, broil for 1-2 minutes watching them carefully.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!