Crunchy & Gooey Air Fryer Jalapeno Popper Balls

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Crunchy & Gooey Air Fryer Jalapeno Popper Balls – if that name doesn't make you drool, I don't know what will! This cheesy, crunchy and gooey appetizer is about to be your new favorite game day snack!

Raise your hand if you love fried foods? Me! But I don't love all that oil. You know that feeling you get after eating a bunch of fried food? That nasty, clogged feeling in your skin? That inevitable regret?

You will get NONE of that with air fryer appetizers.

Not an ounce of oil is used to fry these to their golden perfection.

Looking for more appetizers? Check these out:

If you're a fan of classic bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers, you are going to LOVE these! Not only are they insanely delicious, but they are simple to make, easy to serve, and even easier to eat. This party food is a HUGE hit.

I mean it when I say that you'll have a hard time keeping your dish stocked up – your guests will be fighting over who gets the last one!

I have been living for my air fryer these days. Anything that I would otherwise fry, and sometimes even things that I would have baked, I throw in the air fryer to get that crisp we all love, without the need for frying oil.

Why air fry when I can fry on the stovetop or bake?

First and foremost, it's healthier. You can enjoy guilty pleasures without diving head first into a vat of oil.

And second, the air fryer is that it's extremely fast to use. What may normally take 30+ minutes to bake will typically require 10 to 15 minutes in an air fryer. Aka gooey deliciousness in a fraction of the time.

So, when I realized I could take my love for jalapeno poppers, deconstruct them à la arancini/risotto ball, and skip the frying oil, I was determined to make them immediately.


Imagine your favorite bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers combined with the cheesy deliciousness that is a fried risotto ball. Seriously, we can stuff these bad boys with anything!

So what are the basics?

Step 1: Prepare your filling ingredients; the cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, bacon (ohhh, the bacon), the seasonings, and of course, the jalapenos.

Step 2: Mix it all up and roll the cheese mixture into 1.5 to 2-inch balls (this recipe makes about 22).

Step 3: Roll your balls in the 3-step breading ingredients: flour, egg mixture and Panko breadcrumbs.

Step 4: Air fry those babies up!

If you are looking to have a thicker, crunchier shell, you can double up on the Panko crust. To do this, you will roll your ball in flour, dunk it in your egg mixture, and then roll it in the Panko breadcrumbs. Then, you'll dunk it in the egg again, and roll it in the breadcrumbs a second time (double layer pictured above).

If you want to keep the outer layer thinner, just roll, dunk and roll one time.

Whichever version you choose, be sure that the cream cheese mixture is fully covered to prevent any melty cheese from bursting out while cooking in your air fryer.

Can I make these air fryer jalapeno poppers ahead of time?

YES! Totally.

This is an awesome appetizer to make ahead of your get together or meal. You can either form and bread the balls ahead of time and refrigerate them until you are ready to put them in the air fryer, or you can do the whole process and reheat them before serving.

If you are going to do the latter, it would be best if you reheated in the oven instead of the microwave to keep the outside nice and crunchy.

These deconstructed Jalapeno Poppers are about to be your new go-to snack for any party, potluck or big game.


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Crunchy & Gooey Air Fryer Jalapeno Popper Balls

This cheesy, crunchy and gooey appetizer is about to be your new favorite game day snack! Double the batch if serving a crowd, and make them ahead of time for an easy, stress-free party snack.
Servings 22 Balls
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes a batch



  1. Prepare filling ingredients; Cook bacon and chop into small pieces. Dice jalapenos and slice scallions into small pieces.
  2. Mix softened cream cheese, shredded cheddar, jalapenos, scallions, chopped bacon, tabasco, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper (to taste) in a medium bowl.
  3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Scoop and roll the mixture into 1.5-2-inch balls, about the size of an ice cream scoop. Place on the baking sheet. (Optional: if your cream cheese mixture is too soft, place your baking sheet and balls in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden a little)
  4. Whisk together your eggs and milk in a small, shallow bowl. Put your flour in a second bowl, and your panko breadcrumbs in a third.
  5. Roll a ball in the flour, dip it in the egg mixture, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs. If you want a thicker crunchy outside, dip the ball in the egg mixture again and roll it in the breadcrumbs a second time. Repeat this process with all of your balls.
  6. Prepare your air fryer with cooking spray and preheat to 400 degrees.
  7. Line your air fryer basket with 4-6 balls, depending on the size of your device, being careful not to cramp them. Fry them for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Repeat in batches of 4-6 until complete.
  8. Serve your air fryer jalapeno popper balls hot, with marinara sauce or sour cream mixed with smoky chipotle paprika for dipping.
Katie Foley - Life She Lives:
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