This recipe is sponsored by ZenChef. All opinions are 100% my own.
Spicy, smoky, creamy, crunchy Air Fryer Stuffed Jalapenos only take 4 ingredients and 20 minutes to make. They're perfect, easy party food!
Y'all, before I went vegan, I was obsessed with jalapeno poppers. They were the menu item that I could not pass up at restaurants, and I have missed them so. MUCH. These Air Fryer Stuffed Jalapenos are my vegan version of that creamy, crunchy, bacon-y treat.
I've made these Air Fryer Stuffed Jalapenos for our Puppy Bowl parties for the past couple of years, and they are my favorite! Really, I should apologize to you for not sharing this super easy recipe much, much sooner.
Y'all, these vegan jalapeno poppers are NOT health food. Sure, they're healthier than the dairy-stuffed, deep fried version you get at a restaurant, but I am not even trying to lighten up this recipe. In my estimation, that is not what stuffed jalapenos are about.
OK, so with that disclaimer out of the way, let's talk about how you make these! It's so easy.
Making Air Fryer Stuffed Jalapenos
Start by slicing your jalapenos in half and discarding the seeds. Do not slice the tops off. If you remove the tops, the cream cheese will melt and run all over your air fryer when you cook these. Trust me. I did this, and it was a mess.
If you want them to be spicy, leave the white veins in place. For a milder result, use a knife to carefully cut that part away.
After you prep the jalapenos, it's time to stuff! In a small bowl, mix up a little bit of vegan cream cheese with vegan bacon bits (See the section on vegan bacon bits below.), and spread the mixture into each jalapeno half.
From there, you just dip the stuffed jalapenos in panko breadcrumbs and toss them into your air fryer!
About My Air Fryer
Any time I share an air fryer recipe, people ask me which air fryer I recommend. Last summer, ZenChef came on as a blog sponsor, and I am IN LOVE with their air fryer, the ZenChef PRO XXL Air Fryer.
I’ve experimented with this air fryer for almost a year now, and I am all in. The basket is nice and large (5.8 quarts!), and I love the design.
As you probably know, I am extremely picky about air fryers, and this basket design is the kind I like. It pops out for easy cleaning, and it has holes at the bottom (rather than mesh) for easy cleaning.
The ZenChef PRO XXL cooks things quickly, evenly and consistently. It's perfect for recipes like these vegan jalapeno poppers!
About those Vegan Bacon Bits
"But wait!" you say. "Bacon bits aren't vegan! What fancy, expensive product are you making me buy?"
Y'all, you need to know something. Most of the "bacon bits" at a regular grocery store are vegan.
Don't think too hard about what is in them. But what is not in them is pigs.
Ready to make some stuffed jalapenos? Me too. Let's cook!
4-Ingredient Air Fryer Stuffed Jalapenos
- Set out your cream cheese to soften while you prep your jalapenos. Slice the jalapenos lengthwise, and remove the seeds. DO NOT slice the tops off of the jalapenos unless you like to clean an air fryer that's covered in melted cream cheese. If you want more mild stuffed jalapenos, you can also get in with a knife and carefully trim away the white or light green veins inside of the peppers.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and bacon bits.
- Stuff about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into each jalapeno half.
- Pour the panko into a shallow bowl, and dip the cream cheese side of each jalapeno half into the panko. You want the panko to stick to the cream cheese, coating it well.
- Arrange the jalapeno halves in your air fryer basket. Cook at 390F for 10 minutes, then let them cool in the basket for 5 minutes before serving. The cream cheese will be very soft at this point, so use a wooden or rubber (NOT METAL) spatula to carefully scoop each one out. It is normal for them to stick together a bit. Gently pry apart any stuck-together jalapenos before lifting out of the basket.