jalapeño poppers on a plate with chive garnish

Healthier Jalapeño Poppers (Vegetarian!)

These vegetarian healthier jalapeño poppers are spicy, cheesy, packed with a lil’ secret protein, and here for all your game day needs.

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jalapeño poppers on a plate with chive garnish

These little jalapeño poppers are the perfect healthy-ish option for all your game day or tailgating needs. They’re spicy, cheesy, and packed with a lil’ bit of secret protein. They’re ready in less than 30 minutes and happen to be vegetarian. Basically, this recipes wins, even if your team doesn’t (wow…that joke is bad).

Ingredients for Jalapeño Poppers

Jalapeño Peppers: These spicy little peppers add plenty of heat and smokiness to this recipe. If you’re sensitive to spice, make sure you remove the seeds. You could also substitute mini bell peppers if the jalapeños are just too much for you.

Olive Oil: Just a tablespoon to coat the peppers so they roast up nicely.

Cream Cheese: This is an important component of the cheesy flavor profile. Bring your cream cheese to room temperature to make combining the ingredients easier.

Greek Yogurt: Aha! The secret protein I was talking about. When combined with the cream cheese and shredded cheese, it lends a nice tart flavor and some extra nutrients to keep your tummy full and happy. You already know my favorite.

Cheddar Cheese: Sharp is the preference here, but whatever you have works!

Chives or Green Onions: Just a tablespoon for some herby onion vibes.

Garlic: Essential.

Sea Salt and Black Pepper: To round out the flavors.

Panko Breadcrumbs: Use gluten-free if needed!

close up of jalapeño poppers on a plate

A Note on Jalapeños

These little peps are truly no joke, and I exercise a good amount of caution with them in the kitchen. They can definitely burn your skin (I know from experience) and if you’re extra sensitive, it could create a bit of a tickle in your throat that causes coughing. I don’t say any of this to discourage you from making this recipe, just to encourage proper precautions. Here are my tips:

  • De-seed your peppers with a spoon once they’re cut in half. This will reduce the spiciness.
  • Wear gloves when you cut, de-seed, and handle the peppers.
  • Be sure to wash your hands and cutting board thoroughly after handling.
  • If it’s all just too much, use baby bell peppers instead. Seriously. No shame in that game.

If you make these healthier jalapeño peppers, be sure to leave a rating and review! This helps little blogs like mine show up on Google and encourages others to give the recipes a try.

Other Game Day Recipe Ideas

jalapeño poppers on a plate with chive garnish next to cloth blue napkin
jalapeño poppers on a plate with chive garnish

Healthier Jalapeño Poppers

These vegetarian healthier jalapeño poppers are spicy, cheesy, packed with a lil' secret protein, and here for all your game day needs.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 5


  • Baking Sheet
  • parchment paper
  • Chef's Knife
  • medium bowl


  • 10 jalapeño peppers halved lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz cream cheese (about ¼ cup) at room temperature
  • ¾ cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese finely shredded
  • 1 tbsp chives or green onions finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced or grated
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs gluten-free if needed


  • Preheat oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Carefully halve and de-seed your jalapeños and rub with olive oil, being careful to wash hands frequently and not touch your face (use gloves if needed).
  • In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, yogurt, cheddar cheese, chives or green onions, garlic, salt, and pepper until combined. Stuff each pepper half with the mixture.
  • Put panko breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and gently press each filled pepper half into the breadcrumbs until covered. Line up on baking sheet with about an inch between each pepper half and bake for 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden browned and jalapeños are charred. Let cool 5 minutes and enjoy!


Storage: Leftovers can be stored in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Keyword easy, healthy, jalapeño, jalapeño peppers, jalapeño poppers, nut-free, simple, vegetarian

Photography by Hope Agresti

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