20 Spicy Jalapeño Recipes That Go Way Beyond Poppers

Originally published by Delish on May 30th,2023

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Has dinnertime gone too far to the mild side? Sounds like it’s time to spice up your life! Why not add some delicious heat to your favorite recipes by bringing jalapeños to the mix? Even if you’re not 100% ready to go on an episode of Hot Ones, jalapeños’ mellow heat will add the perfect bit of kick to your favorite classic recipes that could stand to get a touch of heat, like appetizers, a weeknight dinner, and even cocktails (we see all you spicy marg lovers). No matter how high your spice tolerance is, these jalapeño recipes will be instant crowd-pleasers (because no one can say no to a jalapeño popper).

Bell peppers get a lot of love here at Delish (and likely at yours too), but it’s time that perfectly potent jalapeños get their spotlight moment. Not too spicy but not too mild, jalapeños liven up salsanachos, and tacos. But it certainly doesn’t stop there. We’ve yet to run out of ways to build recipes around jalapeños rather than just use them as a last-minute topping. Case in point: Our recipes for strawberry jalapeño chicken and jalapeño citrus salmon would be nothing without that sweet heat.

If you, like us, are always that person at the table adding more hot sauce to your meal, we’ve got just the condiments for you. Spicy, salty, sweet, and tangy Cowboy Candy (candied jalapeños) is about to find itself in your Bloody Marysmigas, and grilled creamed corn. The same is absolutely true of our recipe for pickled peppers too (shout out to Peter Piper). Those are about to improve many sandwiches in your near future!

Strawberry-Jalapeño Chicken

Strawberry and jalapeño might seem like an odd combination of flavors, but the subtle tartness of the fresh strawberry combines with the fruity spice of the jalapeño and the smokiness of chipotle chiles for a match made in sweet heat heaven. Serve this with roasted sweet potatoes or wild rice for a satisfying, easy dinner that comes together in less than an hour.

Get the Strawberry-Jalapeño Chicken recipe.

Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas

Though classic margaritas are pretty perfect on their own, we think adding a little kick via fresh jalapeños makes them even better. Infusing alcohol is one of our favorite ways to get creative with cocktails, but it works especially well with jalapeños in this recipe. The addition of cucumber balances out the heat, making these margaritas the perfect summer drink to cool off with all summer long.

Get the Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas recipe.

Jalapeño Citrus Salmon

We love an easy oven baked salmon recipe. It takes very little effort and is a quick weeknight dinner that’s also good enough to serve at a dinner party. This citrus salmon has tons of flavor from simple ingredients. Here we used oranges and limes, but use lemons, grapefruits, or blood oranges if you have them. If you like things a little spicier, leave the seeds in the jalapeño.

Get the Jalapeño Citrus Salmon recipe.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

Jalapeño poppers are one of the easiest, most satisfying party apps. In this recipe, cream cheese and shredded pepper Jack are stuffed in the jalapeños before being wrapped in bacon (because everything is better with bacon). When cooked, the cheese gets hot and melty while the peppers mellow slightly, making it a perfect combo. The best part? This easy app is gluten-free and keto friendly, so you can satisfy a wide array of party guests!

Get the Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers recipe.

Brick Chicken

Roasteddeep-friedstuffed, we’ve done it all. But brick chicken is one of our most simple and reliable ways to get tender, perfectly cooked chicken and that crispy skin we all crave. We paired this chicken with a delicious spicy, herby pan sauce made with jalapeño, lime, and cilantro, but you can serve this as is, with a couple squeezes of lemon or even BBQ sauce. The world is your oyster… or chicken!

Get the Brick Chicken recipe.

Jalapeño Popper Corn Fritters

Crispy golden corn fritters are filled with everything we love about spicy jalapeño poppers. These are studded with crispy bacon, jalapeños, cheddar, and cream cheese, which helps hold them all together. The sweet corn balances the spicy jalapeño for a perfect summer appetizer.

Get the Jalapeño Popper Corn Fritters recipe.

Salted and Spiced Watermelon Margaritas

Say hello to your new favorite summer cocktail: this refreshing, salted and spiced watermelon margarita. This clever recipe combines everything magical about margaritas (tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and a salt rim), with a kick of heat from the fresh jalapeños and refreshing sweetness from the watermelon juice. Salt accentuates watermelon’s sweet taste and accentuates the tangy margarita base. The lime zest rim is part sugar and part salt for a balanced twist on the original.

Get the Salted and Spiced Watermelon Margaritas recipe.

Fish Taco Bowls

When you’re craving the flavors and textures of a fish taco, but need some vegetables in your life, this salad is perfect for you. Crispy fish and a creamy, spicy slaw are the base of these veggie-packed takes on everyone’s favorite taco. This slaw alone is a great recipe to have in your back pocket. The dressing is creamy and gets a big punch from lime juice, lime zest, and jalapeño.

Get the Fish Taco Bowls recipe.

Loaded Campfire Nachos

We apologize to many a camping trip for not thinking of this idea sooner. Thanks to a handful of canned goods, these come together almost instantly.

Get the Loaded Campfire Nachos recipe.

Jalapeño Popper Chicken Soup

Here at Delish, we’re pretty passionate about our jalapeño poppers. We’ve stuffed them inside chicken, turned them into taquitos, even reimagined them as egg cups, and now we’re using them to inspire this creamy soup. Loaded with shredded chicken and diced jalapeños and topped with cheddar and crispy bacon, it has everything we love most about the classic appetizer.

Get the Jalapeño Popper Chicken Soup recipe.

Pickled Peppers

Pickled peppers are a legendary sandwich topping and there can be so many types! From your classic banana peppers or pickled jalapeños to a sweet mix, it can be hard to decide. But now with this easy recipe, you can make your own blend or as many pickled peppers as you want! Peter Piper would be thrilled.

Get the Pickled Peppers recipe.

Mahi Mahi Tacos

Being a meaty, tender fish, mahi mahi stands up well to the grill and is even better when marinated. You could use a traditional citrus-oil mixture. But here we’ve used a mayo-based marinade that adds some richness and a ton of flavor that makes it resemble blackened fish that you might find in the South. Throw the fish on a tortilla with some spicy pineapple-jalapeño salsa, and you’ll have an amazing summer taco night. Though you may also want to whip up some frozen pineapple margaritas.

Get the Mahi Mahi Tacos recipe.

Bacon Jalapeño Corn Chowder

We already know that corn chowder is delicious (see our cheesy, easy corn chowder). But what we didn’t understand until recently is that it could get even better. Our favorite upgrades: bacon + jalapeño. The salty, porky flavors of the bacon and the spiciness from the jalapeño pair beautifully with sweet corn, and the resulting soup will change your view of corn chowder forever!

Get the Bacon Jalapeño Corn Chowder recipe.

Strawberry Jalapeño Mint Julep

Don’t let Derby Day be your only excuse to make these juleps; they’re worthy all year. If you’re into spicy margs then you’ll be able to handle the heat here; the jalapeño-infused simple syrup mellows out once it hits the cool mint and sweet berries. This recipe makes more simple syrup than you need, so save it in the fridge for your next cocktail!

Get the Strawberry Jalapeño Mint Julep recipe.

Jalapeño Popper Crisps

Our three favorite flavors: spicy, cheesy, and… bacon-y. Now they’re all in one convenient crisp, ready to take over your next party!

Get the Jalapeño Popper Crisps recipe.

Smoked Corn On The Cob

We don’t need to tell you that corn on the cob is nothing without butter. Rather than slather the ears with plain variety, you’ll make a quick compound butter flavored with garlic, cilantro, and jalapeño. If you want to be fancy, you can scrape the butter onto a piece of parchment or wax paper and roll it up into a log before really schmearing this all over pretty much everything this summer.

Get the Smoked Corn On The Cob recipe.

Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapeños)

Giddy up! Cowboy Candy (aka candied jalapeños) are spicy, tangy, salty, and sweet—the perfect condiment for topping everything from Bloody Marys to migas to grilled creamed corn. You could also chop Cowboy Candy and stir into pickle relish, tuck into a ham sandwich, or artfully arrange over a hot dog with chopped raw onion. The combination of fiery heat from the jalapeño and the nearly caramelized coating from the sugar is truly addictive.

Get the Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapeños) recipe.

Jalapeño Popper Potato Salad

We love potato salad and can’t get enough of its creamy goodness during the summer. This jalapeño popper version takes things to a whole new level with a kick of heat. It’s a little spicy, but 100 percent worth it! Be sure to remove the seeds if you want your bite to be milder.

Get the Jalapeño Popper Potato Salad recipe.

Jalapeño Popper Cornbread

Let’s be honest: Everyone’s favorite part of jalapeño poppers is the cheesy, creamy filling (plus the bacon, of course). We decided to cut to the chase and transform the best parts of this classic Super Bowl appetizer into a super-cheesy, smoky party dip that’s so much easier to serve to a crowd. It gets a kick from the jalapeño, but paired with plenty of cheese, creamy components, and crispy bacon, even the heat-averse will keep coming back for more.

Get the Jalapeño Popper Cornbread recipe.

Pineapple Jalapeño Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Grilling a pork tenderloin may seem fancy, but it comes together super fast. Want to add even more flavor? You could grill your pineapple and jalapeños before chopping up into a grilled pineapple salsa.

Get the Pineapple Jalapeño Grilled Pork Tenderloin recipe.