Recipe: How to make prize-winning Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeños

Originally published by The Orange County Register on July 18, 2023

Written by Cathy Thomas


Linda Skeens swept the culinary awards at last year’s Virginia-Kentucky District Fair, taking home more than 25 blue ribbons and going viral online. The 75-year-old great-grandmother from Appalachia, followed up her victories by writing a cookbook, “Blue Ribbon Kitchen” (83 Press); in the pages she shares her prize-winning and family-favorite recipes.

Last week I wrote about her peanut butter fudge, but this week I want to revisit her book to spotlight a recipe for a savory dish. She wrote that her Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeños are great for outdoor entertaining, adding that the recipe takes “some work” but the results are worth the effort. Here is her take on cheese-meets-chilies.

Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeños

Yield: 24


Vegetable oil for greasing rimmed baking sheet

12 medium fresh jalapeño peppers

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup finely shredded mild Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup finely shredded pepper jack cheese

3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 strips of bacon, cook crisp and crumbled

Cook’s notes: Use caution when working with fresh chilies. Wash hands and work surface upon completion and do not touch face or eyes.


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil.

2. Cut jalapeños in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and membranes. Wash peppers in large bowl. Place them in a large saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to boil on high heat; boil for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water; set aside on paper towel.

3. In a bowl, beat cream cheese, cheeses, and Worcestershire with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of mixture into each pepper half, sprinkle with bacon. Place cheese-side up on prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake in preheated oven until cheese is “good and melted,” 5 to 10 minutes.

Source: “Blue Ribbon Kitchen: Recipes and Tips from America’s Favorite County Fair Champion” by Linda Skeens (83 Press)

Cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at