We’ve given you a healthy version of this dish in years past. But now we’re going full-on indulgent, cheat day on you because it’s March Madness, darn it! Don’t let the number of ingredients scare you. These are easy to make! And trust us when we tell you, they’re totally delicious!
If you’re inviting friends over for some college basketball watching, we highly suggest these to serve to your guests. Just be sure you make enough because our guess is they’ll go quick!
15 jalapeño peppers
8 ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup milk
½ cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2-3 tablespoons (vegetable, olive or other plant) oil, or more as needed, for frying
Slice the jalapeños in half, lengthwise. Carefully use a spoon to scrape out the pith (soft, spongy and white-ish innards of the pepper) and the seeds. (Tip: do not use your fingers or they will burn! For hours!) Set aside.
Combine your cream and mozzarella cheeses in a medium-sized bowl.
Fill each pepper half with a healthy dollop of the cheese blend. Set aside.
Add your flour into a small, shallow bowl. Add in the salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder garlic powder. Blend well so that the flour has a uniform, seasoned appearance.
Pour your milk into another (separate), shallow bowl.
Dip your stuffed jalapeño half into the seasoned flour and then the milk, and then back into the seasoned flour again.
Place the flour-covered jalapeño halves onto a baking sheet (preferably atop a rack). Let the peppers sit for 10 minutes.
Pour the breadcrumbs into a separate bowl.
Dip your now 10-minute “dried” pepper halves into the milk again and then now into the breadcrumbs. Return the peppers to the baking sheet.
Preheat oil in a large skillet to 350 degrees F. (You can use a thermometer to check the oil temperature).
While the oil heats up, dip your peppers into the milk and the breadcrumbs for a second time. Then place them into the hot oil in the skillet and fry them, flipping frequently, until golden brown and crispy (and not burned). Each pepper should only take a few minutes total to fry.
*If making ahead of time, no problem! Simply return the fried poppers to the baking sheet and warm in an oven at 350 degrees F until ready to serve.