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If you’re on the hunt for a dairy-free jalapeño popper recipe that’s both delicious and easy to whip up, you’ve come to the right place. These Dairy-Free Jalapeno Poppers are not only a healthier alternative to the deep-fried ones but also pack a punch of flavor that’s perfect for any occasion, be it a big game day snack, the holidays, or a cozy evening with friends.

Dairy free jalapeno poppers on a baking sheet.

This post was originally published on December 7th 2019.

❤️ Why you will love this recipe

Perfect for All Occasions

Whether you’re hosting a big game day gathering, a cozy movie night, or just looking for a spicy snack, these easy baked jalapeño poppers are a hit. They’re versatile and fit seamlessly into any event, making them a favorite for both the host and the guests. They are the BEST appetizer!

Dairy-Free Without Compromise

Going dairy-free often means missing out on some of your favorite flavors. Not with this jalapeno popper recipe! Thanks to the homemade vegan cream cheese, you get all the creaminess and flavor of regular cream cheese, but without the dairy. It’s a win-win for those who love jalapenos and are looking for dairy-free alternatives.

Bacon-Wrapped Goodness

Everything’s better with bacon, right? The crispy bacon wrap adds a smoky flavor that complements the spicy jalapeno and creamy filling. It’s a trio of flavors that will have you reaching for seconds (or thirds!).

Easy to Make

No need to be a seasoned chef to whip up these bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. With simple ingredients and clear instructions, even a cooking novice can create this delicious appetizer. Plus, they’re baked, not deep-fried, making the process even simpler and healthier.

A Crowd-Pleaser

Spicy, creamy, and wrapped in bacon – what’s not to love? These jalapeno poppers are always a crowd favorite. Whether you’re serving them to a group of sports fans (super bowl party, anyone?) or sharing with family, expect this perfect appetizer to disappear quickly!

🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions

Cashew Cream Cheese

The star of our dairy-free filling, cashew cream cheese, is made from soaked cashews blended with a few other ingredients. It offers a creamy texture and rich flavor that closely mimics regular cream cheese. If you’re unable to find cashews, macadamia nuts can be a good substitute, though the flavor might slightly differ.

Nutritional Yeast

This ingredient adds a cheesy flavor without any dairy. It’s a staple in many vegan and dairy-free recipes. If you don’t have nutritional yeast on hand, you can try using a bit of miso paste for a similar umami flavor.

Unsweetened Almond Milk

Almond milk helps in achieving the right consistency for our cream cheese mixture. If you’re not a fan of almond milk or have an allergy, feel free to swap it out with any other unsweetened plant-based milk like soy or oat milk.

Jalapeño Peppers

The main attraction! These spicy peppers are the base of our poppers. When selecting jalapenos, look for firm, bright green peppers. If you want a milder flavor, you can opt for Anaheim peppers, but remember, they’re larger, so you’ll need to adjust the filling amount.

Bacon

The smoky, crispy wrap that takes these poppers to the next level. If you’re looking to keep the recipe entirely plant-based, there are several vegan bacon alternatives available in the market that work wonderfully. You can also try my vegan jalapeno poppers which are wrapped in eggplant bacon.

Cajun Seasoning

This seasoning adds an extra kick to our poppers. If you don’t have cajun seasoning, a mix of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of salt can be a good alternative.

🥣 How to Make Dairy-Free Jalapeno Poppers

Step 1: Preparing the Cashew Cream Cheese

Start by soaking your cashews. If you’re short on time, a quick 30-minute soak in boiled water will do, but for best results, letting them soak overnight is ideal. Once they’re soft and plump, blend them in a food processor with nutritional yeast, unsweetened almond milk, mustard powder, and a pinch of salt. The result? A creamy, dairy-free cheese mixture that’s packed with flavor.

Step 2: Prepping the Jalapenos

Handling jalapenos can be a spicy affair! It’s a good idea to wear gloves to avoid any accidental burns. Slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise. You can choose to leave the stem on for a rustic look or remove it. The most crucial step here is to remove the seeds and white membrane, as they pack the most heat. If you’re a fan of super spicy food, you can leave a few seeds in.

Step 3: Filling and Wrapping

Once your spicy jalapeños are prepped, it’s time to fill them. Using a piping bag can make this process smooth, but if you don’t have one, a small spoon will do the trick. Fill each of the jalapeno halves with the cream cheese mixture. Next, take your bacon slices (or vegan alternative), slice them in half lengthwise, and wrap each filled jalapeno. The bacon not only adds flavor but also helps keep the filling in place.

Baking to Perfection

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to ensure your poppers don’t stick. Place each wrapped jalapeno on the sheet, sprinkle with cajun seasoning, and pop them in a preheated oven.

Cajun seasoning sprinkled on jalapeno poppers.

Bake until the bacon is crispy, the jalapenos are tender, and the cashew cheese is a slight golden brown. The aroma of baked jalapeno poppers wafting through your kitchen will be hard to resist!

Overhead photo of dairy free jalapeno poppers on a baking sheet next to a white bowl of vegan cream cheese.

🪄 Recipe Notes & Tips

Choosing the Right Jalapenos

When shopping for jalapenos, opt for ones that are firm to the touch and have a vibrant green color. Avoid peppers with any visible blemishes or soft spots. Remember, the size of the jalapeno will determine how much filling you’ll need, so try to pick ones that are relatively uniform in size for consistent results. It’s also good to note that smaller peppers tend to be spicier, and ones with “stretch marks” on the outside can also be hotter.

Wear Gloves

It’s a good idea to slip on some gloves (whether they’re dishwashing or latex) when you’re handling and deseeding jalapeno peppers. Those spicy juices can give your hands a tingly burn that might linger for hours (overnight in my case!). Take it from someone who’s learned the hard way: gloves are your best friend here!

Adjusting the Spice Level

Jalapenos can vary in heat, so if you’re serving these to a mixed crowd, consider making a few milder ones. Removing all seeds and veins will reduce the spice, but for an even milder version, you can replace some of the jalapenos with mini bell peppers.

Make the Cheese Tangier

If you like your cream cheese mixture to be extra tangy, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It really brightens up the flavor!

Vegan Bacon Alternatives

If you’re aiming for a fully plant-based recipe, there are numerous vegan bacon brands available that offer a similar smoky flavor and crispy texture. Alternatively, thinly sliced zucchini or eggplant brushed with liquid smoke and soy sauce can be used as a wrap. Check out my Vegan Jalapeno Poppers recipe to learn how to make eggplant bacon!

Piping Bag Hack

Don’t have a piping bag? No worries! Simply fill a zip-top bag with the cream cheese mixture, snip off a corner, and voila – you have a makeshift piping bag.

🫙 Storage Instructions

Refrigerating

If you find yourself with leftover bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers (though we doubt you will!), they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. To reheat, place them on a baking sheet and warm in the oven until heated through.

Freezing for Later

These poppers freeze beautifully. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. They can be stored this way for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to enjoy these keto jalapeño poppers, bake them from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.

🍽️ What to Serve with Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Cool and Creamy Dips

Given the spicy nature of jalapeno poppers, they pair wonderfully with cool and creamy dips. Consider serving them with a whole30 ranch or a dairy-free mayonnaise. The coolness of the dip will balance out the heat of the jalapenos, creating a delightful contrast with each bite.

Fresh Salads

A crisp, refreshing salad can be a great side to offset the richness of the poppers. Think of salads with a citrusy dressing or ones that incorporate fruits like mango or pineapple. The sweetness and acidity will complement the spicy and smoky flavors of the poppers. For a tangy twist, try our Pickled Beet Salad. It’s a delightful accompaniment for jalapeno poppers.

Other Finger Foods

If you’re hosting a game day or a party, consider adding other finger foods to the mix. Rice Paper Dumplings, Bruschetta Without Bread, and our Loaded Vegan Queso with tortilla chips can round out the menu, offering a variety of flavors and textures for your guests to enjoy.

Beverages to Quench the Heat

Spicy foods call for refreshing drinks! Offer a range of beverages like iced tea, lemonade, or even a cool cucumber-infused water.

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make these dairy free jalapeno poppers ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can prepare and assemble the poppers a day in advance, refrigerate them, and bake just before serving.

I’m not a fan of bacon. Can I skip it?

Yes, the bacon is optional. Without it, you’ll have a simpler, dairy-free stuffed jalapeno which is equally delicious. You can try adding a sprinkle of bread crumbs on top for a bit of crunch if you prefer.

Can I use other peppers instead of jalapenos?

Certainly! For a milder version, mini bell peppers are a great choice. For a spicier kick, consider serrano peppers, but be cautious as they pack more heat.

What’s the purpose of nutritional yeast in the recipe?

Nutritional yeast provides a cheesy flavor without any dairy, making it a staple in many vegan and dairy-free dishes.

Can I add vegan cheeses?

I’ve found that most store-bought vegan cheese melts into a puddle when you bake it, unlike regular cream cheese or cheddar cheese. If you have found a vegan cheese that melts like regular cheese, feel free to mix it into the cashew cream cheese.

Dairy free jalapeno poppers on a grey plate next to a white bowl of cashew cream cheese.

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📖 Recipe

Dairy free jalapeno poppers on a baking sheet.

Dairy Free Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

Bethany Galloway
These easy Dairy-Free Jalapeno Poppers are not only a healthier alternative to the deep-fried ones but also pack a punch of flavor that's perfect for any occasion, be it a big game day snack, the holidays, or a cozy evening with friends.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Appetizers
Cuisine American
Servings 28 servings
Calories 95 kcal

Ingredients
  

Cashew Cream Cheese:

  • 1 3/4 cups cashews soaked
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 4.5 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Other ingredients

  • 14 Jalapeños cut in half, seeds and veins removed
  • 14 slices bacon halved
  • 1 tbsp cajun seasoning or to taste

Instructions
 

Dairy-Free Cream Cheese:

  • Soak cashews for at least 30 minutes in boiled water (preferably overnight).
    Hot water being poured over raw cashews in a grey bowl.
  • Add the soaked cashews nutritional yeast, unsweetened almond milk, mustard, and salt to a food processor or blender.
    Ingredients for cashew cream cheese in a food processor.
  • Blend until it forms a smooth paste.
    Blending vegan cream cheese in a food processor.

Jalapeno Poppers

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Put on some gloves if you have them handy, and cut the jalapeños in half. I usually leave the stem on because I like how it looks, but feel free to cut the stems
    Slicing jalapenos in half on a wooden chopping board.
  • Remove the seeds and veins with a spoon.
    Removing the seeds and membrane from the jalapenos.
  • Fill a piping bag with the cream cheese mixture or use a teaspoon, and pipe or spoon the cream cheese mixture into jalapeño halves
    Stuffing a jalapeno with vegan cream cheese.
  • Cut the bacon slices in half lengthwise.
    Slicing bacon in half lengthwise on a wooden chopping board.
  • Wrap one bacon half around each jalapeño with cashew cream cheese.
    Wrapping a jalapeno with bacon.
  • Place on a baking tray.
  • Sprinkle each jalapeno popper with cajun seasoning.
    Cajun seasoning sprinkled on jalapeno poppers.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the bacon is done to your liking.

Notes

  1. Jalapenos: When shopping for jalapenos, opt for ones that are firm to the touch and have a vibrant green color. Avoid peppers with any visible blemishes or soft spots. Remember, the size of the jalapeno will determine how much filling you’ll need, so try to pick ones that are relatively uniform in size for consistent results. It’s also good to note that smaller peppers tend to be spicier, and ones with “stretch marks” on the outside can also be hotter.
  2. Wear Gloves: It’s a good idea to slip on some gloves (whether they’re for dishwashing or latex) when you’re handling and deseeding jalapeno peppers. Those spicy juices can give your hands a tingly burn that might linger for hours (overnight in my case!). Take it from someone who’s learned the hard way: gloves are your best friend here!
  3. Adjusting the Spice Level: Jalapenos can vary in heat, so if you’re serving these to a mixed crowd, consider making a few milder ones. Removing all seeds and veins will reduce the spice, but for an even milder version, you can replace some of the jalapenos with mini bell peppers.
  4. Make the Cheese Tangier: If you like your cream cheese mixture to be extra tangy, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It really brightens up the flavor!
  5. Vegan Bacon Alternatives: If you’re aiming for a fully plant-based recipe, there are numerous vegan bacon brands available that offer a similar smoky flavor and crispy texture. Alternatively, check out my Vegan Jalapeno Poppers recipe to learn how to make eggplant bacon!
  6. Piping Bag Hack: Don’t have a piping bag? No worries! Simply fill a zip-top bag with the cream cheese mixture, snip off a corner, and voila – you have a makeshift piping bag.
  7. Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. To reheat, place them on a baking sheet and warm in the oven until heated through.
  8. Freezing: Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. They can be stored this way for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to enjoy these keto jalapeño poppers, bake them from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.

Nutrition

Calories: 95kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 3gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 269mgPotassium: 101mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 255IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
Keyword bacon, cream cheese, dairy free, dairy free jalapeno poppers, jalapeno, jalapeno poppers, party food, side dish
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