Vegan Jalapeño Poppers

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Baking sheet scattered with Vegan Gluten-Free Jalapeno Poppers

It’s time to party vegan-style. You in?

Halved and cleaned jalapeno peppers for making Vegan Jalapeno Poppers

Origins of Jalapeño Poppers

It’s believed that jalapeño poppers were invented in Texas and may have been inspired by Mexican chiles rellenos. Both are peppers stuffed with cheese. But the difference is that chiles rellenos are made with poblano peppers. The following recipe is not traditional, but is our plant-based take on the concept!

Bowl of Jalapeno Popper filling and a baking sheet of filled poppers

Vegan Jalapeño Poppers

You guys probably know by now that I’ve been having all sorts of fun with cashews and nutritional yeast lately. They’re a vegan baker’s dream ingredients, yielding both sweet and savory treats with ease!

The two together? Unstoppable. This recipe is proof of that fact.

Baking sheet of freshly baked Vegan GF Jalapeno Poppers

If you’ve ever had a jalapeño popper, you know they make you feel like sinking down into your chair and onto the floor after three. Typically, poppers are stuffed with loads of cream cheese and deep fried. I’m not OK with those two things. In fact, I am protesting those two things right now.

Despite replacing them with vegan cheese and baking instead of frying, the flavor and texture is not compromised one bit! The flavor is spot-on, and the gluten-free tortilla crumb topping brings these babies to the next level.

Like I said, it’s party time.

Jalapeno Poppers on a baking sheet for a delicious gluten-free vegan appetizer

This recipe is simple in that it requires 10 ingredients total! And a bonus? It comes together in 30 minutes. Easy party favors for the win.

Plate filled with a batch of our 30-Minute Vegan Jalapeno Poppers recipe

What do they taste like? Kind of amazing. They’re:

Tender with an adequate bite
Slightly spicy
Perfectly cheesy
Melty
Gooey
Savory
Satisfying
& Perfect for sharing

Plate of Vegan Jalapeno Poppers for a quick and easy gluten-free dish

Next time I go to a get-together, watch a sports game (probably never), or see my mom (who lives for Sonic Jalapeño Poppers), I’m bringing these babies.

If you do make them, take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram! I’d love to see. No like seriously, it makes my day. Cheers!

Plate of Vegan Jalapeno poppers for a simple appetizer
Close up shot of delicious Vegan Jalapeno Poppers

Vegan Jalapeño Poppers

Vegan, gluten-free baked jalapeño poppers with tons of flavor, cheesiness, and the perfect crispy top. Less than 10 ingredients and 30 minutes required.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Plate of Vegan Jalapeno Poppers
4.21 from 29 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, (soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight, then drained)
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (plus more as needed)
  • 1 4-ounce can green chilies (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 10 medium jalapeños (halved and seeds/stem removed)
  • Olive oil

For Garnish (optional)

  • 1/2 cup crushed toasted tortilla chips
  • Red pepper flake

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and prep your jalapeños, splitting in half, removing the tops, and then spritzing or brushing them with a bit of olive oil. Place in rows facing up (see photo).
  • If you’re using crushed tortilla chips as a topper (recommended), toast them while prepping your cheese sauce by spritzing them with olive oil and baking them for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown, watching closely as they can burn fast.
  • To a small saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic with a bit of olive oil and cook until just softened and fragrant – about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Add soaked cashews, garlic, onion, nutritional yeast, cumin, vegetable broth and green chilies to a
    and blend until creamy and smooth, using the “liquify” or “puree” option if you have it. If the sauce is too thick, thin with more vegetable broth. If too thin, add a handful of raw cashews and blend again. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt to taste, nutritional yeast for more cheesiness, or cumin for smokiness.
  • Spoon or pipe the cheese mixture into the jalapeños, generously filling. You’ll have leftovers, which you can reserve for nachos or just dip. Top with crushed, toasted tortilla chip crumbs and bake for 15 minutes or until the jalapeños are soft and the cheese has deepened in color.
  • Place the pan on the top rack and broil for the last minute or two for an even more intense color/flavor.
  • Serve immediately, sprinkling with a bit of red pepper flake for garnish (optional). Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to a few days, reheating in the microwave or a 350-degree F (176 C) oven until warmed through (though best when fresh).

Notes

*Nutrition is a rough estimate for 1 of 20 poppers with a tortilla crumb topping (I also took into account about 3/4 of the cheese since you have quite a bit leftover for other uses).

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 popper Calories: 68 Carbohydrates: 8 g Protein: 2.2 g Fat: 3.7 g Saturated Fat: 0.7 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 25 mg Fiber: 2.5 g Sugar: 3 g

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  1. Vicki says

    Made this recipe today for my family. First vegan try…and it was great! Thank you! I’m happy to have found this website and the many options available.

  2. Freshleesh says

    Girrrrl! I did make a few adjustments to this recipe, but dang they came out GOOD! Because I have an amazing blender, I was able to use unsoaked cashews and a can of green chiles and omit the veggie broth entirely. I didn’t use an onion and I used garlic powder instead of fresh. I added a tablespoon of lemon juice and I used a “cheesy bacon” vegan seasoning I have instead of the nutritional yeast. I guess because of my adjustments I did have a little less filling than I needed for ten jalapeños, but I ain’t even mad. The crushed tortilla chips on top gave them the perfect crunch! I definitely tend to go with my gut over following a recipe to the letter, but I don’t think a lot of people can do that, so I would definitely recommend a few more edits to the recipe to help that kind out. Thank you so much for the creative twist on traditional fried poppers!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      So glad you enjoyed them! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  3. Marcie says

    Like many others I modified this recipe and enjoyed the result.

    I halved the vegetable broth (I would recommend cutting it by more than half because I added quite a few extra cashews and nutritional yeast to thicken and I added additional wet ingredients). Something I love about “real” jalapeno poppers is the salt and the tang so I added around a tablespoon of lemon juice, a tablespoon of Frank’s hot sauce, and a splash of soy sauce. I also use Better than Bouillon for my vegetable broth so I added extra bouillon paste for some salt and flavor. Finally, I used panko instead of chips and really enjoyed the texture/crunch. Jalapeno poppers have such an iconic flavor they are super difficult to mimic at home as well as vegan.

    I think if you lower your expectation from a mass produced, fried, restaurant style jalapeno popper to something that is similar but less unhealthy you will enjoy this recipe!

  4. Carol says

    This was the absolute biggest waste of my time and ingredients. I did not read all the comments posted, I just assumed the recipe was ready to go. The filling is thin and completely tasteless. If so people apparently made comments about the consistency of the filling and the lack of taste, may I ask why the recipe was not altered or why you had no notes within your recipe to indicate this?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Carol – sorry for the poor experience! We added a couple notes for seasoning to taste, and an option to add salt to taste. Hopefully that helps! Thanks for your feedback.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Joanna, so sorry to hear that was your experience! Did you add the green chilies? Were your spices fresh? Did you make any modifications?

  5. Michelle says

    I just barely made these. After reading all the comments I was careful to half the veggie broth. I didn’t have green chilis so I added in some salsa. I think the biggest factor in flavor may come from the quantity of onions used and how long you cook it. This is the main ingredient to water down the strength of the cheesy cashews, making them stretch farther. Next time I’m going to try with a more generic “cashew cream cheese” with just lemon juice, salt and soaked cashews. That being said I tweaked the cashew cheese (following the recommendations in the comments) to my taste and hubby LOVED them. I thought they were great too but I’m hoping my next try will be closer to the jalapeño poppers I remember before becoming vegan. Loved the chips on top.

  6. Brenda says

    Is there a different substitute for the cashews? I am trying to figure out how to make these for a person with a nut allergy. Thanks!

  7. Tara says

    I made these today for a football get together. Everyone really liked them!! I did cut the broth in half and added a little soy sauce to give it a little more saltiness. I doubled the recipe so there was a lot of the cashew mixture leftover. I put in an extra small casserole, sprinkled the extra corn chips on top and baked it along with the poppers. It made a great mild dip for those who were not fans of the spicy jalapenos. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  8. Rachel says

    This recipe was a HUGE hit! Next time I’ll add a little more spice into the cashew “cheese” but everyone really loved them. Will be making again FOR SURE.

  9. Monika says

    Just finished making these, they turned out pretty alright! I do think they’re missing something, maybe soy sauce? But overall I enjoyed them! I’d make them again and play around with the recipe a bit. (I halved the recipe and ended up adding the some raw cashews to the mix)

    Thank you!

  10. Leann Dixon says

    I made these last night and the recipe is excellent!!! As spice/salt is personal preference, those saying the filling is bland should taste and adjust accordingly. I did add the suggested green chilis and a bit of salt. They disappeared fast! Thank you for sharing this excellent recipe!!!

  11. Nat says

    I made this yesterday and I’m so glad that I did lol They are awesome! The only issue that I have is restraint they are addictive. Thank you for the recipe. First recipe I’ve ever taken the time to comment on.

  12. Nicole M says

    This was wonderful! I played around with the consistency of the sauce by adding broth and cashews as needed, as the author suggested. I did add lemon juice, garlic salt, and a little smoked paprika, and did not have chips so topped them with breadcrumbs instead. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Michael says

    These stuffed jalapeños were a hit as a dinner appetizer. I was surprised by the immediate positive reaction they got.

    I followed the recipe closely. Consistent with comments here, the cashew purée was too thin to hold its shape, so added cashews to the blender until I the consistency was good enough to pipe (about 1/2 cup more). I recommend using the optional green chilis – without them, the purée is bland. Also, the author does not include salt – but you’ll need it depending on your vegetable broth.

  14. Leah says

    I made these last night and they were too bland for my taste. Also, the peppers were still too spicy and should have been cooked longer. I think the balance is finding a sweet dipping sauce. We created a maple syrup/sirracha/soy sauce mix to dip in and they were a little better. I think the “cheese” should be spiced up or salted a bit more.

  15. Whitney says

    I just made these, and thankfully read all of the reviews first (about the filling being watery) and used only 1/4c veggie stock. Came out thick, and quite good. Also added lots of salt, though!!

  16. Sherry says

    I’ve made other recipes from your site and they turned out great, but these were a terrible disappointment! Followed the recipe exactly. They lacked salt and tasted like bland mush. We ended up throwing the whole batch away :(

  17. Olivia Halcro says

    I made these today as appetizers for a small dinner party I hosted -it was a great hit! They were spicy but filled with creamy goodness, and my guests literally couldn’t stop popping. Thank you for a lovely recipe!

  18. Liz Medina says

    Hey Dana,

    I’ve been lurking on your site for a while now, but haven’t gotten around to posting. I’ve tried re-creating many of your recipes. I recently made my own version of these Jalapeno Poppers that I call “Jalapeno Conkers” — they are filled with chestnut meat! I posted a picture on my Facebook and tagged MB in it. I don’t use social media much, so I hope it worked!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Liz Medina

  19. Jacky says

    I’m making these right now, reading this and wondering why spritz peppers with oil if I’m going to immediately fill and bake? Am I supposed to bake just the peppers first before filling? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jacky! Only if you’re using crushed tortilla chips as a topper (recommended), do you toast them by spritzing them with olive oil and baking them in your 400 degree oven for 7-10 minutes!

      • Prudence Martin says

        Just wondering about your answer to the above question….she asked why the need to spritz oil on the peppers. You didn’t answer that….it clearly says in your directions to prep the peppers and then spritz or brush with oil….. why does this need to be done? I brushed my peppers with the olive oil, but the “cheese” wanted to slide off…… thoughts?

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Prudence, we find that it helps the peppers get a little bit of crispiness/caramelization, but you can omit this step or only apply the olive oil to the outsides of the peppers if you would prefer.

  20. Rebecca says

    I made these yesterday for the Super Bowl and I was disappointed. I don’t know what went wrong; I followed the recipe exactly (without adding canned green chile). I’m not sure what the filling was supposed to be like, but mine had the consistency of milk (very runny) and had no flavor. I didn’t want to throw everything away, so I put the liquid back on the stove and added 3 tsp of tapioca flour. It gave the liquid a thicker consistency, like melted mozzarella, which was better than the liquid. I also added a lot more salt and garlic. The end result was ok, but tasted nothing like jalapeno poppers.

  21. Vero says

    I made this tonight in hopes that it would be a good treat while we watched the Super Bowl. Unfortunately they were not tasty at all. I followed the recipe as is (except no green chilies). There was a huge lack of salt and they didn’t taste anything like a popper I’ve ever had in the past. Disappointed.

  22. Mary says

    Has anyone tried making these and adding a vegan bacon?
    I made some portabella” bacon” and thinking that it would be good with this.
    I miss the taste of the bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers :-(

  23. Annette says

    Your poppers recipe is exactly what I’ve been looking for with one exeception- we have cashew allergies in our family. Could anyone recommend a substitute for the cashews? I have a bumper crop of jalepenos and am anxious to try your recipe, with that one alteration.

  24. Caitlin says

    I just finished making these and they are SO good. I haven’t had jalopeno poppers since before I went vegan 7 years ago and I have missed them so much. These are a perfect vegan alternative and they taste so yummy. I will defiantly be making these again.

  25. Jessica says

    I just made these and feel like they are lacking flavor. I didn’t add the red pepper flakes or the green chilies because I was hoping it would bring out a more cheesy flavor. Is there anything I can do to make more flavor? It’s also my first time experimenting with cashew cheese

  26. juliana says

    Hi,

    I followed the recipe, but it was too liquid and I had to strain the liquid out with cheesecloth and strainer…did I do something wrong?

  27. Kim says

    Do you think these can be made ahead and frozen? I have lots of peppers in the garden begging to be used and a party to go to in two weeks. I think these will be a fabulous addition, but need to use the peppers sooner rather than later!

  28. Barbara says

    Forgot that I added salt and pepper to the jalapeño poppers. My rating for both of those recipes GREAT TEN STAR

  29. Barbara says

    I just love your site and the pictures are beautiful. Made the one bowl banana bread gluten free two nights ago and had to make it again today, my husband ate it all. I also just got through making and eating the vegan jalapeño poppers, I put a lot more nutritional yeast because I love this stuff and also used panko flakes and did not use the green chilies; they were so good we couldn’t stop eating them. Thank you Thank you Thank you(:

  30. Kelz says

    Very Good! These are very good can’t wait to make them again. I didn’t put as many tortilla chips as I wanted, but a little salt sprinkled on top and they were very delicious!

  31. Mary says

    I made these today since I had so many in my garden, It is fabulous! I also grilled a bunch of veggies on the grill till crispy /almost, mixed with some fresh cooked brown rice ( I was making for our l lunch box for the week) I mixed some with the cheese then stuffed the other half and dunked in the baked chips that I put in my nutriblast moving it around to grind them all up.
    Awesome!!! :-) Thank you!! Yumbo!! Wish I could post a picture!

  32. Samantha says

    Well…I am DEFINITELY making these! It’s so hard to find satisfying vegan snacks if you’re not into a bunch of oil or sugar. You rock! I will definitely tag you on Instagram when I make them! :)

  33. Sami says

    I just made these tonight! My parents and I loved them (and they eat dairy). The toasted tortilla chips were great thinking on your part! The crunch adds something special. Like you said, I have a bunch of the cashew mixture left over. My mom suggested we try it tomorrow night with zucchini! My garden is pumping out more jalepenos and squash than we know what to do with. I’m sure it will be just as good! Thank you very much for the recipe! I’ll be making it again. :]

    • Sami says

      I just made these tonight! My parents and I loved them (and they eat dairy). The toasted tortilla chips were great thinking on your part! The crunch adds something special. Like you said, I have a bunch of the cashew mixture left over. My mom suggested we try it tomorrow night with zucchini! My garden is pumping out more jalepenos and squash than we know what to do with. I’m sure it will be just as good! Thank you very much for the recipe! I’ll be making it again. :]

  34. Anna says

    Love all your recipes! I am unfortunately allergic to cashews and peanuts.. but I’ll find a way and make them with almonds or something…looks soooo good!! <3

  35. juice says

    For the cashews, is it 3/4 cup before or after soaking? Nuts tend to expand… would like to try this for a friend’s party.

  36. Natalia (http://basmatilime.blogspot.com) says

    Hi Dana, we don’t get Jalapeños in Spain, you know of any other peppers I could substitute it with?
    small green pepper? Padrón pimientos? (you were recently in Barcelona, did you try those?)
    I am definitely going to try them and will post the result on instagram

  37. Katie says

    YES! FINALLY! I absolutely looove jalapeno poppers, but have wanted to have a vegan recipe for a few years now. THANKS!!

  38. Archana@ The Perfect Zest says

    I have a box of jalapeños I got with the intention of trying something new with it. Now I know what to do with them – have been wanting to make some sort of healthier poppers but you did it for me ! thank you

  39. Kate @Almond Butter Binge says

    These are so perfect for a party I’m going to this weekend! I’m so short on appetizer recipes — I feel incredibly lucky you happened to post one :) Thank you!

  40. Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog says

    These look amazing! *surprisingly* my husband likes nutritional yeast in recipes, and I love trying all sorts of vegan recipes, so i’m definitely going to have to try these for us. They look delicious!!!

  41. Katie @ Produce on Parade says

    I couldn’t agree more…cashews and nutritional yeast = unstoppable duo! These look bomb.com :)

  42. Beth Hornback (Eat Within Your Means) says

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You are my hero. Also, I have a bunch of poblano peppers in the fridge and have been wanting to make veganized chile rellenos. I am on my way with this idea. Thanks for being awesome!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oooh yes! Let me know how those work out! I’d be curious of the filling’s versatility. Cheers, Beth!

      • Beth @ Eat Within Your Means says

        I did it, I did it! Modified a bit to make it a meal by replacing the veggie broth with silken tofu and chickpea flour to bulk up the protein. Turned out amazing! Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  43. Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) says

    These look and sound great. I’d definitely give them a try. I can’t stand deep fried jalapeno poppers. I don’t think I even seen them anywhere outside of like a TGIF’s…lol. But cream cheese?! I could definitely never give that up completely.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Cream cheese was a toughie for me! I used to love it on bagels and in cheesecake such. But it was easy once I realized how bad it was hurting my stomach. If you can have it though, by all means, continue the cream cheese jalapeno popper!

        • Stephanie says

          My fave vegan cream cheese is Kite Hill, hands down (and cleaner than anything else I’ve found). This cashew filling sure sounds amazing though, and even better on the “clean” scale than a prefab vegan cheese. I’m so excited to make this!!! :)

  44. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe says

    There you go again – amazing! I really need to get myself a decent blender and then I can start making all of your delicious recipes that involve cashews and the like. My little magic bullet just doesn’t cut it!

  45. Hippy Mom-Elizabeth says

    I love, love, love spicy food but I cannot have meat, sugar or spicy food, I use to eat jasmine rice with aminos and garlic chili paste yum, but my stomach gave way and does not let me currently. So I love this recipe from a far, does that count? Well keep posting you two- Thank you for being so respectful to your followers, Sometimes I noticed some bloggers(not you) are very rude that’s why I love you guys also your kind, nice and with beautiful intent. THANK YOU. Have a positive energy filled week… And a celestial evening…

  46. dixya@food, pleasure, and health says

    cashews and nutrition yeast = greatest combination ever. i will be trying this soon.

  47. Molly (Based on a Sprue Story) says

    Those poppers are gorgeous! I used to love to order jalapeño poppers way, way, way back in the days when I ate whatever I pleased. These days I have a feeling I’d prefer the taste of more minimalist poppers like these to those deep-fried cheese bombs, though it’s been years since I’ve tested that theory!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I can attest that these ones taste like actual jalapenos and and not like grease bombs. Healthier food for the win! Hope you give them a go, Molly :D

  48. Lisa @ Simple Pairings says

    I keep telling myself I need to pick up some nutritional yeast. I’ve been intrigued and see it used everywhere – mac and cheese, and now poppers! I’ve never tried a vegan version – you’ve definitely inspired me!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes! You must! I never thought I’d use up the 12 ounce bag I bought last year but it’s nearly gone! Off to the store I go :D

  49. Maryea {happy healthy mama} says

    I’ve never had the non-vegan version of jalepeno poppers, but these ones look amazing!