Jalapeño Poppers with Garlic Scapes – Air Frier or Oven Baked (Keto, Veg, Paleo Friendly)

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One thing I am not is a green thumb. But I do dabble in some balcony farming of the herbs, edible flowers and occasional fruit and veg variety. My ‘gardening’ if you can call it that, is very practical. If I can’t eat it then I probably won’t grow it.

So most years I will grow a few herbs I know I can use in my cooking, and maybe add a jalapeño plant and some garlic bulbs because these are staples for us.

As soon as the jalapeño start to come in, I start to crave jalapeño poppers! So this is how I make my jalapeño poppers pretty much once every year when my homegrown jalapeños start to come in!

The spice level on these is a luck of the draw type situation. The home grown ones (shown on the right in the photo) tend to be way spicier than the store bought kind. And that is after de-seeding and removing as much membrane as I can! It is still delicious and worth every lip tingly-mouth-numbing bite!

What to do with Garlic Scapes?

Aside from using up my abundance of jalapeño, I also enjoyed getting creative with using up garlic scapes which are also coming in fierce this time of year. Aside from in these jalapeño poppers (which are amazing!), I also like adding them to my moms famous shakshuka eggs instead of garlic in the tomato chutney. I also use leftover garlic scapes in my quinoa kebabs . So lots of great options to use up leftovers!

Garlic Scape Substitute

No worries if you don’t have garlic scapes though, they are basically a green onion/garlic hybrid, so can be easily substituted with chives or green onions and some garlic powder!

Best way to cut a Jalapeño

Use gloves! No matter how careful you are, those fiery jalapeño oils find a way to your fingertips and into your eyes- most likely it will be many hours later when you least expect it! I don’t think I have to remind you that it is not a fun feeling. So do yourself a favour, and just wear the darn gloves when you de-seed this massive quantity of jalapeños! Especially if they are home grown!

Also to really reduce the heat factor, make sure to get out all the seeds and as much white membrane as you can. Then give them a rinse under running water to remove whatever is left of the seeds and any residual oils. That will help tame the heat a bit before you move on to stuffing your jalapeño poppers.

Air Fryer or Oven Baked Jalapeño Poppers

This recipe can be made either way. I actually preferred the air fryer method. I felt it was a much crispier popper and cooked in much less time. Highly recommend it.

You could also half cook these in the oven or air fryer and then store them in the fridge or freezer for future snacking.

These are great served warm or even at room temperature, so are perfect for when you want to feed a crowd, but don’t want to be going back and forth in the kitchen. And these are way healthier than the store bought kind!

Vegan Friendly Jalapeño Poppers

For a more vegan or vegetarian friendly popper, just use a vegan cream cheese. You can even use a flavoured version. Try a herb and garlic, or even a jalapeno cheddar if you dare! And skip the cheddar cheese in the filling.

Keto or Paleo Friendly Poppers

To make these fit a keto or paleo diet, you can choose to use regular cream cheese or the vegan kind for the filling. For the crispy topping use a paleo friendly breadcrumb (made with nuts).

Jalapeño Poppers with Garlic Scapes – Air Fryer or Oven Baked

An easy 6 ingredient jalapeño poppers that can be made vegan, keto or paleo friendly. So much healthier and tastier than the deep fried store bought kind! 😉
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, gluten free, keto, Paleo, sugar free, Vegan, Vegetarian


  • 8-10 large jalapeño peppers
  • 250 g full fat cream cheese (one brick) , room temperature – or sub for vegan cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup aged cheddar, grated (optional)
  • 1 bunch garlic scapes (about 5-6 stalks), thinly sliced or sub for 2-3 stalks green onion thinly sliced & 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs or use gf or keto/ paleo friendly breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted


  • Highly recommend you wear gloves for this part: Wash and slice the top off the jalapeños. Carefully slice the jalapeño in half and remove the seeds and white membrane with a knife or scoop it out with a small spoon. When done, discard all the seeds and membrane and give the scooped out jalapeños a rinse to remove any remaining seeds and oils. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, grated cheddar (if using), and chopped garlic scapes. Mix well to combine. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and melted butter mixture to mix well. Set aside.
  • Set up an assembly line to stuff the jalapeños – jalapeño, then stuffing, then bread crumbs and then a baking sheet lined with parchment. Start by stuffing one jalapeño half. Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture on top. Then place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat for all the jalapeños.

Air Fryer Method

  • Place the poppers in the air fryer in a single layer making sure they are not touching each other. Air fry for 10-12 minutes at 400F until crisp and golden brown on top. Depending on your air fryer, you may need to add a bit more time to get to that golden brown crisp top.

Oven Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 400F and bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on how soft you want your jalapeños to come out – less time will be a more crisp jalapeño, more time will mean the top is crisp and the bottom is soft).
  • If by the end, the tops have not turned golden brown yet, broil for 3-5 minutes to help it along.
  • Serve immediately. Enjoy!


Make Ahead Tip: I recommend making the jalapeño poppers and baking them for about half the time to get them to firm up. Then allow them to cool completely before freezing. you can freeze for up to 3 months. To bake from frozen, you may need to add about 5-7 more minutes of cooking time for the insides to warm up, or allow them to come to room temp before cooking the usual way as noted above. 

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