Vegan Baked Jalapeño Poppers | Gluten-Free

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These Vegan Baked Jalapeño Poppers are the ultimate summertime appetizer—crispy, creamy, and most importantly, VERY cheesy!

Jalapeño poppers are the perfect bite-sized app: the crispy coating, spicy jalapeño pepper, and extra creamy, ooey-gooey cheese filling create a texture and flavor combination SO good, it made ’em famous! These Vegan Baked Jalapeño Poppers are my own take on the classic Tex-Mex starter.

If you’ve never tried a jalapeño popper before, you’re in for a serious treat! They typically consist of a jalapeño pepper that is battered, stuffed with cream cheese, and then deep-fried. For these Vegan Baked Jalapeño Poppers, we’re bringing all the flavor of a classic popper, but more wholesome and even easier to make!

Small plate of 5 jalapeño poppers, with one of them sliced in half to show the vegan "cream cheese" filling

INGREDIENTS + INSPIRATION

Rather than traditional breadcrumbs, I decided to give these poppers their crispy, crunchy “crust” by using a combination of cornmeal and almond flour! The almond flour brings a satisfying, buttery flavor, while the cornmeal compliments the Tex-Mex flavors and packs ALL the extra crunch we need!

Ingredients for vegan jalapeño poppers arranged in small white bowls on marble background. Clockwise text labels read firm tofu, salt, garlic, almond flour, gluten-free flour blend, lemon juice, smoked paprika, cornmeal, nutritional yeast, non-dairy milk, jalapeños, and cashews

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN BAKED JALAPEÑO POPPERS

No need for a deep fryer or a pan full of oil to make restaurant-quality poppers like these! In fact, you can get that crispy-on-the-outside + ooey-gooey-cheesy-on-the-inside experience without using much oil at all! Making your own “healthier” jalapeño poppers from scratch may sound tough, but trust me, you’ll be a pro in no time 😉 

photo of sliced and cored jalapeño peppers on a baking tray next to a photo of bowls of cream cheese filling, dry mix, and wet batter mix for the poppers

An extra tip: It helps to wear gloves while handling the peppers, to avoid getting their spicy heat on any other body part you touch after! And don’t worry—if you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can still make these poppers! Just be sure to carefully remove all of the jalapeño seeds when coring, as they hold the most heat.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F and line/grease a baking sheet. Cut each jalapeño pepper in half, (pro-tip: use gloves) leaving just enough skin intact so it opens like a book. Remove and discard all of the seeds and white flesh.
  2. In a food processor, blend the tofu, cashews, garlic, lemon juice, and salt for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. Set aside. 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, milk, nutritional yeast, paprika, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal, almond flour, and salt. 
  4. Stuff each pepper with the cream cheese mixture and fold the two pepper halves back together. Then, using separate hands for each bowl, dunk the peppers one-by-one into the batter first, followed by the dry mix. 
  5. Lightly spray the peppers with oil for a more crispy, brown crust (optional) and bake in the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes, then transfer to the top rack and bake for an additional 17-22 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned. 

Photo of jalapeño poppers on baking sheet next to photo of baked peppers on a plate, with one cut in half to show the cream cheese filling

It’s officially summer and I don’t know about you, but I am READY for the summer hangouts and backyard get-togethers! The laughs and good times shared over great food are among the most memorable parts of summertime. Irresistible finger foods like these Vegan Baked Jalapeño Poppers are great for hosting or bringing with you as the perfect guest 😉 

These are best served fresh, but if you have any leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Reheat them in the toaster oven or air fryer to achieve maximum crispiness.

Stack of vegan jalapeño poppers on a white plate, with one cut in half to show the vegan cream cheese filling

If you’re looking for more fun recipes for entertaining, you’ll also love The Ultimate Vegan Seven Layer Dip, these Hummus Pinwheels With Cucumber & Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and these hand-held Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

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Vegan Baked Jalapeño Poppers

These Vegan Baked Jalapeño Poppers are the ultimate summertime appetizer—crispy, creamy, and most importantly, VERY cheesy! 

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes 12-14 Poppers 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 16 ounces (450 g) whole jalapeño peppers (1214 peppers)

For the “Cream Cheese” Filling:

  • 6 ounces (170 g) firm tofu, drained
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours in water
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Batter:

  • 1/2 cup (60 g) gluten-free all purpose flour blend
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened soy milk (or another plant milk)
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the “Breadcrumbs”

  • 3/4 cup (120 g) medium-grind cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup (68 g) blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Spray oil (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 425F and grease or line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.  Wearing gloves (optional), use a knife to cut each jalapeño pepper in half – I like to leave a part of the outer skin intact, so it opens like a book. Use a small spoon or your hands to remove all of the inner white flesh and seeds from the pepper. Discard the seeds, and continue with the rest of the peppers.
  2. Make the “cream cheese”: add the tofu, cashews, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to a food processor. Blend for at least 45-60 seconds, scraping the sides of the processor as necessary. You should be left with a smooth and creamy spread similar to a loose cream cheese! Set aside.
  3. Make the coatings: In one small bowl, whisk together the flour, milk, nutritional yeast, paprika, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal, almond flour, and salt. (Note: I like to remove half of the “dry” mix and add it in about halfway through coating the peppers – this reduces clumping of the dry mix).
  4. Assemble: Use a small spoon to stuff the “cream cheese” mixture into each pepper, then close the two halves of each pepper to re-seal it. Then, using separate hands for each bowl, dunk the pepper into the batter first, followed by the dry mix. Transfer the pepper to a lined baking sheet, and repeat this process with the remaining peppers.
  5. Bake: Lightly spray the peppers with spray oil, if you would like them to brown more in the oven. Place the baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then, transfer the peppers to the top rack of the oven and bake for an additional 17 – 22 minutes, until the coating is crisp and lightly browned in spots.
  6. Enjoy: let the peppers sit for 3 – 5 minutes before enjoying warm. These poppers are best served immediately, but leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated in the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer until crisp. You can also freeze the peppers after baking for up to two months, and re-warm as necessary.

Notes

  • Cream Cheese Filling: if you don’t want to make your own filling, feel free to use store-bought vegan cream cheese instead! You may want to either warm it slightly or blend it with a couple of tablespoons of plant-based milk, to make it easier to scoop
  • Other Substitutions: I have not tested this recipe with any other flour substitutions, but I imagine that the “batter” would work with any regular or gluten-free flour. Different flours absorb different amounts of liquid, so I would start with half of the milk and increase from there until you get the consistency of a thick pancake batter.

Keywords: vegan jalapeño poppers, gluten free jalapeño poppers, healthy jalapeño poppers, vegan jalapeño recipes

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. Just made this for third time- we love it! I serve with Mexican rice and it’s a wonderful meal. Thanks for another terrific recipe!

  2. If I do not find any pwpper in my country can i use Bellpepers instead or what do you think?

    1. Bell pepper is the closest alternative for jalapeño. Flavorful but it’s lacking in heat. You can add a bit of cayenne pepper if you want heat.

    1. I haven’t tested this in an air fryer, but I would bake it at 400F and cook each side for around 10-15 minutes instead. Let me know if it works out for you! 🙂

  3. Love jalapeño poppers…can’t wait to make these! Any suggestion for temp and time in an air fryer?

    1. I haven’t tested this in an air fryer, but I would bake it at 400F and cook each side for around 10-15 minutes instead. Let me know if it works out for you! 🙂