How to Make Cheeto-Crusted Jalapeño Poppers

January 28, 2014

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: You don't even have to know the rules of the game to enjoy the year's biggest day in football -- at least not when Molly Yeh's game-changing, Cheeto-crusted, bacon-stuffed jalapeño poppers are involved.

Shop the Story

I don't watch football and I don't have a clue which teams are playing on Sunday, but I am smitten with the NFL for giving us all a good reason to day drink and eat fried foods.

Ask me the champions of the past 10 years and I'll have to Google it. But ask me what I ate and I'll tell you in detail. (In 2008 I ate all the pigs in blankets, in 2009 I had my first chicken wing, in 2010 I made arancini with fontina, etc, etc.) I take my game day food seriously and you should, too. It's not every day we can get away with frying all the things and washing them down with beer.

So let's go all the way. Let's put bacon in everything. Let's use Cheetos to our heart's desire. 

Go team! 

Cheeto-Crusted Jalapeño Poppers with Bacon

Makes 16

4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
4 ounces or 1/2 cup chopped pimientos or roasted red peppers
6 ounces cream cheese
1 cup shredded smoked gouda
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 dash paprika
8 jalapeños
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs
5 cups Cheetos
Oil, for frying

Make the filling by combining the bacon, chopped pimientos or roasted red peppers, cream cheese, shredded gouda and cheddar, cayenne pepper, and paprika.

Stem the jalapeños, cut them lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Then stuff each half with the filling and place on a baking sheet.

Grind the cheetos into fine crumbs in the food processor.

Then set up three bowls: In the first, mix together flour with a pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper; in the second, beat the eggs with the milk, a pinch of salt, and a few cracks of pepper; and in the third, place the cheeto crumbs.

Coat the stuffed peppers first in flour, then in the egg mixture, and lastly in the cheeto crumbs. Deep fry at 365º F for two minutes or bake at 350º F for 30 minutes.


See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Molly Yeh

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Shawn Kinneen
    Shawn Kinneen
  • Jessie May Snyder
    Jessie May Snyder
  • Eric Johnson
    Eric Johnson
  • Bianca4s
  • Vincenzo
molly yeh recently moved from brooklyn to a farm outside of grand forks, north dakota, where her husband is a fifth generation farmer. she writes the blog my name is yeh.


Shawn K. February 1, 2015
Cheetos don't stick to pepper.
Jessie M. January 30, 2015
I'm right there with you remembering what I ate! This looks like a flavor bomb of amazingness. Way to go again Molly!
Eric J. February 2, 2014
How much milk?
Carlos J. February 5, 2014
For the 2 eggs, I'd guess you could get a decent mixture with about 1/4 cup. At least that's what I'd go with. You want it to be not too thick and not too thin. I can't wait to try these!
Bianca4s February 1, 2014
Food 52 editors I think you should please take down the comment by Crackle, it's really mean-spirited and unkind.
dymnyno February 1, 2014
Isn't the name Cackle?
Vincenzo February 1, 2014
Crunchy Cheetos or Cheetos Puffs to break down in the food processor?
Crackle January 31, 2014
"I don't have a clue which teams are playing on Sunday" is a pretty dumb statement to make in an article about Super Bowl food. I can understand if you don't like football. But seriously, look out your window. You can look anywhere without being bombarded by Super Bowl stuff. Every idiot show has something about it so you can figure out who is playing. If you are too numbnuts not to be able to figure it out, I don't want to eat your food.
re-arranging_jars January 31, 2014
hhhmm.... did you ever think this might be a tongue in cheek statement? take the vitriol down a notch, eh?
Joyce January 29, 2014
Could these be baked instead?
darksideofthespoon January 29, 2014
350 for 30 mins.
darksideofthespoon January 29, 2014
Dear god. Why am I on a raw, gluten, no oil, vegan diet and looking at Food52?! DAMN YOU!
fyza G. January 29, 2014
HalfPint January 28, 2014
I have a 5-gallon container of Utz's Cheese Puffs (it was a holiday impulse buy). This might put it to good use.
Brette W. January 29, 2014
Want to share? :D
mrslarkin January 28, 2014
Way better than the Broccoli with Cheetos I once made.
aargersi January 28, 2014
evil genius
hardlikearmour January 28, 2014
I completely agree!
Sarah J. January 28, 2014
I second that.
dymnyno January 28, 2014
This is so BAD!!! :) I should share my "Working Man's Dip" with you too! (warning: contains Velveeta)