Food & Drink Magazine

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers

By Chuck Underwood @brandnewvegan

Want a healthier snack for the big game this year?  Something besides another soggy pizza or greasy chips & dips?  Then you gotta try these Vegan Jalapeno Poppers!  That’s right, fresh Jalapenos stuffed with a dairy-free Cream Cheese and then air-fried to crispy perfection.

Move over chicken wings, there’s a new star of the game this year.

vegan jalapeno poppers 2

Isn’t it crazy/funny that we eat more food on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year  (besides Thanksgiving)?  For the food retailers, it’s almost like a 2nd Christmas!

And of course, most of that food is the unhealthy kind.  I mean seriously, look at some of these averages from last year’s big game…

  • 12.5 million pizzas
  • 190 million pounds of Avocados
  • 325 million gallons of beer
  • 150 pounds of cheese
  • And over 1.3 billion Chicken Wings (source)

Man, we love out Salt, Fat, and Sugar, don’t we?  They’re like the trifecta of American junk food.

I know we can’t change Americans’ love of the game, but maybe….just maybe….  we can offer them something a little healthier to munch on.

These Vegan Jalapeno Poppers and my Air Fried Pickles are intended to be just that – healthier alternatives.  You still get that fried crunch we love so much, but without the fat, without the oil, and without the dairy.

Put a plate of these babies out on the table this year and let’s see if we can start some new traditions.

Happy munching, and GO COLTS (wait….dang it… year!)

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers

vegan jalapeno poppers

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers | Brand New Vegan

Start with about 6 large Jalapenos and give them a good rinse.  Cut off the stem, and then cut each jalapeno into a 3/4″ long piece.  Carefully trim out the membranes and seeds inside each ‘tube’ .

You should end up with about 15 to 20 ‘poppers’.

(Note:  Jalapenos contain the oil capsicum, which is where the heat is – mostly confined to those membranes and seeds.  And while you may not feel it on your fingers, you definitely will if you rub your eyes or any other sensitive body parts.  So wash your hands thoroughly after handling peppers, or wear gloves.  Please be careful, if you get this stuff in your eyes – it will BURN!  Speaking from experience.  End PSA…..)

Set the jalapenos aside for now.  Time to make our batter and breading.

I used the exact same batter and breading as I did in my Air Fried Pickles Recipe.  In fact, I recommend making a batch of both as you’ll have plenty of batter and breading for both the jalapenos and the pickles.

vegan jalapeno poppers 3

The Batter:

For the batter, mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk to make a ‘vegan’ buttermilk.  In a bowl, mix 1 cup of flour and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.   Pour the buttermilk into the flour and stir to make a thick pancake-like batter.  Season with a little salt and set aside.

The Breading:

For the breading, mix together 1 cup of Panko Breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon cornmeal, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper.    Stir that together and set aside.

The Cream Cheese:

I really wanted to try the Kite Hill brand of Vegan Cream Cheese in this recipe.  It’s expensive, but it has all natural ingredients, and no oil,  so I thought it would be a good match.  Plus they use live cultures (like yogurt) to give it that cheesy ‘tang’ we all love so much.

But because I opened my package (and it did taste amazing) a few days before I actually set out to make these poppers….  it had already started to mold  – so I had to throw it away.   No worries…..we can easily make our own.

Soak 1/2 cup of unroasted cashews in a bowl of hot water.  Pop them in the microwave for 1 minute and then set them aside while we prepare the rest of the cheese.

Add about 7 ½ oz of drained tofu (basically ½ a package) to your blender.  Also add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon minced chives or scallions, 1 tablespoon of minced pickled jalapenos, ¾ tsp salt, ½ tsp onion powder and ¼ tsp garlic powder.

Drain your cashews now and add them in.  Blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.

Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

The Poppers:

To make the poppers we’re basically going to stuff each jalapeno with cream cheese, then dip them into the batter, and roll them in the breadcrumbs.  Place each popper in your air fryer basket as you go.

Air Fry at 390 ° F for 15-20 minutes or until browned.

OR… each popper on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 425 ° F for 30 minutes – flipping halfway through.

The Dipping Sauce:

My favorite dipping sauce for Jalapeno Poppers is simply using a jar of Red Raspberry Preserves.  The sweetness of the fruit really tames the spiciness of the peppers and the two go together like peanut butter & jelly.

Smuckers has a “Simply Fruit’ brand that contains NO sugar and NO high fructose corn syrup.  Thin with a little water if necessary to make your dipping sauce.

That’s it!  My version of Vegan Jalapeno Poppers. 

As always, I hope you enjoy them and please keep those comments coming.

And may the best team win!


Vegan Jalapeno Poppers

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers

Want a healthier snack for the big game this year?  Then you gotta try these Vegan Jalapeno Poppers!  That’s right, fresh Jalapenos stuffed with a dairy-free Cream Cheese and then air-fried to crispy perfection.


  • 6 large Jalapenos
  • 1 pkg Kite Hill Vegan Cream Cheese ((or see recipe below))
  • 1 jar Red Rasberry Preserves ((Smuckers Simply Fruit brand contains no sugar or hfcs))

Vegan Cream Cheese

  • 7 1/2 oz Tofu ((drained only))
  • 1/2 cup Unroasted Cashews
  • 2 Tbs Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs Water ((as needed to thin))
  • 1 Tbs Pickled Jalapenos ((minced))
  • 1 Tbs Chives or Scallions ((minced))
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder


  • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbs Lemon Juice
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 2 Tbs Cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp Salt


  • 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbs Cornmeal
  • 1 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper


  1. Rinse jalapenos and cut off the end with the stem.  Cut each pepper into 3/4″ ‘rings’ and set aside. 

Cream Cheese

  1. If making homemade Cream Cheese – cover 1/2 cup unroasted cashews with hot water and microwave for 1 minute.  Set aside.

  2. Drain 1/2 package (about 7 1/2 oz) of Tofu and cut into cubes.  Add to blender. 

  3. Add remaining cheese ingredients to blender.  Drain cashews and add them as well.  Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides occasionally.  Thin with water if necessary. 

The Batter

  1. Whisk lemon juice and almond milk to make a vegan buttermilk.  

  2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cornstarch, and salt together. Add buttermilk and mix well to make a thick batter.  Set aside. 

The Breading

  1. Add all breading ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.  Set aside. 

The Poppers

  1. Stuff each jalapeno ring with the cream cheese, and then dip into the batter ensuring it is evenly coated.  Dust coated jalapeno with breading and place in air fryer basket or on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 

  2. Air Fry at 390 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until browned.

    Oven Fry at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

Serve with Red Rasberry Preserves.  Thin the jam with a little water if necessary to make a dipping sauce. 

Tips Are Always Welcome! 

Want a healthier snack for the big game this year? Then you gotta try these Vegan Jalapeno Poppers! That's right, fresh Jalapenos stuffed with a dairy-free Cream Cheese and then air-fried to crispy perfection.

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