Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Meatballs stuffed with cheddar cheese, cream cheese and jalapenos are two delicious appetizers in one amazing bite, perfect for parties or hoagies!
JALAPENO POPPER STUFFED MEATBALLS
Coming up with new and exciting appetizers is becoming a bit of a hobby of mine lately. After a long fall and winter of holidays, parties, events, etc., I’m sure you can relate to wanting to switch up your favorite appetizer recipes.
One of the easiest recipes that I love to serve anytime I need a quick bite-sized snack is my Homemade Meatballs. Plus they are so versatile – I’m finding the possibilities are almost endless to reinvent them! This Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Meatball recipe takes two classic appetizers, meatballs and jalapeno poppers, and turns them into something amazing and new!
These cream cheese stuffed meatballs are just the right amount of spicy but feel free to use less fresh jalapenos if you want a milder heat. A thing to remember when cooking with fresh peppers is that a lot of heat is in the seeds, so make sure to remove them before mincing.
You can also use sliced jarred jalapenos instead of fresh ones if you’d like, just be sure to dry them well before adding them to your meatballs.
Eat these delicious Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Meatballs on their own or serve them with a creamy Ranch Dressing to cool off that heat from the peppers. You can also serve with any number of your favorite dipping sauces, or get really indulgent and dunk in some Queso Dip.
Can you make these ahead of time?
You can certainly prepare the meatballs, stuff them and put them on the baking sheet ahead of time. Keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them. I don’t recommend cooking them ahead of time and re-heating them to serve as the cheese will not re-heat as nicely.
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HOW TO MAKE JALAPENO POPPER STUFFED MEATBALLS
- Keep Meat Cold: Keep the meat mixture cold and handle as little as possible.
- Flatten to fill: Don’t flatten too much, the cream cheese and cheddar cubes are small and if you make the “walls” too thin the meatballs won’t stay round while cooking.
- Keep Fillings Small: Don’t cut cheese too large, you want a small piece, 1/4″ cubes each too put into the middle of the meatballs as the three fillings will add up in size.
- Want them even crispier? Cook them in the oven, then remove carefully and sear in a hot, oiled pan for just a few minutes, shaking the pan to roll the meatballs.
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VARIATIONS JALAPENO POPPER STUFFED MEATBALLS
- Bacon: Bacon makes everything better. Mix finely chopped cooked bacon into your meatball mixture before cooking. Make bacon wrapped Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Meatballs for the ultimate appetizer combination.
- Meat: For this recipe, I recommend swapping in ground chicken for a different flavor. If you use this leaner meat, add a tablespoon of olive oil to your mixture.
- Peppers: Kick up the heat by using Thai chili peppers (Bird’s eye chili) or Serrano peppers. For a milder pepper, use Anaheim or Hatch Green Chiles. Go milder with jarred jalapenos or pepperoncinis.
- Cheese: Stuff your meatballs with another creamy cheese like goat cheese, Boursin, or Greek yogurt cheese or you can swap in a hard cheddar or mozzarella.
- Low-Carb: Make these gluten free, low carb by using crushed pork rinds instead of breadcrumbs. Substitute onion powder for the fresh onions to further cut carbs.
Air Fryer Stuffed Meatballs
- To make stuffed meatballs in the air fryer, freeze your assembled meatballs for at least 2 hours. Do not try this with thawed meatballs unless you want cheese all over your fryer.
- Set your air fryer to 400 degrees. I recommend preheating for at least 3 minutes.
- Arrange meatballs in a single layer in Air Fryer basket, use crisper plate if you have one. Leave enough room so meatballs don’t touch.
- Cook meatballs in batches for 10-12 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
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HOW TO STORE JALAPENO POPPER STUFFED MEATBALLS
- Serve: These stuffed meatballs are best fresh but you can keep them at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
- Store: Store any leftover meatballs for 3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
- Freeze: Flash freeze your meatballs on a baking sheet before transferring to a freezer bag. Freeze for up 3 months.
HOW TO KNOW IF MEATBALLS ARE DONE
Your meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees, according to the USDA Food Safety Site.
- 1 pound ground beef , 85/15
- 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup block cheddar cheese , cubed
- 4 ounces cream cheese , cubed
- 1 jalapenos , thinly sliced with seeds removed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl add the ground beef, bread crumbs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and mix until combined.
- Shape into 20 meatballs and place on a baking sheet.
- Cut the cheddar cheese and cream cheese into ¼ inch cubes.
- Working one at a time, take a meatball and flatten it in the palm of your hand. Place a piece of cream cheese and cheddar cheese along with a slice of jalapeno and wrap it back into a meatball shape.
- Place the meatball into you baking pan and cook for 22-25 minutes.