Jalapeno cheese fritters take the concept of jalapeno poppers and turn it on its head. You can’t go wrong with bread-crumb-coated fried cheese and jalapenos!
Jalapeno cheese fritters are something to get excited about! The fried balls of goodness are expectedly cheesy and crisp with the perfect amount of spice, but they also have a light, fresh flavor. This is a result of using fresh jalapenos instead of pickled ones. They bring a bright, vegetal taste to the fritters, contrasting the rich cheesiness and crunchy, golden brown exterior. One bite will have you hooked. Initially, you’re greeted with this exceptional crunch. The warm, oh-so-comforting cheesiness follows then the heat from the jalapenos starts to creep up on your palate.
Why You’ll Love These Jalapeno Cheese Fritters
- Warm, cheesy goodness – Upon taking a bite, you get oozy, salty, cheesy goodness with the fresh heat of jalapenos that warms you from the inside out. Indulging in a few is super comforting, especially on a cold day.
- Affordable – Cream cheese, grated cheese, jalapeno, breadcrumbs; you can’t get much cheaper than that. The price for all the ingredients is low, and the cost per serving is even lower!
- Great for game day – You HAVE to serve up a few platters of these fritters if sports are big in your house. Jalapeno cheese fritters are game-day food at its finest. Move over, jalapeno poppers!
- You can bake them – If fried foods aren’t for you, you can also bake jalapeno cheese fritters. They’re delicious (and crispy) either way.
Jalapeno Cheese Fritters Ingredients Notes
- Cheese: This recipe calls for cream cheese and your choice of shredded cheese. The combination works together to form rich, gooey cheesy balls of goodness that hold together when fried. Use any shredded cheese you like. Cheddar is a good choice, as is pepper jack and low-moisture mozzarella if you’re a sucker for a nice cheese pull.
- Jalapenos: Keep the ribs and some seeds intact for more heat. That’s where most of the spice is. As for those who don’t like the heat, scrape them out.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: This specific type of breadcrumb retains less oil after frying, which results in a unique, crispy texture. Panko is also the reason why this recipe is oven-friendly. With panko, all you have to do is spray the fritters with a bit of oil to “oven fry.” Use another type of breadcrumb, and this isn’t an option.
- Eggs: Eggs act as a protective layer that prevents the cheese from oozing out while cooking and also help the breadcrumbs stick.
- Oil: Any neutral, high-heat oil will do. This includes vegetable, corn, and sunflower, but I used canola.
How to Make Jalapeno Cheese Fritters
- Make the cheese ball mix: Combine the cream cheese, shredded cheese, salt, and jalapenos in a food processor fitted with a dough blade. It’s essential to use a dough blade to avoid pureeing the jalapeno. You want solid bits of the peppers throughout each fritter.
- Form the balls: Use an ice cream scoop to do this. Wipe the scoop with a bit of oil if needed to prevent sticking.
- Dip and dredge: Whisk the eggs and a little water together for a quick egg wash. Dip each cheese ball in the egg, then cover with panko. Use one hand to dip each ball into the egg wash, and use your other for the panko. Otherwise, you will coat your fingers.
- Fry: Fry jalapeno cheese fritters until golden and crisp. To make the process easier and prevent the cheese from escaping, spoon hot oil over the tops instead of flipping the fritters over. Fry 1-2 at a time to keep the frying process manageable, or add a few more to the oil if you’re a pro.
- Drain: Transfer to paper towels to drain excess oil, serve and enjoy.
Variations, Substitutions & Cooking Tips
- Experiment with cheese blends – This recipe will work with various kinds of shredded cheese. Whichever you choose, grate the cheese yourself for the best result. The anticaking agents added to pre-shredded cheeses can cause an unpleasant gumminess.
- Use serranos instead of jalapenos – They’re an excellent replacement for those who like spicy food.
- Check the oil temperature between batches – The oil must be around 360 degrees Fahrenheit before the fritters go in. Otherwise, you will have a mess on your hands. Jalapeno cheese fritters will likely fall apart if the oil isn’t hot enough to kickstart crust formation.
- To prevent soggy fritters – Move them to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet after draining excess oil on paper towels, then place them into a low-temperature oven as you repeat with the remaining batches. This prevents soggy jalapeno cheese fritters and keeps them warm.
- 1 cup diced jalapenos (deseeded)
- 1 8 oz container of cream cheese
- 2 cups packed shredded cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 4 eggs whisked
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups canola oil (for frying)
- Combine the jalapeños, cream cheese, salt and shredded cheese in a food processor using the dough blade (this way the jalapeño doesn't get pureed) and pulse until the mixture begins to clump together.
- Then, using a small ice-cream scoop or shape by hand, scoop out the cheese balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet (you should get about 20 balls).
- Place the breadcrumbs in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and the water.
- Dunk each ball into the egg wash first, then coat completely in the bread crumbs. Return to the baking sheet.
- Add the oil to a large pan and heat to 360°F.
- After your fritters are all breaded, add 1-2 (or more if you are more comfortable frying) at a time to your already hot oil.
- To prevent the cheese from spilling out, and to keep their round shape, don't flip the fritters over. Instead, use a spoon (or something heatproof) to splash the hot oil over the tops of them.
- Place each fritter on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to remove any excess oil then serve immediately.
Shredded cheese suggestions: Cheddar, Mexican blend, pepper jack or low-moisture mozzarella if you’re a sucker for a nice cheese pull.
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