All the flavors of a classic appetizer in a creamy cheesy dip loaded with jalapeno spice, sharp cheddar cheese, and a buttery cracker topping. Baked until golden and bubbly, this jalapeno popper dip recipe is as addicting and delicious as it is easy!
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The Perfect Party Appetizer
I’m a big fan of easy appetizers of course, but they can’t look easy! They also need to be delicious and leave people wanting more. I feel like that’s the sign of success, which is why dips are always a hit!
I’ve turned jalapeno poppers into an easy jalapeno popper dip because, why not?! Let me tell you, it is perfection! It combines many of the same ingredients as the popular finger food and delivers the same flavors in the form of a creamy, cheesy, spicy dip topped with a crispy buttery cracker and Parmesan topping.
I just know you’re going to love it as much as we do.
What Are Jalapeno Poppers?
Traditionally an appetizer or finger food that is usually found in pubs or American restaurant chains. They’re made by hollowing out a jalapeno pepper, either cut in half or kept whole, then stuffed with a spicy cheesy filling, breaded, then deep-fried. You can also find baked or air-fried versions too.
So, we’ve taken this idea and deconstructed it into an amazing warm dip bursting with all kinds of yum!
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s a great make-ahead dip. You can make it up to 3 days ahead! I like to add the topping just before baking.
- Inexpensive. A delicious jalapeno popper dip that doesn’t break the bank. Everything you’ll need to make it you may find in your pantry or fridge as we speak, or you may need to run out and grab some budget-friendly ingredients.
- Customize it. Adjust the spice level, add in some bacon, or make it lighter without sour cream. There are ways to tweak the recipe to suit your tastes or what you have in the fridge.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Cream cheese: You’ll need softened cream cheese, to begin with, so bring it out to room temperature far enough in advance. At least 30 minutes before you start.
- Sour cream: Helps to lighten up the thick cream cheese. Contains a creamy texture and a tangy flavor but isn’t as dense as cream cheese.
- Garlic powder: A simple bit of seasoning for flavor.
- Diced jalapenos: Jalapeno popper dip calls for jalapenos! For convenience, I just use a can of already diced jalapenos and drain them before adding them to the dip. You can use freshly chopped jalapenos if you prefer.
- Cheese: Freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese gives the dip a melty cheesy texture. I also add some Parmesan for sharpness in the dip and reserve some for the topping as well.
- For the Topping: A crisp topping made of crushed Ritz crackers, melted butter, Parmesan cheese, and parsley.
- Use fresh jalapenos. Roast and dice about 4-6 for this recipe. Depending on the spice level you want, you can decide to remove the seeds completely (which is where most of the heat comes from) or keep some for extra heat.
- A different kind of heat. You can also decide to use green chiles or cayenne pepper instead. Not exactly a jalapeno popper dip anymore, but it works!
- Make it lighter. Swap the sour cream with Greek yogurt for a lighter version, higher in protein.
- Bacon and cheese are always a match made in heaven. Fold some crisp bacon in with the jalapenos.
- Instead of Ritz crackers use Panko breadcrumbs. They’ll have a very similar texture in the end.
- Use mozzarella instead of cheddar in the cream cheese mixture.
- If you like onions, fry some up and fold some into the mix. Green onions are also an option.
How to Make Jalapeno Popper Dip
- In a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix the cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic powder on medium-high until light and airy. You can do this with an electric mixer or stir by hand if you prefer. It’ll just take a bit of arm strength to whip it as fluffy.
- Fold in the jalapenos, cheddar cheese, and Parmesan. Use a rubber spatula to spread the dip evenly into the bottom of a prepared 8×8 baking dish set on a baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, mix the Ritz crackers, melted butter, parmesan, and parsley until well combined and the butter has coated all the crumbs. Sprinkle evenly across the jalapeno dop and bake for 15-30 minutes.
- Once the cheese is bubbly and the topping is golden brown, remove it from the oven and serve immediately with your favorite dippable items!
- For a rich, creamy consistency, stick with a block of full-fat cream cheese. Avoid low-fat or the spreadable kind which contains more water and will be too thin and runny.
- Make it ahead. Prepare this dip up to 3 days in advance, however, do not add any topping. Wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until you’re ready to add the topping just before baking.
- Sharp cheddar. Depending on how pronounced you like the flavor of your cheese, using aged cheddar will provide a tasty sharpness. If not, stick with regular!
- Grate your own cheese if you can. It melts easier and tastes better. If using mozzarella, do not use the fresh stuff in brine. It’s too wet!
I don’t recommend doing this. Some people find it ends up being too greasy because of the oil. If you want a substitute I’d stick with Greek yogurt.
It’s not really spicy but it definitely can be. The canned jalapenos are usually pickled which can tone down the heat a bit, but it’s harder to get rid of the seeds. If you want control over that, I’d say use fresh, remove the seeds and roast them yourself.
Any creamy cheesy dip should sit out for no longer than 2 hours. Believe me, it’ll be gone before then, but if you have anything left, put it into the fridge to maintain freshness.
We love it with tortilla chips, baguette slices, bagels, or pita chips. You can also use fresh veggies like carrot sticks, celery sticks, and your favorite crackers. Ritz crackers seem pretty reasonable right about now!
Store leftover jalapeno popper dip by transferring it to an airtight container and storing in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave in 30 seconds intervals until warmed. Stir a few times to incorporate ingredients and prevent separation. You could also reheat a larger portion of the dip in the oven.
Do not freeze leftovers as cream cheese tends to separate when frozen.
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Jalapeno Popper Dip
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese , softened
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 (4-ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers , drained
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
For serving: Baguette slices, Bagel or pita chips, or Tortilla chips
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place a 8×8-inch baking dish on a baking sheet.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic powder on medium-high until light and airy. Fold in the jalapenos, cheddar cheese, and parmesan. Using a rubber spatula, spread evenly in the bottom of the baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the Ritz crackers, butter, parmesan, and parsley until well combined. Sprinkle evenly over the the jalapeno mixture.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and topping is golden brown.
- Serve immediately with . Best served warm.
- Use fresh jalapenos. You will need 4 to 6 fresh jalapenos, roasted and diced. Keep the seeds for a spicy kick.
- Replace sour cream with Greek yogurt.
- Add bacon. Fold in about 1/4 cup crisp chopped bacon with the jalapenos.
- Use panko bread crumbs in place of the Ritz crackers.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!