I’m a self-proclaimed hot pepper fiend. I love the addition of heat into both savory and sweet dishes. I’m the girl that carries hot sauce in her purse (just like Beyonce), just in case the need arises, and I buy hot sauce as mementos from my travels. I’ve even signed waivers to try extreme hot sauces, wings, etc.
This year, I’ve used the extra time at home during the pandemic to start my own garden on my deck in the city – naturally, it involves hot peppers. I’ve got pots of peppers, everywhere! I’m growing jalapenos, habaneros, cayenne, fresno, and garden salsa peppers. In the last few weeks, I’ve started harvesting peppers almost every day. The jalapenos came in first.
I made guacamole and cheddar jalapeno biscuits, but I was looking for something I could do with them on the grill and that’s where these Pimento Cheese Stuffed Grilled Jalapeno Poppers came in!
Pimento cheese, if you’re not familiar, is a southern staple. It’s a cheese spread and gets in yellowish-orange color from the bright red pimentos which are a variety of cherry pepper. The pimento is low in heat, so don’t worry about the spread itself being too spicy (unless you want it to be, and you add some cayenne or hot sauce as I do!).
Pimentos are commonly found stuffed in green olives. Pimento cheese is classically served with saltines or on white bread, but there are so many delicious ways to incorporate pimento cheese into other recipes – think breakfast sandwiches, burgers, and now… jalapeno poppers! These jalapeno poppers are bound to be a hit, so make sure to make a few extra! You’ll have plenty of pimento cheese to enjoy after you make these, too.
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
1 cup extra yellow sharp cheddar, grated (I always think hand grated cheese has the best flavor, so while you can used pre-grated cheese, the anti-caking agents and exposure to air definitely dull the flavor.)
1 cup extra sharp white cheddar, grated (see note above)
8 oz softened cream cheese
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 oz pimentos, drained
2 teaspoons Old Bay Hot Sauce (you can omit, if you’re worried about spice. Any hot sauce will do, but this is my new favorite, especially for a recipe with Southern roots!)
1 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
1. You can use your stand mixer, or a hand mixer for the pimento cheese, but I like to mix mine by hand.
2. Add your grated cheeses, cream cheese, mayo, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix thoroughly to combine.
3. Add in the pimentos and mix again. Taste for seasoning.
4. Add cayenne and hot sauce as desired (remember, this is being stuffed in a jalapeno, so you’ll get some heat from the jalapeno itself!)
5. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Pimento Cheese Stuffed Grilled Jalapeno Poppers
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
12 jalapenos (makes 24 poppers)
1/2 cup pimento cheese (see recipe above)
4-6 slices of bacon (if desired)
1. Preheat your grill to 325 (I prefer indirect heat – I used a gas grill and used one burner instead of two – this ensures your poppers cook through before becoming too charred.)
2. Cut jalapenos in half, lengthwise.
3. Using a spoon, remove the white membrane and seeds from all jalapeno halves (Pro tip: if you are sensitive to heat, wear gloves – and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling these.)
4. Fill each half jalapeno with about 1 tsp of pimento cheese (just so it’s completely filled and even with the edges – don’t overfill or you’ll have a mess on your grill!)
5. If you like bacon, wrap each half with 1/3-1/2 slice being sure to have the seam on the bottom of the jalapeno so it stays wrapped while cooking ( I avoid toothpicks because they tend to burn on the grill.)
6. Place the poppers on the grill (cheese side up).
7. Close the lid and let them cook for 5 minutes before checking them. The poppers are done once the cheese is completely melted, the pepper has softened, and the bacon (if you’re using it) is crispy.
8. Enjoy with an ice cold beverage!
If these poppers have you wanting to grill more, you’re in in luck – our patio at Lincoln Square is open for grilling classes! You can join our Grilling Boot Camp on Saturday 8/22 or Saturday 8/29 for a full day of grilling tips, tricks, and delicious food that you prepare in this hands-on class.
However, if watching, eating, and drinking is more your style, leave the cooking to us and join us for a patio demonstration. We have: Italian Surf and Turf on Fri 8/14, Date Night on the Patio on Sat 8/15, and Grilled Brunch Al Fresco on Sun 8/16 this week!
Of course, if you’re not quite ready to venture out, or if you’re joining us from afar, be sure to check out our virtual classes. We’ve got virtual demos like Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Panzanella on Wed 8/12, virtual Cook Alongs like Steak au Poivre on Sat 8/15, virtual cocktail classes like Tequila 101 on Fri 8/14, and virtual camp for the kids Aug 25-27 (baking) and Sep 1-3 (savory). Check out all of our offerings, whether virtual or in-person, on our class calendar.