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Are you looking for the perfect finger food? Jalapeno poppers are a popular option when it comes to finger foods and appetizers. Jalapeno peppers are just a little spicy and the creamy cheese filling cuts the spice perfectly.
Cheese and sausage meat stuffed peppers take jalapeno poppers to the next level. You’re adding in flavorful Italian sausage that not only adds dimension to the peppers but increases the protein level. You’ll have finger foods that are not only delicious but filling.
You can use a variety of cheeses for this recipe. We’re going to use sharp cheddar cheese and have a herby ranch dressing for dipping.
- 1 pound jalapeno peppers bigger ones will be easier to work with – halved lengthwise and seeds removed
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 8- ounce package plain cream cheese softened
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese
- Ranch dressing makes about ¾ cup –
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- ¼ teaspoon dried parsley
- 2-3 chives sliced thin
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
- To make the ranch dressing, add all the ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk everything together. Set aside or store in the refrigerator if you plan to make it ahead of time.
- To make the filling, heat a large saute pan on medium high heat. Add the olive oil.
- Add the sausage to the pan and cook thoroughly. Crumble the sausage into fine bits as you cook it.
- Turn the heat off and let the sausage cool for a few moments. Drain any excess fat from the sausage.
- Lay a piece of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Place the peppers, cut side up, on the cookie sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- In a large bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, sausage crumbles, and cheddar cheese.
- Using a small spoon, scoop 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture into each jalapeno pepper so that they are filled nicely.
- Cook the peppers for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
- After ten minutes, remove the pan and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of the peppers. Continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and brown.
- Remove the stuffed peppers from the oven. Serve with the ranch dipping sauce.
- You may need to add a little water to the dipping sauce if it’s been refrigerated. Alternatively, you could add fresh lemon or lime juice to make it tangy.
- You can also make these stuffed jalapeno peppers in the air fryer or a grill. Use the same temperature in the air fryer, just cut the cooking time in half. They will cook much faster in the air fryer. If you want to grill the peppers, I suggest using larger jalapenos so you can lay them right on the grill for the best flavor (and not fall through).
- You can make the filling ahead of time. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Simply leave it at room temperature for a few minutes before stuffing the peppers so that it’s easier to work with.
Tips & Tricks
- Be sure to wear gloves when working with spicy peppers. Remove the gloves before you touch anything else in the kitchen (like your face or faucet!).
- Removing the seeds will remove the heat. You can do this by scraping the seeds out with a spoon. A grapefruit spoon or melon baller also works really well for this.
- Another way to remove some of the heat is to soak the peppers in cool water before stuffing them. Soak the peppers for about five minutes in an ice bath after you’ve halved and seeded them. Make sure you dry them really well before stuffing with the sausage mixture.
Can You Freeze Sausage Stuffed Jalapenos?
Yes, you can freeze sausage stuffed jalapenos. Instead of baking them, you’ll stop at the step where you stuff the jalapenos. Then, place them on a sheet tray spaced out. Lay the sheet tray flat in a freezer.
Freeze the stuffed jalapenos for 2-3 hours. Once they are frozen, you can now place them in an air-tight container. You can use a freezer-friendly bag or storage container with a tight lid. Make sure that you label and date the stuffed peppers.
You can keep them in the freezer for up to six months.
What To Put In Stuffed Jalapenos?
There are lots of different ways to make stuffed jalapenos. This recipe is really versatile. If you stick to the basic steps you can easily swap out different ingredients.
You can omit the sausage if you are looking for a vegetarian recipe. Alternatively, you could wrap these jalapenos in bacon to make them even more flavorful.
There are other things that you can mix into the cream cheese-based stuffing. For example, you could use blue cheese or Asiago instead of cheddar cheese. You can also use ground chicken or turkey instead of ground sausage.
Another option would be to add different mix-ins to the stuffing. You could add an assortment of fresh herbs (like chives and parsley). You could also add in crunchy bread crumbs like we did with the stuffed zucchini recipe.
Another option would be to use different peppers. Poblano peppers and bell peppers are great to try with this stuffing.
The Best Finger Foods
Are you looking for other finger foods to make alongside these stuffed peppers? Here are some of our other favorite recipes.