9 Ways to Use All Those Jalapeños

Miss Cellania
Miss Cellania / Miss Cellania

Shown above are the jalapeño peppers I picked last night. Do I need this many jalapeños? No, but I picked them anyway before they started to wrinkle, because they are hard to handle after the skins become tough. I’ve already packed away a two-year supply of diced peppers in the freezer, and there are plenty more in the garden that haven’t reached full size. So I went looking for a way to use them.

1. Salsa

The reason I grow jalapeño peppers is for salsa, a fine way to make the most of my many garden tomatoes. Quite a few years ago, I posted my own recipe for homemade salsa, from harvest to canning. Since the peppers came in big and healthy in mass quantities, I roasted and diced enough for a years’ worth of salsa at a time -twice- and I won’t even have to plant any next year. And I’ve already canned four dozen pints of salsa.

2. Jalapeño Cornbread

Sally’s Baking Addiction has a recipe for Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins that adds a kick to sweet corn muffins made with honey and brown sugar. Not only a tasty and filling breakfast, but the jalapeños make them an eye-opener, too. If you prefer cornbread without sugar, as I do, how about a recipe for Green Onion-Jalapeño Cornbread from Epicurious. That’ll make a great side dish for any dinner.

3. Deep-Fried Jalapeño Poppers

The go-to recipe for using up a lot of peppers is stuffed jalapeños, or poppers. My husband prefers cream cheese filling. Daniel Gritzer at Serious Eats takes us through all the steps of making Deep Fried Jalapeño Poppers, with illustrated tips to help your technique. These are stuffed with cream cheese, although there are many ways to spice up your filling.

4. Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

You might think that broiled food may be a bit healthier than deep-fried, but we can get around that by adding bacon. These Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers use a half-pepper and are stuffed with cream cheese (plus Parmesan cheese, chives, and cayenne), wrapped in bacon, and broiled. I’m all over that one.

5. Jalapeño Cornbread Poppers

If you can’t decide between jalapeño cornbread or jalapeño poppers, you can combine them, in the recipe for Jalapeno Cornbread Poppers at Oh, Bite It! It’s a matter of mixing up some cornbread batter, adding corn and cheese, stuffing pepper halves, and then putting more cheese on top. Bake them all together, and you’ve got a baked pepper popper with corn and cheese flavors inside.

6. Roasted Jalapeño Tater Salad

Nick Evans of Macheesmo created a potato salad that gets extra flavor from bacon and jalapeños. He roasts the bacon and peppers first, which makes the peppers somewhat milder. The finished product is just the thing to contribute to a barbecue or a tailgate party. Get the recipe for Roasted Jalapeno Tater Salad, and save some for me!

7. Cajun Crab Cakes with Jalapeño Remoulade

The recipe for Cajun Crab Cakes by Donald Link at The Hungry Hounds doesn’t have any jalapeños in it. However, it does have chili powder, cayenne pepper, onions, and other tasty ingredients. The remoulade for dipping requires only a half of a jalapeño pepper. Yet altogether, it sounds like a completely irresistible dinner. Does it really matter that you don’t get rid of a lot of jalapeños preparing it?   

8. Jalapeño Chocolate Chip Cookies

The taste of peppers and chocolate go together like you’d expect from two of Mexico’s greatest gifts to cuisine. I also heard in a certain movie that adding a pinch of pepper to chocolate does wonders for your love life. However, Jennifer at Peanut Butter and Peppers was looking for a way to use up excess jalapeños. Her recipe for Jalapeno Chocolate Chip Cookies calls for four peppers to the batch. That’s not a lot, but if your family and friends like them, you may have to make more.

9. Dark Chocolate Jalapeño Ice Cream

Jalapeño ice cream sounds like a rare novelty, but as we’ve seen, the pepper pairs well with chocolate. The DIY Food Guy compares the combination to love: sweet and fun and a little bit hot.

The heat of the jalapeño won’t make the chocolate particularly spicy. In fact, it won’t even make it somewhat spicy. At least in the right amounts. With just enough of the pepper, the heat will simply amplify the flavors around it, leading to little fireworks of flavor. Just like a perfect love story.

He developed a recipe for Dark Chocolate Jalapeno Ice Cream in which you make a custard with dark chocolate and peppers, then whip it up with more cream in an ice cream churn. If you have an ice cream churn, you have to try it out. Then let us know how it tastes.