Spicy jalapeno meets creamy cheese in a crispy empanada shell, creating Jalapeno Popper Cheese Empanadas that are both zesty and savory.
Your family will love the jalapeño popper cheese empanadas for their irresistible combination of spicy kick, creamy cheese, and the satisfying crunch of the crispy shell.
It’s a mouthwatering treat that brings bold flavors and comfort together, perfect for sharing and enjoying as a delightful snack or appetizer.
To add more heat to your jalapeño popper empanadas, consider finely chopping extra jalapeños or incorporating some spicy elements like cayenne pepper or chili flakes into the cream cheese filling.
Adjust the spice level according to your family’s preference, and you’ll elevate the heat for a bolder and spicier flavor experience.
Ingredients for Jalapeno Popper Cheese Empanadas
Combining these ingredients creates a harmonious blend of spicy, creamy, and savory elements, making the jalapeño popper empanadas a delicious and well-balanced treat.
- Cream Cheese: Adds a rich and creamy texture to the filling, balancing the spiciness of jalapeños and complementing the shredded cheese.
- Monterey Jack Cheese: Provides a gooey and melty texture, enhancing the cheesy goodness of the filling.
- Jalapeños: Infuses the empanada with a spicy kick, creating the signature jalapeño popper flavor.
- Empanada Wrapper ( or phylo dough): Serves as the outer layer, providing a crispy and golden shell that encases the flavorful filling.
- Egg: Used for egg wash, giving the empanadas a shiny and golden-brown crust when baked.
- Smoked Paprika: Adds a smoky depth to the flavor profile, enhancing the overall taste of the filling.
- Garlic Powder: Introduces a savory element and complements the other spices in the mix.
- Salt: Enhances the overall flavor and balances the sweetness of the cream cheese.
- Black Pepper: Adds a touch of heat and contributes to the overall seasoning.
- Fresh Cilantro: Brings a fresh and herbaceous note, elevating the flavor profile and adding brightness to the dish.
How to Make Jalapeno Popper cheese Empanadas
Mix cream cheese, jalapeños, and spices. Fill empanada discs, seal, brush with egg wash. Bake at 350°F for 30 mins. Enjoy spicy, cheesy goodness!
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a baking sheet.
- Mix cream cheese, jalapeños, and seasonings.
- If using Phylo dough: Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, cut 4 circles from each sheet.
- If using Empanada discs: Lay out discs on the tray.
- Spoon 1 tbsp cream cheese mix onto each circle, brush edges with egg wash, and fold in half.
- Crimp edges with a fork.
- Transfer to a baking sheet, and brush with remaining egg wash.
- Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve warm.
Why this Cheese Empanadas recipe works
- Balanced Flavors: The blend of creamy cream cheese, spicy jalapeños, and savory spices creates a harmonious and flavorful filling.
- Textural Contrast: The crispy empanada shell provides a satisfying crunch, complementing the creamy and melty interior for a delightful textural contrast.
- Easy Preparation: Simple steps, like mixing the filling and using pre-made empanada discs, make the recipe accessible and enjoyable for home cooks, ensuring a successful outcome.
Recipe tips and kitchen tricks
- Char Jalapenos for Depth: Char the jalapenos before dicing for a smoky flavor depth, enhancing the overall taste of the empanada filling.
- Seal Empanadas Well: Ensure a tight seal when folding cheese empanadas to prevent filling leakage during baking, creating a perfect, intact pastry.
- Customize Spice Level: Adjust spice by adding more jalapeños or incorporating extra chili elements, catering to personal preferences for a personalized kick.
- Bacon-infused Jalapeno Popper Cheese Empanadas: Add crispy bacon bits to the cream cheese filling for a savory twist.
- Sweet and Spicy Mango Jalapeño Empanadas: Mix diced mango with jalapeños for a sweet and spicy filling. Serve with a drizzle of honey or a sprinkle of powdered sugar for a unique flavor combination.
- Vegetarian Spinach and Artichoke Empanadas: Substitute jalapeños with sautéed spinach and artichoke hearts. Incorporate feta or goat cheese for a creamy and tangy vegetarian option.
Appetizer Serving Suggestions
- Fresh Salsa: Pair with a fresh salsa featuring tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime for a zesty accompaniment.
- Guacamole: Enjoy with guacamole for a rich and buttery flavor that complements the spiciness of the empanadas.
- Hot Sauce Drizzle: Add a drizzle of your favorite hot sauce for an extra kick, enhancing the spiciness of the empanadas.
Make it a Meal
- Mexican Rice: Serve the jalapeño popper empanadas with flavorful Mexican rice, seasoned with tomatoes, onions, and spices for an authentic and satisfying side dish.
- Mexican Macaroni Salad: Complement the empanadas with a Mexican macaroni salad, featuring colorful veggies, black beans, and a zesty dressing for a refreshing twist.
- Refried Beans: Classic refried beans make a hearty and traditional side, providing a creamy and savory element that pairs well with the spiciness of the empanadas.
Storing, freezing, and reheating instructions
- Refrigeration: Store leftover jalapeño popper empanadas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
- Freezing: For longer storage, freeze unbaked empanadas on a tray, then transfer to a freezer bag. Store for up to 1-2 months.
- Oven: Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake frozen empanadas for 20-25 mins or refrigerated ones for 10-15 mins until heated through.
- Microwave: Reheat a single empanada in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, ensuring even heating.
- Avoid Freezing Already Baked: Baked empanadas may become less crispy after freezing, so it’s recommended to freeze them before baking.
- Let Thaw Before Baking: If frozen, let empanadas thaw in the refrigerator before baking for optimal texture.
- Reheat Open for Crispiness: If reheating baked empanadas, consider briefly opening them in the oven to restore crispiness.
frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Can I make these empanadas ahead of time?
Yes, assemble and freeze unbaked empanadas. Bake when ready to serve for a convenient make-ahead option.
Can I use store-bought empanada discs or dough?
Absolutely! Save time with pre-made empanada discs or even puff pastry for a quick and easy alternative.
How can I adjust the spice level for a milder version?
Reduce the amount of jalapeños or omit seeds for a milder taste. Customize to suit your family’s preference.
Can I substitute cream cheese with another type of cheese?
Yes, experiment with cheeses like cheddar or pepper jack for different flavor profiles in the filling.
family-friendly drink pairings
- Homemade Lemonade: A classic and refreshing choice that complements the spiciness of the empanadas while being kid-friendly.
- Aqua Fresca: A traditional Mexican agua fresca, such as watermelon or pineapple, for a light and fruity beverage that enhances the overall dining experience with jalapeño popper empanadas.
- Horchata: Sweet and creamy horchata, a traditional Mexican rice milk beverage, offering a delightful contrast to the spiciness of the empanadas. It’s a family-friendly choice loved by many.
Wine, Cocktail, and Beer Pairings
- Sauvignon Blanc: The crisp acidity and citrus notes of Sauvignon Blanc complement the spicy and creamy flavors of jalapeño popper empanadas.
- Riesling: A slightly sweet Riesling can balance the heat of the jalapeños, offering a harmonious pairing with the dish.
- Sparkling Rosé: The effervescence and fruity undertones of a sparkling rosé provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the empanadas.
- Spicy Margarita: A classic margarita with a kick of spice complements the jalapeño popper empanadas, creating a well-balanced and vibrant pairing.
- Mango Mojito: The tropical sweetness of a mango mojito adds a fruity twist that enhances the overall dining experience.
- Jalapeño Infused Vodka Lemonade: Infuse vodka with jalapeños for a spicy kick, mixing it with lemonade for a refreshing and complementary cocktail.
- Mexican Lager: A light and crisp Mexican lager pair well with the spiciness of the empanadas without overpowering the flavors.
- Wheat Beer: The smooth and wheaty profile of a wheat beer complements the creamy filling of the empanadas.
- IPA (India Pale Ale): For beer enthusiasts, an IPA with bold hop flavors can stand up to the spiciness of the dish, creating a flavorful combination.
Love Empanadas? Check out my other recipes:
Jalapeno Popper Empanadas
- 8 ounces cream cheese , at room temperature [See Note]
- 1 cup Monterey jack cheese , shredded [See Note]
- 6 jalapenos , charred, peeled, stemmed, seeded and diced [See notes]
- 10 empanada wrapper , 1 package frozen empanada wrapper(10), or phylo dough
- 1 large egg , beaten
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro , chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, jalapenos, and seasonings until well incorporated.
- If using Phylo dough: Unfold 1 sheet puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 5-inch diameter cutter, cut out 4 circles. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry sheet. If using Empanada discs:Prepare the discs by separating them and laying them out the empanada discs on the cooking tray.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture in the center of each round. Brush the edge of each circle with egg wash and fold each empanada into a half-moon. Crimp the edges with a fork.
- Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheet and brush them with the remaining egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.