Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

5 from 1 vote

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This grilled cheese sandwich puts all that is good and holy about jalapeño poppers between two slices of bread.

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

One of the reasons I like going to certain kinds of bars or restaurants is because they have certain kinds of comfort food bar snacks. I bet you know where I am going with this — nachos, chicken wings…and one of the greatest gifts to the bar food lexicon: the jalapeño popper.

Who was the first person to realize that stuffing seeded jalapeños with creamy cheese and a few other seasonings could create a transcendent experience? I have a shortlist of food inventors I would like to find and thank — the creator of jalapeño poppers is one such person. He/she is obviously a genius.

At home, stuffing and frying small peppers is not high on my to-do list…but making grilled cheese sandwiches is. And this sandwich recipe puts all that is holy and special about jalapeño poppers between two slices of bread and can be made easily and on repeat whenever the mood strikes.

Stack of Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese sandwiches.

And me-oh-my-oh-wow, did these sandwiches deliver. My older son, Jack, came in when I was first making them, and I offered him a half. He declined, saying he was kind of full, then reconsidered and had a bite. And then he took the whole plate and disappeared into his room. This, my friends, is high praise from a teenage boy.

These jalapeño grilled cheese sandwiches are also gorgeous — and cut into quarters would make a very good game day-watching party snack. I love it so much that I also made the bacon-jalapeno-cheese filling into a warm jalapeño dip.

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ingredients

  • Jalapeños – The jalapeños get roasted until the skin gets beautiful and charred, bringing out a smoky flavor and subtle sweetness.
  • Cheese – I picked two cheeses for this bar-snack-meets-sandwich experience: Pepper Havarti, which takes fresh tasting, beautifully meltable havarti and infuses it with the spicy kick of minced jalapeño peppers (you could also definitely use Pepper Jack cheese), and cheddar, which adds a rich, sharp, buttery tangy-ness.
  • Cream cheese – Cream cheese binds the more flavorful cheeses and the other ingredients together and adds the molten quality that makes a popper a popper.
  • Crisp-cooked bacon – Make sure to cook the bacon crispy enough so that you can crumble it into small pieces.
  • Garlic powder – Adds a subtle toasty, garlicky flavor, which adds another dimension to the cheese.
  • Bread – Use sourdough or rustic country white bread for these sandwiches.
  • Unsalted butter – Butter the bread for the richest sandwich and most even browning.
  • Salsa – You may feel like dipping these sandwiches in salsa, continuing the bar food vibe. Consider salsa ranchera or Pico de Gallo, or just use store-bought salsa.
Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese sandwich dipping into salsa.

How to Make Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

  1. Roast the jalapeños: Broil the peppers for 8 minutes, turning regularly, until charred. Once cool, peel, seed, and chop finely.
  2. Make the cheese filling: Combine the chopped jalapeños, havarti, cheddar, cream cheese, bacon, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Assemble: Butter your sliced bread and fill with the jalapeño cheese filling.
  4. Cook and serve: Cook the sandwiches in a pan until the bread is all toasted on both sides and the cheese has melted entirely. Serve with salsa for dipping, and you’re ready to go.
Woman pulling apart a Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese sandwich.


Are jalapeño popper grilled cheese sandwiches spicy?

If you seed and devein the jalapeños after roasting them, they won’t be too spicy at all. If you want them hotter, leave some of all of the seeds in; the seeds and the white membranes that hold the seeds in place are where hot peppers hold most of their heat.

What is good to add to a grilled cheese sandwich?

There are lots of things that are delicious to add to grilled cheese: try roasted peppers, strips of cooked bacon, slices of tomato, ham, and here grilled cheese gets a bar-food-ish makeover with the addition of roasted jalapenos, garlic powder, plus a bit of chopped crispy bacon.

What to Serve With Jalapeño Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Woman holding a Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese sandwich over a plate of salad.

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5 from 1 vote

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This grilled cheese sandwich puts all that is good and holy about jalapeño poppers between two slices of bread.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 People
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  • 4 ounces jalapenos (about 3)
  • ½ cup grated pepper Havarti or Pepper Jack cheese
  • ½ cup grated cheddar
  • ¼ cup cream cheese (at room temerature)
  • 4 strips crisp-cooked bacon (chopped or crumbled)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 4 slices sourdough or rustic country white bread
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • Salsa (for dipping; optional)


  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Place the peppers on a rimmed baking sheet under the broiler and cook for about 8 minutes total, turning them frequently as the side towards the flame gets bubbly and charred. When the peppers are all blistered, place them in a small bowl and place a dishtowel or plate on top to cover. Allow it to steam, and when cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and remove the stem and seeds. Roughly chop the peppers (use gloves or wash your hands very well after with hot, soapy water).
  • In a small bowl, mix together the chopped jalapeños, jalapeño havarti, cheddar, cream cheese, bacon, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Butter one side of each of the pieces of bread. Evenly spread the cheese mixture on 2 slices of the bread, on the un-buttered sides. Cover the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread, buttered side up. Lightly sprinkle the top with salt.
  • Heat a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Place the sandwiches in the pan, cover, and cook until the bottom starts to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Uncover and carefully turn the sandwiches over with a spatula, then press them down a bit with the spatula and cook uncovered until the bottom is golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Flip one more time, and cook until the bottom crust is fully golden brown and crispy, another minute or two.
  • Transfer the sandwiches to the cutting board, let them sit for two minutes for the cheese to firm back up a bit, cut in half, and serve. Pass some salsa in a small bowl for dipping if you like.


Consider salsa ranchera or Pico de Gallo for dipping, or just use store-bought salsa.


Calories: 749kcal, Carbohydrates: 78g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Cholesterol: 98mg, Sodium: 1254mg, Potassium: 452mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1506IU, Vitamin C: 67mg, Calcium: 337mg, Iron: 5mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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  1. Emily Banks Wooten says:

    This looks wonderful and I’m anxious to try it. However, I’m going to share with you a super easy way to make poppers. Cut your jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove seeds and ribs. Mix up a standard size brick of softened cream cheese with 1-2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, chopped bacon, chopped green onions, chopped cilantro and minced garlic. Spoon the filling onto the peppers and bake 15-20 minutes at 350 on a foil-lined sheet pan.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      those sounds amazing!