Hearty Poppers Recipe
Hearty Poppers Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Hearty Poppers Recipe

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“There are many recipes for jalapeno pepper poppers here in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where we live,” writes Janice Vernon. “For a potluck at our church, my husband and I came up with this lighter version. The poppers were a hit!”
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. Bake: 20 min.
MAKES:24 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. Bake: 20 min.
MAKES: 24 servings


  • 12 jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 ounces fat-free cream cheese
  • 1-1/3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 38 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 11mg cholesterol, 78mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 lean meat.


  1. Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise, leaving stems intact; discard seeds. Set aside. In a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook turkey and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1/3 cup cheese, cilantro, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in turkey mixture. Spoon generously into pepper halves.
  3. Place in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes for spicy flavor, 30 minutes for medium and 40 minutes for mild. Yield: 2 dozen.
Editor's Note: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.
Originally published as Hearty Poppers in Light & Tasty June/July 2007, p30

Sweet Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a sweet red wine.

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tntriggs User ID: 4261420 219968
Reviewed Feb. 7, 2015

"I think I would use Fino Chorizo."

tomsaaristo User ID: 6460206 94481
Reviewed Jan. 17, 2012

"Exceptional! Great tip on making them milder by roasting them longer! I've never seen that before! I like that these are baked too! Also, I substituted Vegetable Neufchatel which meets the lighter cream cheese component but also adds a little more flavor with the included vegetables. I never thought Jalapeno poppers would become a favorite, but thanks to this recipe, they are a new staple!"

nancycl User ID: 1672416 94505
Reviewed Feb. 3, 2010

"Really good and way less calories than most pepper poppers."

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