45 Jalapeño Recipes to Spice Up Your Next Meal
There’s a reason jalapeños are utilized in so many different cuisines and dishes: They get the job done. Maybe you just want to add a little sizzle to your vodka or next batch of margaritas, or perhaps your chili or stew just isn’t complete without the spicy green peppers. Or, you just want to balance out a hearty dish, like patty melts or chowder, with some pungent peppers, or maybe you’re just really craving jalapeño poppers. Whatever the case, these jalapeño recipes guarantee to bring the heat in places they’re unexpected or absolutely necessary.
Patty Melts with Pickled Jalapeños
Nobody can resist a patty melt, and our version adds some additional flavor and spice. The mixture of quick pickled onions and jalapeños, crispy bread, and melted cheese yields an absolutely perfect patty melt. Quick pickles are a home cook's best friend, and here, they cut out some of the richness and offer some heat. Feel free to use your bread of preference, and if you're serving kids or anyone with a spice sensitivity, simply omit the jalapeños. Serve with chips, fries, salad, even more pickles, and a nice cold drink.
Shrimp Fajita Bowls
Freezing the shrimp, onions, peppers, and seasonings in the same ziplock bag not only makes this fajita dish come together faster, it also acts as a marinade, intensifying the flavor. To maximize freezer space, lay the prepared bags flat in a single layer in the freezer; when frozen, stack bags to save room. Before broiling, make sure the mixture is completely thawed with no icy chunks, which will water down the dish.
Greek Crab Dip
With the salty richness of feta cheese and brightness from fresh lemon juice and herbs, this is an incredible twist on a classic creamy crab dip. Lump crab meat gives the dip an added touch of decadence, but it could also be made with less-expensive claw meat. Served with warm, crusty baguette slices this savory crab dip is the perfect “something different” to bring to your next potluck or party.
Sheet Pan Nachos with Chorizo and Refried Beans
Messy? Maybe. Worth it? Yes. The secret to fully loaded nachos that won’t fall apart in your lap? A mixture of salsa and refried beans acts like the “glue” to help the toppings stick to the tortilla chips.
Hawaiian Chicken Casserole
This delicious throwback dish offers an indulgent balance of sweet and savory the whole family is sure to love. Opting for frozen, crispy breaded chicken tenders keeps this casserole fast and easy to prepare, and combats your saucy chicken from becoming soggy. Fresh bursts of flavor from pineapple and scallions brighten up the entire dish. If you want to lighten this casserole a bit, you can swap the chicken for peeled and deveined shrimp.
Instant Pot Dal Makhani
This warm hug from a bowl of lentils made our developer want to buy an Instant Pot in a way that no other recipe has. The stew is buttery and slightly spicy with a creamy texture that still has a little bite, thanks to the lentils. While the ghee is optional, it really does take this indulgent dish to a real over-the-top place that you definitely want to go. You can get a head start by chopping your onion, jalapeño, garlic, and ginger the night before. You can also make the toasted buttery spice mixture a day ahead and stir into the hot lentil mixture.
Trust us, you’re gonna like this jalapeño margarita. It hits all the flavor receptors—sweet, salty, tart, and boozy—and balances them so that no single flavor overwhelms. You end up with a margarita that’s very refreshing and has plenty of interesting flavor notes. There is a little work involved, but it’s worth it since it brings out the most in the jalapeño slices. Since you’re not using some sugary mix to camouflage the tequila, don’t skimp on quality: Use a premium silver tequila and Contreau for the absolute best results, and please, no bottled lime juice. Muddling the jalapeño slices in the cocktail shaker gives this drink the right amount of spiciness you want with it. If you want something on the milder side without sacrificing jalapeño flavor, don’t muddle the jalapeño slices—just add them to the shaker and shake.
Sautéed Luffa And Eggs
You’ve used luffa to exfoliate before, but did you know you could eat it? This dish is fresh and different, but using it in a stir-fry keeps things classic. The tender interior pairs perfectly with dynamic tastes like soy sauce, jalapeño, and ginger. This is great served over rice, or cooked into a stew. Luffa is entirely usable: You can compost the peels or use them to create a face mask, and the edible flesh can also be dried out to make a dish or bath sponge.
Cuban Black Bean-and-Yellow Rice Bowls
Don’t think you can get a filling, flavorful meal in just one bowl? We’re here to prove you wrong. Brighten up dinnertime with this colorful, customizable meal. Start with bowls filled with yellow rice, black beans, and plantains, and then let everyone add their favorite toppings. If your family loves avocado, make sure you have enough to go around. You’ll be floored by how much flavor fits into one bowl of this meatless meal. This simple recipe will be on your table in just 50 minutes, and every bite has sweet, spicy, salty, and savory notes. If you’re new to cooking with plantains, we have a tip from the Test Kitchen: Plantains are ready to cook when their peels turn black on the outside, so buy them black or let them ripen before cooking. Many grocery stores sell heat-and-serve frozen plantains too. You’ll love the sweet crunch the plantains give this colorful dish, so gather the family around the table and tell them to dig in.
Mini Shrimp Rolls
Porch parties and backyard cookouts call for shrimp-salad sliders with a little kick. Everyone will devour these cute little sandwiches made with shrimp, celery, and pickled jalapenos. If you are bringing these rolls to a party, transport the prepared shrimp-salad mixture, toasted rolls, and fresh toppings separately. Then assemble the Mini Shrimp Rolls just before serving.
Fried Pickled Jalapeños with Sour Cream Ranch
If you like fried pickles, you’ll love fried pickled jalapeños. These jalapeños have a light kick without being overly spicy. Plus, they’re tangy from the brine and packed with flavor thanks to taco seasoning. They’re delicious on their own, but dipping them in the sauce takes things up a notch. Deli-sliced jalapeños, like Marzetti brand, work best here since they’re bigger. For a stronger kick, get the hot version. For the crispiest golden jalapeños, let the heat come back to 375 for each batch. Serve immediately for best taste and texture.
Our Guacamole Salad is a bright, crunchy, and veggie-rich take on everyone’s favorite avocado-based dip. The fresh vegetables provide crunch that contrasts the creamy avocado, while the coriander vinaigrette is subtly acidic and doesn’t overshadow the rest of the ingredients. This dip would easily brighten up a summer cookout, but also makes a great topping for fish tacos or a taco salad. Be sure to soak the red onion for at least 10 minutes to make it less harsh.
This gutsy North African dish of eggs poached in a super-flavorful tomato-based sauce gets even better with the addition of a mountain of greens. It makes a great brunch or dinner for a crowd of holiday guests.
Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
If you’re looking for a milder, creamier take on classic enchiladas that’s super comforting, your search is over. Our Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas are so soft they’re almost pillowy, but still have a good degree of spice from the tomatillo cause and pepper Jack cheese. We used Frontera for our enchilada sauce, but any smooth tomatillo salsa from a jar (or a homemade one!) would work just as well here. You can also use corn tortillas if you prefer them over flour. Bake until the sides are bubbly to make sure the sauce isn’t too thin. Complete the meal with beans and rice, and serve with lots of garnishes, such as hot sauce, limes, cilantro, avocado slices or guacamole, and sliced radishes.
Ramen and Sweet-and-Spicy Pork Meatballs
This flavor-packed twist on pasta and meatballs trades spaghetti and marinara for ramen noodles and a garlicky ginger-chili sauce.
Plan to put this easy and comforting vegetarian pozole on repeat all season long. The vibrant stew offers the smoky, delicately spicy, and bright flavors characteristic of traditional pozole, simply without the pork. Fresh spinach and red kidney beans add color and hearty texture, while also upping the iron and protein content of the pozole. So whether you or loved ones follow a meat-free diet or are simply looking to cut back a little on the animal protein, it’s a perfect (not to mention, perfectly simple) dish that’s sure to impress.
Jalapeño Popper Bean Dip
Think beyond tortilla chips for this crowd-pleasing dip. You don't want to deny guests the deliciousness of chips, but those can get a little heavy; supplement with veggie dippers to keep things lighter overall. We suggest mini sweet peppers because their sweetness helps offset the heat of the jalapeños.
Copycat Panera Bread Summer Corn Chowder
Panera Bread’s delightful seasonal chowder features sweet corn kernels that are balanced with a creamy base and spicy accents. Its popularity grows every year, and fans can’t wait to indulge in one of the few warm soups that you’d actually want to eat on a summer day. The vegetarian-friendly chowder pairs perfectly with a vibrant green salad or a thick slice of crusty bread. It is loaded with a handful of vegetables to give you a wonderfully chunky bite with each spoonful. The smoked paprika adds a subtle smokiness that enhances the kick from the jalapeño and cayenne peppers. Finish the soup with freshly chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice for brightness.
Spicy Cornbread Dressing with Chorizo
This year, add a little kick to your Thanksgiving turkey with this spicy cornbread dressing. Flavored with jalapenos, chorizo, and cilantro, it will be a welcome change of pace from your usual recipe. Whether you make the cornbread from scratch or buy it premade, make sure it is savory, not sweet, for the best results.
Salsa gets a kick thanks to the addition of red grapefruit, navel oranges, and pomegranate anrils. Cilantro doesn't always appear in salsa, but here, paired with the tart fruits, it creates an explosive flavor that's equally good as a dip and a garnish. Lime juice, red onion and chopped jalapeño bring everything together.
Nacho Sausage Balls
Nothing says PARTY like two of the all-time greatest finger foods uniting as one. And that is exactly what is happening with these Nacho Sausage Balls. Adding chorizo, Mexican cheese, pickled jalapeño, cilantro, and crushed nacho cheese flavored Doritos to the mix gives traditional sausage balls a hit of spicy personality. They’re perfect for tailgating or holiday parties—plus, these next-level sausage balls can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 1 month. For ease, form the sausage ball and freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet; once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to serve, pop them straight from the freezer to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve your nacho sausage balls with favorite nacho condiments, like sour cream, salsa, and guacamole, for dipping.
Vietnamese Steak and Sugar Snap Salad
The secret to this steak dish is the fish sauce in the marinade of the steak and in the vinaigrette for the salad, which gives the whole dish a salty, umami punch that'll have you going back for bite after bite. The flavors are based around the classic Vietnamese dipping sauce nuoc cham, which combines fish sauce with sugar and lime juice. The herb-packed salad gives a nice counterbalance to the richness of the meat, and the lime juice in both the marinade and vinaigrette gives a hit of acid to round everything else out.
Black Bean Tostadas with Mango-Avocado Salsa
You can substitute pinto beans for black beans if you wish. Remember to pick through the bag of dried beans for little pebbles or shriveled beans before dumping them in the slow cooker. The Mango-Avocado Salsa is also a tasty topping for grilled chicken or fish, or serve it with pita or tortilla chips. We love taking a hearty, flavorful protein like these Slow-Cooker Black Beans and giving it an exotic spin! Your family will love these build-your-own tostadas. We make the bacon optional in this recipe, for those looking for a veggie-only dish. Though, the flavor from the salty bacon slices is hard to beat in any recipe.
Fermented Jalapeño Hot Sauce
A relatively brief fermentation technique gives this hot sauce a briny flavor. Use it on eggs, tacos, sandwiches, or grilled vegetables.
Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
Nobody dislikes a cheesy tater tot, so incorporate them into your next family brunch with this Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole. It’s delicious, easy, perfect for both kids and adults, and has the power to please anyone. Most of that power comes from not wiping out the skillet: This way, you’re sautéing your onions in the rendered fat from the sausage, which is both delicious and time efficient. If you need to make it gluten-free or vegetarian, all you have to do is leave out the sausage. Feel free to use any brand of tots you like, or even trying out the minis. For a smokier feel, sub in a smoked gouda.
Instant Pot Kichidi
This comforting dish is nutty, earthy, and slightly lemony. It’s often given to people who are sick and is packed with nutrients thanks to the lentils, turmeric, and ginger. For optimal flavor, use cumin seeds rather than ground cumin, and temper them in ghee or oil. In a pinch, split yellow peas also make a good base.
Queso-Filled Mini Peppers
Tortilla chips usually go hand-in-hand with queso, but mini sweet peppers make a tasty and colorful bite-sized vessel for the rich cheese dip. Don’t worry if the queso looks a little broken when the cheese melts in the evaporated milk, the cream cheese will make it smooth again. Pickled jalapeños add a tangy note to the dip, but if you like your queso extra spicy, use finely chopped fresh jalapeños instead.
Pickle Pico de Gallo
Where our pickle people at? This one’s for you. Our “Pickle de Gallo” is a vibrant, tangy twist on the beloved chip and taco topper, pico de gallo. Whether you serve this zippy condiment up with corn chips or use it as a relish for grilled meats, Pickle Pico definitely deserves a spot at your next cookout.
Heavenly Taco Pie
This taco pie is a great alternative to a build-your-own taco bar. It can be made ahead of time and baked off right before the party. Just slice it up and set out some traditional toppings, buffet-style so everyone can customize. Be sure to let it stand before serving, as that’s the key to everything holding together.
Creamy White Chicken Chili
This Creamy White Chicken Chili is super easy to make—seriously, it only takes 30 minutes, and it’s manageable for beginner cooks. To make it even easier, you could even use a rotisserie chicken. It’s rich, packed with beans, vegetables, and chicken, and isn’t too spicy, but you can always add hot sauce or sliced fresh jalapeños to up the heat factory. Building flavor in one pot is the best way to make a soup or chili, and fortunately this chicken chili starts off extracting flavor and juice from the chicken. The result is a great layering of flavors: Even though this chili is decadent and creamy, there’s plenty of greens and bite from the poblanos, green onions, avocado, and cilantro. For added brightness, top with sliced red onions or radishes, or a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream. Turn it into a comforting, filling meal with some tortilla chips, corn bread, salad, and lots of fresh toppings.
Instant Pot Peruvian Chicken
It’s recipes like this one—which requires only 20 minutes of hands-on cooking to create an incredible (seriously, our test kitchen staff was blown away by the flavor this easy chicken dinner packed) whole-bird main course—that remind us exactly why we love the Instant Pot.
Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw
These easy shrimp tacos are apt to become one of your favorite weeknight dinner go-to’s. They’re ridiculously fast, they’re easily adapted to suit picky palates, and wow, TACO bout flavor. A few pantry spices and about five minutes under the broiler are all it takes to transform raw shrimp into a dynamite taco filling. We add bright crunch with a fresh and zesty cabbage slaw, featuring lime and cilantro, and an element of richness with a simple avocado crema. Of course, feel free to top your shrimp tacos however you choose! You can skip the slaw and opt for shredded lettuce and radishes for a vibrant crispy bite. Or layer on sliced avocado in place of the crema. This is your taco night, after all—do what feels right. And yes, that means that both corn or flour tortillas will work perfectly well here; just be sure to warm them up a bit before layering on your shrimp and toppings.
Quick Ramen Pho
Using instant ramen as your base, the possibilities are endless. In fact, with a few additional ingredients to jazz the noodles up, you can create an ultra satisfying bowl of shortcut pho. Consider this recipe a template and use whatever you have on hand to make your own custom bowl.