Spice It Up With 9 Favorite Jalapeño Recipes We Love

Ryan Nadolny

Anyone that knows me knows how much I love spicy food. I’m not talking about a little heat. No, I want it as hot as possible. At every meal. All of the time.

With over 50 bottles of hot sauce in my cabinet, I have something for every sort of meal, even ice cream. (Come on, don't knock it until you try it!)

Being an adventurous eater started very early. I have a vivid memory of the first time I tried a jalapeño. I was young, maybe 7 or 8 years old.

Before then, I had only had banana peppers at this point. Then I tried a jalapeño and it was love at first bite! I have been hooked ever since that day.

Even though my tolerance is much higher these days, I still love jalapeños! They have such a fresh, crisp flavor and an excellent crunch when eaten raw.

The heat in a pepper is measured by the Scoville Scale, comparing peppers to each other. Jalapenos range from 2000 to 8000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

Compare that to a reaper that has a rating of over 2 million SHU, or even the Scotch bonnet chili, and the spice level of a jalapeño is generally much milder.

A tip when shopping - make note that serrano peppers look similar to jalapeños but are smaller. They are much hotter, so make sure you buy the right pepper!

To tone down the heat of jalapeños when you want a more mild spice, cut your peppers in half and scrape out the seeds and ribs.

1. Mexican Arancini with Avocado Cilantro Dipping Sauce

I’ve been in a love affair with arancini since I first tried it nearly 20 years ago. What’s not to love about fried cheesy rice?! This version kicks it up a notch with diced jalapeño and hot sauce with classic Mexican flavor. The cilantro dipping sauce is so refreshing and helps to cool your mouth down from the heat.

2. Toaster Oven Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Recipe

A grilled cheese doesn’t need anything added to it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t doctor it up. And it doesn’t get any better than this jalapeño popper grilled cheese! The ultimate comfort food mixed with everyone’s favorite fried snack. Pro-tip: Try using a small torch or the flame from your gas stove to roast the peppers until they begin to blister. If you have a smoker, you can kick the flavor profile up even more.

3. Cilantro Lime Beef Skewers with Jalapeño Avocado Sauce

Flank steak is one of the most underrated cuts of beef. When properly prepared and sliced against the grain, it’s as tender and flavorful as a ribeye. With these cilantro lime beef skewers made with (you guessed it) flank steak, the dipping sauce is the real star of the show. Bright and refreshing with a nice peppery kick. The avocado gives it a nice creamy texture.

4. Loaded Guacamole Recipe

I’ve yet to meet someone that doesn’t love guacamole. What is there not to love about it? It’s the perfect hot day (or any day) appetizer. This loaded guacamole recipe amps it up with fun toppings and fixings that turn this dip into something truly special. Think crumbled bacon, sliced jalapeños, diced red onion, chunky tomatoes and lots of queso fresco. I like to add a little chorizo to mine as well.

5. Tex Mex Crab Cakes Recipe

There are so many ways to make crab cakes. They’re extremely versatile and can take on whatever flavor profile you’re shooting for - I don’t think I’ve ever made them the same way twice. With the addition of jalapeños, red bell pepper and lots of seasoning, these Tex Mex crab cakes are killer. This recipe comes together fast, making it a great weeknight dinner. If you don’t have crab, try swapping in a couple cans of tuna in its place. Don’t have Ritz Crackers? No problem! Use a box of stuffing mix instead. Just make sure you crush it up first!

6. BBQ Jalapeño Popper Dip Recipe

The phone rings. It’s your in-laws. They’re in town and are stopping by. You’re not ready for company. You need to put something out to snack on. No worries, I got you! Whip up this quick and easy recipe that will surely please your guests. Using mostly standard pantry items, you can have this delicious BBQ jalapeño popper dip on the table in 30 minutes. It’s sweet, a little spicy, and incredibly cheesy! It's the perfect thing to munch on while discussing appropriate boundaries for showing up without warning.

7. Skillet Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Recipe

Nothing goes with BBQ better than cornbread. I said what I said. Fight me. It acts like a palate cleanser between all the delicious offerings. Adding some heat only makes sense for this perennial crowd favorite. How else are you going to sop up all the extra sauce drippings and little morsels of decadence?! This jalapeño cheddar cornbread is a must.

8. Tex-Mex Pizza Recipe

Making your own pizza has become a favorite dinner in our house. Everyone gets to choose their favorite toppings, and no one has to share! I’m a big fan of Tex-Mex, so this recipe is my go-to. Instead of jalapeños, you can even opt for habanero peppers for more heat. Cooked chorizo is also another great addition!

9. Texas Nachos Recipe

If you’re sensing that I love Tex-Mex cuisine, you are correct. Nachos should be their own food group. Simple or complicated, both hold a special place in my stomach. These Texas nachos are simple but full of bold flavors, made with items that you likely have on hand. Pro-tip: Build your nachos on tostada shells, bake in the oven, and then cut into fours. It makes life much easier!

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