Jalapeño Popper Bites

Jalapeño Popper Bites Recipe

Makes 16 to 18 | Prep Time: 15 minutes (not including time to cook quinoa) | Cooking Time: 25 minutes | Category: Game Day Vegan


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup corn flour (certified gluten-free if necessary), plus more if needed
  • 3 or 4 small jalapeños, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk (nut-free and/or soy-free if necessary; see Variations)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese or mayonnaise (soy-free if necessary)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Sunflower or canola oil for frying
  • Salsa


1. Combine the quinoa, corn flour, jalapeños, milk, lime juice, cream cheese or mayonnaise, nutritional yeast, cumin, coriander, and paprika in a large bowl and mix until fully combined.

It should be moist and hold together when squeezed, but not wet like batter.

If it’s too wet, add corn flour by the tablespoon until you have the right consistency. Add salt and pepper.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the mixture into your hand and shape it into a ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

3. Heat a large frying pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat.

Pour in enough oil to coat the bottom and heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

It is important to give the oil enough time to heat. (The bites will fall apart if the oil is not hot enough.) 

Check to make sure it’s hot enough by adding a pinch of the dough to the pan.

If it sputters and sizzles, the oil is ready. Line a plate with paper towels.

4. Carefully place 5 or 6 bites in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden and firm, flipping them every 30 seconds or so to cook on all sides.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the plate, placing more paper towels on top to absorb the excess oil. 

Repeat with the remaining bites, adding more oil to the pan as needed (allow the oil to heat each time you add more).

Serve warm, with salsa for dipping. These are best eaten the same day but will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.


Variations: Make these poppers extra hot by replacing half or all of the milk with hot sauce.

To bake the poppers instead of frying them, preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC), place the poppers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and bake for 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through.


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