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Fried Jalapeños

Ready for a totally addictive, spicy, crispy snack?? Make Fried Jalapeños! In this recipes, fresh jalapeños are beer battered and fried until perfect crispiness (and don't worry I have substitutions if you do NOT want to use beer). The spicy jalapeño bites are SO GOOD with the creamy dipping sauce. This is a great budget-friendly appetizer. 

I'll show you how to make round bottle cap fried jalapeños and fried jalapeño strips, and show you how to adjust the spice level to your preference!

Beer battered jalapeño on a plate

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Beer battered fried jalapeños

I've tried a few fried jalapeño recipes that are out there, and I always found the batter to be too thin, to the point that it slid off the peppers as they were frying. So for this recipe, I made a really flavorful thicker batter with beer to really coat the jalapeño before frying. The thicker batter sticks to the jalapeño pieces really well and makes each bite so tasty!

The bubbles in the beer help make the batter super crispy as they pop while frying, and the alcohol evaporates as the jalapeños cook. If you prefer a lighter batter, you can use the tempura batter that I use for my avocado tempura recipe.

Hand dipping piece of fried jalapeño into dip

Make sure to use a beer that's not too hoppy so that it doesn't overpower the flavor. IPAs are probably too hoppy, so an ale or lager will do. A lite beer works really well here too, since the beer is not the main flavor in these jalapeños.

If you don't want to use beer for any reason, you can use seltzer (sparkling water). If you don't have any on hand, just use water and add a ¼ teaspoon of baking powder to the batter.

More delicious fried appetizers: Fried Brie

Ingredients

For the jalapeños:

  • 4-5 fresh jalapeños
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (or up to 1 teaspoon for a saltier jalapeño snack)
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons beer, such as a lager or ale (don't use anything too hoppy)
  • Vegetable oil for frying, such as peanut oil, corn oil, soy bean oil (~1-3 cups, depending on the size of your pot)

For the dipping sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • squeeze of lemon juice
Ingredients to make fried jalapeños

Equipment

  • Disposable kitchen gloves (do NOT try to handle jalapeños with bare hands, you don't want to touch sensitive skin with spicy fingers, and the spice stays on your skin for the whole day)
  • Medium bowl
  • Heat-safe metal or silicone tongs (ideally 2 pairs of tongs, one for dipping into the batter, one for frying)

How to prepare jalapeños for frying

You can chop jalapeños two ways: into circles (aka "bottle caps) or into strips. The strips end up being a lot LESS spicy than the circles because you get a chance to remove all the pith and seeds. The circles are a lot MORE spicy because some of the pith remains on the pepper.

jalapeños sliced on a cutting board two different ways

The strips are a little faster and easier to fry because there are fewer pieces to work with. The circles are a lot more snackable and fun to eat. Great for sharing between more friends and family!

It's totally your choice how you want to slice your jalapeños. You can do a combination of both shapes, like I did here.

By the way, if you want to reduce the spice even more and add a little pickled flavor, use pickled jalapeños. Just pat them dry before dipping into the batter!

I kind of like how the jalapeño bottle caps look like angry little jack-o-lanterns:

Hand holding fried jalapeño bottle cap

Instructions

Step 1: Cut the jalapeños into circles or into strips. To cut into strips, slice them in half length-wise, then slice again into quarters. Remove all seeds and pith. To cut into jalapeño bottle caps, slice into circles, then use your knife to loosen and remove most of the seeds. Leave the inner pith together, otherwise the batter won't have as much pepper to stick to. (See picture above.)

Step 2: In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the seasonings (paprika, salt, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning). Mix well.

Step 3: Add the 2 eggs and stir with a fork until well combined. It will be like a thick sticky dough, and it's OK if it's not totally combined.

Seasoned flour mixed with eggs in a bowl, a clumpy sticky dough texture

Step 4: Right before you're ready to fry, add 6 tablespoons of beer (that's ¼ cup + half of the ¼-cup measure). Stir well until no clumps remain. I like to preheat the oil first until it's almost hot enough to fry, then stir in the beer.

Beer batter in a bowl

Step 5: Preheat your frying oil in a pan, make sure to have enough oil so that the oil is deeper than the jalapeño pieces. The oil is hot enough to fry when you add a tiny test drop of batter to the oil and it forms little bubbles and starts frying.

Step 6: Work in batches to fry the jalapeños: Use tongs to dip each piece of jalapeño into the batter and coat on all sides. Carefully place the battered jalapeño pieces into the hot oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the batter turns golden brown, using tongs to carefully flip the pieces over halfway. Set aside on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Serve warm with dipping sauce.

There's no need to place battered jalapeños on a plate, I just did it here so you could see the consistency of the batter on the jalapeño pieces:

Battered jalapeños on a plate

Here are the jalapeños frying:

Jalapeños frying in oil

Step 7: Make the dipping sauce by combining the mayo, ketchup, and a squeeze of lemon juice and mix together.

Fried jalapeño strips with creamy dip on a plate

Can you make fried jalapeños in the air fryer?

This recipe doesn't work that well in an air fryer because the batter it liquid-ish and will drip down through the basket or onto the tray before it crisps up and cooks. If you want to give it a try, try using a tray without holes in it, or lining a basket with parchment paper. You'll need to flip each jalapeño halfway through to get the bottom to crisp up too.

If you really want to air fry jalapeños, skip the batter and do the egg and breadcrumbs method: whip up an egg with a splash of water or milk, dip the jalapeño into the egg, then dip into Italian seasoned breadcrumbs. Air fry at 375F for 5-10 minutes (air frying time will vary depending on your air fryer type, size, whether you have to preheat, etc.)

You can, however, use your air fryer to reheat leftover fried jalapeños. See detailed instructions below!

Bowl with fried jalapeños and dip

Storing and reheating fried jalapeños

Fried jalapeños will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days. They might look sad, floppy, and greasy, but they will reheat really well in an air fryer, toaster oven, or oven. Do NOT try to reheat in a microwave, or even in a pan—they will not crisp back up. I always use my Instant Pot Vortex Air Fryer + Toaster Oven and reheat using the baking option below: 

To reheat fried jalapeños in a toaster oven: Preheat to 360F and bake for 3-4 minutes.

To reheat fried jalapeños in an air fryer: Preheat (if needed) to 360F and air fry for 2 minutes.

To reheat fried jalapeños in an oven: Preheat to 375F and bake for 5-8 minutes.

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Fried jalapeños on a plate lined with paper towels
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Fried Jalapeños

Spicy, snackable, addicting! These Fried Jalapeños make the best appetizer, especially when served with the creamy dip. Read the notes below to learn how to adjust the spice level and for substitutes for beer in the batter.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Author: Kate

Ingredients

For the jalapeños:
  • 4-5 fresh jalapeños see notes for adjusting spice level
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (or up to 1 teaspoon for a saltier jalapeño snack)
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons beer lager or ale (don't use anything too hoppy), see notes for substitutions
  • 1-3 cups Vegetable oil for frying, such as peanut oil, corn oil, soy bean oil (amount will depend on the size of your pot)
For the dipping sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Special equipment

Instructions

  • Cut the jalapeños into circles or into strips. To cut into strips, slice them in half length-wise, then slice again into quarters. Remove all seeds and pith. To cut into jalapeño bottle caps, slice into circles, then use your knife to loosen and remove most of the seeds but keep the pith.
    jalapeños sliced on a cutting board two different ways
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the seasonings (paprika, salt, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning). Mix well.
  • Add the 2 eggs and stir with a fork until well combined. It will be like a thick dough, and it's OK if it's not totally combined.
  • Add 6 tablespoons of beer (that's ¼ cup + half of the ¼-cup measure). Stir well until no clumps remain.
  • Preheat the frying oil in a pan, make sure to have enough oil so that the oil is deeper than the jalapeño pieces. Tip: the oil is hot enough to fry when you add a tiny test drop of batter to the oil and it forms little bubbles and starts frying.
  • Work in batches to fry the jalapeños without crowding them: Use tongs to dip each piece of jalapeño into the batter and coat on all sides. Carefully place the battered jalapeño pieces into the hot oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the batter turns golden brown, using tongs to carefully flip the pieces over halfway. Set aside on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Serve warm with dipping sauce.
    Jalapeños frying in oil
  • Make the dipping sauce by combining the mayo, ketchup, and a squeeze of lemon juice and mix together.

Notes

Adjust the spice level:
  • Spiciest: Slice the jalapeños into circles and use the knife to loosen and remove the seeds. Keep the center pith.
  • Medium-spice: Slice the jalapeños into strips (in half lengthwise, and then in half again), and remove all the pith and seeds.
  • Least spicy (typically): Use canned/pickled jalapeños and pay them dry before dipping into the batter.
Substitutes for beer: Use seltzer water (sparkling water). Or use water and add ¼ teaspoon baking powder to the batter.
Store leftovers and reheat: Fried jalapeños will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days. Do NOT try to reheat in a microwave, or even in a pan—they will not crisp back up.To reheat fried jalapeños in a toaster oven: Preheat to 360F and bake for 3-4 minutes.
  • To reheat fried jalapeños in an air fryer: Preheat (if needed) to 360F and air fry for 2 minutes.
  • To reheat fried jalapeños in an oven: Preheat to 375F and bake for 5-8 minutes.
Nutrition facts are just an estimate because it is impossible to accurately calculate how much oil is used in frying. Nutrition facts do not include dipping sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 330kcal (17%) | Carbohydrates: 14g (5%) | Protein: 3g (6%) | Fat: 28g (43%) | Saturated Fat: 10g (50%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 41mg (14%) | Sodium: 210mg (9%) | Potassium: 52mg (1%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 1g (1%) | Vitamin A: 231IU (5%) | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 14mg (1%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)

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