“Jalapeno Popper” Grilled Cheese Sandwich

With today’s sandwich, I wanted to recreate the flavors of a jalapeno popper, that bar-food staple appetizer. In the restaurant version, jalapeno peppers are stuffed with cream cheese, battered, and deep fried. It’s a perfectly spicy, creamy accompaniment to, say, a dozen pints of beer. I felt like a direct translation of jalapeno poppers into grilled cheese form would be a little too mild, though, so I made some substitutions. The crunch of the bread, the creamy, lightly tart chevre, the salty bacon, the spicy jalapeno, and the sweet tang of the apricot jam all balance each other perfectly, into a sandwich that has almost every type of flavor happening all at once, confusing your mouth and warming your belly. It’s intensely rich and satisfying, and I want you to make one. Here’s how it goes:

“Jalapeno Popper” Grilled Cheese
Makes one giant sandwich, serves two


  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 ounces chevre
  • 4 slices crisp-fried bacon
  • 3 whole fresh jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tablespoon apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons butter


Slice each jalapeno in half lengthwise, and remove stem, ribs and seeds. Place cut-side-down on a baking sheet, and broil until skins blacken and blister, about five minutes. Remove jalapenos from broiler, and transfer immediately into a plastic bag or other sealed container. Seal and let steam until cool enough to handle, about 10-20 minutes. Remove blackened skins by pinching them between your thumb and forefinger, and discard.

Spread one of the slices of bread with the chevre. Top with roasted jalapeno peppers, then bacon. Spread the other piece of bread with the apricot preserves, and add to sandwich. Butter each side of the sandwich, and toast in saucepan over medium heat until bread is toasted, about 2-3 minutes a side.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.


  1. Apricot jam, hmm? I make something a bit like this (but with black beans and without bacon). It never occurred to me to try a sweet spread, but it makes perfect sense as a foil to the spicy peppers and creamy cheese. I’ll give it a whirl!

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  2. This is a winner! I had a few hiccups, as living in Australia now I am dealing with a different style of bacon and sourdough, and fresh jalepenos are a rarity. I’m wondering if you used spreadable chevre…or maybe I should have had mine room temperature (of course in the end it matters not). So, I removed the “Canadian bacon” end of the long rasher and fried up the bacon “tails”, and used a comination of roasted long red chilies and jalepenos from a jar. Aussies are big on apricots so that was no worries. The bread was sliced a bit thin (should have done it myself), and you had to close your eyes and think of Otis Redding to imagine it as real sourdough, but boy, in the end the Jalepeno Popper was a little ripper!

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    1. We used regular chevre, but brought to room temperature before assembling the sandwich. I’m happy to hear you soldiered on and found a way to make this work, Stephanie. It sounds like your “bacon” solution may have been even better than ours!

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  3. These were delicious! I couldn’t find chevre, so I researched possible substitutes and ended up using feta, which was great! My husband said they could be a little spicier, but I loved them!

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    1. Glad to hear it! You can control their spice levels by leaving more of the ribs and seeds in the jalapenos. Roasting them also softens their heat; you could always try them raw, but I like the texture of the roasted version.

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  4. We made these for lunch today and they were a big hit. My 12 year old son says, “We are WAY making those again!” 🙂 I also shared the link on Facebook, where a lot of people are waiting to hear how our lunch turned out. Thanks for the great recipe.

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