A jalapeño popper, reborn as your new favorite grilled cheese

Just like how it looks – a jalapeño popper, reborn as your new favorite grilled cheese. If two peppers per sandwich sounds outrageous, it is, but in a good way. The char from the grill mellows the heat from strong and stingy to smoky and hot. (What if you don’t like spice at all? Well, you’ve come to the wrong place.) You’ll notice that the recipe offers two routes: crispy bacon or barbecue potato chips. Obviously, one way to think about it is: do you eat meat or not? But even if you eat meat – not to choose favorites but, yes, to choose favorites – the chips ripped my heart out.


Recipe: Grilled Cheese with Jalapeño Popper


  • 4 large jalapeños, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 4 slices bacon, halved crosswise – or 2 large handfuls barbecue chips
  • 4 slices of bread, such as white or sourdough bread
  • 4 slices of Pepper Jack cheese
  • Garlic powder, for sprinkling
  • Salted butter, at room temperature, for brushing


  1. In the oven or a toaster oven, heat the grill to high heat with a rack within 6 inches of the heat source. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add the jalapeños, cut side down. Grill until charred and flattened, rotating pan halfway through cooking, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the jalapeños to a small bowl and use the foil to cover tightly, so the jalapeños can steam for a few minutes. Peel off and discard the skins.
  2. Meanwhile, if using bacon, add it to a skillet (preferably cast iron) and heat over medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes, flipping halfway through, until as crispy as you like. Transfer the bacon to a plate and pour the fat into a heatproof jar. (If you’re using potato chips instead, skip this step.)
  3. Place 2 slices of bread on a work surface. Top each with a slice of cheese, 4 jalapeno halves, half the bacon or chips, another slice of cheese and another slice of bread.
  4. Generously coat both sides of each sandwich with butter, then sprinkle lightly with garlic powder. (Psst: if you want an extra-bacon sandwich, you can use the melted bacon drippings instead of the butter, or a combo.)
  5. If you cooked bacon, return skillet to medium heat; if not, place a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook until crispy on both sides and tender in the middle, 5 to 8 minutes total. (If the sandwiches are browning too quickly, lower the heat as needed, and if the pan seems too dry at any point, add a little butter.)
  6. Cut in half, sprinkle with salt if desired and devour immediately.