How many calories are in a large jalapeno popper?

Jalapeno poppers are a popular appetizer or snack consisting of jalapeno peppers that have been hollowed out, filled with a mixture of shredded cheese, and then breaded and deep fried. They can be served as an appetizer or snack with a dipping sauce like ranch or avocado sauce. Jalapeno poppers provide a spicy kick along with a gooey, cheesy interior.

What is a jalapeno popper?

A jalapeno popper is made by slicing a fresh jalapeno pepper in half lengthwise and removing the seeds and membranes. The hollowed out jalapeno is then filled with a mixture of shredded cheese, usually a combination of cheddar, Monterey jack, and cream cheese. The stuffed pepper halves are then coated in breadcrumbs, flour, or cornmeal and deep fried until the outside is crispy and the cheese interior is melted and gooey.

Some variations on the traditional jalapeno popper include using different fillings like smoked gouda or bacon, panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch, or using pickled jalapenos instead of fresh. The key components are the jalapeno pepper, the melted cheese filling, and the crispy breaded exterior.

Calories in a large jalapeno popper

The number of calories in a jalapeno popper depends on the exact size of the pepper and the amount and type of filling and coating used. A large, appetizer-sized jalapeno popper is typically around 4-5 inches long and stuffed with 2-3 tablespoons of cheese filling.

Based on this serving size, a large jalapeno popper would contain approximately:

  • 130-150 calories from the jalapeno pepper
  • 150-180 calories from 2-3 Tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 80-120 calories from breading and frying in oil

In total, one large, appetizer-sized jalapeno popper is estimated to contain around 360-450 calories.

Nutrition facts for a large jalapeno popper

Here is an overview of the nutrition facts for a typical large jalapeno popper:

Calories: 360-450 calories
Total Fat: 18-30g

Saturated Fat: 10-15g
Carbs: 15-20g
Protein: 12-15g
Sodium: 400-600mg

As you can see, a good amount of the calories in a jalapeno popper comes from fat, especially saturated fat, due to the cheese filling and oil used for frying. Jalapeno poppers are considered a high calorie, high fat appetizer or snack.

Ways to make jalapeno poppers lower in calories

There are some modifications you can make to traditional jalapeno poppers to reduce the calories:

  • Use part-skim shredded cheese or a lighter cheese like goat cheese in the filling
  • Use panko breadcrumbs which absorb less oil than plain breadcrumbs
  • Opt for baking instead of frying the jalapeno poppers
  • Swap the frying oil for an air fryer to significantly reduce oil and calories
  • Serve with lower calorie dipping sauces like salsa or Greek yogurt ranch

With these tweaks, you may be able to get a large jalapeno popper closer to 150-250 calories instead of over 350 calories.

Healthiest ways to eat jalapeno poppers

To make jalapeno poppers as healthy as possible:

  • Use fresh, whole jalapenos instead of pickled slices
  • Hollow out jalapenos well to reduce excess calories
  • Fill with reduced-fat cheese and minimal cream cheese
  • Add in vegetables like sautéed onions, spinach, or corn to the filling
  • Use Greek yogurt + breadcrumbs instead of eggs for binding
  • Bake or air fry instead of deep fry
  • Serve with salsa or avocado sauce instead of heavy creamy dips

With these adjustments, you can still enjoy the spicy kick of jalapeno poppers in a lighter, healthier way. Aim for under 200 calories per popper.

Reasonable serving sizes for jalapeno poppers

When served as an appetizer, a reasonable serving size is 2-4 jalapeno poppers, which would provide:

  • 2 poppers = 700-900 calories
  • 3 poppers = 1,000-1,350 calories
  • 4 poppers = 1,400-1,800 calories

When eating jalapeno poppers as a snack or part of a meal, just 1-2 poppers is a more appropriate serving size:

  • 1 popper = 360-450 calories
  • 2 poppers = 720-900 calories

Since they are high in calories and fat, it’s best to limit jalapeno poppers to an occasional appetizer and keep servings reasonable. 1-2 poppers makes a good spicy snack while more than that can add excess calories.

Comparison to other appetizers

Compared to other popular appetizers, jalapeno poppers are fairly high in calories:

  • Chicken wings (6 wings) = 500-600 calories
  • Nachos (10 chips) = 500-600 calories
  • Potato skins (3 skins) = 440-530 calories
  • Jalapeno poppers (2 poppers) = 700-900 calories

The calories quickly add up with jalapeno poppers, especially if dipping sauces are included. Enjoy them in moderation along with lighter apps and meals.


A large, appetizer-sized jalapeno popper contains approximately 360-450 calories. The high calorie and fat count is due to the cheese filling and frying method. Ways to lighten up jalapeno poppers include using reduced fat cheese, baking instead of frying, and keeping portions reasonable. 1-2 jalapeno poppers makes a spicy snack or appetizer while more than that can add excess calories. Enjoy jalapeno poppers occasionally and in moderation for best health.

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