Vegan Jalapeño Popper Bites

Vegan Jalapeño Popper Bites

Recipe Info

  • Recipe Cuisine: Vegan
  • Recipe Category: Small Plates
  • Tagged: Dairy Free, Gluten Free Option, Vegan
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Recipe Yield:


  • 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 tbsp. unsweetened non-dairy milk (nut-free and/or soy-free if necessary; see Variations)
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. vegan cream cheese or mayonnaise (soy-free if necessary)
  • 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Sunflower or canola oil for frying
  • Salsa


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, corn flour, jalapeos, milk, lime juice, cream cheese or mayonnaise, nutritional yeast, cumin, coriander, and paprika. It should be moist and hold together when squeezed, but not sticky as batter. If it’s too wet, add a tablespoon of corn flour at a time until it’s the right consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to line a baking sheet. Scoop 2 tablespoons of the mixture into your hand and roll it into a ball. Place on the baking sheet that has been prepared. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
  3. Over medium heat, heat a large frying pan, preferably cast iron. Heat for 2 to 3 minutes with enough oil to coat the bottom. It is critical to allow enough time for the oil to heat. (If the oil isn’t hot enough, the bites will fall apart.) By adding a pinch of dough to the pan, you can see if it’s hot enough. The oil is ready when it sputters and sizzles. Paper towels should be used to line a plate.
  4. Place 5 or 6 bites in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden and firm, flipping every 30 seconds or so to ensure even cooking on all sides. Transfer them to a plate with a slotted spoon, then top with more paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Rep with the rest of the bites, adding more oil to the pan as needed (allow the oil to heat each time you add more). Serve warm, with salsa on the side. These are best eaten on the same day, but they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.


Replace half or all of the milk in these poppers with hot sauce to make them extra spicy.

To bake the poppers instead of frying them, preheat the oven to 375ºF, 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.