These mini Jalapeno Cheese Bites are the perfect bite sized appetizer for any holiday or party. Filled with cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, corn and topped with fresh jalapenos and cilantro make for a simple but addicting appetizer.
When my mother-in-law first made these Jalapeno Cheese Bites for us on a football Sunday I was instantly addicted. Tostitos tortilla chip scoops are filled with a combination of cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, corn and and egg. Then the scoops are baked in the oven until melty and garnished with fresh jalapenos and cilantro. This appetizer is the perfect baked alternative to jalapeno poppers.
I knew I had to ask her for the recipe and make sure they were added to list of my favorite party recipes. The best part about these Jalapeno Cheese Bites are that you can make the filling in advance. Just refrigerate the cream cheese/pepper jack cheese filling until you are ready to fill the tortilla chip scoops and then bake!
It is important to use the Tostitos tortilla chips in the scoop shape like these so they hold the cheesy filling. The Tostitos scoop shape is also extremely convenient because they stand upright on their own. A few of the chips in the bag will be broken but make sure to use the ones that are still in tact.
How To Make This Recipe
The filling for this appetizer is fantastically easy. Mix together room temperature cream cheese, shredded pepper jack cheese, and one egg. Next, add the corn and mix again to combine. I usually use frozen corn for this recipe out of convenience however left over roasted or grilled corn would be delicious as well.
Once the corn has been combined, simply fill each Tostitos chip scoop with about a teaspoon of filling and bake. Once they start to turn golden brown on top they are done! To finish, garnish with fresh cilantro and fresh jalapeno slices. They can be served warm however are still great once they come to room temperature as well. These jalapeno cheese bites truly could not be any easier.
- The cream cheese and the egg should be at room temperature. If either ingredient is cold it will be difficult and take longer to fully combine them together. Cream cheese is much easier to work with and mix if it has been allowed to come to room temperature first.
- Add the frozen corn after the cream cheese, pepper jack cheese and the egg have been combined. The corn pieces will be much easier to incorporate if the other ingredients have been combined first.
- Do not use pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese comes with additives to prevent the cheese from sticking together and makes it much more difficult to melt as well as changes the texture and flavor. Shredding the cheese yourself is always the best method.
- Don't over fill the Tostitos chip scoops. The cheese will melt in the oven and you don't want them to overflow and burn on the pan. About one teaspoon of filling per chip scoop is the perfect amount.
Swaps and Substitutions
The wonderful thing about these Jalapeno Cheese Bites is there are so many variations you can create. Try them out and let me know how you like them!
Serranos vs Jalapenos - Want to turn up the heat? Feel free to use a Serrano pepper instead of a jalapeno. Serranos are much hotter than jalapeno so so if you aren't afraid of the heat give them a try. If you are looking to turn down the heat, you can core and seed the jalapeno before serving. Most of the heat comes from the flesh and seeds inside of the pepper and removing these will make them much less spicy.
Try Using Different Cheeses - If you are not a fan of pepper jack cheese, try using cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese or even a combination of both. Any melty shredded cheese will work just fine.
Add Chicken - A great way to add more protein to these baked jalapeno cheese bites is to add chicken. Grill some up and chop into pieces and add it to the filling before baking. Alternatively, shredded rotisserie chicken can also be used.
Swap Out the Cilantro - Many people are not a fan of cilantro. I for one love the fresh taste it adds to this dish but you can use just about any fresh herb you would like. Fresh parsley or even chives are both great alternatives.
Turn It Into A Jalapeno Cheese Dip - You could also turn this dish into something different entirely like a dip. Combine the cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, egg, jalapeno and corn and bake in an oven proof baking dish, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with Homemade Tortilla Chips like these!
How To Prep Ahead
To prep these Jalapeno Cheese Bites ahead, simply combine the cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, egg, and frozen corn and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use. I have made the cream cheese/pepper jack cheese filling up to two days in advance. You do not need to let the filling come to room temperature before baking.
I recommend waiting to slice the jalapenos and chopping the cilantro until ready to serve. Sliced jalapenos will brown if sliced too far in advance and fresh parsley may wilt.
Can They Be Served At Room Temperature?
Yes! This appetizer is still delicious even once they have cooled down and come to room temperature. Like with other food items with dairy products, you do not want them to sit out for longer than three hours at room temperature. Any combination of tortilla chips and cheese don't usually last that long in our house though.
Looking for more great appetizer recipes? Check these out!
Jalapeno Cheese Bites
- 1 bag Tostitos tortilla chip scoops
- 1 cup Frozen Corn
- 8 oz Cream Cheese room temperature
- 1 large Egg
- 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
- 2 Fresh Jalapenos
- Cilantro for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine room temperature cream cheese, egg, corn and shredded cheese
- Spread out tortilla chip scoops on a baking sheet (some will be broken but use the ones that are still intact so they will hold the filling)
- Fill each scoop without 1-2 teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes
- Garnish with cilantro and a couple slices of jalapeño