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How do you get the batter to stick to jalapeno poppers?

Jalapeno poppers are a classic appetizer made by stuffing sliced jalapenos with a creamy cheese filling, coating them in a flavorful batter, and then deep frying until golden brown and crispy. Getting the batter to adhere perfectly to the peppers can be tricky though. The batter sliding right off the poppers is a common frustration when making this recipe. However, with a few simple tricks, you can get that batter to stick like glue every time.

Use Buttermilk in the Batter

The secret to getting the batter to adhere to the jalapeno poppers is to use buttermilk. The lactic acid in buttermilk helps break down the pectin and fibers on the exterior of the pepper, allowing the batter to cling tightly. The tangy flavor of the buttermilk also complements the filling nicely. Simply swap out the milk called for in your original batter recipe for an equal amount of buttermilk. Be sure to give the buttermilk batter a good whisk before dredging the poppers to fully incorporate.

Let the Jalapenos Drain and Dry

Before battering and frying, it’s important to let the stuffed jalapeno halves drain on a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet for at least 15 minutes. This allows any excess moisture from the raw peppers to release, ensuring your batter doesn’t slide right off the outside. Pat the jalapenos gently with additional paper towels to dry the exterior even further. The drier the surface, the better the batter will cling.

Use an Egg Wash

An egg wash is commonly used when battering foods to help create a tacky surface for breading to bind to. This same concept works great for getting batter to stick to jalapeno poppers. Simply whisk together an egg and 1-2 tablespoons of water or milk. Dunk each stuffed jalapeno into the egg mixture first, then drag through your favorite batter recipe. The egg layer helps the batter grip and form a crunchy seal around the peppers.

Double Dunk the Jalapenos

Doing a double dunk when battering jalapeno poppers can really help set that coating. First dip the stuffed and drained jalapenos into the batter, let any excess drip off, then dip back into the batter a second time. This double dipping method ensures every inch of the pepper gets covered. Allowing the excess to drip off in between coats keeps the batter from getting too thick. Let the double battered poppers sit for 5 minutes before frying so the coating firms up.

Use a Thick Adhering Batter

The consistency of the batter itself plays a big role in how well it sticks to the jalapenos. A thick viscous batter with lots of nooks and crannies will cling much better than a thin, runny one. Add an extra tablespoon or two of flour or cornstarch to your batter recipe to make it nice and thick. And be sure to really coat the peppers by spooning batter over top and turning to cover all sides.

Refrigerate the Battered Jalapenos

Letting battered jalapeno poppers firm up in the fridge before frying can prevent the coating from sliding off. Simply stuff, drain, batter, and refrigerate on a parchment lined sheet pan for 15-30 minutes. The chilled batter will essentially glue itself to the peppers. Just fry straight from the fridge for perfect poppers.

Use Panko Breadcrumbs

For an extra crispy crunch, you can dredge your battered jalapeno poppers in panko breadcrumbs too. The coarse jagged edges of panko crumbs will help the coating grip and adhere tightly. After dipping peppers in buttermilk batter, allow excess to drip off then press into panko crumbs to coat all sides. Refrigerate for 10 minutes then fry until golden.

Fry at the Right Temperature

No matter how well your batter sticks going in, it can still slide off if the oil temperature isn’t right when frying. Frying at too low of a temperature causes the batter to absorb oil and slide off the jalapenos. Fry at 350-375°F for optimal adhesion and minimum oil absorption.

Blot Fried Jalapeno Poppers

Once fried, be sure to blot jalapeno poppers on a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess grease. Letting them sit in oil can cause the batter to loosen and detach from the peppers over time. Blotting preserves that crispy battered coating for longer.

Check Your Oil

Old degraded oil can also lead to batter adhesion issues when frying. Over time, oil breaks down, leading to off flavors and compromised performance. For best results, make sure your fryer oil is fresh and has been filtered regularly. Discard and replace oil frequently to prevent batter problems.


Getting batter to stick perfectly when making jalapeno poppers can take a little trial and error. But with a few simple tricks like using buttermilk, drying the peppers thoroughly, double dipping in batter, refrigerating before frying, and frying at the ideal temperature, you can get the coating to adhere like a pro. Crispy, crunchy poppers that hold their batter through cooking and saucing await. Just be sure to drain fried poppers and store leftovers properly to preserve that delicate battered exterior.