By Zora Hughes

For those who love spice, bell peppers just won't do. Kick your meals up a notch with jalapeno peppers, which add both heat and flavor to your favorite dishes. Jalapenos are definitely quite hot in terms of spice, but when used sparingly, they don't typically overwhelm a dish. Jalapeno peppers well with many different ingredients and is a welcome addition to a number of meals, appetizers and snacks ranging from jalapeno poppers to jalapeno cornbread.

Jalapeno peppers, which are native to Mexico, are commonly used in Mexican cooking.


One of the most common ingredients that combines well with jalapenos is cheese. Notably, jalapenos are stuffed with cheese to make jalapeno poppers, a popular appetizer. The exact stuffing varies depending on the recipe but it always features cream as a base and often includes additional shredded cheeses, spices and bacon. Some jalapeno poppers are then breaded and fried, while others are baked or grilled. The end result depends on individual preference. For a very simple recipe, jalapeno peppers are also commonly paired with nachos and cheese.


If you like your salsa spicy, jalapenos will do the trick. For a simple tomato-based salsa, simply slice up a jalapeno or two and add it to the finished product, depending on how spicy you would like your salsa to be. Jalapenos are also commonly served in a spicy corn salsa. In addition to taste, Jalapeno peppers also give the corn salsa a distinct boost in terms of color. This salsa is versatile as well. Add a dollop of corn salsa on top of greens and additional veggies of your choice and you'll have a refreshing salad.


Cornbread recipes with a kick commonly call for bits of jalapeno. To add jalapeno to this southern favorite, follow the recipe to determine the appropriate amount and add finely diced, seeded jalapenos to the cornmeal batter. Jalapeno cornbread goes well with chili or hearty, thick stews.


Jalapenos can work well with just about any type of meat if you want to add some heat. You can either cook jalapenos with the meat or add it after it's already cooked. Puree jalapenos with lime juice, for example, and glaze the mixture onto chicken before or after baking. Many meat dishes also work well with jalapeno-based toppings such as the previously mentioned corn salsa. You can also combine diced jalapenos with cabbage to create a spicy slaw to serve as a garnish for burgers or hot dogs.


If you prefer your guacamole to be spicy when visiting your favorite Mexican restaurant, Serrano or jalapeno peppers have typically been added to the avocado mixture. When you make your own guacamole at home, you can choose to keep or remove the seeds from the pepper depending upon how spicy you want it to be. If you end up making your guacamole a bit too spicy, simply add some lime juice to mellow it out.