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Queso Carnitas Popper

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We’ve practically all been out to one of those sports bars that has jalapeño poppers on the appetizer menu. They always sound amazing but most of the time aren’t very good. They are either flavorless or extremely spicy! I decided there had to be a better way. A way that was easy yet pleasing to the palate.

That’s when I created my Queso Carnitas Poppers using Challenge Salsa Cream Cheese as the creamy heart and soul of my popper! This creation is perfect for a Sunday watching the game or an evening get together with friends and family. It’s extremely easy to assemble with very little mess and only a little cooking. I hope this dish quickly becomes a favorite of yours! Enjoy!


  • Yields 1 Dozen poppers
  • Popper filling
  • 8 ounces tub Challenge Salsa flavored cream cheese
  • 8 ounces Del Real Carnitas
  • 2 cups Mexican Four Cheese Blend
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onions
  • 1/4 cup finely diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely diced jalapeños (optional)
  • 10 finely chopped cilantro leafs (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper


1 cup flour

2 beaten eggs

2 cups finely crumbled corn flakes or panco bread crumbs

Avocado Oil or your favorite frying oil

  1. Preheat oil in a deep pan or sauce pot. Once the oil begins to shimmer or it reaches 350 degrees it is ready.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine all the popper filling ingredients. Mix the ingredients thoroughly so that there isn’t any unmixed lumps of cream cheese.
  3. Form little 1/3 cup size balls. I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup to measure and to shape my poppers into a shape resembling a hockey puck .
  4. Using the standard breading procedure first dredge your poppers in flour, then in the egg wash, and then finally in the corn flakes. I like to use crumbled corn flakes but you can use panco bread crumbs instead.
  5. Once your oil is 350 degrees or has begun to shimmer you are ready to cook. Slowly lower the poppers into the hot oil using a slotted spatula or tongs. Once both sides of popper are crispy and brown remove from the oil.
  6. Place poppers on paper towels and pat dry.
  7. Serve immediately & enjoy!
By on June 13th, 2017

About Anthony Serrano

Born and raised in Arizona, Chef Anthony has worked in the restaurant business since his early teens. His family opened their first restaurant when he was 2 years old and he’s loved cooking for as long as he can remember. Chef Anthony’s family lives to cook and coming up with new creations is a family past time. In addition to learning much from his dad who is also a Chef, Anthony attended the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Management. His specialties include Mexican and Italian cuisine.

Over the course of the past few years he has found a passion for competitive cooking. Chef Anthony has won over 60 awards in several state cooking competitions winning over $30,000 in prize money. Anthony has competed in the World Food Championship for 3 years running. In 2016 Chef Anthony became the Champion in the Recipe category at the World Food Championship with a breakfast recipe that won over the judges – a homemade bacon English muffin, a caramel apple and jalapeño sausage patty, purple potato hash, and a candied sausage poached egg all topped with a brown butter habanero hollandaise.

Currently, Anthony is the owner and executive Chef of El Palacio Restaurant & Cantina and Desert Rose Catering. His culinary point of view is nothing in the kitchen goes wrong you just have to adapt. Chef Anthony is a firm believer of adapting and overcoming in life and in the kitchen. He finds it fun to teach and inspire people to cook better and get over fears of cooking new and difficult dishes.

ChefAnthonySerrano.com will be a showcase for Chef Anthony to share his journey being Chef, dinning at the best restaurants whether they are fine dinning or small family owned restaurants, traveling, and competing in culinary competitions.

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