Learn how to make the signature American appetizer, armadillo eggs, in this simple recipe. This iconic dish features sausage, crispy bacon strips, baked to perfection, and glazed with BBQ sauce.
What are armadillo eggs?
Armadillo eggs are popular Texan BBQ essentials. Because the shape and appearance of these cooked appetizers look like Armadillo’s shell and the cheesy cores resemble egg yolk, they are fondly called armadillo eggs.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Looks fancy. These hors d’oeuvres are impressively constructed, and once you cut them open, the layered cross-section appears so fancy.
- Delicious. You’ll love these BBQ-flavored delicacies. They are not just appetizing to look at, but they are incredibly mouthwatering.
- Oven recipe. You don’t have to worry about being a pit master to make this recipe. You can make this recipe in the oven without a grill, smoker, or live fire.
What I love about this recipe is that you can make the poppers in advance and refrigerate them sealed until baking.
Make a quick run for your groceries and gather the following ingredients to make this lip-smacking appetizer. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pork sausages. Any regular pork sausage works well for this recipe.
- Bacon. Look for thin-cut wide slices of bacon that’ll crisp up quickly.
- Jalapeno peppers. You’ll need medium-sized peppers for this recipe.
- BBQ sauce. Buy your favorite one from the market, or make one at home using this recipe.
- Cream cheese. For the rich and smooth interior.
- Shredded cheddar cheese. For its signature yellow color and distinctive flavor.
- Chili pepper. For the heat.
- Salt and ground black pepper. To season the cheese filling.
- Garlic powder. To season the cheese filling.
- Onion powder. To season the cheese filling.
- Brown sugar. For the subtly sweet flavor.
How to make delicious Armadillo eggs
Follow these simple steps to make authentic-style Texan Armadillo eggs in your kitchen.
- Make the filling. Add seasoning to cream and cheddar cheese, and mix it well.
- Fill the jalapenos. Remove the stem, deseed the jalapenos, and fill them with the cheese filling.
- Cover with pork sausage. Remove pork sausage from its casing and shape it into equal size balls. Coat the jalapenos with the meat.
- Cover with bacon layer. Wrap two bacon strips per armadillo egg, and secure it with a toothpick.
- Bake the stuffed meatballs. Place the stuffed and wrapped meatballs on a baking sheet and cook them in a preheated oven at 200C for 30 minutes. Remove the meatballs, coat them with BBQ sauce, and continue baking for further 5 minutes.
- Serve warm. Allow the armadillo eggs to rest briefly before serving them with a side of your favorite dipping sauce.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Use gloves to handle jalapeno peppers. Jalapeno peppers are potent. You don’t want the seeds or the heat on your hands. So, wear gloves while handling them.
- Fill the peppers completely. Ensure that the cheese filling is distributed throughout the pockets of the pepper so that it melts evenly.
- Wrap the peppers tightly. Be it the meat covering or the bacon coat, ensure you wrap everything tightly so that nothing oozes out.
- Rest before serving. Resting allows the cheese to firm up and the meat to settle, making it easier to handle the armadillo eggs.
- Make bite-sized poppers. Instead of using the whole jalapeno pepper per portion, use half or a quarter of the jalapeno pepper per popper.
- Use a different sausage. I have used pork sausage, but you can also use chicken, turkey, or breakfast sausage.
- Use chorizo. Instead of using sausages, use chorizo to coat your poppers. That way, you get deep barbeque flavor without adding the BBQ sauce.
- Make with different peppers. Pepperoncini peppers work just as well as jalapeno peppers. So if you don’t find jalapenos, go for pepperoncini.
To store. You can keep the leftovers for 2-3 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
To freeze. Although I don’t recommend freezing cooked armadillo eggs, you can freeze the uncooked assembled appetizers individually in the freezer for up to a month.
To reheat. Thaw the frozen armadillo eggs in the refrigerator overnight and bake them in the oven as indicated.
What to serve with armadillo eggs?
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Baking sheet. Baking cookies, biscuits, or jalapeno poppers, you cannot do without a sturdy baking sheet!
- Mixing bowls. To make the various fillings.
- Chef’s knife. A must for any good kitchen.
More finger foods to try:
Frequently asked questions
To confirm if the armadillo eggs are cooked, use a meat thermometer to assess the internal temperature. Once it reaches 165F, you can take it off the heat.
Yes! Layer them in the air fryer basket and bake in the preheated fryer for 15 minutes. Flip the eggs and continue cooking for further 15 minutes or until done. During the terminal five minutes of the cook, baste the outsides with BBQ sauce.
If you can tolerate jalapeno poppers, you’ll have no problems with the spice level of these appetizers.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and spices.
- Cut off the stems from jalapeno peppers and remove the seeds.
- Fill the peppers with the cream cheese filling and set aside.
- Remove the meat from sausage casings and place it into the bowl. Form 6 meatballs.
- Take the meatball and wrap it around the jalapeno pepper, ensuring each pepper is completely covered.
- Wrap two bacon slices around each meatball and secure it with a toothpick.
- Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Once the 30 minutes is up, baste the meatballs with the barbecue sauce and bake for another 5 minutes.
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