Texas Toothpicks

4 from 1 vote

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Texas toothpicks are thinly sliced jalapenos that are delicately breaded and deep-fried to golden-brown perfection. You are going to love their pungent, zesty flavor and delightfully crispy texture. Great party, game-day food!

overhead: Texas toothpicks on a plate with a side of dipping sauce

Bright, zesty jalapenos set the stage for this mouthwatering dish. They are thinly sliced, coated in a garlicky, paprika-infused batter, and fried to a heavenly golden brown crisp. Even better, this entire Texas toothpick recipe comes together in just about 25 minutes!

Texas toothpicks are the perfect snack to whip up when you have an abundance of peppers coming from your garden. If you have ever grown peppers, you know how out of hand they can get. The more creative ways to use the bounty, the better!

closeup: Texas toothpicks on a white plate with a side of dipping sauce

With my jalapeno plants in over drive this year, I’m finding more and more ways to enjoy these beauties. For more jalapeno-centric recipes, check out my Baked Jalapeno Poppers, Jalapeno Mac and Cheese Bake, and this Jalapeno Popper Dip.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Jalapenos – Bright and fruity with a mild to moderate heat. Feel free to experiment with milder or spicier peppers to suit your tastes. 
  • Eggs – Crucial for getting the batter to stick to the strips. 
  • Buttermilk – Adds a tangy richness while helping the batter stick. 
  • Flour – Regular, all-purpose flour works great. For a gluten-free version, use your favorite cup-for-cup GF blend.
  • Kosher Salt – Highlights and harmonizes the natural deliciousness of all the other ingredients. 
  • Smoked Paprika – Gives the batter a touch of smoky warmth with a hint of sweetness. 
  • Garlic Granules – Delivers a bold, nutty, almost sweet dash of garlic flavor. You can use garlic powder instead if that’s what you have on hand, but remember that it has a much finer grind. To avoid overdoing it, start with half the suggested amount and adjust as needed. 
  • Onion Powder – Infuses the batter with a sweet pungency. 
  • Black Pepper – Provides just the right pop of sharp, piney flavor. 
  • Vegetable Oil – Choose regular vegetable oil or another oil with a decent smoke point. Canola, peanut, or avocado oil are all great choices.
overhead: crispy fried Texas toothpicks cooling on a wire rack

Tip From Kevin

Try This Recipe With Other Veggies

Once you have mastered this Texas toothpick recipe using peppers, try thinly slicing, breading, and frying any of your favorite veggies. Onions, carrots, zucchini, and sweet potatoes are all viable options. 

For consistently crispy results, slice the veggies as thinly and uniformly as possible. Around ⅛ inch thickness should do the trick.

overhead: crispy fried Texas toothpicks on a white plate with a side of dipping sauce

How to Make Texas Toothpicks

  1. Make the Batter. Whisk the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl. Combine the all-purpose flour, smoked paprika, granulated garlic, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper in a Ziploc bag and shake to mix well. 
  2. Coat the Jalapenos. Put the jalapeno pepper strips into the egg wash and toss to coat. Take them out, shake off any excess, then transfer them to the Ziploc bag with the breading mix. Seal the bag and shake it to evenly coat all the peppers. 
  3. Fry the Strips. Place a large skillet with 1 inch of vegetable oil over medium heat. Let the oil get nice and hot, then add half of the breaded jalapeno strips. Fry for about 2 minutes, until they begin turning golden. Remove from the pan and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Season with salt and repeat with the other half.
  4. Serve. Dish up Texas toothpicks immediately, while warm, with a collection of sauces and salsas.
closeup: dipping a Texas toothpick into a white sauce

Share this recipe on Pinterest!

Love this recipe? Share it with the world on Pinterest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Texas toothpicks spicy?

Jalapenos are relatively mild when it comes to chili peppers, but they definitely bring a certain level of heat. However, I would consider these to be only mildly to moderately spicy. The process of thoroughly removing the seeds and veins leaves us with more jalapeno flavor and much less heat.  

On the flip side, if you prefer a spicier dish, go ahead and leave the veins and seeds intact. You can also experiment with other peppers to achieve your desired results.

What should I serve with Texas toothpicks?

These make a great appetizer, snack, or side dish. Here are a few of my favorite pairings for this Tex-Mex treat.

– Serve with a sampling of dipping sauces like Ranch Dressing, Creamy Habanero Sauce, and Classic Fire Roasted Salsa
– Have alongside backyard favorites like these Grilled Turkey Burgers and Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
– Enjoy with your next Grilled Ribeye, Pork Tenderloin, or other grilled meats. 
– Pair with Tex-Mex favorites like Grilled Chicken Fajitas, Beef Chimichangas, or this Tamale Casserole.

Can I make this Texas toothpick recipe in the oven?

Yes, though they won’t come out quite as crispy as if you deep fry your Texas toothpicks. But as a bonus, you’ll use less oil!

If you’d like to try making it in the oven, go ahead and give it a shot. Prepare the Texas toothpick recipe as directed, then arrange the peppers on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake at 425 degrees F until golden brown and crispy. Check at the 5-minute mark, shake the pan, and bake more as needed.

extreme closeup: crispy fried Texas toothpicks with a bowl of dipping sauce showing
Still Hungry?

Subscribe to my Newsletter, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for all my latest recipes and videos.

Texas Toothpicks

4 from 1 vote
Deep-fried Texas toothpicks are crispy, crunchy, and loaded with bold jalapeno flavor. Make this easy appetizer recipe in under 30 minutes!
Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes



  • In shallow bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg.
  • In a sealable bag like a Ziploc add flour, paprika, granulated garlic, onion powder, salt and black pepper. Shake to mix.
  • Toss the jalapeño strips in the egg wash, shaking off excess. Transfer to the bag, seal and shake to coat with flour mixture.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat about 1” vegetable oil. When oil is hot, fry half the jalapeño sticks until golden, 2 minutes. Remove onto a paper towel lined plate, season with salt. Repeat with remaining jalapeño strips.
  • Serve jalapeños hot with ranch dressing, Creamy Habanero Sauce or sauce/salsa of choice.


Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 339mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 357IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: American, Southern
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): crispy Texas toothpicks


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

Free Bonus
5 Secrets to True Tex Mex
Essential recipes & tips for delicious Tex Mex cooking!

email image

Explore More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 4 stars
    fun recipe, try in a air fryer, works nicely. crisp and so much better without too much fat. This recipe goes great with very cold icy beer. Think of breaded pickles, yum!