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This soft, fluffy white bread is studded with just enough zesty jalapeño peppers for a flavorful, cheesy loaf that’s not too spicy. Serve the mild, homemade Jalapeño Cheddar Bread toasted with eggs for breakfast, sandwiched with turkey, ham or chicken for lunch, or alongside a bowl of soup, stew, or chili for dinner. It’s truly the best at any time of day!

Hands holding jalapeno cheddar bread sliced on a wooden board

My mother-in-law introduced us to the Jalapeño Cheddar Bread from Great Harvest Bakery, and my mind was blown! I’ve never considered myself a jalapeño lover, and I definitely don’t gravitate towards spicy foods. This bread, though, was different — it had a slightly sweet flavor (as most Great Harvest Breads do, thanks to the honey), a subtle note of garlic that paired beautifully with the cheese, and just enough pickled jalapeños for flavor — without making the bread too spicy. Even the kids loved it!

Since we don’t live near a Great Harvest Bakery, I decided that I better figure out how to recreate the amazing bread at home. It took some trial and error, but I’ve finally nailed it! This copycat Great Harvest bread is sweet, garlicky, cheesy, and mild enough for the whole family to enjoy.

Plate with slices of homemade jalapeno cheddar bread on a table with butter in the background

Ingredients for Homemade Jalapeño Cheddar Bread

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a jalapeño cheddar bread loaf. As always, specific measurements and complete step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Bread flour: the base of the bread. See my note below regarding all-purpose flour as a substitute.
  • Milk: warmed to a temperature of 110° F – 115° F in order to activate the yeast. You can heat the milk in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop.
  • Honey: for that sweet taste that’s just like the bread from Great Harvest! If you prefer a less-sweet bread, you can decrease the honey by a few tablespoons.
  • Butter: provides both fat and flavor. The fat from the butter yields a soft, tender loaf of bread.
  • Instant yeast: helps the bread rise.
  • Salt and garlic powder: for more flavor!
  • Cheese: use sharp or extra-sharp cheddar for the best taste.
  • Pickled jalapeño peppers: drain on paper towels and pat really dry before adding to the dough.

Which cheese is best for bread?

I recommend a sharp (or extra sharp) block of cheddar cheese that you grate by hand. Mild cheddar doesn’t have a strong enough flavor to stand out, so you want something with more oomph! For the best texture and flavor, use a block rather than a bag of pre-shredded cheese. The hand-grated cheese from the block melts smoother in the dough and tastes better.

Grated cheddar cheese in a bowl and a jar of diced pickled jalapenos

How to Make Jalapeño Cheese Bread from Scratch

This bread is best to prepare when you have a quiet day at the house. It’s not difficult at all, but there’s a lot of hands-off downtime while you wait for the bread to rise twice and then wait again for it to cool before slicing. Prep it in the morning and you’ll enjoy the most delicious homemade jalapeño cheddar bread with supper…and again for breakfast the next day!

  1. Mix and knead the dough.
  2. Cover in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ – 2 hours.
  3. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and top with cheese and jalapeños.
  4. Fold and knead the dough to incorporate the cheese and jalapeños throughout.
  5. Roll into a log.
  6. Transfer the dough to a loaf pan, cover, and let rise for 1-2 more hours.
  7. Bake in a 350° F oven for 40-45 minutes, covering with foil for the final 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.
Process shot showing how to knead and mix homemade bread
Bread dough in a bowl before rising
Grated cheddar and diced jalapenos on bread dough
Bread dough in a rectangle
Process shot showing how to make jalapeno cheddar bread
Loaf of jalapeno and cheddar bread rising before baking
Hands holding a loaf of jalapeno cheese bread

What do you eat with Jalapeño Cheddar Bread?

Jalapeño and cheddar bread is delicious at any time of day! I love it for breakfast when toasted with butter. It’s particularly delicious alongside eggs or in an egg sandwich, too. You can also use the bread to make sandwiches for lunch. Try it with turkey, ham, grilled chicken, or this easy chicken salad.

As a side dish, the bread goes well with any of these dinner entrées:

Slices of jalapeno cheese bread on a plate

Storage

You can store homemade bread in a plastic bag or a bread box at room temperature. The bread will last for 1-2 days. To help it last longer, wrap the loaf tightly in plastic or in a Ziploc freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When to Freeze Jalapeño Cheddar Bread Loaf

Allow the bread to cool completely on the counter for at least a couple of hours. Then freeze the bread before slicing to preserve the loaf at its peak freshness.

What to Do with Leftover or Stale Jalapeño Cheddar Bread

I’ll be shocked if this loaf of bread lasts long enough on your counter to become stale; however, if you find yourself with some leftovers, here are some ideas so that nothing goes to waste:

  • Toast it! As homemade bread starts to get a little bit dry, use it for morning toast or grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Make croutons by cubing the bread, tossing with olive oil, and toasting.
  • Use the stale, cubed bread in a breakfast casserole.
  • Make a Mexican-inspired panzanella (“bread salad”) by tossing the leftover cubed bread with fresh vegetables, cheese and dressing.
Square shot of hands holding a sliced loaf of jalapeno cheddar cheese bread on a board

Recipe Variations

  • Bread Flour vs. All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour has between 8 and 11 percent protein, while bread flour contains between 12 and 14 percent protein. The extra protein in bread flour results in a higher rise. I have not tested the recipe with all-purpose flour, so I cannot guarantee that the recipe will “work” if you make that substitution. My assumption is that the all-purpose flour will still rise, but your loaf will be slightly smaller (with less rise) and a bit more dense.
  • Instant Yeast vs. Active Dry Yeast: This recipe calls for instant (or rapid-rise) yeast, which you can add directly to your dough. By contrast, active dry yeast must be dissolved in warm liquid (“proofed”) before combining with other ingredients. For tips on substituting active dry yeast for the instant yeast, see this article.
  • For a less-sweet loaf of bread, use just 2-3 tablespoons of honey. I prefer the sweet-and-savory contrast that you get with the honey and the cheddar — it’s just like the bread at Great Harvest Bakery!
  • If using salted butter, decrease the amount of salt in the bread to 1 ¼ teaspoons.
  • For a cheesier loaf, increase the amount of cheddar to 2 cups.
  • Use sharp cheddar or extra-sharp cheddar for the best flavor. You can use other cheeses as well. Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Colby will all work.
Square image of a sliced loaf of jalapeno and cheddar bread

Tips for the Best Jalapeño Cheddar Bread Recipe

  • Make sure that you use warm milk when preparing the dough — not too hot and not too cold. You want the milk to feel like warm bath water (about 110-115° F). If it’s too hot you will kill the yeast; too cold and the yeast will not be activated. While it’s not necessary, I usually use a thermometer to test the milk’s temperature before adding it to my dough.
  • Knead the bread for at least 7-8 minutes. Kneading the dough makes bread light, airy and chewy by developing the gluten. Strengthening the gluten strands gives your bread structure.
  • Proofing bread is when you give the yeast time to do its work to help the bread rise. To proof bread, place the dough in a greased bowl and let the dough rest in a warm, humid environment until it doubles in size. If you’re having trouble proofing the bread, check the temperature of your kitchen. If your kitchen is a little too warm (above 75-80° F) or a little too cool (below about 65° F), it might be affecting the proofing stage.
  • Drain the jalapeños on paper towels and pat dry before adding them to the dough. Purchase a jar of diced jalapeños for a shortcut, or chop them yourself at home.
Side shot of a sliced loaf of jalapeno cheddar bread on a cutting board

More Homemade Bread Recipes to Try

Hands holding jalapeno cheddar bread sliced on a wooden board

Jalapeño Cheddar Bread

Prep: 35 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Resting Time 4 hours
Total: 5 hours 20 minutes
Servings 1 loaf (about 12 slices)
Calories 267 kcal
This soft homemade Jalapeño Cheddar Bread is studded with just enough zesty jalapeños for a flavorful, cheesy loaf that's not too spicy!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 ½ – 4 cups (420-480 g) bread flour, or more as needed
  • 1 ⅓ cups warm milk (110° F – 115° F)
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 tablespoon instant (“rapid rise”) yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup pickled jalapeño peppers, chopped and patted dry to remove excess moisture
  • Canola oil or nonstick spray, for greasing the bowl
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon melted butter, for brushing

Instructions

  • To prepare the dough, weigh the flour or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then leveling off any excess. In a large bowl, combine the flour with the warm milk, honey, melted butter, instant yeast, salt and garlic powder. Mix by hand or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until a shaggy dough forms, gradually adding more flour, as necessary, to get the dough to come together so that it just pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Switch to the dough hook attachment (or use your hands) to knead the dough until fairly smooth, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Oil or spray a large mixing bowl with nonstick spray. Place the dough in the greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 ½ – 2 hours.
  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Sprinkle with cheese and jalapeños. Fold the dough over twice, then continue to knead and fold until the cheese and jalapeños are dispersed throughout the dough.
  • Pat the dough into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. Starting on one of the short sides, roll up the dough to make a log; pinch the seams. Place the dough seam-side down in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
  • Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap; allow to rise for 1-2 hours, until it’s crowned about 1-2 inches over the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes, tenting it lightly with foil for the final 20 minutes of baking. The bread should be golden brown, and it should sound hollow when tapped. Brush the top of the warm bread with melted butter, if desired.
  • Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Notes

  • Make sure that you use warm milk when preparing the dough — not too hot and not too cold. You want the milk to feel like warm bath water (about 110-115° F). If it’s too hot you will kill the yeast; too cold and the yeast will not be activated. While it’s not necessary, I usually use a thermometer to test the milk’s temperature before adding it to my dough.
  • Knead the bread for at least 7-8 minutes. Kneading the dough makes bread light, airy and chewy by developing the gluten. Strengthening the gluten strands gives your bread structure.
  • Proofing bread is when you give the yeast time to do its work to help the bread rise. To proof bread, place the dough in a greased bowl and let the dough rest in a warm, humid environment until it doubles in size. If you’re having trouble proofing the bread, check the temperature of your kitchen. If your kitchen is a little too warm (above 75-80° F) or a little too cool (below about 65° F), it might be affecting the proofing stage.
  • Drain the jalapeños on paper towels and pat dry before adding them to the dough. Purchase a jar of diced jalapeños for a shortcut, or chop them yourself at home.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 267kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 9gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 393mgPotassium: 99mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 286IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 141mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: jalapeno cheddar bread
Course: bread, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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