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Jalapeño cheddar bread loaf on a wire cooling rack.

Easy Jalapeño Cheese Bread

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 13 reviews
  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This easy jalapeño cheese bread is ready in just a few hours and perfect with soup!


  • 9 grams active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 6 grams honey (about 1 teaspoon) (use sugar if you prefer)
  • 300 grams warm water (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • 1 large jalapeño
  • 400 grams All Purpose Flour (2 ½ - 3 ½ cups), plus extra for dusting (see recipe notes)
  • 8 grams kosher salt (1-2 teaspoons, depending on brand)
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper 
  • 125 grams shredded cheddar cheese (1 1/4 cups), divided


Proof the yeast: 

Prep the jalapeño:

Mix the dough and first rise (1 hour):

Shape the dough and final rise (30 minutes):

Add toppings and bake (30 minutes)

Remove the lid and finish baking (5-15 minutes)


If you have a kitchen scale, please use it! Measuring by weight is much more accurate than measuring by volume (with cups) and will give you more consistent bread. That being said, you can certainly make great bread without a kitchen scale! To measure flour in cups: If you measure flour by dipping your cup straight into the bag or bin and shaking off the excess, plan to use about 2 ½ cups of flour. If you measure by stirring the flour with a spoon or scoop before scooping it into a measuring cup and leveling it off, plan to use about 3 cups of flour. You can always add more flour if you need to - just be aware that this is a relatively slack (wet) dough, so it will be a bit shaggy and sticky at first (but it will smooth out and become more elastic as it rises and again as you shape it!)

Equipment notes. We recommend a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven for best results. Le Creuset, Staub, Marquette Castings, and Lodge are all good choices. As always, please check the care instructions on your equipment: Be sure your Dutch oven is safe at high temperatures and double-check that it has a metal (not plastic) knob on the lid. We use an 8.5-inch proofing basket, but an 8- or 9-inch banneton or medium-sized mixing bowl also work well for the final rise. Be sure to use parchment paper here (not waxed paper). 

Ingredient notes. For best results, use a high-quality flour for this recipe: We recommend King Arthur Flour and Bob's Red Mill flour. This recipe was developed with Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, which is colloquially known as the "least salty salt." If you need to use table salt or another fine salt and you are measuring by volume with a teaspoon, reduce the amount of salt by ¼ teaspoon (if you're measuring by weight, don't worry about what brand of salt you're using - just follow the gram measurements!) 

How hot should my water be? A good rule of thumb is "warm to the touch." Too-hot water (typically 130-140 degrees F and above) will kill your yeast, but use too-cold water and your yeast will take too long to activate. We like to use water that's between 95 and 110° Fahrenheit. You should be able to comfortably hold your hand under water running at about 100 degrees - it should feel warm, but not hot. Use a kitchen thermometer for a precise measurement if you like!

Additions and substitutions. Use bread flour in place of all purpose if you like. Use additional jalapeños for extra spice (or reduce the amount of pepper in the dough for a more mellow taste). Swap the jalapeño for poblano pepper. Add roasted garlic cloves to the dough for extra flavor. Use white cheddar, asiago, havarti, or parmesan in place of the cheddar cheese if you prefer. If you don't have honey, use sugar in its place. Replace up to 100g of all purpose flour with whole wheat flour if you like. 

No Dutch oven? See this post for alternative baking methods (you can still make great bread without fancy equipment!) 

How to store this bread. We don’t recommend storing this bread on the counter since the cheese won’t keep well at room temperature. If you have any leftovers, pop them in the freezer until you’re ready for them! You can store extra bread in the fridge for a day or two, but the fridge will dry the bread out pretty quickly. 

Want a taller loaf of bread? The cheese does weigh this dough down a bit: it won’t be as tall or airy as other loaves. Check out our FREE Bread Bootcamp Webinar for our favorite techniques to make taller, airier loaves! One of our favorite tips: Cover the dough and put it in the fridge overnight for its first rise.

Does the cheese burn? We haven’t had any issues with the cheese burning - but if you’re worried about it, you can reduce the oven temperature to 425° F when you put the bread in and/or turn off the oven for the last few minutes of baking (when you remove the lid). 

Still have questions? We cover a ton of other info in the FAQ section in our Easy Crusty Bread recipe!