Smoked Jalapeño Poppers with Crispy Bacon

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Smoked Jalapeño Poppers with Smoked Bacon. An easy game day appetizer or for any occasion made with crispy smoked bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese filling.

Smoked Jalapeño Poppers on a black slate platter
We add crispy bacon to our jalapeño poppers filing versus wrapping.
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Jalapeño Poppers are a classic. But our take on the classic popper is to deconstruct the way most people make them. Because when you make smoked jalapeño poppers it’s tough to get the bacon crispy.

Many smoked jalapeño popper recipes are wrapped in bacon. These can be good and result in crispy bacon when cooking on high heat (grilling) or in a hot oven. But if you plan to smoke your poppers the temperature is a challenge for both crispy bacon, melted cheese, and a nice bite with the pepper when the poppers are wrapped.

Should I Wrap Jalapeño Poppers in Bacon?

It depends. Do you want crispy bacon or soft bacon? When you wrap the poppers in bacon, and cook them low and slow, they tend to come out soft, vs crispy. As the peppers roast and cheese oozes, the moisture seems to steam the bacon which means you can’t get the perfect bite.

So, smoke bacon first to get crispy on its own, then add it to the cheese mix.

Step-by-step instructions on how to make jalapeño poppers
Prep the peppers while bacon smoking. Can make the day before smoking too and then smoke.

How to Make Smoked Jalapeño Poppers

  1. Cook bacon on the smoker at 250 degrees, for about one hour or until crispy.
  2. While bacon is smoking prep jalapeños and cheese stuffing. Arrange the poppers on a sheet tray or cookie drying rack.
  3. When bacon is crispy, remove from smoker and finely chop, then add to the cheese stuffing.
  4. Fill each jalapeños with stuffing.
  5. Place jalapeños poppers on smoker at 250 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes. You are looking for the cheese to melt and the jalapeños to look slightly roasted. Remove and serve.

Tips

  • Cook up your bacon first, either smoke it until crispy or cook it in the oven or stovetop until crispy.
  • Don’t overcook the pepper or you risk drying out the cheese, making for a not so pleasant texture. Overly roasted peppers will be bitter.
  • For a creamy filling we like to use whipped cream cheese, and then mix in some smoked cheddar (regular sharp cheddar also works just fine). This helps for the filling to be creamy instead of dense.

Recipes for smoked poppers that call for just just cream cheese (not whipped cream cheese) tend to come out a little dense when slow cooked on the smoker. Not a fan. This way, you get everything — crispy bacon and a creamy filling.

How long for Smoked Jalapeño Poppers

At 250 degrees it should take 30 – 45 minutes. You are looking for the cheese to melt and the jalapeños to look slightly roasted.

If 275-300 degrees it should take 30 minutes to cook.

These have been tested on a pellet grill, kettle grill, and also a ceramic smoker, and the results are the same on each grill.

Cooking Jalapeno Poppers on a grill or smoker
Cookie racks are great for smoking smaller items.

More Game Day Recipes on the Grill or Smoker Ideas

If you’re looking for more incredible appetizers for your game day, here are some of my favorites.

Wine or Beer Pairing

A glass of sparkling wine to pair with Super Bowl appetizers

So you may be thinking, silly Mary, this is a beer dish! Well you can go ahead and drink your beer if you wish (I think a crisp pilsner tastes awesome with these poppers), or you can take my advice and drink sparkling wine. Spanish Cava works wonders with these smoked jalapeño poppers. They tend to have bolder flavors that can stand up to the smoky bacon and the powerful bubbles can cut through the creamy cheese the same way a beer would.

Most Cava is also quite affordable at around $10-$15, and is nice and tangy with green apple, fresh pears, and bright citrus. The flavors are bold and zesty and stand up like a champ to these poppers and will stand up equally well to whatever else you serve on Super Bowl Sunday.

Recipe for Smoked Jalapeño Poppers

This post was originally created on January of 2016 and updated October of 2020 with new recipe recommendations and updates to the recipe.

smoked jalapeno poppers
4.88 from 8 votes

Smoked Jalapeño Poppers Recipe

Smoked Jalapeño Poppers with Crispy Bacon. An easy appetizer made with crispy smoked bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Smoking Bacon Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 20 Jalapeño Poppers
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Ingredients 

For the poppers:

  • 10 medium sized jalapeño peppers, halved , with ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces softened whipped cream cheese
  • Garnish: can use green onion, Italian parsley, etc.

Instructions 

  • Preheat smoker to 250 degrees.
  • Place bacon on smoker for about one hour or until crispy. Alternatively you can crisp up bacon in the oven or stovetop.
  • Arrange popper halves on a sheet tray or cookie drying rack.
  • When bacon is crispy, remove from smoker and finely chop, then add to a medium sized bowl. Add cheddar and cream cheese to the bowl and mix together. If you want more creaminess add more whipped cream cheese.
  • Fill each jalapeño with about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture; it should be lightly packed.
  • Place on smoker at 250 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes. You are looking for the cheese to melt and the jalapenos to look slightly roasted. Remove and serve.

Notes

You can prepare everything in advance until it’s time to smoke the poppers. Just stuff the jalapeños and put in fridge in batches and just keep them added to the smoker throughout any gathering so that each batch is warm and fresh. Awesome finger food for the big game, or for an afternoon snack.
Smoking on a cookie drying rack is easiest to get smoke and flavor throughout. It also seems to cook the peppers faster.

Nutrition

Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 83mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 208IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Smoking Bacon Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, Super Bowl
Servings: 20 Jalapeño Poppers
Calories: 63
Keyword: bacon jalapeno poppers, smoked jalapeno poppers, stuffed jalapeno peppers
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About Mary


I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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29 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to make these tomorrow on my new smoker for the big game!! They are SO FREAKING GOOD. The flavor is perfect. Even when using unsmoked cheese (gasp). YUM!

  2. 5 stars
    Had these at a party, and am making them today on the pit barrel smoker. I think my only mistake is I cut the ends off the jalapenos–hope the cheese doesn’t leak out. Thanks for the tips.

  3. there’s nothing about jalapeno poppers that i don’t love, and the idea of smoking them excites me very much! nice nosh. 🙂