Everyone loves jalapeno poppers ... wrapping them in bacon and smoking them REALLY elevates them! Try these Smoked Jalapeno Poppers with Bacon!
Originally published December 1, 2014, Updated on 5/24/23
That first day of smoking things, we went a little nuts: A couple kinds of sausage. Poblanos. Peanuts! A chicken (that one didn't go so well, though).
The big standout from the day? Smoked Jalapeno Poppers... wrapped in bacon.
These happened as a bit of an evolution.
My husband bought a little metal holder thing for smoking jalapenos upright, with the thought that we could use them in my cooking, or even just making salsa.
Fair enough... but what if we stuffed them full of cheese before smoking? Maybe like a jalapeño popper filling ...
... better yet, what if we forget the stand, slice the peppers in half, wrap them in bacon, and smoke THAT?
So, we did. They were AMAZING - super addictive, and basically the perfect party food!
I thought I was really a genius for coming up with this delicious twist on the classic appetizer ... until a friend on Facebook informed me that smoked jalapeño popper recipes were already a "thing" in the smoking community.
Speaking of which, they’re sometimes referred to as “atomic buffalo turds”, LOL!
So, while I can't take credit for actually inventing an original thing here, I HAVE to share our smoked jalapeno poppers recipe.
This recipe uses only a few simple ingredients, all of which should be easy to find in any grocery store.
Word of advice, though? Might be best to look at bulk / wholesale type grocery stores, for the cost savings!
Anyway, a few notes for you:
While thick cut bacon is always great when it comes to breakfast, I definitely prefer using thin cut slices of bacon for this.
Not only does it wrap / stick better, thin-cut bacon cooks to a better texture in this application, rendering more of the fat off than thick-cut bacon does.
I like buying “restaurant cut” bacon when possible - it’s paper thin, and works beautifully! Just be sure you’re buying uncooked bacon.
You need that unrendered fat content during the wrapping and cooking process, for them to turn out “right”.
We’ve made this with chicken bacon, and it just doesn’t do the “bacon shrink wrap” thing that pork bacon does. I like a crispy bacon shell for this.
Anyway, with all of that said, you can use regular cut bacon, no problem - you just may need more of it than called for.
Thick cuts of bacon = fewer slices per lb.
Note: The amounts listed for cheeses and bacon are approximate.
The amount of filling and bacon you need will depend on the size of your peppers, how full you pipe them, and the cut of your bacon.
Obviously, you’ll need some jalapeño peppers for these bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers!
I like to buy big bags of them at the local Wholesale Club, as they end up cheaper than when purchased at our normal grocery store.
Also, our regular grocery store doesn’t tend to have several lbs of them on display!
You can use whatever size peppers you want. Personally, I find larger peppers easier to pipe and handle than smaller peppers.
If you want them really spicy, cut them in half and only lightly scoop out the extra seeds.
However, if you’re not as into spicy foods, you can take a small metal spoon and scrape out the seeds and “rib” material - that’s where a lot of the heat is concentrated.
The cheese filling is made from 2 cheeses - Cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese.
I like to use full-fat cream cheese and a sharp cheddar cheese for this, but you can switch those out as needed.
Neufchatel is a lower fat alternative for the cream cheese, and almost any kind of shredded cheese will work in this.
Sometimes - when we’re in the mood for a Jalepenoception - we’ll use a Pepper Jack cheese instead of cheddar.
On that note:
While we like the clean taste of just cream cheese and cheddar cheese for the most part - letting the flavours of the pepper and bacon really take center stage, you can customize your melty cheese filling.
A bit of pressed fresh garlic - or some Garlic Powder - can add a bit of depth.
If you want a little extra kick, consider seasoning your cheese mixture with a bit of
While wood chips aren’t really an ingredient - in that you don’t consume them - the choice of wood chip type can make a huge difference when it comes to the final flavour of your smoked jalapeño poppers.
In addition to imparting a smoky flavor in general, the smoke will reflect the type of wood used to create that smoke.
There are a few different flavors we use when making these smoky jalapeno poppers:
All of these are basic wood types that you’re likely to see in stores - and they all work well with this jalapeño poppers recipe.
... and that’s what we USUALLY end up using!
Smoked Jalapeno Popper Pro Tips
These take a little bit of prep work, but are SO worth it.
Brave the snow and put some of these on to bring to your holiday potlucks, or just keep them in your fridge for quick snacks.
Just be sure to make at least twice as many smoked bacon jalapeno poppers as what you think you'll need, because they go fast. (Understatement of the year!)
The heat of this recipe can be tweaked to suit personal taste:
- If you scrape out all of the seeds and ribs from the peppers, they have flavour without the heat.
- If you leave some of the seeds/ribs in, you can get anywhere between a little bit of heat, to scorching.
They can be served cold, room temp, or hot - we prefer them reheated.
Quick bit of advice: I highly recommend using nitrile gloves - or latex gloves - for preparing the poppers.
You will come in contact with an WILD amount of capsaicin, and it can burn!
Grilled Jalapeno Poppers Recipe
You can also cook these on a normal charcoal grill or pellet grill!
We'll toss about 1 big handful of wood chips right on the coals, adding more about every 20 minutes.
When arranging them on the grill grates, try to avoid hot spots.
Cooking these over indirect heat is best, to allow you time to get a good smoke flavour, without burning them.
Other Recipes to Try
If you're a fan of these bacon smoked jalapeno poppers, I have a few more recipes you may be interested in 🙂
Cold Smoked Potato Salad Recipe
Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Jalapeno Beer Baklava
Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzels
Smoked Cheese Balls
Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle
Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bagels
Porter's Epic Popcorn
Smoked French Fries
How to Make Smoked Jalapeno Poppers
The full recipe is in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, here is the visual walk-through.
At least an hour before smoking - but ideally overnight - soak your wood chips in water.
Wearing gloves, use a paring knife to cut the tops off the peppers, and cut each in half lengthwise.
Use a spoon to scrape out as much or as little of the seeds and ribs as you'd like, set aside.
Prepare Your Jalapeno Popper Filling
Next step: In a large bowl, microwave the cream cheese for 30-60 seconds at a time until it's soft enough to stir well.
Beat cream cheese until creamy and with no lumps. Add shredded cheese, stir until well distributed.
Spoon all of the cream cheese mixture into piping/frosting /pastry bags, trying to avoid creating air pockets as you go, and leaving enough room to twist the bag shut.
You can use a small spoon to spoon the filling mixture in to each jalapeño half, if you like... but piping it in is so much quicker, easier, and cleaner!)
This is a good time to preheat your smoker, pellet smoker, or charcoal grill to about 200F.
Fill your Jalapeno Poppers
Cut ¾-1" off the pointed end of the bag, carefully pipe filling into each of the pepper halves, as shown.
Wrap the Jalapeno Poppers
Wrap each of the stuffed jalapeno peppers in a bacon slice.
Depending on the size of your poppers and the cut of your bacon, you'll want between ½ - 1 slice of bacon per popper.
Note: I like to arrange the wrapped poppers in a single layer on a baking sheet, as I go. Makes it easier to take them out to the smoker.
Also: If you’re not smoking them right away, you can wrap the pans in plastic wrap until you’re ready to smoke!
Leaving a little room between each, transfer the prepared jalapeno poppers to your smoker racks.
Smoke jalapeno poppers in the preheated smoker for 1-2 hours, checking on them right around the 1 hour mark.
For our smoker, we use 2 big handfuls of wood chips at a time, adding more chips after about 30-40 minutes.
Your cook time can going to vary wildly based on your smoker and your personal taste.
With our smoker, one hour produces smoked jalapeno poppers that look like this (how *I* like them):
... and 1.5 - 2 hours produces poppers like THIS, how my husband prefers them with this dark color and deeper smoke flavor :
I have a hard time waiting, so I won't judge if you park yourself next to the newly-removed poppers like a wild eyed vulture 🙂
A little sour cream can cool them down a little, if needed!
Leftover Jalapeno Poppers
Once cooled to room temperature, leftover poppers can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for several days.
Alternately, they can be kept in freezer bags and frozen for several month - just allow them to thaw in the fridge before reheating, for best results.
As far as reheating goes, 30 seconds or so in the microwave is quickest.
You’ll get the nicest “just like fresh” results if you do both microwave and air fryer.
20 seconds or so in the microwave to get the chill off them, then a couple minutes in the air fryer to re-crisp them.
Looking for More Recipes for "The Big Game"?
... or other watching party, or just to up your snack food game for the hell of it? I've got you covered, with a ton of great appetizers and other party food!
40+ Fantastic Wing Recipes
Bacon Roasted Potato Skins
Baked Reuben Poppers
Beer Pretzels with Jalapeno Jack Dip
Dehydrated Pepperoni / Pepperoni Jerky
Dill Pickle Cream Cheese Dip
Fat Elvis Cupcakes
Game Day Popcorn
Ginger Wasabi Dip
Hot Cheeseburger Dip
How to Cook Perogies in an Air Fryer
Cheesy Jalapeno Artichoke "Backfire" Dip
Jalapeno Beer Brittle
Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzels
Porter House Guacamole
Porter's Epic Popcorn
Queso Dip from Scratch
Smoked Cheese Balls
Smoked French Fries
Share the Love!
Also, be sure to subscribe to my free monthly email newsletter, so you never miss out on any of my nonsense. Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
Finally, if you love this recipe, please consider leaving a star rating and/or a comment below, and maybe even sharing this post on social media!
The Best Bacon Smoked Jalapeno Poppers
- 5 lbs Jalapeno Peppers
- 3.5 lbs Cream Cheese
- ½-1 lb Shredded Cheese of Choice We used a peppered blend
- 3.5 lbs Bacon Thin slices work best.
- At least an hour before smoking – but ideally overnight – soak your wood chips in water.
- Wearing gloves, cut the tops off the peppers, and cut each in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out as much or as little of the seeds and ribs as you’d like, set aside.
- In a large bowl, microwave the cream cheese for 30-60 seconds at a time until it’s soft enough to stir well. Beat until creamy and with no lumps. Add shredded cheese, stir until well distributed.
- Spoon all of the mixture into piping/frosting /pastry bags, trying to avoid creating air pockets as you go, and leaving enough room to twist the bag shut. (You can spoon the filling in to the peppers, if you like… but piping it in is so much quicker, easier, and cleaner!)
- Cut ¾-1″ off the pointed end of a filled pastry bag, carefully pipe filling into each of the pepper halves. As you run out of filling, start using the next bag.
- This is a good time to preheat your smoker (or charcoal grill) to about 200F
- Next, wrap the poppers in bacon. Depending on the size of your poppers and the cut of your bacon, you’ll want between ½ – 1 strip of bacon per popper.
- Leaving a little room between each, transfer the prepared poppers to your smoker racks.
- Smoke for 1-2 hours, checking on them right around the 1 hour mark. For our smoker, we use 2 big handfuls of wood chips at a time, adding more chips after about 30-40 minutes.
- You can also cook these on a normal charcoal grill: we’ll toss about 1 big handful of wood chips right on the coals, adding more about every 20 minutes.
- Personally, I like them cooked to around the 1 hour mark. My husband prefers them around the 2 hour mark. Whichever way you smoke them, keep an eye on them and remove them when you're happy with the degree of smoking.
- Try to let them cool for at least a few minutes after they come out of the smoker, as they’ll be molten inside and burn your mouth. I have a hard time waiting, so I won’t judge if you park yourself next to the newly-removed poppers like a wild eyed vulture 🙂