Smoked Jalapeño Poppers
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Smoked Jalapeño Poppers are stuffed with seasoned cream cheese, then wrapped in bacon and smoked for exceptional flavor! They're a popular appetizer for game day, tailgate parties and backyard cookouts.
Why You'll Love Smoked Jalapeños
This is the perfect smoked jalapeno popper recipe! Mildly spicy jalapeno peppers are stuffed with a savory cream cheese mixture to make the best appetizer you've ever tasted.
These smoked poppers are definitely addictive. Plan to double the recipe because whenever there's bacon involved, folks can't get enough!
The smoky flavor acts like an extra ingredient in these homemade poppers. If you like a little extra kick, throw in some hot sauce, red pepper flakes, or chili powder before wrapping jalapeños with a slice of bacon.
Plan to serve smoked jalapeño poppers alongside main dishes like smoked meatloaf, beef chuck roast, chicken legs and chicken thighs. These amazing recipes will definitely get the party started!
- wood pellet grill (or other type of smoker)
- hardwood pellets (mesquite or cherry wood works well)
- oven safe wire rack
- medium bowl
- latex gloves (to prevent burns on hands)
- sharp paring knife
There are only 5 ingredients in this recipe which makes it super easy to throw together at the last minute! All you need is full-fat cream cheese, medium fresh jalapeños, seasonings and thinly sliced bacon. Quantities are listed in the recipe card.
You can make substitutions to the seasoning, but try not to use thick-cut bacon or fat free cream cheese. The recipe doesn't turn out the same with these variations. Full fat cream cheese melts better when baked and regular sliced bacon crisps up easier in the smoker.
How Do You Get the Bacon To Stay On?
The best way to get the bacon to stay on a popper is to use thin slices of uncooked bacon instead of thick cuts. I use a half slice to make the strips go further, but you can use a whole slice if desired.
The type of bacon matters. Thick bacon tends to be floppy and falls off before the cooking time is done. Thin (or regular) bacon cooks until crispy in the smoker and sticks to the peppers easier.
Stretch out the slice of bacon, then start in the middle of the popper and wrap around and tuck under at the bottom. Secure with a toothpick during the smoking process.
The size of your peppers matters too. I always use smaller peppers because they're easier to work with. If you use the larger size, you'll need to use a whole slice of bacon when wrapping.
How to Smoke Jalapeño Poppers
*TIP* If you don't own a smoker or grill, you can bake poppers in a 350º oven for 30 minutes, but you'll lose the smoky flavor.
- Preheat Traeger pellet grill or other smoker to 225 degrees F. Put on latex or rubber gloves. Slice jalapeño peppers in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon. Discard in a small bowl. Want more heat? Chop up the seeds and add them to the mix.
- Using a mixer, blend cream cheese until fluffy. Add seasoning and mix well. Stuff cream cheese mixture into the jalapeño slices and place on an oven safe wire rack.
- Cut bacon strips in half and stretch out. Start at the top, then wrap strips around the center of each pepper and tuck in at the bottom. Secure with a toothpick.
- Place wire rack filled with poppers on the grill grates in a preheated smoker. Cook at 225ºF for 1 hour and check. You may need to smoke for 90 minutes (or until cheese melts and bacon gets crispy).
Once the jalapeños are cooked, they lose some of their heat. If you use a mild seasoning mixed with cream cheese, the spice level will be medium. Adding cayenne pepper or hot sauce to the cream cheese mixture will elevate the spice level considerably.
It can take anywhere from 1 hour to 90 minutes to fully smoke Traeger poppers in a wood pellet grill. Your smoker might produce different results. Check frequently to make sure the cheese isn't oozing out of the peppers. If that happens, it's time to pull them off the heat. If bacon isn't crispy enough, you can always broil the poppers for a few minutes in the oven.
Jalapeño poppers are a classic appetizer with a delicious twist from the smoke of a Traeger pellet grill. However, if you don't have a smoker, you can purchase an inexpensive smoker box (ad) to place inside your gas grill that uses wood chips to create smoke. This recipe can also be baked in a 350ºF oven for 30 minutes without the smoke.
I love using my Traeger Pellet Grill to make these popular appetizers. But, you can use any type of smoker that uses indirect heat. Here are a few variations you can try...
- Add cooked slices of crispy bacon into the cream cheese filling before smoking.
- Stuff jalapeño peppers with dips that contain cream cheese. Pimento cheese, spinach dip or buffalo chicken dip make great pepper stuffers as long as they are made with cream cheese.
- Add sharp cheddar cheese or smoked gouda to the filling mixture.
- Spice it up with cayenne pepper, sriracha sauce or chipotle.
- Use mini sweet peppers if you don't like much heat at all.
What to Serve with Jalapeño Poppers
Jalapeño poppers made in a pellet smoker taste amazing with side dishes like macaroni salad or pan fried okra. If you're cooking pork tenderloin or dutch oven chili, serve poppers to your guests to keep them happy while they wait!
These appetizers also taste delicious when dunked in Homemade Blue Cheese Dip. Serve them with a Blueberry Sriracha Margarita or a pitcher of Strawberry Sangria and let the party begin!
Storage and Freezing
Leftover poppers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight container. To reheat, do so in a 350 degree oven until heated through and bacon becomes crispy.
Smoked jalapeño poppers can be frozen before or after they're cooked. Wrap well and place in an airtight container for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Thaw poppers in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a 350ºF oven if pre-cooked. Smoke in a pellet grill if poppers are uncooked, but make sure they are thawed completely being smoking.
More Appetizer Recipes
Planning a party and need lots of appetizer recipes? Try these great ideas at your next event...
- The Best Sausage Balls - adding sour cream keeps this recipe moist and tender
- Cheese Stuffed Garlic Bread - the perfect cheesy garlic bread that goes with everything
- Million Dollar Bacon - why eat regular bacon when you can make it worth a million bucks?
- Cheesy Meatball Sliders - the best sliders you'll ever taste with lots of cheesy flavor
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings - an easy wing recipe with amazing flavor
Smoked Jalapeño Poppers
*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.
- hardwood pellets (mesquite, hickory or cherry)
- 12 medium jalapeño peppers (fresh)
- 1 pound bacon (regular thin sliced)
- 16 ounces cream cheese (full fat)
- 2 Tablespoons burger seasoning (or BBQ seasoning)
- ⅛ teaspoon Texas Pete dust (optional heat)
- Preheat smoker to 225 degrees F.
- Put on latex gloves. Slice jalapeño peppers in half and scoop out pulp and seeds.
- Blend cream cheese until fluffy with a mixer. Add seasoning and mix well.
- Stuff cream cheese mixture into each jalapeño slice and place on an oven-safe wire rack.
- Cut bacon strips in half crosswise and stretch out. Start at the top, wrapping bacon around the center of each pepper. Tuck ends at the bottom and secure with a toothpick.
- Place wire rack filled with poppers on grill grate in smoker. Cook at 225 degrees for 1 hour, or up to 90 minutes. Check frequently to make sure cream cheese is not oozing out.
- Cheese should be melted and lightly browned. You may need to smoke a little longer until bacon is crispy. Take out of smoker and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Why use burger seasoning? It has the perfect mix of smoky spices to enhance the flavor of the poppers. BBQ spice rub is a great substitution if desired.
- Leftover poppers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight container. To reheat, do so in a 350 degree oven until heated through and bacon becomes crispy.
- Smoked jalapeño poppers can be frozen before or after they're cooked. Wrap well and place in an airtight container for up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Thaw poppers in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a 350ºF oven if pre-cooked. Smoke in a pellet grill if poppers are uncooked, but make sure they are thawed completely being smoking.
- View the Google Web Story for Smoked Jalapeño Poppers!
Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.
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I have made poppers many times but never in a smoker. Can't wait to try this recipe because it looks amazing!
I actually ate the poppers shown in that picture. They were so delicious. I love the creamy filling and the crisp bacon! The slight char on the cream cheese mixture gave it a bit of crunch. I will admit the smaller jalapeños are spicy -but totally worth it!
Thanks Connie! They sure were good weren't they? I think I could have made twice as many and we would have eaten more!