Easy Smoked Jalapeno Poppers (Bacon Wrapped-Optional)

Smoked Jalapeno Poppers, bacon wrapped on top and plain below them on a wooden board with a raw green jalapeno in the upper left.
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Posted On: August 31, 2023
Last updated: October 12th, 2023

If you are looking for an easy, great appetizer to enjoy for a summer cook-out or game day, look no further! Smoked jalapeno poppers fit the bill!  These creamy, smoky delights with a spicy bite are a perfect appetizer for jalapeno lovers.  They are awesome as is with a cheesy smoky robust filling, but even more fabulous bacon-wrapped.  The optional bacon strip adds an extra burst of smokiness that your taste buds won’t forget.  These poppers are even a wee bit healthier with no breading so they are low-carb and Keto friendly.  So, let’s get that smoker fired up and cook up some delicious, smoked jalapeño poppers.

Plain jalapeno popper shown in front with bacon-wrapped in the background on a while platter
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Preparing the Poppers

This is such an easy appetizer to prep for a party because you can do a lot of the prep ahead of time.  First I add all of my cream cheese filling ingredients to a small bowl and then mix it up with a fork.  I find that using a fork works best with incorporating it all together.  Once you make your filling you can store it in the fridge if you’re making it ahead of time or you can move on to prepping your jalapeno peppers.  Be sure to wear some disposable latex gloves when working with jalapenos.  I start with the stem and then slice down the center of the pepper lengthwise.  Try your best to keep the jalapeno stem intact to keep the poppers from falling apart. 

Hull & Fill

Hull out the jalapenos, removing the seeds and membranes. Then if you want to be fancier, you can pipe in the filling. If you just want the speediest process which is what I usually chose, I use a spatula to fill the peppers and level them off. Then, you can still improve the look by using a fork to make striations in the mixture and add a sprinkle of paprika.

8 photo collage showing steps to make smoked jalapeno poppers in pellet smoker; in bowl with ingredients, mixed in bowl, hulled out jalapenos, piped in filling, on wire rack, topped with smoked paprika, on smoker starting and smoke complete.
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Bacon-Wrap or just Smoke

It’s up to you if you want to add a little bacon for extra flavor. I usually wrap half of my poppers so that people can choose their preference. You can use an entire piece of bacon if you like, but I prefer just a half slice so all the smoky flavor can get into the cheese mixture as well as the bacon.

Smoking the Poppers

Once I’m all filled and/or wrapped I place the wire racks (I use 2, 1 for plain and 1 for bacon-wrapped) in the smoker at 250 F for up to 75 minutes, depending on the size of my jalapenos. This amount of time still leaves the jalapenos a little al dente, but if you want the jalapenos more tender, go for closer to 90 mins.

7 photo collage showing steps to make smoked bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers in pellet smoker; wrap half slice of bacon onto filled jalapenos, seam side down, place on wire rack, sprinkle with smoked paprika, smoke 60-75 mins, then broil for 3-4 mins to crisp up bacon, then showing bacon wrapped poppers completed.
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Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers (Optional)

These jalapeno poppers are great as is with plenty of flavor already, but if you want that extra savory saltiness grab your favorite bacon, cut each slice of uncooked bacon in half and wrap it around the jalapeno one time, securing the ends of the bacon with a toothpick if need be. Place the seam side down so it does not unravel on you.  We like to use a thick cut bacon, so as you’ll see that’s why I broil it at the end of the recipe. I do not recommend pre-cooking the bacon at all.  I’ve tried that a few times and each time the bacon ends up too short to wrap well around the pepper. 

How can I make poppers spicier?

As you’ll here me say quite often with my various jalapeno recipes on my site, with jalapenos, you never know what you’re going to get heat-wise.  Somehow jalapenos seem to vary quite a bit on their heat level, especially between various grocery stores’ and home-grown.  If you really want to take the heat up a notch, you can save some of the seeds you hull out of the peppers and mix them into your filling mixture for added “heat.”  I personally don’t do that because half the time I’m feeding kids when I make these, but that’s definitely a great way to spice things up a bit more to your liking. 

Bacon-wrapped smoked jalapeno poppers on a white platter with some raw jalapenos to the left side.
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Smoker Cooking

I am so hooked on our pellet smoker grill.  This amazing appliance has changed my cooking over the last couple years.  I don’t grill, I leave that to my husband since he’s so good at it, but the pellet smoker, that’s something I can easily master.  Our Pit Boss was actually half of the inspiration for this recipe.  The other half was my husband and son’s love of jalapenos and spicy treats.  Whether your smoker is a stick burner, you use a wood chip smoker or a Traeger Pellet Grill or Pit Boss, you too can easily master these smoky jalapeno poppers.

Smoked Jalapeno poppers ingredients shown on wooden board with 5 ingredients plus 4 spices: cheddar cheese, raw jalapenos, cream cheese, scallions, lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.
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Smoked Jalapeno Popper Ingredients

  • Fresh Jalapenos– The size of your jalapenos makes a difference in having enough of the filling mixture to fill all of your peppers.  I try to use similarly sized peppers, ideally medium sized peppers.  If you have smaller peppers it’s just a lot more work for you in filling a bunch of small ones, but if you need to feed a big crowd, that might work better for you in the long run.
  • Cream cheese– I use full-fat cream cheese.   
  • Cheddar cheese–  A sharp cheddar is great, but if you want to take it up another level, add smoked cheese to the mix.  We love to make our own smoked cheeses so I like to incorporate about half a cup of smoked sharp cheddar cheese to this jalapeño popper filling for added smoke flavor. 
  • Lemon juice– I like to add lemon for a little acidic tang to the filling.
  • Paprika– I prefer smoked paprika, but you can use standard sweet paprika if that’s what you have. 
  • Granulated Garlic– I like to use granulated garlic here, but you can absolutely use garlic powder or minced fresh garlic for an extra bite if that’s your preference. 
  • Salt– I use fine sea salt.
  • Black Pepper– I like coarse ground black pepper here, but fine is good as well. 
  • Green onions/Scallions– I use the green part only, finely chopped.  If you have chives you can use that instead (about 2 Tbsp.) 

Optional Delicious garnishLime zest! Yes, I know doesn’t seem right, but trust me it’s a nice touch and looks great too!

Optional Additions to the cheesy mix

  • Pimento Peppers– I mean, pimentos I think are always a delicious additive for any dish like this. If you love pimentos, serve up this pimento cheese spread at your next party as well!
Image showing plain and bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers on a white platter
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Deliciously Smoked Poppers

Preparing smoked jalapeno poppers doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you choose to use a smoker or a grill, you can easily have tasty poppers that are sure to satisfy family and friends. Adding bacon to the mix brings a smoky flavor that is hard to beat. This recipe will ensure your jalapeno poppers turn out fabulous every time. 

Can I cook these in the Oven?

Absolutely! The only thing is that they won’t have the smoky flavor you get from the smoker. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 45 mins for a similar tenderness to the smoked ones. I just place the plain ones on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bacon wrapped should go on a wire rack atop a baking sheet to catch grease.

Close of up bacon-wrapper and some plain jalapeno poppers on a wood board from the top with a raw jalapeno in the top left side.
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Now that you’ve learned how to make the tastiest smoked jalapeno poppers ever, why not try making some yourself? 

Smoked Jalapeno Poppers, bacon wrapped on top and plain below them on a wooden board with a raw green jalapeno in the upper left.
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Smoked Jalapeno Poppers (Bacon-wrapped, Optional)

This recipe makes 20 jalapeno poppers without breading.  They are amazing on their own with the filling or bacon-wrapped.  (Bacon-wrapped is optional if you need them to be vegetarian) 
If you are making some plain and some bacon wrapped, I recommend putting them on 2 separate racks in case you need to broil the bacon wrapped briefly after smoking. 
**Please keep cooking time can vary with different sized peppers. 
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Appetizers
Cuisine American
Servings 20 Jalapeno Poppers
Calories 71 kcal


  • 1 lb. jalapenos 10 medium-sized
  • 8 oz. cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 tsp lemon juice or lime
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 scallions only the green part of the green onion stalk

*Optional- Bacon Wrapped Poppers

  • Grab enough bacon for 1 half slice of bacon per jalapeno that you're wrapping.


  • Preheat smoker to 250F. 
  • Slice jalapeños in half lengthwise leaving the stem intact.  Remove the seeds and white membrane inside the peppers. 
  • Add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, lemon juice, paprika, garlic, salt, pepper to a small mixing bowl and stir until there are no more white lumps of cream cheese visible.
  • Fill all of your jalapeno halves with the cream cheese mixture, dividing evenly.  You can either pipe the filling in if you want them fancier or you can just use a spatula to fill and level them.  Note:  *I like to use a fork to make striations in the filling, for looks and it makes more crevices for the smoky flavor. 
  • Place filled peppers on a wire baking rack in a single layer over a sheet pan, leaving some space between the peppers. (If not doing bacon-wrapped skip to step #7.)

Optional - Bacon-Wrapped

  • Wrap the bacon around the center of the jalapeno and place seam side down on wire rack.  You can add a toothpick to secure the bacon if need be.
  • Once the smoker is up to temp, Place the wire rack directly into the preheated smoker or with the baking sheet underneath the wire rack.  This is my preference for ease of transfer and they cook well this way. 
  • Smoke the jalapenos for 60-75 mins, or until the peppers have softened, but are not too soggy.  At this time, your peppers will be al dente, with a slight crunch still.  If you want the peppers more tender, add another 5-15 minutes. (If the bacon is not crisp enough, I take those poppers to the broiler for 3-4 mins. max.  Just watch closely.)
  • Once the jalapenos are done cooking, remove them from the heat, but keep warm or serve immediately.
  • For a delicious twist, add a little fresh lime zest to the tops of the jalapeno poppers. 


I love to add a little lime zest to the poppers after smoking/broiling to a delicious extra subtle zing!  So good!
Store any leftover poppers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within about 5 days, but I bet they'll be gone sooner.
***Notes on Nutrition- The Nutrition facts do not include the optional bacon. 

Nutrition Disclaimer:

The nutritional information provided is only an estimate based on a third party nutritional plugin. Different online calculators may give different results depending on their own sources. The estimates may also change based on the ingredients you use. If you have dietary restrictions and need to accurately calculate the nutrition of this recipe, Whole Made Living recommends consulting a professional nutritionist.


Serving: 2poppersCalories: 71kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 132mgPotassium: 85mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 521IUVitamin C: 27mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword appetizer, game day, gluten free, jalapenos, keto, low carb, smoker, vegetarian
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