What’s even better than a jalapeno popper? One that is smoked! This smoked jalapeno poppers recipe is a great appetizer for game day! 

I’m super excited about this one, and for good reason! This new game-day appetizer recipe takes a classic appetizer recipe and adds bolder flavors by cooking it on the smoker. The smoke infuses into the strips of bacon while the filling gets nice and melted. These jalapeno poppers are a big crowd pleaser and perfect for your next football watch party! 

a photo of a tray of smoked jalapeno poppers

For this recipe, you will need fresh jalapeño peppers. I chose peppers that were large in size, but you can absolutely use whatever size of jalapenos that can find at the grocery store! You will need to be able to halve the peppers and cut off the stem. Then, I used a paring knife to scrape out the white ribs and seeds.

Recipe Ingredients

Jalapenos: A word of warning, you may want to wear gloves when you’re handling the peppers. At minimum, give your hands a GOOD wash with hot soapy water to make sure you don’t transfer any of the hot oil from the jalapenos to your eyes! 

a photo of a jalapeno popper on grill grates

Cream Cheese Filling: The filling mixture in this recipe is a combination of cream cheese, shredded cheese and seasonings!  The melted cheese mixture gets nice and gooey.

There definitely is some flexibility with your ingredients in the filling! I have lots of substitutions listed below. 

Bacon: For the bacon, I recommend choosing thick cut bacon that has been smoked! This will double up the smoke flavor. And of course, you can use your pellet smoker, Traeger pellet grill or any other electric smoker with wonderful results! 

a photo of jalapeno poppers on a sheet pan

I smoked these Smoked Jalapeno Poppers on a traditional charcoal smoker with pecan wood chips. You can use hickory or cherry wood as well! I always think it’s best to use what you have on hand already, so don’t make a special trip to grab wood chips or pellets if you already have some at home! 

Recipe Substitutions and Additions

This recipe has quite a few ingredient substitutions or additions you can make! Here are a few ideas below:

  • Add a few dashes of hot sauce, chili powder or cayenne pepper to the filling for an extra spicy bite. Or consider adding more diced jalapenos or bell peppers for a delicious twist. 
  • I used full-fat cream cheese, but this recipe will work equally well with low-fat cream cheese. 
  • Substitute pepper jack cheese or Colby jack cheese for the cheddar. Swapping out the cheese is an easy way to add different flavors. You can even add grated smoked gouda for extra smoke flavor!
  • If you want to add some fresh herbs to the mix, chop cilantro or green onions and add to the jalapeno popper filling. 
  • Use your favorite bacon, but I very much recommend choosing thick cut, smoked bacon for extra smoky flavor! 
  • Substitute a clove of fresh garlic for the garlic powder.
  • Add extra flavor and spice by adding chopped jalapenos or red bell pepper to the cream cheese filling. 

It is okay to use smaller peppers, but you may want to halve your bacon strips! 

Serving Suggestions

I think these are the best poppers for events like a tailgate party or football watch party! They’ve definitely become a favorite appetizer for us! 

Serve them alongside other delicious appetizers like these Firecracker Meatballs, Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts, Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball, Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels, and Soy Garlic Chicken Wings.

Consider adding in some healthy veggies to your appetizer spread with my Football Veggie Tray!

a photo of a jalapeno popper on the smoker

You can also use this recipe as a smoked side dish! Serve as a side dish alongside The Creamiest Smoked Mac and Cheese, Smoked Corn on the Cob or Smoked Hasselback Potatoes.

Storing Leftovers

Stove leftover jalapeno poppers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Reheating in the air fryer or in the oven will help them crisp back up!

a photo of a tray of smoked jalapeno poppers

Smoked Jalapeno Poppers

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

What's even better than a jalapeno popper? One that is smoked! This smoked jalapeno poppers recipe is a great appetizer for game day! 


  • 1 pound thick cut bacon
  • 1 pound jalapeno peppers (medium or large)

For the jalapeno popper filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Prepare your smoker to 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese, cheese, garlic powder and black pepper. Stir until well combined. 
  3. Using a small spoon, scoop the cream cheese mixture into the cavities of each jalapeño half.
  4. Take a slice of bacon and wrap it fully around the stuffed jalapeno. Once wrapped, place on a baking sheet or wire rack for easy transfer outside. 
  5. Place each stuffed jalapeno stuffing side up in a single layer, directly on the grill grate.
  6. Smoke jalapeno poppers for about one hour. Remove when the bacon is fully cooked through. 
  7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating.


It is okay to use smaller peppers, but you may want to halve your bacon strips! 

With my large peppers, this made about 16 poppers. I used a full bacon strip for most. For some of the smaller peppers, I used a half slice. The size of your peppers will determine how much of a bacon slice you will need to get it fully wrapped! 

Since you're smoking these bad boys over low, indirect heat, the bacon will cook through, but it may not crisp to your liking. To get the bacon to crisp, you'll need to finish them over high heat. After their time on the smoker, I transferred the poppers into the oven and broiled them for about one minute, which gave me nice, crispy bacon! You can also do this on the grill over high, direct heat! 

Did you make this recipe?

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