In a sophisticated spin on the classic appetizer, these smoked jalapeno poppers are all about balance. With a touch of acidity that complements the jalapeno’s heat and cuts through the fattiness of the cheese and bacon, it’s a perfectly addicting bite.

smoked jalapeno poppers on plate and cooling rack

In general, jalapeno poppers are highly popular at bars and parties as an indulgent appetizer. When you add bacon and cook them in a smoker? All bets are off. They are getting devoured, likely within seconds.

smoked jalapeno poppers on plate

In order to make these smoked jalapeno poppers even more binge-able, lemon juice brightens the entire bite. They’re everything delicious about a traditional jalapeno popper, but this time they’re just a bit more grown-up. The recipe feeds eight, but no one will tell if it only ends up feeding one or two.

Make Next: Mexican Street Corn

Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Katie Calton
Servings: 8 people
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Delightfully rich, these smoked jalapeno poppers are stuffed with gouda and wrapped in bacon, all balanced by the addition of tart lemon juice.


  • 8 large jalapenos
  • 8 slices applewood smoked bacon*
  • 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 ounces gouda cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt


  • Preheat the smoker to 250° F.
  • Slice each jalapeno in half lengthwise, keeping the stem intact as much as possible. Using a small spoon, seed and devein each jalapeno half. To do this, gently insert the spoon into the white pith about 1/4-inch below the stem. Softly but firmly scrape along the inside of the jalapeno, pulling the veins and seeds with the spoon. Set aside.
  • Grate the gouda cheese, which should yield approximately 1 1/2 cups. Add the grated gouda, room temperature cream cheese, lemon juice, and salt to a medium-sized bowl. Using a sturdy spatula, mix the ingredients until well combined.
  • Scoop 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture into each jalapeno half, filling them to the brim (but not overflowing).
  • Using kitchen shears or a knife, slice the 8 bacon strips in half crosswise to make 16 pieces. Wrap one piece of bacon onto each filled jalapeno half, beginning with one end of the bacon on top of the filling, wrapping down and under, and finally over the top again in a corkscrew motion. Secure each piece of bacon tightly with 1-2 toothpicks.
  • Once filled, wrapped, and secured, transfer the jalapeno poppers into the smoker. Allow them to smoke for 1 hour and 30 minutes, checking on them at the 1 hour mark. When finished, the cheese will appear bubbly and the bacon will have taken on a rich color, with subtle amber-colored fat.
  • Remove from the smoker and allow to cool for 15 minutes before eating.


  • 1 Smoker


*It’s easiest to form the jalapeno poppers with thinly sliced bacon. When choosing from different options at the store, look for bacon that is thin enough that you’ll be able to easily wrap it around your cheese-filled jalapeno halves. 

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