Grilled Jalapeño Poppers


Whole raw jalapeño peppers are hollowed out, stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon and grilled to perfection. This recipe is all about technique, which makes this appetizer stand out!

Makes 12-15 poppers

Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 12-15 whole raw jalapeño peppers
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 16 oz. thinly sliced bacon (12-15 strips)


  • Paring knife
  • Colander
  • Grill – Gas or Charcoal
    • Oven (if a grill isn’t available)
  • Pointy wooden toothpicks

1. Hollow out the jalapeños:

  • Insert the paring knife just below the stem at the top of the jalapeño and make an incision about 2/3 of the way down the pepper.
  • Make another slit starting at the same point at the top of the jalapeño that runs parallel to your first cut in a slight arc and ends at the bottom of your first cut. Remove the sliver of jalapeño.  This is the window you’ll use to remove the seeds and stem without damaging the integrity of the jalapeño.
  • Gently insert the paring knife into the top of the slit and sever the membrane from the stem. Scrape the inner wall of the jalapeño to separate the membrane.
  • Pinch the top and bottom of the jalapeño to slightly expand the slit you made and shake the membrane and seeds out into the colander over the sink. This is to make cleanup easier.
  • Set the hollowed out jalapeño aside and continue until all jalapeños are prepped.

2. Fill the jalapeños with cream cheese:

  • Use the back of your paring knife to cut a thumb-sized piece of cream cheese from the block.
  • Pinch the ends of the jalapeño and use the knife to gently fill the pepper with the cheese. Do not overfill!
  • Continue until all peppers have been filled.

If you overstuff the poppers, the cream cheese will melt out and make a huge mess!

-El Panadorito

3. Wrap the jalapeños in bacon:

Hold the jalapeño in your hand with the slit facing you. Drape a slice of bacon over the jalapeño at the top of the slit.
Wrap the bacon around the back of the jalapeño and over the top toward you.
Wrap the bacon around again. Do your best to conceal the pepper with the bacon.
Insert a pointed toothpick all the way through to secure the bacon to the jalapeño
Refrigerate, covered, until ready or cook right away.

Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes before cooking. It’s not necessary, but it firms up the bacon and makes them easier to handle.

-El Panadorito

4 : Cook the Poppers:


Gas Grill: Turn on one side of the burners to medium-high heat (425ºF, 220ºC) and place the poppers on the cold unlit side of the grill for indirect heat. Close the grill lid and cook the poppers for ~7 minutes after the grill reaches temp. Flip the poppers and cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Rotate and turn the poppers as needed to evenly cook the bacon.

Charcoal: Create a charcoal fire using your favorite method. When the coals are ready, move them to one side of the grill for indirect heat. Set the grate on the grill and place the poppers on the side away from the coals. Cover and let cook for about 9-10 minutes. Flip the poppers, close the grill lid and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. Rotate and turn the poppers as needed to evenly cook the bacon.

Oven: Set the poppers on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and place on the center rack of a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 425ºF (220ºC). Set a timer for 12-14 minutes, depending on how fast your oven heats up. Rotate and flip the poppers and cook for an additional 4 minutes, or until the bacon is golden brown.

Set the poppers on the side of the grill away from the heat for indirect cooking. Close the lid and cook for 7-10 minutes. You want the bacon fat to render slowly and not drip over the fire, causing flareups!
Roll the poppers and let cook for 2-3 minutes per side. When the bacon is uniformly golden and cooked, remove to a heatproof dish.
Let them rest off the heat for at least 5 minutes or you’ll scorch your tastebuds on molten cream cheese! Also, the bacon needs a few minutes to continue cooking.

“The bacon will continue to cook for a few minutes after you take the poppers off heat!”

-El Panadorito


Cook with love, and everything will taste wonderful!

-El Panadorito

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