How to Grill Jalapeño Poppers

If you've ever been to a sports bar or a really cool restaurant, you know the absolute joy of the jalapeño popper. Cheese stuffed whole jalapeños wrapped in bacon and cooked to delicious, bubbly, crispy perfection. We'd ask, "What's not to love?" but there's not really a point given it's the closest thing to perfection within the realm of food.

But what if we could take things a step further? Yes, that's right, we're making jalapeño poppers even better with the addition of an extra hit of smokiness and char with the help of your standard backyard barbecue grill. If your mouth is watering at the thought, read on to learn how to grill jalapeño poppers to elevate this already amazing appetizer to a whole new level.

Grilled jalapeno poppers on a black rectangular serving tray.

Servings: 32 jalapeño poppers

Prep Time: 20 mins.

Cook Time: 23 mins.

Step #1. Prepare Ingredients

  • 16 jalapeño peppers, with stems
  • 16 slices bacon, cut in half
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Toothpicks
  • Outdoor Grill

Step #2. Preheat the BBQ

Charcoal grill with coals on one side.
Charcoal grill with coals on one side.

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates.

Charcoal Grill: Once the coals are ready, place them on one side of the barbecue, to have a zone of direct heat and another of indirect and thus be able to control the cooking of the jalapeños.

Gas Grill: Preheat the grill to medium heat using all of the burners. Once preheated, turn off half of the burners for an indirect/direct heat source.

Step #3. Slice the Jalapeños in Half

Slicing jalapeno peppers in half on a cutting board with rubber gloves.

Using latex gloves, place a jalapeño pepper onto a work surface, and slice it lengthwise from the side of the pepper, exposing the seeds and white membrane.

Slicing jalapeno peppers in half on a cutting board with rubber gloves.
Slicing jalapeno peppers in half on a cutting board with rubber gloves.

Step #4. Scrape Out Seeds & Membrane

Removing the seeds from a jalapeno pepper sliced in half on a cutting board with a rubber glove.

With a small knife, carefully scrape out the seeds and membrane, leaving the pepper hollow. Repeat with the rest of the peppers.

COOKING TIP: The membrane is the hottest part of the pepper, so if you would like the poppers to be more spicy, you can leave a bit of the membrane and/or seeds behind. Removing it all leaves a hint of spice behind after being grilled.

Step #5. Pipe the Cheese into the Jalapeños

Adding cheese through a piping bag into a jalapeno pepper slice.

Mix the cheddar cheese with the cream cheese and add it to a piping bag. Stuff each pepper with the cheese mixture.

Adding cheese through a piping bag into a jalapeno pepper slice.
Raw jalapenos sliced in half with cheese in them on a cutting board.

Step #6. Wrap in Bacon

A hand wrapping a jalapeno popper with raw bacon on a cutting board.

Wrap each stuffed pepper in half of a bacon slice. Secure with toothpicks.

A hand piercing a jalapeno popper with a toothpick, on a cutting board.
Raw jalapeno poppers on a baking sheet.

Step #7. Grill the Poppers

Jalapeno poppers on the BBQ charcoal grill.

Grill the peppers on the indirect-heat part of the grill until the peppers are hot and juicy and the bacon is browned, approx. 20 minutes. Then transfer them over to the direct heat part of the grill until the bacon is crispy (about 3 min.). Depending on how thick the jalapeños are and how crispy you’d like the bacon.

Jalapeno poppers on the BBQ charcoal grill.

Step #8. Cool & Serve

Grilled jalapeno poppers on a black rectangular serving tray.

Cool for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Grilled jalapeno poppers on a black rectangular serving tray.
Grilled jalapeno poppers on a black rectangular serving tray.
Grilled jalapeno poppers on a black rectangular serving tray.
Grilled jalapeno poppers on a black rectangular serving tray.
Grilled jalapeno poppers on a black rectangular serving tray.
Grilled jalapeno poppers on a black rectangular serving tray.
Grilled jalapeno poppers on a black rectangular serving tray.
Grilled jalapeno poppers on a black rectangular serving tray.

Now you've learned all you'll need to grill jalapeño poppers like a professional. With how easy this recipe is to make, it's a wonder more people haven't thought of it before. The key to mastering it is just figuring out how long to roast your peppers on the grill, charcoal fires being somewhat less predictable compared to an oven. Once you get that down, you shouldn't have any problems.

That's only the beginning, though. The true beauty of this recipe is how simple and, by extension, customizable it is. You could mix up the cheesy filling for some extra flavor depth and variety or try a tasty and visually stunning garnish at the end. This isn't even touching the topic of dipping sauces you might want to experiment with. This recipe can be used with different peppers such as serrano peppers, poblanos, etc. but keep in mind this can change the spice intensity and size of popper.

There's a whole world of flavor to explore when grilling jalapeño poppers, so don't be afraid to try something new. How are your new creations going to stack up against the original version? Hopefully you'll let us known once you've given things a try.

How to Grill Jalapeño Poppers

Cheese stuffed whole jalapeños wrapped in bacon and cooked to delicious, bubbly, crispy perfection. We'd ask, "What's not to love?" but there's not really a point given it's the closest thing to perfection within the realm of food.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes
Servings 32 poppers
Calories 93kcal
Author Joss D

Ingredients

  • 16 jalapeño peppers with stems
  • 8 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 16 slices bacon cut in half

Tools

  • BBQ
  • 64 toothpicks

Instructions

  • Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates.
    Charcoal Grill: Once the coals are ready, place them on one side of the barbecue, to have a zone of direct heat and another of indirect and thus be able to control the cooking of the jalapeños.
    Gas Grill: Preheat the grill to medium heat using all of the burners. Once preheated, turn off half of the burners for an indirect/direct heat source.
    Charcoal grill with coals on one side.
  • Using latex gloves, place a jalapeño pepper onto a work surface, and slice it lengthwise from the side of the pepper, exposing the seeds and white membrane.
    Slicing jalapeno peppers in half on a cutting board with rubber gloves.
  • With a small knife, carefully scrape out the seeds and membrane, leaving the pepper hollow. Repeat with the rest of the peppers.
    Removing the seeds from a jalapeno pepper sliced in half on a cutting board with a rubber glove.
  • Mix the cheddar cheese with the cream cheese and add it to a piping bag. Stuff each pepper with the cheese mixture.
    Adding cheese through a piping bag into a jalapeno pepper slice.
  • Wrap each stuffed pepper in half of a bacon slice. Secure with toothpicks.
    Raw jalapeno poppers on a baking sheet.
  • Grill the peppers on the indirect-heat part of the grill until the peppers are hot and juicy and the bacon is browned, approx. 20 minutes. Then transfer them over to the direct heat part of the grill until the bacon is crispy (about 3 min.). Depending on how thick the jalapeños are and how crispy you’d like the bacon.
    Jalapeno poppers on the BBQ charcoal grill.
  • Cool for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy.
    Grilled jalapeno poppers on a black rectangular serving tray.
Nutrition Facts
How to Grill Jalapeño Poppers
Amount Per Serving
Calories 93 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 21mg7%
Sodium 129mg5%
Potassium 54mg2%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 230IU5%
Vitamin C 8.3mg10%
Calcium 47mg5%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or dipping sauce.

Notes

The membrane is the hottest part of the pepper, so if you would like the poppers to be more spicy, you can leave a bit of the membrane and/or seeds behind. Removing it all leaves a hint of spice behind after being grilled.
Tried this recipe?Mention @inthekitchdotnet or tag #inthekitchgrams!

Looking to further enhance your cooking skills? Check out...How to Grill Bread

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