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Smoked Jalapeño Popper Dip (Smoked Two Ways)

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When it comes to a crowd-pleasing recipe, this creamy jalapeño popper dip has never let us down. If you’re a fan of jalapeño poppers in any form, you’re going to want to try this dip at your next BBQ or party.

We love using our smoker, and something magical happens when you combine jalapeño peppers and cream cheese. This is one of our favorite late-summer dips. The weather is perfect for grilling, and jalapeño peppers are in abundance.

Jalapeno popper dip

This recipe can be made two different ways. You can use a smoker or a charcoal grill. The process is relatively simple and the flavor is delicious either way.

Jalapeno popper dip

About The Ingredients

Often, we find that our best recipes are made with minimal ingredients. This recipe is not complicated, and you may even have the ingredients on hand!

  • 8 oz. package of full-fat cream cheese – We use Philadelphia brand and find it to be the best. Do not use low-fat cream cheese in this recipe. Reduced fat cream cheese has a different flavor profile and will not work as well.
  • 2.5 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ rub – You can use any BBQ spice blend made for chicken or pork in this recipe. See some recommended brands below.
  • 2 strips of bacon – The thicker the better! Smoked flavor bacon is ideal.
  • 1 medium-sized jalapeño – You can also use a serrano pepper for a bit more spice.
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese – Hand-shredded cheese works best for this recipe, as it melts more evenly. But, you can also use pre-shredded cheddar cheese.
Jalapeno popper dip ingredients

Smoked Jalapeño Popper Dip (Electric Smoker Method)

  1. Pre-heat electric smoker to 250°F according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Place cream cheese in the center of a cast iron skillet or on a sheet of aluminum foil.
  3. Score the cream cheese by dragging the tip of a sharp knife diagonally across the surface with just enough pressure to make an indent. For cleaner lines, wipe the knife clean after each stroke.
  4. Sprinkle BBQ seasoning of choice (see our recommendations below) to cover the surface of the cream cheese, but be sure to avoid applying a thick coating, this will make it too salty. 
  5. Place in smoker and set a timer for 40 minutes.
  6. While the cream cheese is smoking, cook bacon strips using your preferred method. For even better results, place bacon on the smoker for about 20 minutes a side.
  7. Clean and dice jalapeño peppers, rough chop cooked bacon, and combine in a small bowl with cheddar cheese.
  8. At the 40-minute mark, check for doneness. You will see the cream cheese has expanded to a creamy, puffy consistency so that it is splitting at the score marks.
  9. Carefully add toppings and allow about 3 minutes for the cheddar cheese to melt.
  10. Remove from the smoker and allow the cheese to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
How to make popper dip

Smoked Jalapeño Popper Dip (Charcoal Grill Method)

Prepare: Soak wood chips for 30 minutes in water or according to package directions

Note: Your grill will have two zones, one side will be for the hot coals, and the other will be a space for the drip pan.

  1. Heat charcoal using your preferred method, piling hot coals to one side of the grill.
  2. Carefully place an aluminum drip pan on the opposite side and fill halfway with tap water.
  3. Place soaked wood chunks on top of the hot coals.
  4. Replace the grill grate and add bacon strips directly over the drip pan.
  5. Place cream cheese on the grill over indirect heat.
  6. Close the lid, making sure the air vents are opened on the side opposite the charcoal – this will ensure a full circulation of the smoke.
  7. Cook bacon for 10 minutes per side or until desired crispiness.
  8. Remove bacon from the grill and, when cooled to the touch, rough-chop bacon, then chop jalapeño, shred cheese, and set aside.
  9. Allow the cream cheese to smoke for another 40 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle toppings directly on cream cheese and allow to cook an additional 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  11. Let your dip rest for about 5 minutes to cool and enjoy.
Jalapeno popper dip

Tips For Making The Best Jalapeño Popper Dip

While this dip is pretty straightforward to make, we do have some tips to ensure it has the best flavor possible.

  • The outside temperature and size of your smoker can make a difference. It’s always good to take a peek at your cream cheese while it is smoking.
  • Use full-fat cream cheese. It is the best choice for richness and flavor. Low-fat cream cheese tends to have a bit of a tang to it and is not recommended for this recipe.
  • Do not skip scoring the cream cheese. These lines make it easy for dipping and will enhance the flavor.
  • Make sure your cream cheese is cold before popping it into the smoker. If it’s room temp or warm it might overcook and fall apart. 
  • For an extra smoky flavor, feel free to smoke the bacon along with the cream cheese. This will take only about 20 minutes a side depending on how crispy you like it.
  • Add fresh sliced peppers. You can keep the jalapeño fresh or sauté with a little oil for about two minutes until soft. They add fantastic crunch and a bit of brightness to this rich, creamy, savory dip.
Jalapeno popper dip

Recipe FAQs And Variations

What kind of pellets or wood chips should you use?

Hickory gets our first vote, with it’s smooth smoky flavor that isn’t overpowering. Others that work really well are apple wood, cherry wood, and maple.

What is the best BBQ spice rub?

Choose a rub that is intended for pork or beef, because of its smoky, sweet, savory flavor profile. This rub from Lane’s is a good option to try. Just remember to keep the rub on the top side of the cream cheese. It’s very salty and a little will go a long way. 

Does the cream cheese melt?

No. Smoking is a low and slow process that makes it light, creamy, and very easy to spread. Just make sure to avoid temperatures over 250°F while the cream cheese is smoking.

Do you eat this hot or cold?

Both! In fact, you can turn this into a spread for your bagels the next morning, or use as a filling to stuff crunchy veggies for a unique treat.

How do I store this dip?

This dip will do well in an air-tight container for no longer than 3 days. Do not freeze this dip.

How do I reheat this dip?

Allow your dip to return to room temperature, and cover it with foil to prevent it from drying out. Then place it in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes or until warm.

What do I serve this dip with?

The options are endless! This recipe goes well with Ritz crackers, pita chips, celery, cucumber slices, mini bell peppers, tortilla chips, or on a toasted bagel.

Variation ideas

  • Try topping your smoked cream cheese with our tangy and spicy cranberry jalapeño relish, or combine with our diced candied jalapeños.
  • Smoked cream cheese jalapeño popper dip is great as a stand-alone appetizer, or served with other finger foods like chips and our famous homemade jalapeño salsa verde.
  • You can even make an easy dessert like this smoked NY cream cheesecake dip by simply sprinkling it with cinnamon and sugar, top with cherry pie filling, and serving with graham crackers.

Check out our slow cooker Buffalo chicken dip for an easy (but equally tasty) crowd pleaser.

Jalapeno popper dip
Jalapeno popper dip

Jalapeño Popper Dip (Smoked)

This smoky jalapeño popper dip is everything you love about classic jalapeño poppers in a creamy dip form.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 people

Equipment

  • Electric Smoker or Charcoal grill
  • Smoker Pellets
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cast-iron skillet (optional)

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese full-fat, we use Philadelphia
  • 2.5 Tbsp BBQ rub seasoning
  • 2 strips bacon the thicker the better, smoked flavor is ideal
  • 1 jalapeño sliced
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese hand-shredded is best, but pre-shredded will also work

Instructions

Instructions for electric smoker

  • Pre-heat electric smoker to 250°F according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Place cream cheese block in the center of a cast iron skillet or on a sheet of aluminum foil.
  • Score the cream cheese by dragging the tip of a sharp knife diagonally across the surface with just enough pressure to make an indent. For cleaner lines, wipe the knife clean after each stroke.
    Jalapeno popper dip
  • Sprinkle BBQ seasoning to cover the surface of the cream cheese, being sure to avoid applying a thick coating as this will make it too salty.
    Jalapeno popper dip
  • Place in smoker and set a timer for 40 minutes.
  • While the cream cheese is smoking, cook bacon strips using your preferred method. For even better results, smoke your bacon by placing it on the smoker for about 20 minutes a side.
  • Clean and dice jalapeño peppers, rough chop bacon, and combine in a small bowl with your shredded cheddar cheese.
  • At the 40-minute mark, check for doneness. You will see the cream cheese has expanded to a puffy appearance with splitting at the score marks.
    Jalapeno popper dip
  • Carefully add cheese, bacon, and jalapeños and allow about 3 minutes for the cheese to melt.
    Jalapeno popper dip
  • Remove from the smoker and allow the dip to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Instructions for a charcoal grill

  • Prepare: Soak wood chips for 30 minutes in water or according to package directions.
  • Your grill will have two zones, one side will be for the hot coals, and the other will be a space for the drip pan.
  • Heat charcoal using your preferred method and pile hot coals to one side of the grill.
  • Carefully place an aluminum drip pan on the opposite side and fill halfway with tap water.
  • Place soaked wood chunks on top of the hot coals.
  • Replace the grill grate and add bacon strips directly over the drip pan.
  • Place cream cheese on the grill over indirect heat.
  • Close the lid making sure the air vents are on facing the opposite side as the coals – this will ensure a full circulation of the smoke.
  • Cook bacon for 10 minutes per side or until desired crispiness.
  • Remove bacon from the grill and, when cool to the touch, rough-chop and chop jalapeño. Set aside with the shredded cheese.
  • Allow the cream cheese to smoke for another 40 minutes.
  • Sprinkle toppings directly on cream cheese and allow to cook an additional 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  • Let your dip rest for about 5 minutes to cool and enjoy.

Notes

  • The outside temperature and size of your smoker can make a difference. It’s always good to take a peek at your cream cheese while it is smoking.
  • Don’t skip scoring. These lines make it easy for dipping and will enhance the flavor.
  • Make sure your cream cheese is cold before popping it into the smoker. If it’s room temp or warm it might overcook and fall apart.
  • For an extra smoky flavor, feel free to smoke the bacon along with the cream cheese. This will take only about 20 minutes a side depending on how crispy you like it.

Crystalyn

Crystalyn loves spicy food and getting creative in the kitchen. When she isn’t finding new ways to use hot sauce, shes very busy watching cat videos on the internet.

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