In case you need a healthy appetizer that can fool all the guests at your next hootenanny, these smoked jalapeño poppers are the perfect Trojan horse. They’re stuffed with a sweet and spicy blend of chorizo and light cream cheese with honey. Then each jalapeño popper is wrapped in seasoned center cut bacon and smoked to crispy perfection.
And it gets even better. Each one has 8 grams of protein with only 75 calories, 5 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of fat!
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Ingredients for Healthy Jalapeño Poppers
Here’s a look at everything you’ll need:
- jalapeño peppers
- lean chorizo
- center cut bacon
- fat free or reduced fat cream cheese
- black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder
The recipe calls for large jalapeños (about 4″ long), but you can use any size. It’s a good idea to buy a few extra peppers in case you need more/less to use up your chorizo filling. You can cut the bacon in half to work with smaller peppers, so one pack of bacon should do the trick.
As for the honey and spices, this recipe is inspired by Matt Pittman’s chorizo jalapeño poppers which call for the Meat Church Honey Hog seasoning. I improvised for a little homemade sweet and spicy kick.
Assembling the Chorizo Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
If you’ve made jalapeño poppers before, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here. Cut the peppers in half, cook your filling, fill the peppers, wrap them in bacon, and cook. Pretty simple, right?
Still, I’ll walk you through the recipe below with a few tips, tricks, and ingredient notes. There’s a full recipe card at the bottom of the post if you’re a jalapeño popper pro.
1. Prepare the jalapeño peppers by removing the stems and seeds. Cook the chorizo before adding the cream cheese and honey.
I like to leave a tiny bit of the stem (the white part at the top of each pepper) in tact so there’s a bit of a lip to hold the filling inside. For removing the seeds and cleaning up the inside of the peppers, I use a spoon. If you have food safe gloves, it’s never a bad idea to throw some on while working with peppers.
I’ve included notes about chorizo selection and alternatives in the recipe card’s notes section below. Spoiler: it’s the same lean chorizo I used for my chorizo and egg quesadillas.
You’ll also find nutrition facts notes for the jalapeño poppers with reduced fat cream cheese instead of fat free. I buy fat free cream cheese at HEB and Walmart, but I know it’s not available everywhere.
2. Fill the jalapeño pepper halves with the chorizo mixture.
The chorizo filling is straightforward enough. Be sure you give it a few minutes to cool before you start filling your jalapeño poppers. It will thicken and be easier to work with.
There’s no exact amount to fill each pepper with, as they’ll vary in size. Fill all 18 halves and come back to top each one off. If you have too much filling, don’t cram it in as it will squeeze out when you wrap them in bacon. Instead, use an extra pepper or two to make more poppers.
Wrap a slice of bacon around each one of the jalapeño poppers.
You shouldn’t need any toothpicks to hold the bacon in place. Just tightly wrap and seal both ends of the bacon either on the top or bottom of the pepper.
Smoke the jalapeño poppers at 275ºF for 75-90 minutes until the bacon is crispy.
I used the Traeger Pro Series 575 and Traeger Signature pellets for smoking. It took the full 90 minutes for my bacon to get as crisp as I wanted. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on your poppers, though. If I learned anything making our smoked twice baked potatoes, it’s that bacon goes from perfect to burned in what seems like seconds on the grill.
Can I make these smoked jalapeño poppers in an oven?
I’ve not tested my recipe in the oven but using this bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers recipe as a guide, it looks like 20-25 minutes on a foil lined baking sheet at 400ºF should work. Most baked jalapeño poppers recipes I’ve seen are in that same time and temperature range.
You can also make a scaled down version using my air fryer jalapeño poppers recipe.
Serving Your Poppers
I like to serve them with something like the fat free Greek yogurt and ranch seasoning dipping sauce from my spicy buttermilk baked chicken tenders. It’s simply 1/2 cup yogurt, 2 Tbsp milk, and 1 Tbsp ranch seasoning.
Whatever you end up serving your smoked jalapeño poppers with, I’d love to hear about. Be sure to let me know in a comment or recipe review!
- 9 large Jalapeño Peppers*
- 12 oz Lean Chorizo**
- 8 oz Fat Free Cream Cheese
- 1 pack (18 slices) Center Cut Bacon
- 2 Tbsp (42g) Honey
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- Preheat smoker to 275ºF with the lid closed while you prep the peppers.
- Remove the stems from the peppers before slicing them in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membranes. Set aside.
- Cook the chorizo in a skillet before removing from the heat and adding the cream cheese and honey while warm. Stir to fully incorporate and let the mixture briefly cool.
- Fill the pepper halves with the filling and tightly wrap each with a slice of bacon. Sprinkle the black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder over the top.
- Place the peppers directly on the grill grates and cook for 75-90 minutes until the bacon is done to your liking.
*I used peppers around 4" in length. If you can only find smaller peppers, you can make more jalapeño poppers by cutting the bacon strips in half before wrapping.
**If you have trouble finding lean chorizo, you can use any chorizo or make your own using our chicken chorizo recipe.
Nutrition Facts Notes
- Each jalapeño popper has 2 WW SmartPoints (blue).
- With reduced fat cream cheese instead of fat free cream cheese, each popper has 100 calories, 8g of protein, 4g of carbs, and 5g of fat.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1 Jalapeño Popper
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 80Total Fat: 3gCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 8g