Growing up we had jalapeño poppers almost every weekend during football season. They are one of my step dad’s favorite appetizers to make. What are your favorite game day snacks?
He typically just used cream cheese as the filling and of course wrapped them in bacon. But I wanted to take these jalapeño poppers to the next level by adding some extra spices.
He would always cook them in the smoker but unfortunately that is not an option at my 700 square foot apartment in downtown Seattle. So we had to improvise.
First I tried cooking them in the oven. This was a solid cooking method, but I did not like how the oil pooled up on the pan. So I decided to stick them in the air fryer so the grease could drip down.
The air fryer is the way to go! It is also significantly faster. The bacon crisps up better and they are way less greasy.
- Full of flavor from the spices & buffalo sauce
- Made with both cream cheese and pepper jack
- Cook in only about 10 minutes
- Great party snack or game day appetizer
- Air fryer and oven friendly
- Cream Cheese: I like to use spreadable because it is easy to work with. You can use a block, but let it soften a bit first.
- Buffalo Wing Sauce: This adds an extra zing to the jalapeño poppers, but if you are worried about them being too spicy, omit this.
- Bacon: Do not use thick cut bacon. It will not cook properly and be harder to wrap.
- Pepper Jack Cheese: You can substitute this for cheddar or colby jack cheese to reduce the spice. Shred your own cheese from a block for better melting.
before you start
Step 1: In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, buffalo sauce, garlic, onion powder, smoked paprika, and salt, until the seasonings are well combined into the cream cheese. Fold in the shredded pepper jack.
Step 2: Fill each jalapeño half with the cheese mixture.
Step 3: Wrap each jalapeño popper with ½ a piece of bacon. Use a toothpick to secure the bacon.
Step 4: Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Cook the jalapeño poppers in the air fryer at 400 degrees for 5-6 minutes. Cook them at 360 degrees for an additional 4-5 minutes or until the bacon is cooked through. Cook time will vary slightly depending on the air fryer.
- Use gloves when handling the jalapeños. Scraping the membranes and seeds out of the jalapeño will irritate your skin. It may cause some burning.
- Remove as much of the membrane as possible. The membrane is the white fiber that is in the middle of the pepper. This contains the most spice. The more of the membrane left intact, the spicier the peppers will be.
- Leave the stems on. If you cut off the stem end, this will open one side of the jalapeño and all of the fill will run out when heated. You want to create a little bowl for the cheese filling so leave the stem on.
- Shred your own cheese. You will see this tip in 90% of my recipes because most of them involve cheese. Always buy a block and shred it at home. It melts and tastes way better.
- Use toothpicks. Carefully, push a toothpick through the center of the jalapeño to secure the bacon.
- Do not stack the jalapeño poppers. Place the jalapeño poppers in a single layer in the air fryer. If you stack them, they will stick together as they cook. Let the jalapeño poppers cool for 5 minutes before serving. As soon as they come out of the air fryer, they will be extremely hot and the filling will be runny. As they cool the cheese will set and they will be easier to eat.
Easy Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers (Air Fryer)
- 5 ounces spreadable cream cheese*
- 1 Tablespoons buffalo wing sauce*
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 10 medium jalapeños, halved lengthwise, seeds & membranes removed
- 10 slices bacon, sliced in half*
- 4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded*
- 20 toothpicks
- cooking spray
- chives, ranch dressing for dipping
- Review all recipe notes and instructions before beginning.
- In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, buffalo sauce, garlic, onion powder, smoked paprika, and salt, until the seasonings are well combined into the cream cheese. Fold in the shredded pepper jack.
- Fill each jalapeño half with the cheese mixture.
- Wrap each jalapeño popper with ½ a piece of bacon. Use a toothpick to secure the bacon.
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Cook the jalapeño poppers in the air fryer at 400 degrees for 5-6 minutes. Cook them at 360 degrees for an additional 4-5 minutes or until the bacon is cooked through. Cook time will vary slightly depending on the air fryer.