These Easy Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers (Air Fryer) are the perfect game day appetizer. They are loaded with spices, two kinds of cheese, and buffalo sauce for an extra layer of flavor. The bacon cooks to perfection in the air fryer in only 10 minutes. And don’t forget the ranch for dipping!
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.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts is located on the recipe card below.
before you start
- Clean and cut the jalapeño. Start by rinsing all of the jalapenos and patting them dry. Then slice them in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and white membranes using a small paring knife or a spoon.
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.
TIP - Fill the jalapeños just to the top or right below with the filling. This will prevent the filling from spilling out during cooking.
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.
TIP - Don’t overcrowd the air fryer. Cook the jalapeño poppers in batches and serve them as they are ready or keep them warm in the oven.
- 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.
Yes. The uncooked jalapeño poppers can be made 1 day in advance and stored in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I usually just reheat them in the microwave.
How can you make these in the oven?
Bake them at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Broil on high for an additional 2-3 minutes if desired.
Yes, but not as spicy as you might think. Removing the seeds and membranes of the jalapeño removes most of the spice from the pepper. Those who are extremely sensitive to heat might still find them too spicy, but for the average person they will just have a slight kick.
They are typically jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese. There are many flavor variations but this is typically the base.
I recommend ranch dressing. Good quality store-bought or homemade will work. This further helps alleviate the heat from the jalapeños.
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.
Yum! These were great! How do you stay thin!
This is fabuloso!
Love all u Recipes
Thank you!! <3