You won’t be able to stop eating these Loaded Baked Potato Jalapeno Poppers, packed with creamy mashed potatoes, cheese, scallions, and bacon. This combination is a surprising bite for everyone, a perfect combination of textures and flavors.
It doesn’t matter if it’s game day, party time, or just happy hour on the weekends, this appetizer is going to be a hit. You know we love our appetizers with jalapenos, such as the Bacon-Wrapped Sausage Popper Boats, or the Jalapeno Pimento Cheese.
Why This Recipe Works
- Delicious. Let’s be honest, twice-baked potatoes are already delicious on their own. Stuffed inside a jalapeno and smoked turns up the taste dial a few more notches. Plus, bacon.
- Make ahead. Anything that can save you time when people show up is going to be super helpful. Prep these jalapeno poppers ahead of time and add them to the smoker right before the party starts.
- Quick and EASY. Scoop out the flesh of baked potatoes and mix the ingredients together. Stuff sliced jalapenos and top with bacon. Don’t forget to use the potato skins for another recipe!
- Jalapenos: Choose large, firm jalapenos that are firm. They should be on the large side (3-4″ long), and it helps if they have a fairly straight shape.
- Potatoes: Russet potatoes, sometimes referred to as Idaho potatoes, are a perfect choice. If you’re going to use these for making Smoked Potato Skins, then choose a medium-sized potato rather than the larger size intended for individually served baked potatoes.
- Bacon crumbles: Cook up your bacon and chop it, or go the extra mile and make Smoked Bacon Crumbles. This is a condiment worth having on hand for recipes just like this.
- Cream cheese: Use room temp Philadelphia cream cheese for the best results. Set your cream cheese out on the counter while the potatoes are baking, and when it’s time to mix it’ll be simple.
- Cheddar Cheese: Hand shred your cheese (so there’s no extra starch) and mix it into the potatoes. Get creative, try combinations with pepper jack, Gouda, or even some parmesan.
- Scallions: Slice up some green onions to mix into the potatoes. Chives also work really well.
- BBQ Seasoning: The potatoes definitely need a little love, even if they are mixed with bacon. Use your favorite, or try one of mine such as the Signature Sweet & Smoky Rub.
Prepping the Potatoes
Starting with the potatoes, go ahead and bake them for an hour in the oven at 400°F. Feel them to check for doneness. They should slightly squish in when you squeeze them carefully. Make sure you poke a few holes in them with a fork prior to baking (so they don’t explode).
Allow the potatoes to cool off slightly, and then slice them in half. Scoop out the flesh and add them to the other ingredients.
If you’re going to use the skins for Smoked Potato Skins, leave about 1/4″ of potato in the skin when scooping.
Mix, Season, and Taste
Grab your wooden spoon or potato mash and get to it. Mash everything together until you are happy with the consistency. Everyone has their preferences for textures with mashed potatoes.
Make sure you taste the loaded baked potato mix at this time. You’ll be adding a little more crumbled bacon on top, so just be aware of the salt flavor.
Add some bacon crumbles into the mash at the very end, so they aren’t completely mashed into bits while you’re smashing the potatoes with the rest of the ingredients.
Fill Jalapenos with Loaded Baked Potato
Wear some gloves for this step, otherwise, you might burn your hands. Or, have an accident when you forget and rub your eyes. Trust me, it’s not fun.
Slice each jalapeno from top to bottom, trying to make each half as even as possible. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and any excess membrane.
Use a metal teaspoon to scoop out the seeds easily. If you have a melon baller or a grapefruit spoon, that works well too. Just don’t scoop the jalapeno too close to your face, you might squirt jalapeno juice in your eye.
Spoon the soft loaded baked potato mix into each half of the jalapenos. Smooth out the top slightly with your hand or a spoon, and press in some bacon crumbles into the top.
Transferring these in and out of the smoker is a lot of work, with room for error if they happen to tip over. I highly recommend using a wire rack with a baking sheet to set these on.
This also works well if you are going to simply bake them in the oven.
Smoke the Jalapeno Poppers
- Quick and smoky: Preheat your smoker to 325°F, and smoke for about 25-30 minutes.
- Even more smoky: Preheat your smoker to 275°F, and smoke for about 45-50 minutes
These loaded baked potato jalapeno poppers are very flexible depending on the amount of time you have, or if you are also smoking something else inside of the grill. Typically we are cooking these at 325°F alongside the Smoked Potato Skins, as the two recipes go hand in hand.
Use the same time & temp as the instructions above. While the food won’t be as smoky, everything will turn out delicious. I recommend purchasing a smoky brand of bacon for this recipe if you plan to oven-bake these.
What to Eat with Jalapeno Poppers?
These are the ultimate party food, and frankly, I could be pretty satisfied sharing a plate of these with a beer. But let’s be honest, we all love variety. Here are some other appetizers to cook alongside these loaded baked potato jalapeno poppers.Print
- Bake the potatoes. Wash the potatoes and poke a few holes in each one with a fork. Bake them at 400°F in the oven for an hour, or until they are tender to the touch. Allow them to cook slightly before slicing.
- Prepare the jalapenos. Wearing gloves, slice each jalapeno from top to bottom, trying to make each half as even as possible. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and any excess membrane. Set aside.
- Slice each potato in half and scoop out the flesh. Add the scooped potatoes to a bowl with the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, scallions, and seasonings. Mix/mash everything to your preferred consistency. Add about 2/3 of the bacon crumbles and fold them in.
- Spoon in the loaded baked potato mixture into each jalapeno, smoothing out the top. Press in some additional bacon crumbles that were set aside. Do this for all of the remaining jalapeno halves.
- Preheat your smoker or oven to 325°F. Cook the poppers on a wire rack with a baking sheet, which prevents them from wobbling around the grill grates and saves time with transferring. Cook for about 25-30 minutes, until the jalapenos have started to darken and the cheesy potato filling is melty.
- Serve immediately when ready.
- The cream cheese will mix best if it’s about room temp, or at least sitting out of the fridge for an hour.
- Use a metal teaspoon to scoop out the jalapeno seeds easily.
- Bacon crumbles can be made by cooking bacon until crispy and then chopping it into pieces. Also see our recommended recipe for Smoked Bacon Crumbles, a huge boost to flavor!
Make Ahead Instructions
- The filling can be prepared up to 3 days in advance. Keep the filling sealed in a container in the fridge, separate from the jalapenos.
- The poppers can be fully assembled 24 hours ahead of time. Add the bacon crumble garnish just before cooking, to prevent it from getting soggy.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Smoking
- Cuisine: Appetizer
Keywords: jalapeno poppers, loaded baked potato, loaded jalapeno poppers, smoked jalapeno poppers, appetizers