Smoked cream cheese (with candied jalapeños) 

The best appetizers are the ones you can make quickly with minimal ingredients and have lots of flavor. Am I right? That’s where this recipe comes in.

This smoked cream cheese is packed with flavor and makes the perfect spread for crackers or chips. Then to take it a step further, I add candied jalapeños on top for the perfect sweet and spicy combo. 

Smoked cream cheese with candied jalapeños
Photos for this recipe are from Erin Hungsberg (IG: erin_hungsberg)

Why smoke cream cheese? 

When people think of cream cheese, the first thing that comes to mind are bagels. However cream cheese makes for a great dip or spread and not just at breakfast.

A plain block of cream cheese can be transformed by smoking it and adding different toppings like these candied jalapeños. 

​This makes for a quick appetizer that is also affordable and delicious.

Smoked cream cheese

Ingredients and items for smoked cream cheese with candied jalapeños.

Cream cheese

Bbq seasoning

Candied jalapeños



Foil or grill safe platter

Making the candied jalapeños.

Candied jalapenos also know as cowboy candy are jalapeños that have been candied with a mix of water, vinegar sugar and spices that make a very tasty snack or topping.

To make them, simply add all of the ingredients into a large saucepan and bring them to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. 

Candied jalapenos in a sauce pan

To finish, allow the jalapeños and liquid to cool down for 30 minutes before placing it into a mason jar or airtight container. Then refrigerate for at least an hour before consuming.

candied jalapeños

The candied jalapeños taste best after 3-4 days and can last up to a month.  If you want more details check out the recipe here

These candied jalapeños are crazy good on smoked cream cheese.

Smoking cream cheese. 

Take a cold block of cream cheese and place it on a piece of foil or a grill proof platter then score it with a knife making a cross hatch pattern. Not only does this look nice but allows the seasoning to get further down into the cream cheese. 

Next season the cream cheese with your favorite bbq seasoning. Make sure you season the tops and the sides. Don’t worry about the bottom as handling the cream cheese too much will just put finger prints all over it. 

Place the cream cheese in your smoker at 225°F for 2 hours. This is plenty of time to soften the cheese and allow the smoke to penetrate. I like using a sweet wood like cherry or pecan. 

​As the cream cheese smokes the cross hatch pattern on top will start to split and widen. At this point it’s ready to serve. 

Smoked cream cheese

I like to take candied jalapeños and place them right on top then serve with club crackers. The sweet, spicy and savory bite is so satisfying! 

Experiment with different toppings and flavors.

Pepper Jelly: These jellies can be found in a lot of stores and make a great substitution if you don’t want to make the candied jalapeños. 

Hot honey and bacon: For a spicy and salty combo, top the cream cheese with a good drizzle of hot honey and crumbled bacon. 

Flavored cream cheese: You can regularly buy flavored cream cheese like strawberry, blueberry, honey walnut, etc. Try something other than plain to get a different flavor profile.

Looking for other easy appetizers? Try these. 

​Candied bacon crackers 

Candied bacon crackers with cream cheese 

Jalapeño poppers pigs in a blanket 

Pig shots with maple bourbon glaze 

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Smoked cream cheese (with candied jalapeños) 

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  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x



Smoked cream cheese 

  • 1 80z block cream cheese 
  • 1 tablespoon bbq seasoning
  • Crackers for serving 

Candied jalapeños 

  • 1012 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic 
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 


  1. If making the candied jalapeños start with that first as they will need time to sit in the refrigerator. Cut jalapeños into rings and remove the seeds if you don’t like the extra heat. 
  2. Combine all the ingredients together in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Allow jalapeños and liquid to cool for 30 minutes before transferring to mason jar or container and placing in the refrigerator. 
  3. Score a block of cold cream cheese with a knife making a cross hatch pattern on top. Transfer to a piece of foil or grill safe platter and smoke at 225°F for 2 hours. 
  4. Remove cream cheese from the smoker and add candied jalapeños on top before serving with crackers. 


Make the candied jalapeños first before smoking the cream cheese so it has a couple hours in the refrigerator.  You can make it ahead of time so you always have some on hand! 

  • Author: Jordan Hanger
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Category: Appetizer

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