How to Make Stuffed Peppers

Nicole Austin

Stuffed peppers are quick, delicious and easy to customize to suit you personal tastes - all the ingredients for an easy dinner made in no time flat!

One day several years ago I was bored and looking around online for easy, filling recipe ideas that wouldn’t be too wild but might introduce me to something new.

That was the first time that I discovered - I love stuffed peppers. Learning how to make stuffed peppers is simple and the results are seriously delicious.

If you had told me as a child that someday I would appreciate hollowing out a vegetable and stuffing it and calling it a meal, I'd have called you crazy.

Of course, tuna stuffed tomatoes weren’t on my radar yet, let alone baked stuffed tomatoes, so how was I to know how adulthood would change my life?

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers Picture

Once I realized that I love stuffed peppers, I started to experiment and found out, much to my joy, that you can create just about anything you want with them.

This makes them a simple, tasty meal for a household like mine with a variety of tastebuds. They can be stuffed with meats, grains, cheese or other veggies.

Firstly, the variety of peppers with their unique flavor profiles alone will change the composition of any stuffed pepper recipe, which is half of the fun.

I love sweet yellow peppers to contrast spicy filling or a creamy sour cream topping, but my kids love the zip of stronger peppers, and who can blame them?

Stuffed peppers are a treat that anyone can enjoy, on any budget, without a lot of time or energy. Can you say perfection?

Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers Image

What Are Stuffed Peppers?

As the name implies, stuffed peppers are peppers that have been stuffed! With what, you may ask? Just about anything. Yes, I mean that - truly anything!

Beans, meat, rice, pizza toppings, quinoa stuffed bell peppers, cheese in a good chile relleno recipe - anything goes, one of the millions of reasons to love stuffed peppers.

Halving a pepper and emptying out the center will leave you with a ready-to-fill edible bowl that you can stuff with your favorite foods and enjoy.

You can use mini peppers to make tasty stuffed mini peppers recipe packed with goat cheese and cream cheese sprinkled with panko breadcrumbs. 

Taco pepper poppers are another way to serve stuffed peppers as an appetizer or game day snack. Crushed tortilla chips add the perfect crunch.

Stuffed Mini Peppers Picture

How to Make Stuffed Peppers

There are are a number of different ways to make stuffed peppers and each recipe will vary a little bit, but the basic process is largely the same.

  1. Gather your ingredients! Think ahead to the flavor combinations you might like the best. For a sweet pepper, red, yellow or orange bell peppers should be your go-to. The mildest of all peppers, they are great for kids or people who prefer no spice. Green bell peppers add a slight bitterness and zest, and lots of flavor.
  2. Prep your peppers! For a shallow stuffed pepper that’s easy to hold, cut your pepper in half, top to bottom, to make two equal halves. Or, remove the top of the pepper for the traditional look and feel.
  3. Scoop out the center and seeds, and set all the peppers you plan to use in a dish with edges that will hold them in place. Cook for 15 minutes at 350 degrees to get a head start if you prefer a softer pepper, or just start stuffing if you don’t mind a crispier pepper!
  4. Fill ‘em up. Stuffed peppers are so versatile! If you want to make low-carb stuffed peppers, Southwest stuffed peppers, or even Italian stuffed peppers, you can do it all.
  5. Prepare your fillings by browning meat, cooking rice or quinoa, mixing up some stuffing, whatever you want, and fill to your heart’s content. Stuffed peppers let you add or remove ingredients that you love. I personally get quite liberal with cheese toppings.
  6. Bake and enjoy. Traditional stuffed peppers are baked in the oven, but as you well know, there are so many ways to prepare meals these days that there’s a recipe for everything, even specialized varities like paleo stuffed peppers that can suit any dietary needs or preferences.
How to Parboil Peppers Photo

Should Peppers Be Cooked Before Stuffing?

Whether or not peppers should be cooked before stuffing when making stuffed peppers is largely a matter of preference so there's no right or wrong way.

Some people swear by prepping the peppers by cooking them ahead of time, usually for around 15 minutes, to start the baking process ahead of time.

When making stuffed peppers, some fillings don’t take long to bake, so the peppers themselves do not always have time to soften before the filling is done.

Chile Relleno Image

Some people prefer a firmer, crisper pepper that is more raw, and will forego the pre-baking prep step. This is totally up to you! It’s your flavor experience.

My best suggestion is to play around with your methods and find what you prefer. I personally suggest learning how to parboil peppers for quicker baking!

If you know how to parboil, you know that parboiling is a process of partially cooking an ingredient before finishing it off with a second cooking method.

In the case of stuffed peppers, it means you can parboil peppers, prep the filling, stuff them and bake them in a shortened amount of time. It's a win for me!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Picture

Should You Cover Stuffed Peppers When Baking?

Part of the appeal of stuffed peppers centers around how tender and juicy the meal tends to be when it is prepared correctly.

To prevent your peppers from drying out, cover with foil for the first 30 to 35 minutes. This will hold the moisture inside and help them steam while baking.

Can You Make Stuffed Peppers on the Grill?

You absolutely can, and should make stuffed peppers on the grill whenever possible. Okay, maybe that’s just a matter of opinion, but wow!

Stuffed peppers prepared on the grill boast a whole other element of flavor that just cannot be matched. Plus the texture of the pepper is amazing.

Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers with Beef Pic

I love the delicious, light char on peppers, whether it’s on a kebab or on its own to compliment meat hot off the grill, or even as a veggie side dish.

Grilled stuffed peppers could be, and should be, the next fad meal. Follow your favorite stuffed pepper recipe for filling and place the peppers into a grill basket.

Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the peppers begin to char then serve and enjoy. Yum!

Can You Make Stuffed Peppers in the Instant Pot?

Believe it or not, you can make stuffed peppers in the Instant Pot in about 10 minutes! Or less. Really.

An Instant Pot is ridiculously easy to use and this is no exception. For tender stuffed peppers ready in minutes, definitely give your Instant Pot a try.

  • For a 6-quart pot, add 1 cup water.
  • In the Instant Pot, you can leave any meat raw and simply blend together the herbs, spices, and other fillings you plan to use, and stuff the pepper for cooking.
  • Cooking for 10 to 12 minutes at 165 degrees should bring your meat to the perfect finish. Add cheese on top and seal for another minute to let it melt - perfection!
Chile Relleno Picture

Can You Make Stuffed Peppers in the Slow Cooker?

Did I mention stuffed peppers are a favorite of mine because they are versatile? Making stuffed peppers in the slow cooker is an absolute game changer.

Whether you have all day to spend in the kitchen or just a few moments after a busy shift at work to throw things together, stuffed peppers are it.

Our slow cooker stuffed peppers with beef recipe is a crowd pleaser, but our Crock Pot chicken enchilada stuffed peppers will knock socks right off.

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Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.

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