Southwestern Stuffed Peppers Recipe (2024)

  • Food
  • Recipes



19 Reviews

Fill colorful bell peppers with cumin-spiced ground beef, rice, corn, and cheese for southwest stuffed peppers the whole family will love.


Dawn Perry

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers Recipe (1)

Dawn Perry

Dawn is the author of Ready, Set, Cook; How to Make Good Food With What's on Hand. She served as the food director for Real Simple and has worked in the test kitchens of Everyday Food, Bon Appétit, and the meal kit delivery service Martha & Marley Spoon. Dawn is the author of Short Stack Editions' Cucumbers and her recipes and writing have been featured in the LA Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post among other publications. She recently started Superkind Cookies, a premium cookie company shipping treats nationwide. Highlights: * Author of Ready, Set, Cook; How to Make Good Food With What's on Hand. * Former food director for Real Simple * Worked in the test kitchens of Everyday Food, Bon Appétit, and Martha & Marley Spoon * Recipes and writing have been featured in the LA Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post

Real Simple's Editorial Guidelines

Updated on January 05, 2024

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers Recipe (2)

Hands On Time:

10 mins

Total Time:

1 hr 20 mins




8 pepper halves

Jump to Nutrition Facts

We're proud of our Southwest stuffed peppers, but many cultures boast their own version of the popular dish. In Spain, they stuff bell peppers with Valencia or arboriorice and saffron and, in India, spiced mashed potatoes. Filipinos fill theirs with shrimp, pork, and water chestnuts while in Romania, it's pork and rice served with a creamy sour cream sauce.

Our recipe takes a cue from the classic American version of bell peppers stuffed with ground beef and rice, but takes a veritable trip to the Southwest. We punch up the flavor with cumin, diced green chilies, and creamy Monterey Jack cheese. Top with yogurt and salsa, and you have a make-ahead family meal that's a real bell ringer.

What's in a Name?

It's said that bell peppers got their name from British colonists, who named the exotic "peppery" fruit native to the Americas after its shape, and to distinguish it from the Old World "black pepper" they were more familiar with. Some credit Columbus for "discovering" bell peppers after taking some back to Europe on his second return voyage.

While we call them "bells" in the English-speaking world—particularly the U.S., UK, Canada, and Ireland—much of the rest of the world refers to them by the scientific moniker for peppers, "capsicum."


  • 1 cup long-grain white rice

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated

  • ½ pound ground beef chuck

  • 1 cup frozen corn

  • 1 (4½-ounce) can chopped green chilies

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack, grated (1 cup), divided

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 4 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed

  • ½ cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt

  • Salsa, for serving


  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Rinse and cook rice according to package directions.

  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallion whites and beef, and cook, breaking the beef up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in corn, chilies, cumin, cooked rice, 2 ounces (½ cup) Monterey Jack, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.

  3. Arrange bell peppers, cut-side up, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or pan. Divide the beef mixture among the bell peppers, add ½ cup water to the baking dish, tightly cover the dish with foil, and bake until the bell peppers are soft, 30 to 40 minutes.

    If making ahead, stop here and allow the cooked peppers to cool, at least 30 minutes but no longer than 2 hours. Keep the pan covered with foil or cover the cooled pan with plastic, and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

    Before reheating, remove the pan from the fridge and set it out for about 30 minutes. This promotes more even cooking.

  4. Uncover the cooked stuffed peppers in the baking pan, sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of Monterey Jack, and bake until browned, 5 to 7 minutes more.

  5. In a small bowl, whisk yogurt with ¼ cup water. Drizzle over the bell peppers and top with salsa and scallion greens.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

20g Fat
59g Carbs
26g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe4
% Daily Value *
Total Fat20g26%
Saturated Fat9g45%
Total Carbohydrate59g21%
Total Sugars7g

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers Recipe (2024)


Should I cook my bell peppers before stuffing them? ›

You can also pre-cook them in the oven before they're filled. Preheat your oven to the temperature recommended by the recipe, place them in the oven until they are tender, then fill and return the stuffed peppers to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time.

How do you keep stuffed peppers from getting soggy? ›

To prevent it from happening, you should try to avoid or reduce excess moisture – here are three of the things you can do:
  1. Pre-cook Peppers. ...
  2. Use Leftover Rice. ...
  3. Save Cheese for the Topping.

Why do my stuffed peppers taste bland? ›

The problem stems from the common practice of boiling the peppers to start. The goal is to tenderize them before they're stuffed and baked, but generally the poor fellas are over-boiled, which results in their tendency to fall apart and, as noted, be flavorless.

How do you keep stuffed peppers from falling apart? ›

Bell peppers contain more than 90% water, much of which is released during the cooking process. If you cook your stuffed peppers in one fell swoop, that moisture will release and end up in the final dish. Give them a jump start and prevent them from falling apart by roasting them for a short time in a hot oven.

What's the ingredients for stuffed peppers? ›

Image of What's the ingredients for stuffed peppers?
The bell pepper is the fruit of plants in the Grossum Group of the species Capsicum annuum. Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow, orange, green, white, chocolate, candy cane striped, and purple.

What goes good with stuffed peppers? ›

18 Side Dishes to Serve with Stuffed Peppers
  • 02 of 18. Quick & Easy Sautéed Broccolini. ...
  • 05 of 18. Charred Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame-Chili Sauce. ...
  • 08 of 18. Easy Cilantro-Lime Rice. ...
  • 11 of 18. Chitrannam (Lemon Rice) ...
  • 14 of 18. Zucchini & Mushroom Sauté
Nov 3, 2023

How do you keep stuffed peppers upright? ›

With the simple trick of using a muffin tin, ramekin, or other handy kitchen pan, you can ensure that your stuffed peppers stay upright and always cook perfectly. Say goodbye to the frustration of toppling peppers and enjoy a hassle-free cooking experience.

How do you get the most flavor out of peppers? ›

Filleting a pepper is the best way to easily separate the seeds and pith from the flesh. Doing this allows you to get the most pepper flavor possible with the least amount of heat.

Should you soften peppers before stuffing them? ›

I definitely suggest par-cooking the bell peppers first, just a little bit before stuffing them. Not only does this help to soften the bell peppers, but it also cuts down on your cook time. As the bell peppers are cooking you can make the filling, shaving off about 20 minutes from your total cook time.

Are you supposed to eat the pepper in stuffed peppers? ›

Cook the meat before stuffing the peppers. I also parboil my peppers so they are easier to stuff. The flavor the peppers impart to the dish is amazing. Don't forget to eat the peppers!

Why do my peppers have no flavor? ›

Temperature, watering, feeding, and, in the end, patience are the keys to growing flavorful peppers. If you lack one of these, your peppers will be less tasty than they could be. From the beginning of the season through harvest, you can grow more flavorful peppers if you give peppers what they need.

Can you save stuffed peppers? ›

TO STORE: Refrigerate stuffed peppers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F. TO FREEZE: Freeze peppers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Can you save stuffed bell peppers? ›

Freezing stuffed bell peppers is an excellent way to preserve their flavors and enjoy them at a later time. By following the proper steps for freezing and reheating, you can maintain their flavor and prevent freezer burn. Peppers wrapped in plastic wrap and foil will last 4-6 months in a deep freezer.

Should you cook or raw bell peppers? ›

Eating them raw provides maximum vitamin C content, but cooking bell peppers can increase the availability of other nutrients.

How to par boil peppers for stuffing? ›

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on paper towels. In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Why do you parboil peppers before stuffing? ›

The most common reason to parboil peppers is to soften them ready for stuffing so that they can then be baked in the oven. This recipe for Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers is the perfect example!

Do bell peppers get sweeter when cooked? ›

Peppers' flavor and texture can be altered in a variety of ways during cooking. The natural sweetness of peppers can be enhanced through cooking, which can also lessen their bitterness and soften their texture for a more tender and palatable result.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Golda Nolan II

Last Updated:

Views: 6202

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Golda Nolan II

Birthday: 1998-05-14

Address: Suite 369 9754 Roberts Pines, West Benitaburgh, NM 69180-7958

Phone: +522993866487

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Worldbuilding, Shopping, Quilting, Cooking, Homebrewing, Leather crafting, Pet

Introduction: My name is Golda Nolan II, I am a thoughtful, clever, cute, jolly, brave, powerful, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.