These Mexican stuffed peppers are a flavorful, filling, and inexpensive meal that make great leftovers and are sure to become a family favorite!
This Mexican-inspired recipe takes a bit longer to cook than many other recipes on my blog, but it's worth it. My husband devoured them, and they lasted for three meals for him. They're definitely a different type of recipe than I typically do for meal prep/leftovers. Variety is the spice of life, right. 😛
I did some research on how to make stuffed peppers the easiest possible way, with fewer steps and less "active" time. My technique most closely mirrors what The Kitchn (my go-to cooking resource) suggests. I like making the rice ahead so it's good to go when you need it for the peppers, but you can definitely make it before continuing with the rest of the recipe.
This recipe will make 6 fairly large bell peppers or 8 small-to-medium ones.
How to make Mexican stuffed peppers
- If you don't have cooked rice sitting around already, make some.
- Prep your ingredients.
- Brown the beef/make the stuffing mixture.
- Stuff the peppers and bake them covered for 40 minutes at 400F.
- Add the rest of the cheese and finish cooking the peppers uncovered for 5-10 minutes.
That's the steps in a nutshell. Not too bad, right? More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
Pro tip: Feel free to add some extra ingredients like black beans, corn, or whatever you have in your fridge that you think will work in these stuffed peppers. I think they were invented as a way to use up stuff in your fridge (and leftover rice!).
I used Newman's Own Tequila Lime Salsa (that's my favorite).
Want to make these low-carb? Replace rice for cauliflower rice.
How to reheat stuffed peppers
Microwave your stuffed peppers for 3-5 minutes (microwaves can vary so check them as needed) or reheat the peppers in the oven (place them in a baking dish and cover it with foil) at 350F until the internal temperature of the peppers reaches 165F. It'll vary based on the size of the peppers and whether they're straight out of the fridge or not, but I'd check them after 20 minutes or so.
What to serve with Mexican stuffed peppers
I like to sprinkle some fresh cilantro over top. Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt make great toppings too, along with some chopped up scallions... or just eat them as-is. They're quite filling by themselves, so a side salad is always a good option if you don't want to serve them alone.
You may also like my taco casserole if you're into Tex-Mex flavors!
Do you ever make stuffed peppers?
Questions? Ask me in the comments below.
Mexican Stuffed Peppers
- 1 cup cooked rice I used white jasmine rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 6 large bell peppers any color
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 (14 fluid ounce) jar salsa use your favorite
- 2 cups Mexican cheese blend, divided shredded
- Salt & pepper to taste
- If you don't have cooked rice, make some (this step can be done a day or two ahead). I usually just do 1/2 cup uncooked rice which ends up making a bit more than you need for this recipe, and then I use the rest for other things.
- Preheat your oven to 400F and move the rack to the middle position. Meanwhile, prep your ingredients. Cut the tops off the peppers as if you were carving a pumpkin (try to do it as evenly as possible so the filling doesn't fall out). Remove any seeds. Chop up the usable stuff from the pepper tops (we will add it to the filling).
- Place the peppers cut-side up in a baking dish (I used a 9x13 one). Pour one cup of water into the bottom of the dish (this will help the peppers steam to cook them faster).
- Add the oil, onion, and chopped up pepper tops to a skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the beef, smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder to the skillet. Cook it until it's browned and cooked though (approx. 8 minutes), stirring occasionally and breaking the beef up with the spoon as you go along. I use the leanest ground beef I can find so I don't need to drain the fat. If yours is fattier, spoon out some of the fat.
- Once the beef is done and most of the liquid has been cooked off, take it off the heat. Add salt & pepper to taste. Stir in the cooked rice, the entire jar of salsa, and 1/2 of the cheese. Spoon the mixture equally into each pepper.
- Cover the baking dish with foil. Place it in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- Take the dish out of the oven. The peppers should be still a little bit firm to the touch (we don't want everything collapsing). Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top. Return the peppers to the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Serve immediately. I like to sprinkle a little cilantro over top.
- Try to find bell peppers that are roughly the same size. Also, the ones with 4 "bumps" on the bottom are less likely to fall over, so I look for those.
- I used a bit over a pound of ground beef. Anything in the ballpark is fine.
- For the cheese I bought a pre-shredded spicy Mexican cheese blend with Monterey Jack, cheddar, and mozzarella. You could use cheddar or a Tex-Mex cheese blend if you prefer.
- Feel free to use taco seasoning if you don't want to use the individual spices. Want to add some heat? Add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the beef mixture or use a spicy salsa.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.