Southwestern Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers Recipe


These stuffed mini peppers have a perfect touch of the southwest. Slightly spicy, creamy, crunchy and so tasty! What more could you want?

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Stuffed mini peppers are always a party favorite and they’re just the right size for an appetizer.

How long it takes: 48 minutes (it takes a bit of time to stuff each pepper but that can be done ahead)
Equipment you’ll need: Sharp knife, sheet pan, oven, mixing bowl
Servings: 12

Stuffed mini peppers with a browned panko topping.

 

These Tex-Mex-inspired stuffed mini peppers are one of my latest favorites. They are so good and so addicting. Miniature (and might I add, adorable) sweet peppers stuffed with spiced-up cream cheese and topped with crunchy panko breadcrumbs? I mean, really, what could go wrong in this scenario?

Like corn ribs and potato skins, these mini stuffed peppers have that irresistible finger food appeal. They’re a perfect appetizer for game day get-togethers and parties. Mini stuffed peppers are ideal for after school snacks or just because.

Stuffed mini peppers are terrific hot out of the oven but they also taste great as they cool. Save some for a midnight snack. They’re better than potato chips. Wait, did I just say that? Really, these things are so stinkin’ tasty!

Stuffed mini pepper with a bite taken out of it.

Reasons to Love These Stuffed Mini Peppers

  • Bold southwest flavors. Taco seasoning adds zippy flavor to the cream cheese filling while the shredded cheddar ups the ooey-gooey factor.
  • Easy to make. May I add that stuffed mini peppers are fairly easy to make? Granted, prepping the peppers and stuffing them is slightly on the time-consuming side but they aren’t difficult.
  • Great for making in advance. If you want, the peppers can be stuffed ahead of time so they’re all ready to pop in the oven. Those are my favorite kinds of party appetizers!
Ingredients needed for mini stuffed peppers, including colorful mini sweet peppers.

Ingredients

  • Sweet Mini Peppers: The sweet multi-colored mini peppers are sold in bags in the produce section. They’re not the same as small hot peppers or jalapeño peppers. The sweet peppers aren’t spicy at all. Their flavor is similar to a bell pepper. They’ve been specially bred for sweetness, size, and crunch.
  • Cream Cheese: Soften the cheese at room temperature so it’s easier to mix in the taco seasoning and to spread. Cut the brick up into little pieces if you want to hurry up the softening process. Use either full-fat or reduced fat. Nonfat cream cheese doesn’t taste as good and isn’t as creamy. It can also be more watery.
  • Sharp Cheddar: I used white cheddar for these stuffed mini peppers. Regular cheddar is fine or a Mexican blend. For extra heat, you can swap in pepper jack.
  • Taco Seasoning: Using a seasoning blend is an easy way to get lots of flavor without opening 10 different jars of spices.
  • Panko Bread Crumbs: For the perfect crispy-crunchy topping, I like panko bread crumbs. They’re coarser and more airy than regular bread crumbs.
  • Unsalted Butter: This helps the panko get brown and extra-crispy.

Cooking Tip

I like to use my homemade taco seasoning mix for this recipe, but store-bought is fine too! Be sure your taco seasoning is spices only and doesn’t include flour or a thickening agent. 

How to make Mini Stuffed Peppers

Prep peppers. Wash and halve each pepper. Stem on or off, it’s totally up to you. (I think the stem looks kind of cute.) Scrape out the seeds and ribs.

Mini sweet peppers cut in half lengthwise.

Make the filling. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and taco seasoning until well-blended.

Stuffing ingredients in a white bowl - cream cheese, shredded cheese, taco seasoning.

Fill the pepper halves. You can use a spoon to fill the peppers, a pastry bag, or a plastic bag with a corner cut off. Don’t stress too much if the filling isn’t perfectly even. It settles into the corners as the peppers bake and the cheese melts.

Mini peppers stuffed with cheese filling.

Add panko topping. Top the peppers with a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and melted butter. Lightly pat the crumbs onto the filling so it sticks on.

Mini peppers topped with panko bread crumb mixture.

Bake. Put the pan of mini stuffed peppers into the oven and bake them for 15 minutes. If you like, turn the broiler on and broil the stuffed peppers for a couple of minutes to brown the bread crumbs.

Completed stuffed mini peppers on a grey sheet pan.

Serve. You’ll want to let the stuffed mini peppers cool slightly before you serve them. The cheese filling is very hot. The stuffed peppers are tasty served hot or cooled down to room temperature.

Stuffed mini sweet peppers on a white background, one setting on top of the others.

Variation Ideas for Stuffed Mini Peppers

Stuffed mini sweet peppers on a grey sheet pan.

Make Ahead Ideas

Prep the peppers ahead. It takes a little while to halve the peppers and remove the seeds and ribs. This step can be done a few of days in advance. Refrigerate the prepped peppers until ready to use.

Prep the cheese filling ahead. To avoid last minute prep, prepare the filling in advance, cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. Allow it to soften an hour at room temperature before filling the peppers.

Make and bake later. Stuff the peppers, cover and refrigerate them up to a day in advance. Bake the stuffed mini peppers when it’s party time.

Freeze stuffed mini peppers. Place the filled peppers (baked or unbaked) on a tray in the freezer until firm. Place in a freezer container or bag for up to a month. They can be frozen for up to a month. Bake frozen peppers (don’t thaw) as directed, adding a couple of minutes to the baking time.

Storing & Reheating Leftovers

Leftover stuffed mini peppers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Reheat in the air fryer or oven for best results. They can be reheated in the microwave but the topping won’t be as crisp.

Leftover Love

If you have some of the cheesy filling left over after stuffing the peppers, serve it as a spread for crackers or make stuffed celery sticks. You may even want to make a double batch of the filling just for this purpose!

More Cheesy Appetizer Recipes

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Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Southwestern stuffed mini sweet peppers with panko topping.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 48 minutes

12 appetizer servings

Prevent your screen from going dark

These stuffed mini sweet peppers have a perfect touch of the southwest. Spicy, creamy, crunchy and so tasty! What more could you want?

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean-up.

  • Cut peppers in half, leaving stems on if desired. Remove seeds and ribs.

  • In a bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese and taco seasoning until well blended.

  • Fill each pepper half with this mixture, so it is level with the edges (not heaping). Place pepper half on prepared pan and continue until all peppers are stuffed.

  • In a small bowl, pour melted butter over panko crumbs and mix to combine. Top each stuffed pepper half with bread crumb mixture, lightly patting down to adhere.

  • Bake peppers for 15 minutes. Turn oven to broil. Broil stuffed peppers for 2 to 3 minutes or until breadcrumbs are browned. Watch carefully! Cool slightly before serving.

Notes

  • Nutrition information is based on one serving, or 2 to 3 stuffed pepper halves. The size of the peppers can vary quite a bit.
  • Make ahead tip: Peppers can be stuffed up to a day ahead of time, covered, and refrigerated. Bake as directed. To freeze, see instructions on post. 
  • Make jalapeño poppers: Substitute jalapeño peppers for the mini sweet peppers. 

Nutrition Information

Serving: 2stuffed peppers, Calories: 119kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 201mg, Potassium: 104mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 888IU, Vitamin C: 24mg, Calcium: 106mg, Iron: 0.4mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

Did You Make This?Be sure to upload a photo & tag me at @RachelCooksBlog. I love seeing what you made!




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