Southwestern Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers
These stuffed mini sweet peppers have a perfect touch of the southwest. Spicy, creamy, crunchy and so tasty! What more could you want?
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
These compact little stuffed 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?
May I add that they are fairly easy to make? Granted, prepping the peppers and stuffing them is slightly on the time-consuming side, but let me tell you–they are worth it. Plus, if you want, the peppers can be stuffed ahead of time so they’re all ready to pop in the oven.
And they’re soooo adorable! These stuffed mini sweet peppers would make the perfect appetizer for a Cinco de Mayo party, or any other party for that matter. I recently made them for a get together with some of my friends and they were a HUGE hit.
About This Recipe
As I mentioned above, the most time consuming part of this recipe is prepping the peppers and filling them. It’s not difficult though and it’s totally worth it.
I’ll run you through the process and give you a few extra tips before you get started.
Look for the printable recipe with measurements and directions at the end of this post.
How to Make This Appetizer
Begin by purchasing the correct type of pepper. You’re looking for the sweet, multi-colored peppers that come in a bag. Wash and halve each pepper. Stem on or off, it’s totally up to you. I think the stem looks kind of cute. Remove the seeds and ribs.
Next, a bit about the cream cheese. Use either full-fat or reduced fat. Nonfat cream cheese has extra ingredients that you really don’t want in your appetizer, plus it doesn’t taste as good. Leave the cream cheese on the counter for an hour or so. It’s much easier to work with when it’s softened. Cut the brick up into little pieces if you want to hurry up the softening process.
For the filling, stir together the cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and taco seasoning. I like to use my homemade taco seasoning mix. That’s it for the filling, only three easy ingredients.
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. Trust me, no one will notice how your filling looks as these little yummies disappear quickly from the platter.
Top the peppers with a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and melted butter. Lightly pat the crumbs onto the filling. Again, don’t worry too much if some falls off, it’s not a big deal. You could even skip this step but I do think you’ll love the crispiness it adds. More shredded cheese on top is a good alternative to the panko if you’re looking for a gluten-free appetizer.
Pop these little delights in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is gooey and the topping is crisp. I like to broil them for a couple of minutes at the end so the topping browns up a bit.
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!
Needed for this recipe
- Panko bread crumbs
- Sheet pan
- Sharp paring knife for prepping peppers
- Silpat baking mat or parchment paper
Mini sweet peppers (or sweet mini peppers) are a hybrid of bell peppers. They’ve been specially bred for sweetness, size, and crunch.
Yes, like bell peppers, they are low in calories and contain lots of beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants (Healthline).
Red peppers are actually the healthiest because they are fully vine ripened. Unripe peppers are green, turning yellow, orange, and then red as they ripen. Red peppers have much more beta carotene (11 times more!).
Make It Your Own
- Season the filling with whatever spice mixture you enjoy or happen to have. They don’t have to be southwestern. Instead of taco seasoning, try Ranch Seasoning Mix or Homemade Mild Curry Powder. Fresh chopped herbs are so good, too!
- Instead of sharp cheddar, substitute blue cheese, pepper jack, Swiss, or any cheese you like.
- Make jalapeño poppers instead. Simply replace the sweet peppers with jalapeño peppers and continue with the recipe. Note: Wear gloves when prepping the peppers to protect your fingers.
- Looking for entrée-sized stuffed peppers? Try Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers, Pepperoni Pizza Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, or this easy Stuffed Pepper Casserole. Or if you don’t care for peppers all that much, try these Caprese Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes or Chicken Fajita Stuffed Spaghetti Squash.
To avoid last minute prep, prepare the filling in advance, cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. Or make the filling and stuff the peppers on the day of your event and refrigerate the filled peppers. Bake them when it’s party time — they only need about 20 minutes in the oven.
If you have some of the filling left over after stuffing the peppers, serve it as a spread for crackers or make stuffed celery sticks.
More party-perfect appetizers!
If you’re looking for more appetizer ideas, check these out:
- Spinach Balls (a healthier version)
- Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp — so crispy and delicious!
- Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip
- 7 Layer Dip Recipe – THE BEST!
- Pepperoni Pizza Tortilla Pinwheels
- Whipped Feta with Lemon and Dill
- Toasted Cheese Ravioli
- Sausage Pinwheels with apple, sausage, and cheese
- Fresh Tomato Tart with herbed ricotta
Update: My mom made these for a NYE party and she said they were a huge hit. She had some leftover filling and she said it was fantastic as a cold spread on crackers. So you could always make triple what you need and then enjoy it all week long.
PS: I love it when my mom makes and loves my recipes. And if you’re raising an eyebrow, don’t. She’s totally honest and she would tell me if she hated a recipe. She also texts me when I have typos on my blog, for which I am eternally grateful.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- 1/2 pound sweet mini peppers
- 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar (I use white cheddar)
- 2 tablespoons [taco seasoning]
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cup peppers in half, leaving stems on, if desired. Remove seeds and ribs.
- In a bowl, mix together cream cheese, cheddar cheese and taco seasoning with a fork. Fill each pepper half with this mixture, so it is level with the edges (not heaping). Place pepper half on a large rimmed sheet 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. Return to sheet pan.
- Bake peppers for 15 minutes, turn oven off and turn broiler on. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until breadcrumbs are browned. Watch carefully! Cool slightly before serving.
- 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 make jalapeño poppers, substitute jalapeño peppers for the mini sweet peppers.
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.
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