Learn how to air fry stuffed peppers! This stuffed bell peppers air fryer recipe can be air fried or oven baked for a healthy dinner everyone loves. My air fryer stuffed peppers with rice have beef, cheese, and a secret ingredient you won’t believe! They’re naturally gluten free, and you’ll get tips on making keto or vegetarian stuffed peppers in the air fryer too.
Did you know that you can make stuffed peppers without an oven? These air fried stuffed peppers prove it! And if you don’t have an air fryer, no worries, you’ll learn to make oven baked stuffed peppers as well.
Your whole family is going to love these cheesy peppers, stuffed with beef, rice, and… chicken liver! The liver gives you some nutritional “bonus points” if you will, but feel free to skip it if you prefer.
I really love stuffed peppers for a portion-controlled meal with a nice balance of protein and veggies. You can flavor them up however you’d like. Here I’m making a taco-stuffed pepper. You can also make them flavored like pizza, buffalo chicken, or whatever you’re craving.
So, if you’re looking for some delicious and nourishing comfort food, you need these in your life. Now that we can make stuffed peppers with no oven, we can enjoy them year-round!
- ⭐ Benefits of Making Stuffed Peppers in Air Fryer
- 🥘 Ingredients in Stuffed Peppers
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers
- ️⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
- 🌡️ Can stuffed bell peppers be frozen?
- 😋 Side Dishes for Stuffed Peppers
- 📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
⭐ Benefits of Making Stuffed Peppers in Air Fryer
Why make stuffed peppers in the air fryer? Here are some reasons to make this air fryer recipe:
- Easy: After stuffing peppers, you can air fry them in under 15 minutes! Using the air fryer saves time compared to oven baking. The clean-up is very easy too!
- Healthy stuffed peppers: Many popular stuffed pepper recipes contain a can of cream of whatever soup. This makes for a short prep time but isn't aligned with my goal to minimize the use of ultra-processed foods. These stuffed peppers are packed with healthy whole foods.
- Low calorie stuffed peppers: Using fresh salsa in these peppers instead of a “cream of” soup actually offers several advantages. It brings the calories down while adding more veggies to the dish. You get an entrée that’s Weight Watchers-friendly, low-calorie, filling, balanced, and portion-controlled.
- Vitamins and minerals: Liver is a powerhouse of highly bioavailable nutrients, including vitamin A, zinc, selenium, iron, and all of the major B vitamins. It is also one of the richest sources of meat-based vitamin C that you can find (though you lose some with cooking). And that’s just the liver- these peppers are packed with many other nutrient-dense foods as well!
- Versatile: You can flavor these peppers up however you wish by swapping out the cheeses, meat, and seasonings. Sometimes I make pizza stuffed peppers instead with mozzarella cheese, crumbled Italian sausage, Italian seasoning, and marinara (in place of the salsa).
- Delicious: I never regret making stuffed peppers because they are so tasty. They’re really worth the bit of work they take to make because they are so delish!
🥘 Ingredients in Stuffed Peppers
Here’s your shopping list to make the best stuffed peppers air fryer recipe:
- 6 large bell peppers
- Dry brown rice
- Olive oil
- Chopped onion
- Fresh garlic
- Chili powder
- Lean ground beef
- Bacon and chicken liver pate (this recipe, or use pate from a store)
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Fresh cilantro
Quantities of ingredients are located in the recipe card at the end of the article.
Try to find peppers with flat bottoms and that can stand on their own for air frying. For oven baking, you can use a casserole dish that you can pack the peppers tightly into.
I used 93/7 lean ground beef in this recipe. However, you could make air fryer stuffed peppers with ground turkey or chicken if you’d prefer.
You could also make vegetarian air fryer stuffed peppers by swapping out the meat for black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans. An alternative is to use plant-based ground "beef" crumbles. You’ll also need to use a vegetarian or vegan mushroom pate in place of the liver pate.
Instead of the brown rice, you could use quinoa or another whole grain. Dry quinoa cooks in a much shorter time than dry brown rice, so that swap will save time.
I recommend a smooth-textured salsa with no added sugar or oil for this recipe. You could also make fresh tomato salsa from scratch. Making your own is a good way to lower the sodium in this dish.
Some people make stuffed peppers with cream cheese in the filling. This would make for a creamy stuffed pepper filling (but also add more fat and calories).
Speaking of cheese, don’t skip the cheese topping! It provides a protective layer that keeps the rice from getting crunchy in the air fryer.
To make stuffed peppers in an air fryer, you need these pieces of kitchen equipment:
- A good knife
- Large pot (for parboiling the peppers)
- Air fryer
I developed this air fryer recipe with a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven. You may use your Ninja Foodi, Philips, Nuwave, Pampered Chef, Actifry, Instant Pot Vortex, Cosori, Breville, or another air fryer instead.
However, keep in mind that all air fryers cook a little differently. Always check the food early and often the first time you make a new recipe in the air fryer. That way, if the cooking time for your particular air fryer is different, you can pull the food out early.
🔪 How to Make Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers
Time to learn how to cook stuffed peppers! Cook the brown rice according to package directions in water on the stovetop. It typically takes 45 minutes.
Set a large pot of water to boil on the stovetop. (We’ll return to it in a bit.)
Mix the onions, garlic and olive oil. Spread them on an air fryer tray and air fry at 375F (190C) for 8 minutes. Use the top rack position if you have an air fryer oven.
The onions should be soft and not browned. Set them aside.
Do you have to cook the meat before stuffing peppers? Yes, you do! Now that your air fryer has been preheated, you can cook the ground beef.
Crumble the beef in a heated air fryer basket and cook at 375F (190C) for 4 minutes. Next, crumble the beef a bit smaller and air fry one additional minute. Set the beef aside.
Note: You can cook the onions, garlic, and beef in a skillet on the stovetop if you don’t have an air fryer.
The bell peppers should be able to stand on their own. Trim a little off the bottom off of each pepper if it won’t stand on its own. (Be sure not to create a hole in the bottom of the peppers or the filling will leak out.)
Remove the tops and seeds from the peppers. Submerge each pepper in the pot of boiling water (from earlier); I do three at a time. Boil for 3 minutes.
Don’t skip parboiling the peppers before stuffing! It may be more time-consuming, but it’s the best way to ensure you get perfectly cooked peppers.
Mix everything together EXCEPT the peppers, half the cheese, and the cilantro. Stuff the peppers firmly with the mixture. You should use all the filling.
️⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long to cook stuffed peppers in air fryer? What temperature to air fry stuffed peppers? Air fry stuffed peppers for a total of 13-15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177C).
Try to space the peppers out for good air circulation. I do them in two batches, one batch with four peppers, and another batch with two peppers. If you have an air fryer oven, cook them on a rack in the middle.
After the first 10 minutes of cooking, top the peppers with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350F (177C) for 3-5 more minutes to let the cheese melt. Yummy!
After you’ve finished air frying stuffed peppers, top them with chopped fresh cilantro. Let cool for several minutes before enjoying.
To make oven baked stuffed peppers, preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Parboil and stuff the peppers as described above and stand them in a baking dish. Bake one-third down from the top of the oven for 25 minutes.
Then remove from oven, top each with the remaining cheese, and bake an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro, and then it’s time to eat!
🌡️ Can stuffed bell peppers be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze stuffed peppers by letting them cool, wrapping individually in plastic wrap, and storing them in a freezer bag. However, frozen peppers tend to get mushy and watery. For that reason, I don’t recommend freezing stuffed peppers.
If you must try freezing stuffed peppers, I don’t recommend trying to reheat them from frozen. Microwaving a frozen stuffed pepper on high for 6-7 minutes can work in a pinch, but the pepper will be watery. Instead, let the pepper fully thaw in the fridge, then microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.
The best thing to do with stuffed pepper leftovers is to refrigerate them for up to 2-4 days (no freezing). To reheat stuffed peppers, unwrap them and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Can you reheat stuffed peppers in the air fryer?
You can reheat stuffed pepper for 4-6 minutes in an air fryer preheated to 350F (177C). That said, the microwave does a better and faster job of reheating stuffed peppers.
Frozen stuffed peppers don't reheat well in the air fryer. I tried heating a frozen stuffed pepper for 10 minutes at 350F (177C), and it stayed frozen in the middle.
😋 Side Dishes for Stuffed Peppers
What sides to eat with stuffed bell peppers? I usually like to serve stuffed peppers with big garden side salads. Here are a few more side dish ideas for stuffed peppers:
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One serving of Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers has 405 calories, 28.5 grams net carbs, and 26.6 grams protein. It's also an excellent source of calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and rich in potassium.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Are bell peppers good for you? IMHO, stuffed peppers are a great meal for weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. They are automatically portion-controlled, and generally high in the protein and non-starchy veggies that promote satiety.
Counting tomatoes and peppers as fruits, you’ve got a well-balanced entrée here that covers all of the food groups. If you want a higher energy meal, my advice is to eat another pepper! (We all did!)
To make even lower calorie stuffed peppers, you can use extra lean ground beef (96/4), and low-fat cheese. You could also skip the pate, and experiment with swapping out all or part of the rice for cauliflower rice. (Note: these changes may lower the amount of certain vitamins and minerals in addition to lowering the calories.)
This is not a low carb stuffed peppers air fryer recipe because it contains rice. To make keto stuffed peppers, swap out the rice for cooked cauliflower rice. Make sure the cauliflower rice is well-drained and dry before incorporating into the recipe.
Contrary to what some on the web suggest, I don’t recommend making stuffed peppers ahead to freeze. Frozen stuffed peppers end up mushy and very watery when defrosted and reheated. If you want to meal prep stuffed peppers, consider refrigerating them instead of freezing. They’ll last in the fridge for 2-4 days.
To prevent soggy stuffed peppers, don’t overbake the peppers and don’t freeze and thaw them. Another way to stop stuffed pepper sogginess is to make your filling drier. Use less liquid ingredients (salsa, tomato sauce, etc.), make sure the rice is well-drained, and so on.
Yes, you should pre-cook peppers before stuffing them. If you skip this step, the peppers may not be tender enough at the end of the air frying time. (Also, the more technically correct term for what we’re doing is parboiling, not blanching. We’re not plunging the peppers in cold water after boiling, as you would with blanching.)
Yes, you can make stuffed peppers in the air fryer no rice! Simply substitute some cooked and well-drained riced cauliflower for the regular cooked rice.
You sure can! Here’s a delish looking recipe for Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers from the Country Cook.
👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Recipes
What else can you make in an air fryer? Here are some more air fryer recipes to try:
- Air Fryer Stuffed Mini Peppers (Mini Pepper Nachos)
- Best Frozen Foods for Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Recipes for Beginners
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Stuffed Bell Peppers (Air Fryer or Oven Baked Recipe)
- 6 large bell peppers
- ¾ cup dry brown rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (6.5 ounces/184 grams)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 lb. lean ground beef (454 grams; 93/7 beef)
- ½ cup bacon and chicken liver pate (store bought or this recipe)
- 1½ cups salsa
- 4 ounces cheddar, shredded (113 grams; divided)
- ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- Set a large pot of water to boil on the stovetop. (We'll use this for the peppers in a bit.) Remove the tops and seeds from the peppers.
- The bell peppers should be able to stand on their own. Trim a little off the bottom off of each pepper if it won’t stand on its own. (Be sure not to create a hole in the bottom of the peppers or the filling will leak out.)
- Cook the brown rice in water on the stovetop according to the package directions. It will take approximately 45 minutes. While the rice cooks, prepare the rest of the dish.
- Cut the onions to ½-inch (1.27 cm) dice. Mix the onions, garlic and olive oil. Spread them on an air fryer tray and air fry at 375°F (190°C) for 8 minutes. Use the top rack position if you have an air fryer oven. Set the cooked onions aside.
- Crumble the beef on a heated air fryer tray and cook at 375°F (190°C) for 4 minutes. (Use the top rack position again.) Next, crumble the beef a bit smaller and air fry one additional minute. Set the beef aside.
- When the large pot of water begins boiling, submerge the peppers in the water for three minutes. You may only be able to fit three peppers at a time in the pot, in which case you'll have to do this step in two batches. Remove the peppers from the water with tongs, and set them upright, with no water inside of them.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cooked rice, onions, chili powder, beef, pate, salsa, and half of the cheese.
- Stuff the beef and rice mixture tightly into the peppers with the back of a spoon. I was able to make all of the filling fit!
- To air fry: Air fry the peppers for 10 minutes at 350°F (177°C). (Use a rack in the middle of the air fryer oven.) Then top the peppers with the rest of the cheese, and air fry and additional 3-5 minutes.
- To oven bake: Cook the onions, garlic, and beef in a skillet on the stovetop. Parboil and stuff the peppers as described above. Bake the peppers in a baking dish in an oven preheated to 350°F (177°C) for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, top each with the remaining cheese, and bake an additional 5 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and let cool a few minutes before enjoying.