Try a flavorful new spin on a classic with these Mexican Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers. Loaded with flavor, fiber and protein and made easy in the air fryer, you won’t make stuffed peppers the same again!
Stuffed peppers are one of those fun to look at foods that only look pretty for a few minutes, until your fork hits them. There is literally no way to eat one without getting messy, but when they taste this good, it doesn’t matter how messy they get, it’s worth it!
Instead of the traditional stuffed pepper, slathered in tomato sauce and stuffed with lots of cheese, these peppers take on a new flavor and theme.
Adding black beans to the ground beef ups the protein and fiber without adding extra fat. Using no added salt beans keeps the sodium content down, and adding lots of spice with chili powder, cumin, and cayenne means you won’t even miss the salt!
These stuffed peppers are heart health friendly and when doctored up with some other goodies (see below for serving suggestions) are the star of a perfectly balanced meal.
How To Make Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers
While not hard to make, there are a few tricks to make these air fryer stuffed peppers turn out fantastic each and every time.
Prepare your peppers
Technically, you can cut a pepper for stuffing two ways, but when cooking in the air fryer I prefer to cut the tops off so that more peppers can comfortably fit in the air fryer. Here is a great visual tutorial to help you cut your pepper perfectly (I recommend #1).
Once your peppers are cut, place each pepper cut side up into a shallow dish. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of water to the bottom of the dish and stick in the microwave for 2 minutes.
Blanching your peppers slightly helps them cook through faster in the air fryer. The outside can crisp up faster than the inside can cook through without this step, so don’t forget it!
Preparing the Mexican Filling for Stuffed Peppers
This step is pretty much dump and go once your meat is browned. You can use a lean beef here or venison and likely not have to drain the meat. If you only have access to a fattier meat and there seems to be a lot of grease when you brown it, be sure to drain it off and even rinse the meat if the grease layer seems to be thick.
Once your meat is browned, dump the rest of the ingredients (except for the cheese) into the pan, heat, and stir until warmed through and well combined.
Add the filling to the peppers, getting that good stuff as tight in there as you can.
Cooking Stuffed Peppers in the Air Fryer
Make sure to preheat your air fryer for a couple of minutes prior to adding the peppers. Turn it on to 370 degrees F. Place the peppers in the basket without over-crowding too much. It’s okay if some are touching, but you don’t want them packed right in.
Set your timer for 15 minutes. At 10 minutes give them a check to make sure they are not getting too done at this point in case your air fryer runs a bit hotter.
When there is 2-3 minutes remaining, sprinkle each pepper with a couple of tsp of shredded cheese and return to the air fryer to melt and slightly brown the cheese if that’s how you like it!
Don’t Have an Air Fryer? Make Stuffed Peppers in the Oven or on the Grill
While this is an air fryer recipe, you absolutely do not need an air fryer to make them! You can make these stuffed peppers in the oven or, with the summer heat in full swing, on the grill!
Making Stuffed Peppers in the Oven
Follow all instructions until you get to the air fryer. Preheat your oven to 400 Degrees F. Place your peppers in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes, adding your cheese at the end and placing under the broiler for a couple of minutes if you want more of a browned, charred look and taste.
Making Stuffed Peppers on the Grill
Follow the instructions up until you get to the air fryer. Wrap each pepper tightly in tin foil. We use a charcoal grill so I can’t tell you the temp we cooked them at (love the charcoal taste, hate the lack of accountability in temperature!) but I would guess over a medium to high heat.
Place the tin-foil-wrapped peppers on the grill, turning every few minutes so each side gets browned. Carefully open one up after 10 minutes to check for desired doneness. When done, sprinkle cheese on top immediately and tent the tin foil over gently so that the cheese melts.
Can You Freeze Mexican Stuffed Peppers?
Preparing stuffed peppers ahead of time is an excellent idea to save time. You can pre-make these peppers and freeze or refrigerate them until you are ready to cook.
Let the filling cool before adding it to the peppers and then cover in a sealed container for. 1-2 days before cooking. To freeze the stuffed peppers, I recommend wrapping each pepper individually in plastic wrap or foil and placing in a freezer safe bag or container until ready to use. Take out the night before and let unthaw in the refrigerator before making.
What to Serve with Mexican Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers
While one pepper on it’s own is not enough for a meal, it might be if you add the right toppings!
Serve these peppers with your favorite salsa, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, and on a bed of fresh chopped lettuce for a filling and fun Mexican style dinner.
Did you make these Mexican Stuffed Peppers yet?
Mexican Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers
- Air Fryer (or oven)
- 6 small/medium bell peppers
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef, cooked ground venison or turkey would also work
- 1 15 oz Can of black beans no added salt
- 1 4 oz can diced green chilis
- 1 cup brown rice, cooked
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper optional for extra heat
- 4 tbsp shredded mexican style cheese
- Cut the tops off of each pepper. Scoop out the seeds and any white ribbing in the center.
- Place peppers in a shallow dish and fill the dish with 1/4-1/3 cup of water. Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes to slightly blanch the peppers. They should be just slightly softened. Set aside.
- Preheat air fryer to 370.
- Brown ground beef (or venison or turkey) in a large non-stick saucepan. Drain any excess grease.
- Add beans, green chilis, cooked rice, frozen corn, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and cayenne pepper (optional). Stir together over low to medium heat until the mixture is heated through and combined.
- Fill each pepper with the meat mixture, pushing down the filling slightly and filling just slightly over the top of the pepper.
- Place the peppers into the preheated air fryer basket, making sure to not overcrowd the basket. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Check the peppers when there is 5 minutes left to avoid burning them.
- When there is 2-3 minutes left on the timer, sprinkle each pepper with 2 tsp of shredded cheese. Return to the air fryer to melt the cheese.
- Remove the peppers when crisped and hot. Top with salsa, avocado, lettuce, and/or cilantro.
Not ready to make this Mexican Air Fryer Stuffed Pepper recipe just yet? Add it to your favorite Pinterest board to save for later!
Want more air fryer recipes? I’ve got you covered with a tasty one below!