Cooking stuffed peppers in the air fryer is an easy and convenient way to make a delicious dinner in less than 30 minutes! This air fryer stuffed peppers recipe features bell peppers stuffed with a rice and ground beef filling and topped with melted mozzarella cheese.
When you need a flavor-packed and easy meal for family dinners, turn to stuffed peppers! Stuffing hollowed bell peppers with meaty, well-seasoned, nutritious, and hearty fillings is not only quick and easy, but also one of the best ways to sneak more veggies into the meal.
Our healthy stuffed peppers and keto stuffed peppers are both foolproof recipes, but aren’t as quick as these air fryer stuffed peppers! After stuffing the peppers with a satisfying beef and rice filling, they’re quickly cooked in the air fryer, then topped with gooey mozzarella. Not only will you have a family-friendly dinner in under 30 minutes, but everyone is guaranteed to ask for seconds!
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love these air fried stuffed peppers
- Ingredients needed
- How to make stuffed peppers in the air fryer
- Tips to make the best recipe
- What to serve with this dish
- Storage instructions
- Recommended tools to make this recipe
- More easy air fryer recipes
- Frequently asked questions
- Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers
Why you’ll love these air fried stuffed peppers
- Family-friendly. The crowd-pleasing mix of Italian-seasoned ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and mozzarella in the filling makes this stuffed peppers recipe a family favorite!
- Colorful, healthy, and flavorful. This is an all-around wholesome meal, with vibrant colors and satisfying flavors that are sure to be a hit.
- Delicious leftovers. Leftover stuffed peppers stay fresh and flavorful in the fridge or freezer. Simply reheat them in the air fryer and enjoy a quick and delicious lunch or dinner!
You can find all of these ingredients year-round at most well-stocked grocery stores:
- Bell peppers. Use any color of bell peppers you like or use a variety for a more colorful meal! Remember that larger peppers are easier to fill.
- Olive oil. To cook the filling and prevent it from sticking to the skillet.
- Onion. For a savory, well-balanced flavor profile.
- Garlic. Fresh cloves.
- Ground beef. The main source of protein and flavor in these easy stuffed peppers.
- Rice. Make sure the rice is cooked ahead of time. You can use cooked white or brown rice, or swap the rice for quinoa, farro, or the whole grain of your choice.
- Diced tomatoes. The liquid from the canned diced tomatoes adds moisture to the filling while the slight sweetness and acidity balances the heavier savory flavors.
- Salt and pepper. For flavor.
- Dried herbs and seasonings. Chili pepper, paprika, dried thyme, and dried parsley are used to season the filling.
- Mozzarella cheese. Shred the mozzarella yourself for the most luxurious and cheesy topping on the stuffed peppers.
How to make stuffed peppers in the air fryer
Cooking stuffed peppers in an air fryer cuts the cook time in half. Plus, it’s hands-off, which means you can focus on preparing a few sides while the peppers do their thing! Here’s how you cook air fryer stuffed peppers in less than 30 minutes:
Step 1 – Prepare the peppers
Chop the tops off of the peppers, then scoop out and discard the seeds and veins from the inside.
Step 2 – Make the filling
Saute the onions and garlic in an oiled skillet until soft and fragrant. Add the ground beef next and cook until it’s browned all over. Stir the rice, spices, and tomatoes into the mixture and let it simmer.
Step 3 – Stuff the peppers
Scoop the filling into each pepper, filling them to the top.
Step 4 – Air fry
Place the stuffed peppers in the air fryer and cook for 15 minutes. Afterward, top each pepper with some shredded mozzarella and continue cooking until it melts.
Once the cheese is gooey and melted, garnish the peppers with parsley, and enjoy!
Tips to make the best recipe
- For smaller portions, you can slice the bell peppers in half rather than removing the tops.
- If your peppers are wobbly and not standing up straight, slice off a bit of the bottom (without puncturing the pepper) to create a flat surface.
- Try to leave space between each pepper. This way, the heat can circulate well and cook the peppers evenly. Cook them in batches if needed.
What to serve with this dish
Stuffed peppers make for a filling and healthy main dish you can serve with a variety of nutritious and delicious sides! Serve them with baked sweet potatoes, cornbread, sautéed asparagus, and Caesar salad for a well-rounded and easy dinner.
You can have a lot of fun with this recipe by customizing the filling to please everyone’s taste buds or dietary preferences! These are just a few ideas to help you get started:
- Swap the meat. You can make stuffed peppers with ground chicken, turkey, pork, or any other ground meat you love! For Italian-style stuffed peppers, use ground Italian sausage instead.
- Vegetarian stuffed peppers. Swap the real meat for black beans or store-bought vegan ground “beef”.
- Low-carb stuffed peppers. Stick to my keto stuffed peppers recipe or swap the rice for cauliflower rice instead.
- Instead of Italian seasonings, season the beef with taco seasoning, Cajun seasoning, or keep it simple with dried herbs, salt, and pepper.
- Instead of rice, use cooked quinoa, farro, bulgur, or the whole grain of your choice.
- Dairy free. Simply omit the melted cheese for a dairy free version.
- Extra cheesy. To make extra cheesy stuffed peppers, stir shredded cheddar, parmesan, pepper jack, or mozzarella cheese right into the filling.
- Add-ins. You can add canned beans to the filling or pre-cooked veggies, like mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, or squash.
To store: The air fried peppers can be wrapped in foil or kept in an airtight container and stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
To freeze: Once they’re cooled completely, wrap the leftover stuffed peppers in aluminum foil and keep them in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating the next day.
To reheat: It’s best to reheat the peppers in the air fryer until they’re warmed through.
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Air fryer. To cook the stuffed peppers.
- Chef’s knife. To prepare the peppers and chop the onions and garlic.
- Skillet. Any non-stick medium or large skillet will work when cooking the filling.
- Wooden spoon. To stir the filling and scoop it into the peppers.
More easy air fryer recipes
- Chicken Tenderloins
- Crab Cakes
- Coconut Shrimp
- Turkey Meatballs
- Buffalo Cauliflower
- Lamb Chops
Frequently asked questions
No, cooking the peppers beforehand isn’t necessary because the moisture in the filling and heat in the air fryer cooks them to perfection every time! But if you’re short on time, you can blanch the peppers in a large pot of boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes before stuffing and cooking. Only cook for 5 to 10 minutes in the air fryer.
If the peppers become soggy, it’s because they’re overcooked. Only air fry the stuffed bell peppers for 15 minutes (plus the 2 to 3 minutes with the cheese) and keep an eye on them in the last few minutes of cooking.
You can! To make them in advance, stuff the peppers with the filling, then transfer them to an airtight container. Store for up to 24 hours in the fridge. If you want to freeze the stuffed peppers, wrap each one in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge, let the peppers come to room temperature, and air fry as instructed.
Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers
- 6 large bell peppers
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 14 ounces ground beef
- 1 3/4 cups cooked rice
- 14 ounces canned tomatoes diced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- Preheat the air fryer to 190C/375F.
- Cut off the tops from peppers, clean the insides, and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and saute onions and garlic until translucent. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Add the cooked rice, spices, and tomatoes, and cook until the mixture starts boiling.
- Scoop the mixture into the peppers, filling them just to the top.
- Place the filled peppers in the air fryer basket and air fry for 15 minutes. Add the shredded cheese and air fry for another two minutes, until the cheese is melted.
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