This air fryer stuffed peppers recipe features bell peppers filled with a rice and ground beef filling and topped with melted mozzarella cheese. Ready in less than 20 minutes and easy to customize.
Whenever I need a flavor-packed and easy meal to feed my family, nothing beats my air fryer stuffed peppers’ ease, convenience, and deliciousness.
My healthy stuffed peppers and low carb stuffed peppers are both foolproof recipes but aren’t as quick as this air-fried version. After stuffing the peppers, they’re quickly cooked in the air fryer for just 17 minutes. It’s one of my favorite weeknight dinners to make, and there are never any leftovers!
Table of Contents
- Perfect texture. Thanks to the air fryer, there is no risk of soggy bell peppers, and the filling never dries out.
- Healthy and filling. Like stuffed pepper soup, these are packed with protein, wholesome carbs, and tons of vegetables. This is the kind of dinner I feel good about serving my family. Oh, and they make a great stand-alone meal on their own.
- Delicious leftovers. I often make a double or triple batch of them, and my family loves to enjoy them as a hot lunch or even dinner leftovers. Similar to a soup or stew, the flavors taste even better the next day.
- Easy to customize. I like to follow the process of a ground meat, grain, and tomato-based sauce. From there, I can use up whatever I have on hand or completely change the flavor.
Besides the bell peppers and beef, there really isn’t much else needed to make this delicious dish. Here is what you’ll need:
- 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. Always use fresh garlic, not the dried kind.
- Ground beef. I like to use lean ground beef because there are plenty of other ingredients in the filling to keep it tasty. You can use standard ground beef, but just be wary that there could be some excess liquid so drain it before mixing everything together.
- Rice. Make sure the rice is cooked ahead of time. I typically use leftover coconut milk rice, basmati rice, brown rice, or, if I want to change things up, couscous.
- Diced tomatoes. Canned in its own juices. You can also use tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes if you prefer.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Dried herbs and seasonings. I’m using Chili pepper, paprika, dried thyme, and dried parsley for this particular recipe, but you can include some Italian seasoning and/or fresh parsley.
- Mozzarella cheese. Shred the mozzarella yourself because it not only tastes better, but it melts better too.
How to cook stuffed peppers in the air fryer
I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
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.
Step 5- Garnish. Once the cheese is gooey and melted, garnish the peppers with parsley, and enjoy!
Recipe tips and variations
- Grease the air fryer tray with cooking spray to prevent the peppers from sticking.
- 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.
- I typically use ground beef, but you can use ground chicken, turkey, pork, or even ground Italian sausage (like in Italian stuffed peppers).
- Change up the vegetables in the filling. I’ve successfully made them with black beans, mushrooms, carrots, green onions, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and squash.
- Instead of using rice, cut down on the carbs by subbing it out with cauliflower rice.
How to store leftovers
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.
Frequently asked questions
No, cooking the peppers beforehand in the oven 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.
More easy air fryer recipes
- Air fryer crab cakes– Crispy, juicy, and perfect as an appetizer or main.
- Air fryer chicken tenderloins– Ready in just 8 minutes and NO breading.
- Air fryer steak– The juiciest steak you’ll ever eat…and the most hands-off.
- Air fryer salmon bites– Asian-inspired and perfect for salad and rice bowls.
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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