Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
Looking for the best easy, crowd-pleasing go-to dinner recipe? This Crockpot Stuffed Peppers recipe is mine. It’s so easy to pull together that it almost feels like cheating (you don’t even need to brown the meat before stuffing the peppers), it’s healthy (lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables; the gang’s all here), and as my extensive personal experience/Instagram feed can attest, Tex-Mex recipes are disliked by exactly no one, ever.
Among the ever-growing collection of healthy slow cooker recipes on my site, these crockpot stuffed peppers have remained a constant favorite.
They’re easy, healthy, and taste as phenomenal leftover as they do the day you make them.
With the constant influx of new blog recipes invading our refrigerator, dinners are rarely repeats, but this crockpot stuffed pepper recipe is a notable exception.
Ben and I both love them; our friends and neighbors love them, and any slow cooker stuffed peppers that aren’t eaten right away, I’ll rewarm for fast lunches and dinners throughout the week.
We adore slow cooker stuffed peppers so earnestly that I even adapted this recipe to make these Mexican Stuffed Peppers and these Italian Stuffed Peppers. Both of those stuffed pepper recipes are baked in the oven, casserole style. I also created this delicious Stuffed Pepper Casserole, which features all the same flavors in a deconstructed style.
Today’s stuffed pepper recipe follows a similar all-in-one healthy meal approach, but leverages the convenience of the slow cooker to make the recipe as fuss-free as possible.
How to Make Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
These slow cooker peppers are ultra flexible. Most often, I make these crockpot stuffed peppers with chicken, but you can switch up the recipe and use ground turkey or ground beef. I’ve also included a meat-free option for anyone seeking a slow cooker stuffed peppers vegetarian recipe.
The grains in this recipe are flexible too. I prefer to make crockpot stuffed peppers without rice and use quinoa instead, because quinoa is the most low-maintenance option. You don’t need to precook it before adding it to the pepper filling. If you’re a fan of quinoa and Tex-Mex flavors, give this Mexican Quinoa a try.
If you prefer, you can use rice (be sure to cook it first). Trying for low carb? Make these slow cooker stuffed peppers with cauliflower rice instead.
- Ground Meat. Most of the time, I use ground chicken. I’ve also made these crockpot stuffed peppers with ground turkey and ground beef. Pick your favorite!
- Black Beans. A healthy way to add additional protein and fiber. Purchase low-sodium black beans, and be sure to rinse them before adding them to the filling.
- Quinoa. This super seed is a complete protein. If you like, you can make the stuffed peppers with rice or with cauliflower rice instead. If using rice: you need to precook it or the rice will turn out crunchy. If using quinoa or cauliflower rice, you do NOT need to precook. Just add it right to the filling raw.
- Cheese. I like pepper jack for a bit of a kick. If you prefer the stuffed peppers not be spicy, use sharp cheddar or Monterey jack instead.
- Spices. Cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder give this signature Tex-Mex flavor and are easy pantry staples. If you’d like the peppers more spicy, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chipotle chili powder.
- Toppings. THE WORKS. I love fresh cilantro, a dollop of Greek yogurt, avocado, more cheese, salsa…if it goes on a taco, it will go on these slow cooker stuffed peppers.
- Start by slicing off the tops of your bell peppers. Carefully, remove the ribs and seeds without breaking open the sides of the peppers, then set aside. I find running a butter knife around the inside a quick, effective way to handle the task.
- Grab a large bowl and add your ground chicken (or turkey or beef), black beans, tomatoes, quinoa (or cooked brown rice or cauliflower rice), spices, and cheese, then stir to combine. DONE. Spoon the mixture into each pepper and fill to the top. That’s it!
- Add a little water to your slow cooker, and stand the peppers up on their bases in the water. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours. Once the peppers are tender, remove the lid, and sprinkle the peppers with cheese. Cover the slow cooker again, and let sit for a few more minutes (we want to let the cheese become melty and delicious).
- Serve hot with any toppings you like, and DIG IN!
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
After realizing how wonderful these peppers were (and deciding I needed to make another batch), I immediately wondered, “Can you freeze crockpot stuffed peppers?”
YES! Thankfully, these crockpot stuffed peppers are not only delicious the day they’re cooked, but they’re also one of my favorite recipes to freeze and reheat.
- To Store. Store cooked leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. For the best results, cut the peppers into a few pieces first so that they warm evenly. Place leftovers in the oven in a baking dish cut side up, and warm at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. You can also gently reheat leftovers on a microwave-safe plate in the microwave until heated through.
- To Freeze. Place cooked leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What to Serve with Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
- Cornbread. For a fun and delicious side, try these peppers alongside this Mexican Cornbread.
- Margarita. Wash your peppers down with a tasty and refreshing Skinny Margarita.
- More Beans. If you’re serving these peppers to a larger crowd, try a filling, hearty side dish like Instant Pot Refried Beans or Crock Pot Pinto Beans.
- Chips and Salsa. The ultimate, classic crowd-pleasing appetizer or side. (This Mexican Corn Dip or 7-Layer Taco Dip would also be tasty with chips.)
- Vegetarian Crockpot Stuffed Peppers. Omit the meat; add an extra can of black beans. These Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers are another vegetarian stuffed pepper favorite. Or try these Vegan Stuffed Peppers instead.
- Low Carb Crockpot Stuffed Peppers. Swap cauliflower rice for the quinoa.
- Gluten Free Stuffed Peppers No changes needed! These stuffed peppers are naturally gluten free.
- Paleo Stuffed Peppers (this change also makes the recipe dairy free). Omit the cheese. Add additional chili powder (about 1 teaspoon extra) and cumin (about ½ teaspoon extra) to the meat to bump up the flavor.
REPEAT (because I still can’t get over the ease/taste payoff we have at work here): This crockpot stuffed pepper filling takes less than five minutes to stir together, you can adapt it to almost any diet, and the final dish is so loaded with sassy Tex-Mex flavor that no one will believe you when you confess how easy these slow cooker stuffed are to make.
Enjoy these peppers tonight, eat the rest leftover tomorrow, then add this recipe to your 9-1-1 dinner file. It’s a regular for us, and I hope it will be for you too!
Recommended Tools to Make Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
- Programmable slow cooker. I like that is one switches to “keep warm” at the end of the cooking time to deter overcooking.
- Giant mixing bowl. Perfect for stirring together the stuffed pepper filling.
- Two sided measuring spoons. Game changer! Less washing and so easy to store.
Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
For the Peppers:
- 6-8 large bell peppers - any colors you like (I like red)
- 1 pound ground chicken - or turkey or lean ground beef
- 1 can reduced-sodium black beans - (14 ounces), rinsed and drained
- 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes - (14 ounces), with juices
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa - or swap 3 cups COOKED brown rice or 3 cups raw cauliflower rice
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese - divided; for a milder flavor, swap Monterey jack or cheddar
- Sliced avocado
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Sour cream - or plain Greek yogurt
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Slice the tops off of the bell peppers (cut as close to the top as you can so that you have max space for stuffing), then carefully remove the ribs and seeds so that you do not break the sides of the peppers. Set aside.
- Place the ground chicken into a large bowl. Add the black beans, tomatoes with their juices, quinoa, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and 3/4 cup of the cheese. With a fork or your fingers, stir to combine. Spoon the filling into the hollowed-out centers of the peppers, filling them all the way to the top. (The number of peppers you need for all of the filling will vary depending upon the size of the peppers. I usually fill about 7.)
- Pour 1/2 cup water into an empty 5-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Stand the peppers up on their bases in the water, arranging them so that they are evenly spread apart. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, until the peppers are tender. Remove the lid, sprinkle the peppers with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, then cover the slow cooker again and let heat for a few additional minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with desired toppings.
- TO STORE: Store cooked leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: For the best results, cut the peppers into a few pieces first so that they warm evenly. Place leftovers in the oven in a baking dish cut side up, and warm at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. You can also gently reheat leftovers on a microwave-safe plate in the microwave until heated through.
- TO FREEZE: Place cooked leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- TO MAKE IN THE OVEN: These peppers can also be baked in the oven: Stand the peppers up in a pan, pour a little water in the bottom, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes at 400 degrees F, until softened, hot, and cooked through.
I originally shared this post back in 2014, then updated the post in 2017 with improved photos (then updated it AGAIN with more improved photos and recipe step by steps in 2019). The recipe has not changed and is still one of my favorites.
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