Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers are healthy, flavorful and easy to make. They are filled with a Cuban-style picadillo and make a great weeknight meal.
Stuffed peppers are always a good idea and there are so many stuffing variations, you'll never get bored. This recipe uses the air fryer instead of the traditional oven method, making it perfect for when it's hot outside or you just don't feel like turning on the oven.
I decided to stuff these peppers with a Cuban picadillo-style stuffing instead of the typical Southwest-style or Italian seasoning route. You are going to love these.
You'll find full recipe quantities in the recipe card below, but here are a few key ingredient notes.
- Gound pork- traditionally picadillo is made with ground pork and/or ground beef. If you don't eat pork or prefer not to use it, you can use ground beef or turkey instead. Make sure it is at least 80% lean.
- Tomato sauce- I recommend using a no-salt tomato sauce so you can control the amount of salt in this dish.
- Green olives- use a can or jar of pitted green olives. You'll need olives and some of the olive juice.
- Rice- any long grain white rice will work in this recipe. Unfortunately, brown rice won't work in this recipe because it usually takes around 40 minutes to cook.
- Bell peppers- use 3 different colored bell peppers or 3 of the same, whichever you prefer and/or have on hand.
- Air fry the bell peppers. Begin by pre-cooking the peppers in the air fryer for a few minutes.
- Cook the filling. Start by cooking the onions and finish by adding the rice before simmering.
- Stuff the peppers. Add the filling to the peppers and top with cheese, if using.
- Cook and serve. Air fry the stuffed peppers and serve immediately.
If you prefer to use a different stuffing, here are some variations you can use.
- Italian style. Add a can of diced tomatoes, instead of olives and replace the spices with 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning and 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley. Top the peppers with mozzarella cheese.
- Mexican style. Remove the olives and olive juice. Add fresh cilantro and black beans. Top with cheddar cheese.
Storage and Reheating
These stuffed peppers can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days covered in an airtight container. Reheat in the air fryer or oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. You can also reheat in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
If you would like to freeze the peppers, I recommend putting them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Store them for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight and reheat in the oven or microwave as stated above.
These can be made a day in advance. However, I recommend you pre-cook the bell peppers as outlined in Step 1 of the recipe card below. Follow all of the instructions, aside from Step 6. Store covered in the fridge overnight, let the peppers rest at room temperature while the air fryer preheats, then cook. You may need to add some additional cooking time, about 5-10 minutes because the peppers will be going in the air fryer cool.
If you prefer to use your oven, pre-bake the cut peppers at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes. Cook the stuffing as normal, fill the peppers and bake uncovered for another 10-20 minutes.
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Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers
- 3 bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise
- Cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ cup juice from a can or jar of green olives
- ¼ cup pitted green olives, diced
- 1 cup white rice
- ½ cup water
- Cheddar or mozzarella cheese for topping, optional
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Once preheated, add the cut peppers to the air fryer, spray lightly with cooking oil and cook for 6 minutes.
- Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add diced onion to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened.
- Add in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next, add the ground pork and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Mix in the tomato sauce, spices, olive juice, rice and water. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
- Turn off heat and stir in the olives. Spoon the mixture into the peppers and top them with cheese if using.
- Place in the air fryer and cook for 6-8 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.