These easy Southwest Stuffed Peppers are filled to the brim with ground beef, rice, beans, corn, salsa and Mexican-inspired spices. They’re colorful, delicious, hearty, and can even be prepped ahead of time.
Southwest Stuffed Peppers
These Southwest Stuffed Peppers take our classic stuffed bell peppers and give them a Mexican food twist. Chock full of seasoned ground beef, black beans, rice, salsa, corn and cheese, this recipe is a fun, hearty dinner option that’s also incredibly healthy.
Feel free to make this recipe as written, or choose from any of the easy ingredient substitution ideas below. You could even make these vegetarian by nixing the ground beef and increasing the amount of black beans, corn and rice. Or, for something a little different, give this one-pot Stuffed Pepper Soup a try.
Ingredients in Southwest Stuffed Peppers
- Ground Beef - I like to use lean ground beef, like 80/20, to keep the dish less greasy. To make things even healthier, you could also substitute ground turkey
- Onion - either white or yellow onions work great.
- Olive Oil - you can also substitute avocado oil if you prefer.
- Bell Pepper - green peppers are what I typically use, however, you could use red bell peppers or any other color of bell pepper that you want. You could even stuff poblano peppers.
- Garlic Powder - this adds a nice sweet garlic flavor. If you want to substitute fresh garlic, you can use about 2 teaspoons of minced garlic instead.
- Taco Seasoning - this is an easy way to achieve a Southwestern “Tex Mex” flavor with just one spice.
- Salt and Pepper
- Rice - I’ll usually use cooked long grain white rice for this recipe. But especially since you are adding already cooked rice, feel free to use brown rice or even wild rice if you prefer. If you want to go super healthy, you could even use cauliflower rice.
- Salsa - use your favorite kind of salsa from the store, or even make your own Homemade Fresh Salsa. Canned diced tomatoes would work, too.
- Corn - frozen corn is super convenient. Just thaw and drain before using. Otherwise, canned corn or even fresh sweet corn kernels will work great.
- Black Beans - rinse and drain the black beans before adding to the meat mixture. Kidney beans make a great substitute.
- Shredded Cheese - mozzarella cheese is what I usually use, but cheddar, Monterey Jack, or pepper jack work great, too.
How to Make Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Parbake the peppers. Place the peppers cut side up in a 9" by 13" baking dish. Add about ½ cup water to the bottom of the dish, cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
- Cook the meat mixture. While the peppers are cooking, prepare the filling by heating the olive oil in the bottom of a large pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef, chopped onion, garlic powder, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook while stirring occasionally until the meat is cooked through and the onion has softened.
- Mix the filling. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked rice, salsa, corn, and beans. Fold in half of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Add filling to the peppers. Once the peppers are tender, remove from the oven and drain off any excess water. Spoon filling into each pepper, filling the peppers to the top. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top of each pepper.
- Bake. Return to the oven and bake again for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden.
- Serve. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving with sour cream and additional salsa. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
When you roast the peppers prior to filling, you should cover them with foil so that the water has a chance to help steam them. This keeps them nice and tender as opposed to drying the peppers out. Once the filling is added to your Southwest Stuffed Peppers, you don’t need to keep them covered since the baking time is so short.
Yes! You can freeze them before or after baking with the filling. Either way, cover the pan well with aluminum foil and store frozen for up to 2 months. When it comes time to finish them, pull your tray out of the freezer for about 1 hour. You can preheat the oven to 350 degrees in the meantime. From there, just follow the baking directions, adding on an additional 3-5 minutes to account for them being in the freezer.
If you want to make your stuffed peppers ahead of time, you have a couple of options. You can par cook the peppers, make the filling and even fill the peppers the day before. Just cover and store in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove from the fridge while you preheat the oven. Top with cheese, bake as directed and enjoy!
You can also make certain components ahead of time, such as cooking the rice, pre-cooking the peppers or making the meat mixture.
Storing and Reheating
- Refrigerator: store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: both baked and unbaked Southwest Stuffed Peppers can be frozen for up to 2 months. Make sure to cover well with plastic and aluminum foil. To thaw, transfer to the fridge overnight or pull to room temperature for about 1 hour.
- To reheat: pull the baking dish from the fridge while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 15 minutes, or until warmed through.
Southwest Stuffed Peppers Recipe
- 4 large Bell Peppers sliced in half with stems and seeds removed
- 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 medium Onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder or 2 teaspoons minced garlic cloves
- 1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning
- 1 ½ teaspoons Salt
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
- 1 cup Salsa
- ½ cup Frozen Corn thawed and drained (or canned)
- 1 10-oz can Black Beans rinsed
- 1 ½ cups White Rice cooked
- 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the peppers cut side up in a 9" by 13" baking dish. Add about ½ cup water to the bottom of the dish, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
- While the peppers are cooking, prepare the filling by heating the olive oil in the bottom of a large pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef, chopped onion, garlic powder, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook while stirring occasionally until the meat is cooked through and the onion has softened.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked rice, salsa, corn, and beans. Fold in half of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Once the peppers are tender, remove from the oven and drain off any excess water. Spoon filling into each pepper, filling to the top. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top of each pepper.
- Return to the oven and bake again for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!
More Southwest-Inspired Recipes to Try
- Southwest Black Bean Soup
- Oven-Baked Southwest Chicken Breasts
- Southwest Ranch Dressing
- Southwest Chicken Kabobs
- Copycat Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl
- Green Chili Hasselback Chicken
- Chicken Tacos
- More Easy Weeknight Meals
- More Beef Recipes
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These Southwest Stuffed Peppers are filled with beef, rice, corn, beans, salsa and Mexican stuffed bell peppers seasoning. They're a simple dinner option that everyone loves.