Taco Stuffed Peppers
Taco Stuffed Peppers are an easy dinner that will satisfy the whole family! Tender and vibrant bell peppers are stuffed with a generously seasoned mix of ground meat, black beans, and tomatoes. Top with cheese for a filling and fun weeknight dinner.
Tex-Mex Style Stuffed Peppers
I was skeptical of stuffed peppers for the longest time, mostly because the version I grew up with involved soggy peppers simmered in excessive sauce, plus a large amount of cabbage. That never did appeal to me. (Sorry, Mom.) But once I got on board with baked stuffed peppers, I realized the humble bell pepper’s true merit as a versatile meal vehicle.
Indeed, stuffed peppers can be healthy, full of flavor, and downright fun–especially when you treat them like giant tacos!
Taco stuffed peppers are delightfully:
- Easy to make. No muss, no fuss here.
- Family-friendly. There’s no better way to convince kids to try stuffed peppers than to tell them it’s a taco inside!
- Satisfying yet healthy. These have lots of protein and veggies to fuel you well.
Want the stuffed pepper effect with one-pot convenience? Try this easy and tasty “un-“stuffed pepper skillet.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Here are a few notes and shopping tips about the ingredients you’ll need to make this, as well as possible substitutions. Full amounts are noted in the print-friendly recipe card below.
- Bell peppers: Obviously! Any colors, or a mix. Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers are generally sweeter than green. Try to choose relatively large bell peppers for this, so they’re more substantial and easier to halve and to stuff.
- Ground beef: Feel free to substitute lean ground turkey or ground chicken. If doing so, add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil when first browning the meat with the onion. (This isn’t necessary with beef due to the higher fat content.)
- Black beans: Substitute pinto beans or red kidney beans if needed.
- Diced tomatoes: Use regular-sized or petite diced tomatoes. You can use fire-roasted diced tomatoes for an extra bit of kick. No need to drain them, you’ll include the liquid.
- Onion: Red, yellow, or white–all are good here.
- Garlic, taco seasoning, shredded Mexican cheese. You can also use Monterey Jack, cheddar cheese, or any other variety you like.
I usually don’t include rice in these stuffed peppers, but if you would like to, simply mix in 1-2 cups of cooked rice after browning the meat. You can use white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, or a mix. You could also substitute quinoa if you prefer to incorporate another grain.
Help! What can I substitute for taco seasoning? I’m all out!
No taco seasoning handy? Not a problem! Swap in 2 teaspoons of chili powder, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of paprika, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and a pinch each of garlic powder and cayenne pepper. This roughly replaces 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning in this or any recipe that calls for it.
That said, if you have all of these spices on hand, I highly recommend making a larger batch of your own homemade taco seasoning. It will keep well for six months if your spices are fresh to begin with, and makes taco night even easier and more delicious!
How To Make Taco Stuffed Peppers
You might blanche at the idea of baking the peppers twice, but that is what guarantees they are tender without being at all mushy. Promise it’s still a straightforward process.
Here is a quick visual overview. You will find full instructions with exact ingredients in the print-friendly recipe card below.
Step One: Cut and par-bake the peppers. Fifteen minutes in a 375 degree F renders the peppers the perfect texture for us: tender enough to be easily sliced with a fork, but strong enough to hold the filling and have some bite. You may need to leave them in longer or take them out sooner based on personal preference.
Step Two: Make the filling by browning the meat and onion together, then seasoning with garlic, taco seasoning, black beans, and diced tomatoes.
Step Three: Spoon the ground beef mixture into the par-baked peppers, top with cheese, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes or so. The filling should be completely warmed through, with the cheese melted smoothly on top.
Step Four: This is technically optional, but it’s nice to sprinkle the finished peppers with a few chopped cilantro leaves and serve with sliced avocado, salsa, and other any of your other favorite taco toppings. A little lime juice is a nice touch, as well.
They are taco stuffed peppers, after all!
Storage & Reheating
- Storage: Taco stuffed peppers make great leftovers or meal prep lunches! They keep very well for 3-4 days in any airtight container in the refrigerator. (These are our favorite meal-sized fridge storage boxes!)
- Reheating: Warm in the microwave or in a small baking dish at 200 degrees F.
- Freezing: I have not personally tried storing these in the freezer yet, but am not sure the pepper would hold up very well after being frozen and defrosted.
More Easy Mexican Recipes
If you love this taco stuffed pepper recipe, be sure to check out our favorite Instant Pot ground beef tacos, beef enchilada casserole, and sheet pan chicken fajitas. All tried-and-true family favorites!
A few other Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes we love:
- Easy Homemade Flour Tortillas – so easy and SO good!
- 5 Minute Blender Salsa
- Quick Kicked-Up Skillet Black Beans – the perfect side
- Chipotle Street Corn Dip – always a huge hit at parties
- Mexican Chocolate Cake – the perfect dessert!
If you try these Taco Stuffed Peppers, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Taco Stuffed Peppers
- 4 bell peppers any color
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 medium onion chopped – red, yellow, or white
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid
- 3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
- cilantro, avocado, sour cream, salsa, etc. for serving
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Slice the peppers lengthwise in half, then use a small knife to gently cut out most of the ribs and shake out the seeds. Lightly coat a casserole dish or a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, then place peppers in it with the cut side facing up. Bake for 15 minutes.
- While the peppers start baking, add the beef and onion to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring to crumble the meat, for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the garlic and taco seasoning. Continue to cook until the onions are tender and the meat is mostly browned.
- Stir in the black beans and tomatoes, then simmer for 4-5 minutes more, until the liquid is mostly cooked off. Remove skillet from the heat.
- After the peppers have baked for 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and carefully spoon the beef mixture into each one. Top with cheese, then return peppers to the oven. Bake for another 15 minutes.
- Garnish the baked peppers with fresh cilantro leaves and top with avocado, sour cream, salsa, or other traditional taco toppings as desired. Enjoy!
- For the Ground Beef: Feel free to substitute lean ground turkey or ground chicken. If doing so, add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil when first browning the meat with the onion. (This isn’t necessary with beef due to the higher fat content.)