Easy Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers (Mediterranean Style)

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Great news – you can get these tasty air fryer stuffed peppers on the table with around half the cooking time compared to using your oven! Stuffed with an interesting Mediterranean style ground beef, rice and ‘hidden veggie’ filling, they make an easy and healthy all-in-one dinner. The best part? This recipe makes enough for two dinners, or even a small crowd!

Closeup of a stuffed pepper with yogurt and herbs on top with green leafy salad, and a piece of bread at the side.

What you’ll love

  • Quick and easy. Air frying stuffed peppers takes approximately half the time compared to baking. Once you’ve prepped the ingredients (this takes a little time, but it’s worth it!), you can have these on the table in around 30 minutes.
  • Dinner all in one. These ground beef and rice stuffed peppers are a neat and balanced little package of protein, carbohydrate and vegetables all in one. No fussy side dishes needed, either. To keep the meal simple, I usually serve them with just ready-prepared green salad and toasted bread on the side.
  • Mediterranean style. As you may know, I’m a fan of all things Mediterranean! These are no exception. I’ve stuffed the filling with delicious and perhaps surprising spices such as cinnamon and cumin, and plenty of fresh Mediterranean herbs such as parsley, dill and mint. The ‘icing on the cake’ is a generous sprinkle of feta and other cheeses, and a big spoonful of Greek yogurt… mmm!
  • Child friendly. These are tasty and interesting enough for the grown-ups, but also not too ‘out there’ for the kids. There are plenty of ‘hidden’ vegetables in the filling, which tastes a little like pasta sauce, some might say!
  • So versatile! These are just as good served as an easy midweek meal as they are for a ‘fancy’ meal for guests. You can also vary the filling to your heart’s content. Switch the protein for chicken or sausage, or make them vegetarian by replacing the meat with beans, for example (see more options for ‘making them your own’ below!).

Love stuffed peppers in general? For a day when you have a little more time, or you’re cooking for guests, I also highly recommend these tried-and-tested Greek stuffed peppers and tomatoes (it has plenty of 5 star reviews!).

About the ingredients

You’ll find a full list of ingredients with amounts in the recipe card below. But here’s a summary of what you need to know.

All ingredients needed to make air fried stuffed peppers labelled, including rice, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, fresh herbs, dried herbs and spices, garlic, onion, carrot, and zucchini.
An overhead view of a container of raw ground beef.

Onion, carrot, zucchini: Grated or finely chopped (I usually finely chop the onion and grate the rest). You really don’t see or taste the veggies in the finished dish, which is great for fussy kids! You can add even more chopped or grated veggies if you like, such as eggplant or mushrooms.

Garlic: I like 3-4 large crushed cloves for plenty of extra flavor.

Ground beef (minced beef): I prefer low fat. Feel free to use ground chicken, turkey or pork instead, or to combine two kinds together.

Paprika, cumin, cinnamon, dried herbs, salt and pepper: This combination of spices and seasoning gives subtle but delicious Mediterranean/Middle Eastern notes to the ground meat. I especially love the hint of cinnamon which is often used in Greek recipes with ground beef. If you don’t have one of the flavors, however, it’s no problem to miss it out.

The ‘dried herbs’ can be mixed Italian seasoning or any other dried herb blend that you have.

Tomato paste: Sometimes called tomato puree or tomato concentrate. Whatever it’s called where you live, it’s the concentrated stuff you’re looking for. This, in combination with a can of chopped tomatoes, gives a subtle tomato flavor that doesn’t overpower the dish.

Rice: A starchy rice such as arborio or risotto rice works particularly well, but you can use any rice. If you use brown rice, bear in mind that it will take a bit longer to cook and you’ll probably need to add a little more water as it cooks.

Honey and balsamic vinegar: Stir a little of both of these into the filling mixture at the end of the cooking time to add extra flavor and sweetness. If you don’t have either of these, simply skip them, or just add a little sugar for sweetness instead.

Fresh herbs: I think adding at least a full cup (more if you have them!) of fresh herbs into the finished filling makes all the difference to this recipe. My favorite to use are dill, parsley, mint, basil and coriander. You don’t have to use all of these – use what you have or like.

Peppers (Bell peppers/capsicum): I love to stuff a variety of colors, usually red, green, and yellow. However, you can stuff whichever color you have or like. I suggest choosing medium sized peppers that will not hit the top of your air fryer, but are big enough to hold a good amount of filling.

Cheese: A very generous sprinkling of cheese on top of each of the stuffed peppers takes them from good to very delicious. I love feta cheese, but also like to add in a little parmesan and cheddar. Once again, use what you have and enjoy.

Greek yogurt: A large spoonful goes perfectly on top of the finished air fried stuffed peppers! You can substitute with sour cream, of course, or skip the yogurt if you don’t have any.

How to air fry stuffed peppers

The step-by-step guide below should help you make the recipe perfectly first time. Scroll down to the end for the full recipe including ingredient amounts.

Firstly, prepare all of the ingredients (grate the veggies, grab all the pantry ingredients, get the air fryer ready etc.).

Grab a big pan with a lid. Add a big drizzle of olive oil to it (don’t be shy!). Then sauté all of the vegetables for a couple of minutes. Then stir in the garlic.

Add the ground beef, breaking it up and stirring it until it’s turned white.

Collage of 2 images showing shredded carrot, zucchini and onion in a big pan with a spoon, then with ground beef added in.

Add all of the other stuffing ingredients apart from the honey, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs. And stir!

Pop on a lid. Let the filling cook with the lid on for 15 to 20 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the rice is cooked. When it’s cooked, stir in the honey and balsamic (if using), and also the lovely fresh green herbs.

Collage of 2 images showing all ingredients for stuffed peppers stuffing with a spoon and then cooked with fresh herbs ready to be stirred in.

Meanwhile, while the filling is cooking, you can preheat the air fryer and prepare the peppers. All you have to do is wash them, slice off the top, then stand them up in the air fryer basket. Air fry them for 6 minutes at 390F/200C.

Collage of 2 images showing rice and ground beef stuffing in a big pan with spoon, and then 4 peppers in an air fryer ready to be stuffed.

Then use a dessert spoon to pack plenty of the filling into each of the air fried peppers.

Pile plenty of grated/crumbled cheese on top!

Collage of two images showing four stuffed peppers in an air fryer and then with grated cheese on top, ready to be air fried.

Air fry for another 8 minutes. The peppers will be lightly browned/charred and the cheese will be golden brown. Mmm, delicious!

Closeup of the top of 2 green and 2 red cheesy air fried stuffed peppers in an air fryer basket.

Helen’s top tips

Liquid: As the filling is cooking, check once or twice to stir and add a drizzle or two more water as needed. Don’t let it get too dry or stick to the pan.

Tops of the peppers: If you like, you can air fry the tops of the peppers alongside the main part. I sometimes like to sit them on top of the stuffed peppers to serve, but it’s entirely up to you whether you do this or not! Alternatively, you can chop them up into small pieces and add them to the filling.

Leftover filling: You’ll find that there is enough of the stuffing to make the meal twice, or to air fry double the amount of peppers. You can freeze the leftover filling to use at a later date. Alternatively, why not use it to make burritos (serve with Mexican toppings such as tomato salsa, guacamole and sour cream), or serve the delicious ground beef and rice filling by itself – with a fried egg on top! Both of these are delicious!

Serving ideas

If I’m going to simplify dinner by cooking these stuffed bell peppers in the air fryer, there’s no way I’m making any complicated side dishes to go with it!

I think the very best i.e. easiest way to serve this dish is with just green salad (ready prepared ‘bag salad’ is great!), a simple dressing such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and some 2-minute olive oil toasts. Or how about preparing some air fried garlic bread just before serving?

I also think a big spoonful of Greek yogurt on top goes perfectly!

If however you’d like to serve the stuffed peppers to guests, perhaps as part of a larger dinner, the best side dishes are Greek potatoes and a Greek salad, as well as this amazing homemade Greek bread (don’t be afraid – it’s easy, not to mention amazing!).

Serve halloumi fries as an appetizer, and consider this very easy and crowd pleasing 6-ingredient gooey Swedish chocolate cake for dessert!

A patterned blue bowl with a stuffed red pepper with yogurt and herbs on top with green salad, a piece of bread and a fork, with ingredients, a green tea towel and an air fryer at the side.

Varying the recipe

It’s very easy to adapt the recipe to suit your family. Here are some easy ways to make the recipe your own:

  • Replace the rice with quinoa, bulgur wheat or cooked black beans (or other beans).
  • Replace some or all of the ground meat with Italian sausage or chopped chorizo.
  • Add more or different chopped or grated vegetables, such as frozen peas, chopped mushrooms, or finely chopped eggplant.
  • Make the air fried stuffed peppers Mexican style instead by replacing the spices with taco spices. Top with guacamole, tomato salsa, sour cream and fresh coriander.
  • Try stuffing other vegetables such as zucchini or large tomatoes.
Closeup of an air fried stuffed pepper cut through the middle so you can see the inside, with a fork in it and some Greek yogurt on it.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make air fryer stuffed peppers ahead?

Yes, you can. Simply prepare the filling and cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Stuff the peppers with the filling just before you want to eat them. With the cold, pre-made filling, I would suggest not pre-cooking the peppers but air frying them (once stuffed) for around 15 to 20 minutes so that the filling has time to reheat thoroughly. Check on them half way through and regularly afterwards to make sure they’re not burning. I’d also suggest adding the cheese around half way through cooking.

Can I freeze stuffed peppers?

Yes, definitely. They will freeze well in an airtight container for 2 to 3 months. Let them defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating thoroughly.

How do I reheat them?

You can reheat your stuffed peppers either in the air fryer or microwave. It’s best to cut them in half (from the top down) and lay them on their side with the filling facing up. Air fry at 350F/175C for 5 to 10 minutes (depending on the size of the peppers – just keep checking until they are piping hot inside). If you prefer to microwave them, cover and microwave on reduced power for 3 to 4 minutes, again until piping hot.

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Closeup of a stuffed pepper with yogurt and herbs on top with green leafy salad, and a piece of bread at the side.
5 from 1 vote

Easy Air Fryer Stuffed Peppers (Mediterranean Style)

Air fry these Mediterranean style stuffed peppers in around half the time compared to your oven! This is an easy all-in-one dinner with ground beef, rice and vegetables, so no fancy side dishes needed. There are hidden veggies for the kids, and even picky eaters tend to like these since the stuffing tastes a bit like pasta sauce. Makes enough filling for two meals, or freeze for another time.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 (to 8)

Ingredients 
 

For the filling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling (optional)
  • 1 large onion, grated or chopped finely
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 small zucchini, or half a larger one, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, large, crushed
  • 1 pound ground beef, minced beef
  • 2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs , e.g Italian herbs, basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, marjoram
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, regular or smoked
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup rice, uncooked arborio, risotto (or any kind)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, concentrate/puree
  • 14 ounces canned chopped tomatoes, 1 can
  • 4 medium peppers, any color or a mixture
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or sugar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, optional
  • 1 cup fresh herbs, e.g. parsley, basil, mint, dill, coriander (any combination of these – more than 1 cup if you have them)
  • ¾ cup cheese, I like a mixture of crumbled feta, cheddar cheese and parmesan

To serve (optional)

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt, or sour cream
  • extra fresh herbs
  • toasted bread with olive oil and salt
  • fresh green salad, (I usually use pre-washed bag salad)

Instructions 

  • Heat up the olive oil in a large pan with a lid on a medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and zucchini and sauté for a couple of minutes. Then stir in the garlic.
    2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 large onion, 1 large carrot, 1 small zucchini, 4 cloves garlic
  • Add the ground beef (minced beef), break up with a wooden spoon and stir until it's turned white.
    1 pound ground beef
  • Stir in the dried herbs and spices, and the salt and pepper. Then stir in the rice, tomato paste (concentrate), and canned tomatoes. Fill the empty tomato can with water and add that to the pan too, plus another half a can of water (1½ cans altogether).
    2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs, 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, 1 cup rice, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 14 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
  • Stir well again, bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Check one to two times during cooking that the mixture isn't drying out. If necessary, add a drizzle more water. At the end of cooking, stir in the honey (or sugar), balsamic vinegar (if using) and fresh herbs well.
    1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 cup fresh herbs
  • Meanwhile, prepare the peppers. With a sharp knife, slice the very top off the peppers. Clean out the inside including any seeds. Pre-heat the air fryer for 3 minutes at 390F/200C. Then air fry the empty peppers for 6 minutes.
    4 medium peppers
  • Using a metal spoon, fill each of the peppers with the stuffing, pressing it right down into the bottom. Then pile the cheese on top of each.
    ¾ cup cheese
  • Air fry for another 8 minutes, or until the cheese is nicely golden brown. Serve the stuffed peppers with a big spoonful of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil and extra fresh herbs on top, and with green salad and toasted bread on the side, if you like.
    ½ cup Greek yogurt, extra fresh herbs, toasted bread with olive oil and salt, fresh green salad

Video

Notes

Peppers: If possible, I love to use a combination of different colored peppers (red, green, yellow, orange). The dish becomes very colorful this way, and of course each kind of pepper has a slightly different flavor, with the green ones being less sweet than the others.
If you have a small air fryer and are worried about the top of the peppers hitting the heating element at the top, simply slice a little more off the top of the pepper before stuffing. I often do this.
Fresh herbs: I recommend adding in at least a whole cup of fresh herbs at the end (my favorite are any or all of these: parsley, dill, basil, mint and coriander). If you have more, add even more! They add a lovely green color and freshness to the dish.
Leftovers: This recipe makes enough filling for around 8 medium-sized peppers – so 1 dinner for 8 with simple sides, or two dinners for 4. Keep any leftover filling (or stuffed peppers) well covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months to use later. Alternatively, use any leftover filling in burritos, or eat by itself with an egg on top!
How to reheat: It’s best to cut peppers in half (from the top down) and lay them on their side with the filling facing up. Air fry at 350F/175C for 5 to 10 minutes (depending on the size of the peppers – just keep checking until they are piping hot inside). If you prefer to microwave them, cover and microwave on reduced power for 3 to 4 minutes, again until piping hot. 
Making ahead: With the cold, pre-made filling, don’t pre-cook the peppers. Instead, stuff the raw peppers with the cold filling, then air fry for 15 to 20 minutes so that the filling has time to reheat thoroughly. Add the cheese around half way through cooking.

Nutrition

Calories: 733kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 103mg, Sodium: 1044mg, Potassium: 1218mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 5496IU, Vitamin C: 137mg, Calcium: 334mg, Iron: 6mg
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About Helen Schofield

Don't expect to find anything fussy or complicated here. Just QUICK, EASY & (mostly!) HEALTHY recipes from the Mediterranean and beyond. ENJOY!

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2 Comments

    1. Awww, this is the best news, Maria! I’m so happy to hear this, and thank you for taking the time to let me know 🙂