Stuffed Bell Peppers with Picadillo

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Picadillo ~ these colorful bell peppers stuffed with a spiced ground beef, and topped with creamy queso fresco cheese are a Mexican classic that pleases the whole family.

If you eat with your eyes first like I do, then this dish is for you. The supermarkets are full of beautiful bell peppers these days, it seems like they get more colorful every year. They’re nice and big, too, and perfect for stuffing. The trick is to choose peppers of a similar size that have balanced shapes so they’ll stand up nicely in a pan. If you can find a variety of bright colors, so much the better.

Stuffed peppers is an old favorite, and I haven’t made them in years. The pitfalls are obvious…you can end up with waterlogged, mushy peppers filled with lackluster stuffing. I have to say, these blew me away. The peppers were firm and kept their color, and I loved the diced potatoes in the picadillo in place of the more common rice.

The technique of scorching the sides of the peppers in a hot pan before baking was fantastic. It not only gave the peppers a really cool look, it gave a smokey, fire roasted taste to the finished dish. I’m definitely using that technique from now on.

Ironically I think the only quibble I had with this recipe was that I wish there were more of a Mexican feel to the stuffing. It was an easy fix — I added cumin seeds, chile powder, and a diced poblano pepper to the picadillo. I absolutely loved it.

Bell peppers stuffed with ground beef and spices

I found that I had enough filling for 4 peppers. I also did not find it necessary to do the extra step of blanching the peppers first, they cooked to a perfectly tender but not mushy texture with just the 30 minutes in the oven.

*This recipe is from Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

4.17 from 6 votes

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Picadillo

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Yield 3
Author Sue Moran


  • 3 bell peppers your choice of color
  • 1 batch picadillo recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • cilantro for garnish (optional)

picadillo stuffing

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 poblano chili diced
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped roma tomatoes
  • 1 small russet potato peeled and finely chopped


  • Set oven to 350F
  • To make picadillo: In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 2 minutes, until translucent.
  • Add ground beef and brown, Using a potato masher, mash meat so you have small pieces of meat with no big chunks. Drain off excess grease.
  • Add garlic, salt, tomatoes, and potatoes and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are done. Salt to taste.
  • To make the stuffed peppers: Rinse the peppers, Cut the tops off and remove the white flesh and seeds. Rinse out the inside of each pepper.
  • In a large stockpot parboil the peppers, about 3-5 minutes, depending on how soft you want them to be in the final dish. Remove the peppers and drain any excess water that is inside them.
  • Brush each pepper with olive oil. Heat up a comal (or griddle) and place the peppers on their side on the comal, about 1 minute on each side, just long enough to sear the sides of each pepper.
  • Prepare a baking dish (about 10.5 inches by 7 inches) that will accommodate your 3 peppers. Spray the dish with cooking spray to keep the peppers from sticking to it. Pour about 1/4 inch water into pan.
  • Stuff each pepper with some picadillo and place it in the baking dish. Cover with foil and crimp the edges onto the dish creating a seal. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. Plate 1 pepper per plate, top with crumbled queso fresco (or feta), and garish with cilantro.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


Don’t forget to pin these Stuffed Peppers with Picadillo

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Picadillo ~ these colorful bell peppers stuffed with a spiced ground beef, and topped with creamy queso fresco cheese are a Mexican classic that pleases the whole family. #stuffedpeppers #Mexicanrecipe #beststuffedpeppers #groundbeef #beefitswhatsfordinner #comfortfood #rainbow

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  • Reply
    Kym McKay
    August 5, 2020 at 6:00 am

    5 stars
    Hi Sue, hope your fairing well with the Covid issue, I loved this version of stuffed capsicum (peppers) I used what I had left over in the fridge as a couple of variants, left over mexi beans from last nights tacos, and pickled jalapeños.
    I had never par boiled or seared the peppers before that made a real difference everyone loved them, thanks for great idea.
    Kym , Adelaide South Australia

  • Reply
    Stella B. Lopez
    May 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Delicioso! A celebration for the eyes and tummy! Que rico!

  • Reply
    October 6, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Looks like such a great cookbook!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Have to try this! Love the whole idea of this recipe, thanks for posting it.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    These look awesome, Sue. I actually make stuffed peppers fairly often, because they are one of my husband’s favorite meals. However, the potato idea is new to me and I’m loving it! I never blanch my peppers either. They are perfect for my tastes after just the baking time.

    Have a great day!!

  • Reply
    Thyme (Sarah)
    October 3, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I’ve made stuffed peppers twice this summer so I know how delicious these are. When everything cooks together in those blackened peppers, magic happens. Glad you are enjoying a new cookbook…I’m sure the family stories are wonderful to read. I’m reading one about a little farm in Italy. I’m trying to get my nerve up to making risotto!!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

    These even look more Mexican with those beautiful char marks. I love that you tweaked the recipe with the spices and let us know you didn’t blanch the peppers. Too often I’ve had (and made) over blanched and mushy peppers. I love that the pepper colors are much more vibrant with your version and brighter colors mean more nutrition! Thanks again, Sue.

  • Reply
    Julia |
    October 3, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I love stuffed peppers, make them all the time! Yours look beautiful!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Beautiful peppers! Great tip to preboil them, I hate when stuffed peppers are too raw and stiff.
    [email protected]

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 4:53 am

    Looks delish! Can’t wait to make it!!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Your pictures are fantastic! It was fun cooking with you these past few weeks.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 12:00 am

    pepper look great going try

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    These peppers look amazing! Thanks for sharing about the cookbook. I may try these with sweet potatoes and black beans as well. I so love your blog. It is inspiring and filled with goodness

  • Reply
    Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes
    October 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I love stuffed peppers!

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    looks really, really good…different than what I grew up with. Might have to give it a spin! Wish me luck!

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    These look great. I love the colors of the peppers. So vibrant!

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    gorgeous peppers and great stuffing–this is precisely why i love mexican cuisine!

  • Reply
    lorraine lopez
    October 2, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I’m gonna try the later in the week after i go shopping thanks

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    These look delicious, I can’t wait to try the recipe. 🙂

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    The scorching is a great idea. Beautiful photos. The peppers remind me of a cross between balloons and piñatas bursting with goodies at a birthday party!

  • Reply
    jean miller
    October 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    LOVE peppers. This is a definate twist, and sounds so good. Will certainly try this recipe! Such a good web site! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Karen Robbins
    October 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    My mom used to make stuffed peppers, but not like this! They look amazing!

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    My husband would have a fit for this dish! The photos are gorgeous, the colors are beautiful. Perfect post Sue!

  • Reply
    Cathy at Wives with Knives
    October 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Fantastic photos, Sue. Those peppers are next on my list.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    October 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Sue your peppers are so pretty! I love the vibrant colors and how well-stuffed they are, standing up at attention! Mine sometimes topple right over 🙂

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    am really excited about this cookbook and making all these “oh so good” recipes. thanks so much for sharing. i found a few recipes that were on my list already to prepare and now i have a new way of making them – yay – yum. i have the prefect peppers to use. it’s going to be an awesome Mexican Tuesday Night :)p.s. big FB fan of The view from Great Island with no URL id sorry. so if i win please find me there. thanks much Donna from Madison, WI

  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    October 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    After seeing both yours and Kim’s version of these – they are on my short-list. YUM!

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    These look amazing, but then everything you post is drool worthy 🙂
    Thank You for sharing the recipe & for the oportunity to win the cookbook!

  • Reply
    Pistachio and Rose
    October 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I love stuffed peppers, yours look gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Pistachio and Rose
    October 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Wow! I wonder what the filling would taste like in a poblano pepper and an avocado creme sauce? Either way, I’ll be making these gorgeous peppers this week!!! Thank you!

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