Cheesy Stuffed Mexican Peppers With Red Chili Sauce Recipe

This Mexican take on stuffed peppers features a creamy, cheesy, tomato-based filling and an enchilada-style sauce. Jennifer Olvera

These Mexican-flavored peppers sport a cheesy, creamy beef-and-rice filling that's spiked with chili powder and cumin. It's topped with an enchilada-style sauce and gets its depth from ancho chili and unsweetened cocoa powders and its aromatics from cumin and lightly floral Mexican oregano.

Why this recipe works:

  • The creamy, moist filling incorporates sour cream, cheese, and crushed tomatoes.
  • Using two cheeses, American and cheddar, keeps the texture lush and the flavor rich.
  • A chile, cumin, and unsweetened cocoa-infused, enchilada-style red sauce ties everything together.

Note: The filling can be prepared in advance, and the peppers may be stuffed ahead of time. The same is true of the sauce; however, store the two components separately in the refrigerator. Remove the peppers and sauce from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before cooking to bring them to room temperature.

Recipe Facts



Active: 25 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Serves: 4 servings

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  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup beer, such as pale ale or lager
  • 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Peppers:
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 ounces American cheese, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, tops sliced off, seeds and white membranes scooped out, and bottoms trimmed so peppers will stand upright like cups


  1. For the Sauce: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add oregano, chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, and beer. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer until sauce has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

  2. For the Peppers: Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add beef and cook, breaking it up into little bits, until cooked through. Add onion and jalapeños, stir to combine, and continue cooking until vegetables are slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cumin, chili powder, rice, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, sour cream, and both cheeses and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking until cheese is melted and filling is creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

  3. Arrange peppers in an 8- by 8-inch baking dish standing upright like cups.

  4. Generously mound filling inside peppers and ladle sauce all over. Cover with foil andbake, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until peppers are tender, about 1 hour, removing foil during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Let peppers rest to 10 minutes, then serve.

Special equipment

8- by 8-inch baking dish

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