Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers Recipe

4.50 from 2 votes
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Ground turkey stuffed peppers are one of my favorite healthier, Mexican-inspired recipes. These stuffed bell peppers are simple but loaded with protein and flavor. Ground turkey, brown rice, chopped onion, diced tomatoes, spices, a blend of cheeses, and fresh cilantro come together to deliver a simple and delicious skillet meal.

Ground turkey stuffed peppers topped with melted cheese and chopped fresh cilantro.

Why I Love This Recipe

Turkey stuffed peppers are a fantastic weeknight meal that’s healthy, flavorful, and filling. The blend of lean meat, brown rice, and spices creates a full meal packed into every bite. We eat plenty of red meat, the turkey is a great way to change things up.

This recipe is very easy to make and can all be made almost entirely in a single cast iron skillet (aside from the rice). It’s a fantastic recipe to use leftover rice, making it even easier to pull together in about 15-20 minutes of active cooking time. Stuffed peppers can be made ahead of time and baked when ready to serve.

Looking for more delicious skillet recipes? Try my skillet fajitas and my skillet chicken enchiladas! This recipe pairs well with homemade guacamole and a classic margarita.

Ingredients

Raw, uncooked ground turkey stuffed peppers ingredients laid out on a wooden cutting board.
  • 85-93% lean ground turkey: you can optionally use ground beef or ground chicken. We like ground turkey because it’s a healthier alternative to red meat.
  • Shredded Mexican blend cheese: any blend of cheddar cheese will work. You can also use shredded mozzarella or whatever you have on hand. It’s the best part!
  • Red, green, or orange bell peppers: this is a matter of preference. You can also use poblano peppers, they’re just much smaller and will require more peppers.
  • Tomato: any tomato can be used in this recipe. I usually use a standard globe tomato but roma, cherry, or vine tomatoes work too.
  • Brown rice: you can also use white rice or quinoa. Day-old rice works great too.
  • Yellow onion: onion can be omitted if you aren’t a fan. Feel free to use red onion or white onion as well.
  • Fresh cilantro: I reserve the cilantro topping at the very end. It adds a nice fresh touch of herbs that elevates the dish.
  • Spices: I like to use a blend of cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. You can also add onion powder in place of the fresh onion. If you’re in a pinch, a full packet of taco seasoning works well too!
  • Salt: salt is what helps to bring all of the spices to the front. If the dish feels on the bland side, add a bit more salt instead of more spices. This is likely the problem.
  • Olive oil: I use olive oil but any cooking oil will work.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

Substitutions and Variations

Below is some extra inspiration and substitutions for the pepper filling. I’ve experimented with a lot of different ingredients with fantastic results.

  • Ground beef, turkey, or chicken
  • Sauteed corn or black beans
  • Quinoa, brown, or white rice (try my cilantro lime rice next)
  • Chopped jalapeno
  • Cojita or any Mexican cheese blend
  • Red, yellow, or white onion
  • Your favorite spices and seasoning (chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, or taco seasoning blend)

How to Make Stuffed Peppers

Step 1.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare rice according to the instructions on the package. Set aside.

Step 2.

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, removing the stems and seeds. Set aside.

Red bell peppers, cored and halved on a wooden cutting board.

Step 3.

Heat oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender, about 3 minutes (image 3a). Add ground turkey and season generously with salt. Use the tip of a spatula to break the turkey into small granular chunks. Cook until turkey is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes (image 3b).

Golden chopped onions cooking in a cast iron skillet.
Fully cooked ground turkey cooking in a cast iron skillet with chopped onions.

Step 4.

Stir in the cooked rice, tomato, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and optional jalapeño (image 4a). Heat for 3-4 more minutes, mixing well so spices incorporate evenly (image 4b). Taste the filling—if it tastes bland, add a bit more salt to help the spices pop.

unmixed brown rice, spices, and chopped tomato in a cast iron skillet over ground turkey.
A cooked blend of brown rice, chopped tomato, spices, and ground turkey in a cast iron skillet.

Quick Tip

A splash of water helps to easily distribute the spices throughout the dish. The seasoning should make the dish uniformly “brown.”

Step 5.

Using a large spoon or spatula, pack each pepper to the brim with the turkey filling. Set filled peppers aside on a plate or counter until the skillet is empty. Spoon any leftover filling evenly on each pepper.

A raw red bell pepper on a cutting board cut in half and filled with a seasoned turkey and rice mixture.

Step 6.

Arrange the peppers back in the skillet, cavity side up, and bake for 25-30 minutes uncovered. Remove from the oven, top each pepper with 1-2 tablespoons of cheese, and place back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve topped with fresh cilantro and optional hot sauce, salsa, sour cream, and avocado/guacamole.

Stuffed red bell peppers in a cast iron skillet top with unmelted shredded Mexican cheese.

Expert TIps

  • You can use ground beef in place of ground turkey (or even ground chicken). Ground turkey is tender and the seasonings make up for any flavor you might be missing with beef.
  • I use 93% lean or similar ground turkey because 99% lean turkey tends to be dry and flavorless.
  • This recipe is delicious using poblano peppers as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this recipe with ground beef?

Yes, you can easily replace turkey with beef or ground chicken.

How do I tell if ground turkey is fully cooked?

Turkey should be cooked to an internal temp of 165°F. A good visual cue is the meat turning a gray/brown color with no pink remaining.

Is this recipe spicy?

This recipe has plenty of spices but it’s very mild if you leave out the optional jalapeño. The chili powder will lend the most heat.

Ground turkey stuffed peppers topped with melted cheese and chopped fresh cilantro.

More Mexican Recipes

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this recipe, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
4.50 from 2 votes

Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Ground turkey stuffed peppers made with ground turkey, brown rice, cheese, onions, cilantro, and spices—healthy, simple, and delicious.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound 85-93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 4 red or green bell peppers, halved lengthwise
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup dry brown rice
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro loosely packed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking
  • 3-4 slices jalapeño, minced
  • Sour cream, salsa, and hot sauce for topping

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Prepare rice according to the instructions on the package. Set aside.
  • Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, removing the stems and seeds. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add ground turkey and season generously with salt. Use the tip of a spatula to break the turkey into small granular chunks. Cook until turkey is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir in the cooked rice, tomato, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and optional jalapeño. Heat for 3-4 more minutes, mixing well so spices incorporate evenly. Taste the filling—if it tastes bland, add a bit more salt to help the spices pop. Sometimes a slash of water helps to distribute the spices throughout the dish.
  • Using a large spoon or spatula, pack each pepper to the brim with the turkey filling. Set filled peppers aside on a plate or counter until the skillet is empty. Spoon any leftover filling evenly on each pepper.
  • Arrange the peppers back in the skillet, cavity side up, and bake for 25-30 minutes uncovered. Remove from the oven, top each pepper with 1-2 tablespoons of cheese, and place back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve topped with fresh cilantro and optional hot sauce, salsa, sour cream, and avocado.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pepperCalories: 394kcalCarbohydrates: 50.6gProtein: 34.4gFat: 7.1gSaturated Fat: 2.5gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 219mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8.2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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