Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Peppers are a new twist on the classic stuffed pepper recipe. These perfectly baked peppers are loaded with enchilada chicken, rich red enchilada sauce, seasonings, plenty of cheese, rice, and of course beans.
An easy dinner idea that can be easily turned into tasty lunch the next day.
If meal prep is important to you, you’ll find this enchilada stuffed peppers recipe the best candidate for this. Make a double batch, freeze, thaw, add more cheese, and reheat when needed.
Tastes (almost) the same as cooked on day one. Tested!
There are so many of you, different readers, here at the Yummy Bowl - some of you like to get straight to the recipe ingredients and instructions, and some of you love reading the full information with tips and tricks that I provide for the recipe.
There is a skip to recipe button in the top left corner along with a clickable table of contents list (just below) that will quickly take you to the part you are more interested in. Enjoy!
Why It's Yummy
- Looking to spice up your Taco Tuesday or cooking a whole Mexican dinner feast for Cinco De Mayo? You are going to love this easy comfort food stuffed in super easy baked peppers.
- Mexican Stuffed peppers are the meal prep winner dinner. Prepare and bake the peppers in advance. When ready to serve top with filling, cheese, and bake until cheese becomes melted and golden brown. Dinner ready in 30 minutes or from start to finish in less than an hour.
- Easily scalable - double up the sauce, the filling, the peppers, anything! This recipe is perfect if you quickly need to feed a crowd. Stuffed peppers are already a wholesome meal and you may only need a side salad to complete the meal.
- Freezer friendly - have leftovers? These peppers freeze like a charm! Make a bunch upfront, don't bake, freeze, thaw, top with cheese, and then bake!
Enchilada chicken recipes have become so popular on The Yummy Bowl that I have made a couple of more variations.
My few comments on the ingredients + don't forget to read the Tips section!
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
- Colorful Bell Peppers. As most Mexican food dishes shine with bright colors, I like to use yellow, red, and green bell peppers for this recipe. As a bonus, they all taste slightly different=more flavor!
- Size of bell peppers. I like to use large and slightly longer than a regular size. It allows me to fit plenty of filling inside. You can also use smaller peppers, in this case, keep an eye on the baking time. We are going to stuff the peppers all the way to the top. You can also cut the peppers in half (like in this recipe). Small and halved peppers, will require half less of cooking time.
- Chicken. A precooked chicken, leftover chicken dinner, rotisserie chicken - all of these are the best candidates for enchiladas. Read how to cook perfect chicken breast below in the Tips section.
- Substitutions. Don’t like chicken? Use shredded turkey or cooked ground turkey, ground beef, Italian sausage instead. Next time, you should definitely try these Stuffed Peppers with Beef! For a vegetarian protein sources, I’d recommend crumbled tofu, meaty mushrooms, canned white beans, and lentils.
- Grains - I sometimes use either (cooked) brown or white rice and quinoa. Brown rice is healthier and to be honest, no one can’t tell much of a difference once it’s all mixed up in the filling.
- The best rice for stuffed peppers in my opinion is medium, long-grain white rice or jasmine rice. These hold up their shape nicely and the rice is not sticky (unless heavily overcooked). Read how to cook rice in my Tips Section. For non gluten sensitive folks, farro, orzo, cous cous will work great here as well. Just make sure not to overcook your grains as it will affect the texture quite a bit. For low calorie and low carb alternative try Cauliflower Rice instead.
- Cheese. Monterey Jack melts beautifully, especially when sprinkled on top. Alternatively use a blend of favorite melty cheeses such as Cheddar and Mozzarella. If using mozzarella, I always suggest shredding it yourself (helps with better melting). Mozzarella is great for a healthier dinner, it is lower in sodium and is in the low-calorie range than most other cheeses.
- Sauce. Try my Easy and Quick 15 Minute Enchilada Sauce or to save up some more time, go for a store-bought Fajita or Taco Salsa. They are different, but all these options are good for Mexican stuffed peppers. If you are gluten sensitive, be sure to check the labels for bought sauces as most of them, unfortunately, contain gluten. If you don't have any of these then use a simple store bought tomato sauce (with seasonings and herbs or without) instead.
- Taco seasonings. This dish is all about seasonings and the sauce. If using my enchilada sauce recipe, add 1-1 ½ tablespoons of Old El Paso Taco, Burrito, or simple all seasonings mix.
- Other spices. If you don’t have these, combine ground cumin, fresh or ground cilantro, smoked or regular paprika powder. Season the chicken mixture with spices until you feel it is enough. I usually add ½ teaspoon of each spice. Don't forget that you'll also season your empty peppers with salt and pepper before baking.
- Veggies. Corn, and beans are a classic for a Mexican dish but feel free to use other veggies such as diced zucchini, mushrooms, grated carrots.
This is a summary of some handy kitchen tools, that are not essential. Use whatever you already have, this is more guidance on what I love to use in my kitchen.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a nonstick large skillet with vegetable oil over medium heat saute onion until softened, then add garlic and spices.
Cook for 1 minute more until spices open up and garlic becomes fragrant.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the chicken filling. Add ½ cup of red enchilada sauce.
Cut off the tops of the peppers, and spoon out the seeds and ribs. Rinse and dry with a paper towel.
Transfer to a 9x13 inches baking dish and fit the peppers in it snuggly.
Spray the inside of peppers with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until peppers have softened.
Remove from the oven and fill peppers with the chicken filling halfway through.
Add cheese (about 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons per pepper) in the middle of each pepper and finish with another spoonful of filling.
Sprinkle the tops with more cheese (the remaining ½ cups) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until peppers are very tender and cheese melted.
Optional step. During the last 5-7 minutes I like to turn on the broiler setting until cheese becomes golden brown.
Serve hot with sour cream, freshly chopped cilantro or green onions, chopped red onion, diced avocado, and some of your favorite Mexican side dishes.
Instructions For How To Cook Rice For Stuffed Peppers
The easiest way to cook the rice is to use a rice cooker or pressure cooker. In this case, all you need to do is to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
But not everyone has it and I’m going to explain my version of cooking rice over the stovetop.
For any regular rice (short, medium, long grain) you simply rinse it under cold water until water runs clear and then you cook it.
Rinsing is important as it eliminates the excess starch content that will result in mushy rice if not washed thoroughly. Do not use this method for brown rice or sushi rice.
Check out Recipe Tin for easy instructions on cooking brown rice.
Basmati (is a long-grain rice variety as well) is an exception because it is aged rice and needs to soak for a couple of hours first.
Step 1. First, place the rice in a fine-mesh container and rinse it under cold water to get the initial dust and dirt off.
It may take a while and if you don’t have at least 10 minutes to do that, let it soak for an hour or so. It will also reduce the actual cooking time later.
For basmati: rinse and leave it in a large bowl with 3x amount of cold water. Let it soak for an hour and change out the water. Repeat the process until the water becomes clear. (It usually takes me about 3 times).
Step 2. Place 2 cups of salted (to taste) water and 1 cup of uncooked rice in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Take it to a gentle boil (it will start bubbling and the surface will be foamy), stir, and reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid.
Step 3. Leave for 10-15 minutes. Check at 10 minutes mark if the water has absorbed. If so, remove it from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Step 4. Add cubes of butter, olive oil, or other seasonings (I love to add Vegeta seasoning or dry stock powder for extra flavor) and let rest for another 5-10 minutes.
Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
1 cup uncooked rice equals about 3 cups of cooked rice.
How To Make Shredded Chicken
Bake it! Make your own rotisserie chicken! You don't necessarily have to cook the whole bird in the oven.
You only need a little for this recipe. One large boneless skinless chicken breast or a couple of chicken thighs.
How to bake chicken breast in the oven.
Step 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss chicken breasts with olive oil and add favorite seasonings (or simple all seasoning or just salt and pepper will work just fine). Mix well to coat.
Step 3. Place in a lightly greased baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4. Let rest for 5 minutes and shred into thin strips with two forks, dice it into cubes, or use a stand mixer!
Place the chicken into a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, turn it on for a minute or so and your chicken will be shredded in no time!
Step 1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add chicken breast or chicken thighs. Fill with water enough to cover the chicken, season with salt and pepper.
Step 2. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium. Let simmer for about 10 minutes until chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken with kitchen tongs and let rest for 5 minutes.
Step 3. Shred or dice as described above. The skinless boneless chicken will cook quicker than chicken breast or thighs with ribs and bones. It may take another 5-10 minutes for these to cook through.
Use a kitchen thermometer to register the chicken temperature at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
This cheesy enchilada goodness is a fairly easy and straightforward recipe.
It does require some prep work on your side but as a reward, you'll have a delicious dinner that the entire family will definitely approve.
Check out these tips so you can be a master in cooking Mexican stuffed peppers.
- Peppers bake time. I recommend choosing the same size peppers to ensure even and fast cooking. Green peppers have thicker skin and if too big will not cook through and will be too tough to eat. If you have time, place the green peppers in the oven first, 10 minutes before adding the rest of the peppers. Then bake as instructed in this recipe until peppers are nicely crinkled and softened.
- How do you cut peppers for stuffing? First, wash and dry the peppers. Cut the tops off, about 1-2 inches. Carefully remove the seeds and the membranes. That’s it, you’re good to go!
- PRO TIP for making the stuffed peppers stand up and not tip over. Use a good size baking dish that fits all your peppers snugly together. Peppers will shrink as they cook, so don’t be afraid to squeeze them in between very tightly.
- Another tip is to trim the bottom of the peppers about a ½ inch or less. Depending on the bottoms, you’ll need to cut off only a small part and check if peppers are well standing. Don’t overdo this step to avoid cutting through and the filling pouring out later.
- Meal Prep Pro. To save time, I suggest having the rice cooked and using canned beans to be ready in advance. Alternatively, you can buy already pre-cooked rice from the store. Moreover, you can make the entire filling 1-2 days in advance and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
The best way to serve these enchilada stuffed peppers is with Mexican Rice, Lime Cilantro Rice, a big bowl of Easy Pico De Gallo on the side, Cajun Corn On The Cob, of course, Guacamole, and some tortilla chips.
Enchilada chicken stuffed peppers are one of the top-rated fillings among my friends and family. But once in a while, I will throw in various (sometimes random) ingredients together creating a unique stuffed pepper recipe.
This recipe has so many reasons to be loved because it is also excellent for ''fridge cleaning''. Feel free to swap the chicken enchilada filling and use what you have in the fridge at the moment.
Use my portions as a basic guideline but don’t limit yourself to adding more of your favorite ingredients.
The usual ratio for stuffed peppers is 1 part vegetables, 1 portion of grains, 1 part of the protein (meat or vegetarian/vegan), and your favorite sauce.
For the sauce, you can use either traditional Red Enchilada Sauce, Taco Salsa, Green Enchilada Sauce. Want to try something different? White Enchilada Sauce from this recipe or Gluten Free Cream Of Chicken Soup will be the perfect alternative.
Cheese is what I can’t live without and always top my peppers with it but it is not essential to use it at all.
Freezing, Storing And Reheating Instructions
Store. Store the cooked stuffed peppers for up to 3-4 days in the fridge, preferably wrapped up tightly with a plastic cover or in a glass airtight container.
Freeze. At this point, I'm sure you are wondering ''Can stuffed peppers be frozen?''. Absolutely, and they freeze pretty well!
For retaining the best flavor and nutrients, freeze the peppers on the same day when they're cooked. Let the peppers cool to room temperature and transfer to freezer-friendly airtight containers or individual servings plastic zip lock bags. Freeze for up to 2-3 months.
Can you reheat stuffed peppers? Absolutely, stuffed peppers are made for reheating! Before doing so, don’t forget to add an extra layer of freshly grated cheese. No one will tell that these were not made today!
Reheat in Oven. If frozen, let the peppers thaw at room temperature or fridge overnight. Place the peppers in a baking dish close to each other to avoid them falling on their sides. Warm them at preheated oven 400-425 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes.
Reheat in Microwave. I don’t use or recommend microwaves for reheating peppers. The reason is simple, it is hard to warm them evenly without ''destroying'' them. Your best solution here is to cut the peppers at least in half, reheat in the microwave until warmed through. The flavor will not be the same good as reheated in the oven.
Reheat the peppers in Air Fryer. This method is similar to an oven. First, preheat the Air Fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit according to manufacturer instructions. Mine takes about 5 minutes.
Next, place the thawed enchilada stuffed peppers into the air fryer basket. Reheat for 5-10 minutes. To keep your air fryer functioning for longer, don’t forget to use air fryer basket lining papers.
Stuffed Peppers are excellent ''fridge cleaners''. Here's what you can stuff them with. Veggies. Chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, mushrooms, sweet corn, celery.
The protein of choice such as tofu, beans, lentils, ground or shredded cooked chicken, turkey, beef.
Cooked grains such as rice, lentils, quinoa. For nongluten sensitive folks: farro, orzo, couscous.
Cheese. Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Fontina, Mozzarella, Cheddar. Any good semi-hard melty cheese will be the best.
It is definitely best to cook your meat before adding to stuffed peppers. This will not only reduce your cooking time in half but will add an extra flavorful layer of juices to the dish. Mixing the browned meat or poultry with the sauce, rice, seasonings, and veggies gives an extra boost in flavor that results in perfectly baked stuffed peppers. Not overcooked, soggy, or raw peppers.
I’d recommend cooking/blanching the peppers before stuffing them. This will allow the peppers to soften, become flavorful and take in all the juices from the premixed stuffing and sauce. If you stuff the uncooked peppers with raw filling, you'll end up with fallen apart peppers and still raw filling inside. All these ingredients require different cooking times, and this is the reason we precook the peppers first, cook the meat separately before mixing with the filling.
Bake the stuffed peppers until they are softened (the skin will become wrinkly) but not mushy and the chicken enchilada filling is heated through. Carefully pierce a knife through towards the bottom of one pepper, if it comes out easily your peppers should be ready. As a side note, green peppers usually require a longer cooking time than red or yellow peppers.
How do you make stuffed peppers not soggy?
You should keep an eye on the peppers while baking. Stuffed peppers may become soggy if you have initially overcooked them before stuffing. Or your stuffing is too watery (too much sauce, oils from meat if beef was used). Or too much cheese or you have used too much stuffing per each pepper.
You don't necessarily need to cover the stuffed peppers when baking. As we are using already premixed and cooked meat in the filling, it only takes 20 or so minutes for the peppers to warm through.
Easy Mexican Dinner Recipes
If you're like me, you'll love my other favorite Mexican meals such as Creamy Chicken Tacos, Steak Fajita Tacos, Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas, Healthy White Bean Chicken Chili, Easy Shrimp Fajitas.
Also, at the Yummy Bowl, you'll find plenty of tasty chicken recipes that are very popular as well.
And the best part is that they are very easy to make (like most of my recipes!) and all, are suitable for a total beginner.
For more easy gluten-free Chicken recipes please go to this category over here.
I hope you'll enjoy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Peppers recipe, please leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo of your food and tag me on Instagram @theyummy_bowl. I love seeing your creations!
Thank you for reading,
Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Peppers
- 6 bell peppers
- 2 cups cooked chicken shredded or diced
- 2 cups Enchilada Sauce or store-bought Salsa
- ¼ cup sweet corn or freshly cooked corn kernels
- ½ cup black beans
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning
- 2 cup Monterey Jack cheese grated, see notes
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup cooked long-grain rice see notes
- ½ medium brown onion diced
- Cilantro or parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a nonstick large skillet with vegetable oil over medium heat saute onion until softened, then add garlic and spices. Cook for 1 minute more until spices open up and garlic becomes fragrant.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients with ½ cup of Red Enchilada Sauce.
- Cut off the tops of the peppers, and spoon out the seeds and ribs. Rinse and dry with a paper towel.
- Transfer to a 9x13 inches baking dish and fit the peppers snuggly inside. Spray the inside of peppers with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until peppers have softened.
- Remove from the oven and fill peppers with the chicken filling halfway through. Add cheese (about 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons per pepper) in the middle of each pepper and finish with another spoonful of filling.
- Sprinkle the tops with more cheese (about the remaining ½ cups) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until peppers are very tender and cheese melted. During the last 5-7 minutes I like to turn on the broiler setting until cheese becomes golden brown.
- Serve hot with sour cream, freshly chopped cilantro or green onions, chopped red onion, diced avocado, and some of your favorite Mexican side dishes.
- Rice - cooked long-grain white or brown rice is the preferred choice. Read the blog post above on how to cook rice for stuffed peppers.
- Chicken - rotisserie, boiled, oven-baked, or grilled chicken. I give some tips on how to cook chicken fast and easily.
- Cheese - For extra melty top use freshly grated Mozzarella cheese (just for the top).
- Tip for making the stuffed peppers stand up and not tip over. Use a good size baking dish that fits all your peppers snugly together. Peppers will shrink as they cook, so don’t be afraid to squeeze them in between each other very tightly.
- If no perfect baking dish is available, trim the bottom of the peppers about a ½ inch or less. Depending on the curves, you’ll need to cut off only a small part and check if peppers are standing. Don’t overdo this step to avoid filling coming out.
- For the sauce, you can use either traditional Red Enchilada Sauce, Taco Salsa, Green Enchilada Sauce or simple Tomato Sauce (with or without seasonings). Want to try something different? White Enchilada Sauce from this recipe or Gluten Free Cream Of Chicken Soup will be the perfect alternative.