Pressure Cooker Stuffed Peppers
I love stuffed peppers, but don’t always love how long they take to bake in the oven. Fortunately, there’s a way to speed things up with an Instant Pot! It seriously makes a world of difference time-wise.
This recipe is quick and easy, especially if you start with minute/pre-cooked rice. You basically just mix together the filling, fill the peppers, and start up your Instant Pot (<- affiliate link to the one I have in 6 quart size). Then, you’ve got a healthy, flavorful meal ready in under 30 minutes (with minimal effort). Can’t beat that!
I’ve included lots of ideas for substitutions and different flavor combinations below, so feel free to experiment! These can easily be made vegetarian, and you can swap out proteins/veggies/grains that you already have in your fridge, too. Go wild!
Stuffed Peppers Ingredients
To make the Mexican variation of Instant Pot stuffed peppers (see the next section of the post for some other flavor variations), you’ll need:
- ground turkey
- bell peppers
- canned diced tomatoes & green chilies
- brown rice (I love using the microwaveable pre-cooked brown rice packets – such a time-saver!)
- shredded cheese (white cheddar is pictured here, but pretty much any melty shredded cheese will work great – yellow cheddar, pepper jack, Mexican blend, colby jack, etc.)
- pinto beans (or black beans)
- green onions
- spices: chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin
- salt & pepper to taste
Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers Recipe Variations
You can easily switch up the ingredients in these stuffed peppers for a different flavor profile, or make it vegetarian! Here are a couple of ideas:
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers: Replace the ground turkey with an additional cup of brown rice, an additional can of beans (drained and lightly mashed), and a beaten egg. If you are making the Mexican version, I would use lightly mashed pinto beans and substitute black beans for the whole beans, just for some variety!
Italian Stuffed Peppers: Replace the diced tomatoes with green chilies with regular canned small diced tomatoes. (You should have 1 cup drained tomatoes. This may be slightly less than a full can if you can only find 15-oz cans of diced tomatoes). Use white beans or chickpeas in place of the pinto beans. Omit the chili powder and cumin, and replace with 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Use shredded mozzarella in place of cheddar.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers: Cooked quinoa, or any of those pre-cooked grain blend pouches, can easily be substituted 1:1 instead of brown rice if desired.
How to Make Stuffed Peppers in an Instant Pot
To make this recipe, start by prepping the peppers: cut off the tops and remove the seeds and membranes. You may want to consider poking a few holes in the bottom of the peppers with a toothpick to allow any water that accumulates during the cooking process to drain; otherwise, you might need to dump the (very hot) water out once cooking is finished.
Place the peppers in your Instant Pot on a metal rack insert (this usually comes with the Instant Pot when you buy it). If you need a rack, this silicone rack (affiliate link) that’s pictured in the process photos is great and easy to clean and can also double as a trivet and as a roasting rack for whole chicken since it’s oven safe, too!
Next, mix together your filling: turkey, beans, rice, tomatoes & chilies, and spices. Fill the peppers with an even amount of this mixture, packing well.
Then, pour water into the bottom of your Instant Pot (just enough to cover the bottom of the pot), until the water reaches just below the peppers/insert. This will help to steam cook the peppers.
Cover your Instant Pot and seal the pressure release valve. Using the poultry setting (even if you’re making the vegetarian version), set to cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Once done, manually release the pressure by turning the release valve until all the steam is released.
Take off the lid and use a meat thermometer (if you did the turkey version, not the vegetarian version) to ensure the pepper filling has reached at least 165 degrees F. If it hasn’t, cook for one or two more minutes on high pressure.
Sprinkle shredded cheese over the peppers and replace the lid for a minute or two, until cheese is melted. (The Instant Pot should still have enough heat retained at this point to melt the cheese.)
Lastly, remove the peppers and serve! Garnish with sliced green onions if desired, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve alongside a side salad, crusty bread, or just on its own. Either way, it’ll be delicious. 🙂 You’ll find the full Instant Pot stuffed peppers recipe at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!
A quick note on the Instant Pot ‘poultry’ setting vs. ‘manual’ setting:
Just in case you’re curious, because I was!
The main benefit to the poultry setting is just that it automatically programs to 15 minutes at high pressure, so it saves you some button pressing to get to 12 minutes on high. Same thing with the soup/bean/meat settings (but those auto-populate to 30 minutes, so you’d have to press the minus button a lot to get to 12).
Basically, either the poultry setting or manual setting will work – they both cook the same way! So you do you.
Want more delicious Instant Pot recipes? Here are some of my favorites:
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Farro Risotto with Spring Veggies (Instant Pot)
- Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Spaghetti Squash & Vegan Bolognese (Instant Pot)
- Instant Pot Quinoa Fried Rice
- Maple Mustard Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
- 4 large bell peppers
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup pre-cooked brown rice
- 1 10-oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 green onions, chopped (optional - for garnish)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Consider poking a few holes into the bottom of each pepper with a toothpick so any water accumulated during cooking drains out.
- Place pepper cups in the instant pot insert on a metal or silicone rack.
- Combine the ground turkey, beans, brown rice, diced tomatoes with green chilies, and spices in a large bowl. Gently mix to combine.
- Divide the filling evenly between the peppers, packing it in tightly and mounding on top as necessary to use all of the filling.
- Pour water into the bottom of the instant pot - just enough to cover the base of the pot. The peppers should be sitting on the rack above the water, rather than sitting in the water.
- Cover the instant pot and set the pressure release valve to sealing. Using the poultry setting, cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Once done, turn the pressure release valve to manually release all pressure.
- Remove the lid and insert a meat thermometer into the middle of the largest pepper. The thermometer should read 165 degrees F. The turkey should be fully cooked, but if not, cook for one or two more minutes on high pressure.
- Divide the shredded cheese on top of the peppers and replace the cover for one minute, letting the residual heat melt the cheese.
- Remove peppers from the tray and serve with chopped green onions for garnish, plus salt and pepper to taste. Discard extra water in the bottom of the instant pot.