Game day snacks are my thing, and I've fallen hard for these Italian Stuffed Mini Peppers!
You'll love this little two-bite appetizer with its vibrant colors and Italian flavors, including Italian sausage, cream cheese, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
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- Why you'll love these stuffed mini sweet peppers
- Ingredients for sausage stuffed mini peppers
- How to make stuffed mini peppers (with step-by-step pictures)
- Tips for making this sausage stuffed peppers appetizer
- Storage and make ahead directions
- More delicious appetizer recipes
- Stuffed Mini Peppers with Sausage
- Latest recipes
Plan to make this delicious, easy appetizer at your next party, and you'll see why my friends think they are the best appetizer ever!
Why you'll love these stuffed mini sweet peppers
- Flavorful Appetizer: Italian stuffed mini peppers are bursting with flavor, making them an ideal appetizer for any occasion.
- Nutritious and Colorful: Mini peppers are not only beautiful with their vibrant colors (red, orange, yellow), but they also provide a nutritional foundation for this appetizer. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, these peppers add a healthy element to your snack table.
- Easy to Prepare: Making Italian stuffed mini peppers is relatively simple. Stuffing the peppers requires minimal prep time, and they can be baked or air fried. Whether you're hosting a party or looking for a quick snack, these peppers can be ready in no time.
Whether served as the perfect appetizer, snack, or even a light main dish, you must try this fun!
Ingredients for sausage stuffed mini peppers
You will find a complete ingredient list in the recipe card below.
- Sweet Bell Peppers - I grab a bag of these sweet peppers every time I go to Costco. They are delicious in salads, sliced as a snack, and of course, stuffed!
- Italian Sausage - We love spicy sausage, so I purchased hot Italian sausage, but you could also use sweet Italian sausage or even chicken sausage.
- Cream Cheese - It's best to start with softened cream cheese.
- Marinara - Use your favorite store brand or try my classic marinara sauce.
- Mozzarella Cheese - To get the best melt, grate the cheese.
- Italian Seasoning and Red Pepper Flakes - I love the little burst of flavors you get from these seasonings.
- Optional: Garnish with green onions or sweet basil leaves.
How to make stuffed mini peppers (with step-by-step pictures)
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Step 2: Brown ground sausage over medium-high heat in a medium skillet. Remove sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Step 3: Cut the stems off the mini bell peppers and slice the peppers lengthwise. Remove seeds, wash peppers, and set aside.
Step 4: Grate the mozzarella cheese.
Step 5: Mix sausage and softened cream cheese in a medium bowl.
Step 6: Fill pepper halves with approximately one teaspoon of sausage mixture.
Step 7: Top each with a ½ teaspoon of marinara and a few pieces of mozzarella cheese.
Step 8: Sprinkle each pepper with a pinch of Italian Seasoning. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the peppers have softened.
Optional: Garnish with red pepper flakes.
- Jalapeno Peppers - If you like it spicy, try substituting jalapenos for sweet peppers.
- Vegetarian option - Leave out the sausage for a no-meat version.
- Pizza peppers - Top each pepper with mini pepperoni and garlic powder for a different flavor combination.
- Create a southwest flavor combination by adding taco seasoning to the cream cheese and top with cheddar cheese.
- Another way to spice up these little bites is to add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the cream cheese mixture.
Tips for making this sausage stuffed peppers appetizer
Do not over-stuff peppers with the cheese mixture or the mozzarella cheese.
I like to cut the stems off so there is no waste for guests to figure out what to do with, but it's totally a personal preference.
If the sausage seems too big after browning, give it a rough chop in the food processor or with a knife.
Storage and make ahead directions
How to store leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
How to freeze: Store peppers in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Make ahead: These are one of my favorite holiday party finger foods to make, and it's essential to get them stuffed and ready before the party starts.
Sometimes, I'll even go ahead and cook them and then just warm them quickly in the microwave, or I will hold them in the oven at 200 degrees until it's time to serve.
If your peppers are not getting soft, cook them for additional increments of 5 minutes.
Cutting the peppers is unnecessary, but they are much easier to stuff once they have been cut.
Yes, you can cook mini peppers with sausage in an air fryer. Place the peppers in a single layer in the air fryer basket and bake the peppers at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
For these peppers, you can use any ground sausage, including hot, chicken, or sweet sausage.
More delicious appetizer recipes
Taco Dip - A unique twist featuring a creamy texture that complements the bold taco flavors.
Artichoke Dip - The creamy blend of sour cream, mayonnaise, and shredded Parmesan pairs perfectly with the tangy marinated artichoke hearts.
Jalapeno Poppers - These bite-sized treats feature a cocktail sausage wrapped in crescent dough with a layer of cream cheese and a slice of jalapeno and then baked until golden brown, resulting in a deliciously spicy and savory snack with a kick!
Stuffed Mini Peppers with Sausage
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Brown ground sausage over medium-high heat in a medium skillet. Remove sausage to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.½ pound Italian Sausage
- Cut the stems off the mini bell peppers and slice the peppers lengthwise. Remove seeds, wash peppers, and set aside. Grate the mozzarella cheese.8 ounces Cream Cheese, 4 ounces Marinara, 4 ounces Mozzarella Cheese
- Mix sausage and softened cream cheese in a medium bowl.
- Fill pepper halves with approximately one teaspoon of sausage mixture. Top each with a ½ teaspoon of marinara and a a few pieces of grated cheese.
- Sprinkle each pepper with a pinch of Italian Seasoning. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the peppers have softened.
- Optional: Garnish with red pepper flakes.Red Pepper Flakes
- Do not over stuff peppers with the cheese mixture or the mozzarella cheese.
- I like to cut the stems off so there isn't any waste for guests to figure out what to do with, but it's totally a personal preference.
- If the sausage seems a little too big after browning chop it in a food processor.
- Air Fryer Directions - 350 degrees for 8 minutes