Stuffed pepper recipes usually feature bell peppers and are basically a casserole in a pepper. This can be good, but I find those to be a bit on the heavy side.
These Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers are much lighter, but big on fajita flavor. These peppers are easily customizable if you like them cheesier, spicier, or however you like! The leftovers store perfectly for quick dinners over the next few days, or even packed up for lunch.
This recipe isn’t hard by any measure, but there are a few tricks to making the best stuffed peppers possible.
What Are Poblano Peppers?
Poblano peppers are very mild, (mostly) dark green peppers that grow long and wide. Every once in a while, you’ll find one that is a bit spicy, but most are mild. They have a deeper and richer flavor than bell peppers and aren’t as sweet or watery.
The most common use of poblanos is in the classic chile relleno dish where the peppers are stuffed, battered, and fried. But battered and fried isn’t the only way to enjoy them. Poblanos work great in Chile Relleno Casserole, roasted in cream sauce, or in place of bell peppers in this Chicken Fajita Stuffed Poblano Pepper recipe!
Tips and Tricks for Making the Best Stuffed Peppers
To prepare poblano peppers for stuffing, I like to lay them out on a baking sheet and see how they best lay flat. If you try to guess, then you might slice off what should’ve been the bottom of your pepper!
Once you have the bottom figured out, then you can easily slice off the upper piece of the pepper. You aren’t slicing the pepper in half here, just removing the top part of the pepper to make a container for the filling. I would guess I slice off about 1/4 of the pepper.
Those pieces of peppers that you slice off? Don’t throw them away! Chop them up and add them to your filling.
Then, scoop or cut out the stem and seeds of the poblanos. You can go ahead and toss those.
How to Cook Stuffed Peppers
To make my fajita stuffed peppers, I like to cook my chicken and vegetables separately and then stuff the filling in the peppers along with queso fresco.
When you are stuffing the peppers, do not be gentle! Poblanos have a lot of cracks and crevices, and you really want to get as much stuffing as possible in there. Use your fingers or a small spoon to really stuff them until they are overflowing.
Swaps, Suggestions, and Substitutions
These stuffed peppers are infinitely adaptable. You can mix up the peppers, the cheese, and the filling to make use of what you have in your house.
- Use red, green, orange, or yellow bell peppers instead of poblanos.
- Try cheddar, Monterey jack or pepper jack for a meltier cheese situation.
- Add 1/4 cup of cooked rice to each stuffed pepper for more of a classic casserole-style stuffed pepper.
- For a vegetarian version, try sautéed mushrooms tossed in the same spice mix as the chicken.
How to Make Stuffed Peppers in Advance
You can bake the peppers and just reheat them when you’re ready for dinner, or you can stuff the peppers, but wait to bake them. It’s up to you.
- To bake in advance and reheat: The peppers will keep great covered in the fridge for three to four days and reheat beautifully either in the microwave or the oven.
- To prepare in advance and bake before serving: Another option is to make the filling and stuff the peppers, but don’t bake them right away. This will result in a little fresher pepper than if you bake them entirely in advance. You can stuff them, and keep them unbaked in the fridge for up to four days.
What to Serve With Stuffed Peppers
Looking for More Stuffed Pepper Recipes?
Chicken Fajita Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- 8 poblano peppers
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken (thighs or breasts)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup sweet corn
- 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
- To serve:
- Sliced scallion
- Sour cream
Preheat the oven:
Preheat the oven to 350 ̊F.
Prepare the peppers:
Lay the peppers out on any large baking sheet or casserole dish. The peppers shouldn’t touch each other as they bake, ideally.
Let the peppers lay naturally and then use a knife to slice off about 1/4 of the upper-facing side of the peppers, leaving about 3/4 of the pepper intact.
Reserve the 1/4 of pepper you removed, you’ll chop it and add it to the filling later. Cut out any seeds in the peppers, and discard. It’s okay if you have to cut out the stem also to get the seeds.
Chop the pieces of poblano you sliced off. You will add them to the filling later.
Season the chicken:
Slice chicken into thin strips. In a bowl large enough to hold the chicken, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, garlic powder, and olive oil. Stir together well; add the chicken strips and toss to coat.
Cook the chicken:
Transfer the chicken to a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes, stirring regularly. When the chicken is cooked, transfer the chicken from the skillet to a clean cutting board and set aside.
Cook the veggies and chop the chicken:
To the pan, add a little extra oil (if the pan looks dry). Then add chopped onion, chopped reserved poblano pepper, and sweet corn. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through.
Rough chop the chicken so it’s in smaller pieces, about 1/2-inch in size. Add the cooked chicken back to the pan and stir to combine.
Stuff the peppers:
Add about a tablespoon of queso fresco to each pepper and then stuff each pepper full with the chicken and veggie mixture. Use a tiny spoon or your clean fingers to really push the filling into the cracks of the peppers. Pile the filling high in each pepper and top with extra queso fresco.
Bake the peppers:
Bake the peppers for about 30 minutes at 350 ̊F. The peppers are done when they are tender and shriveled around the edges. The cheese should be melted in the center of the pepper as well.
Serve peppers fresh out of the oven with sour cream, salsa, and scallions.
LEFTOVERS! Leftover peppers can be stored, covered in the fridge for 3-4 days and reheated either in a 350 ̊F oven until warmed through or in a microwave. Peppers can also be assembled 2-3 days in advance and baked right before serving.