These melty, cheesy stuffed mini peppers are full of delicious flavors and make a great appetizer or party food that’s easy to make. The combination of cheddar cheese, bacon and smoked paprika gives the filling a delicious smoky flavor similar to smoked cheddar!
- As always, I highly recommend to get the smoked hot paprika from a dedicated spice shop to ensure quality and freshness.
- There is no need for additional salt in this recipe because the bacon provides enough.
- Be sure to use full-fat cream cheese. Products labeled as low-fat or reduced-fat have a higher moisture content than full-fat cream cheese and that can affect their melting.
How to make it:
See full ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below!
Step 1. Pre-cook the pepper halves in boiling water to soften them.
Step 2. Add all filling ingredients into a bowl.
Step 3. Whip the filling.
Step 4. Stuff and bake the peppers.
Are these stuffed mini peppers spicy?
No, not at all. Even though there is a smoked hot paprika in this recipe, the amount is not large enough to make it spicy. Instead, the paprika only adds smokiness and paprika flavor.
Do I need to precook the peppers?
Yes. I tested stuffing the peppers raw and then baking them and they were still much too hard and raw by the time the filling was melted. Pre-cooking the peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes will soften them just enough.
Can I skip the pre-cooking and instead bake the stuffed peppers longer?
Unfortunately not. That’s because the filling will separate if you bake the stuffed peppers much longer than instructed.
How to store leftovers:
Transfer any leftover filled and baked peppers into an airtight container and store in the fridge. Reheat in the oven until warmed through.
Can I make it ahead?
Yes, here is how you can make the peppers ahead: Let the pepper halves cool to room temperature after boiling, then transfer them to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 day.
Whip the filling, then transfer it into a separate airtight container and store in the fridge as well. Let the filling come up to room temperature (about an hour on the kitchen counter), then stuff and bake the peppers as instructed.
More delicious appetizer recipes:
See all appetizer recipes →
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating or comment! Join our mailing list to get all the latest recipes sent to your inbox!
Full Printable Recipe
Smoky Cheesy Cream Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers with Bacon
For the peppers:
- 6 sweet mini peppers
For the filling:
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese, (about 1 ½ ounces), divided into ~6 tablespoons and ~2 tablespoons
- 4 ounces block cream cheese,* softened
- ½ teaspoon smoked hot paprika
- 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 4 slices thin-cut bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme) (you need about four 4-inch sprigs for that)
For the peppers:
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the ribs and seeds but leave the stem intact.
- Fill a pot large enough to fit all pepper halves comfortably with water and bring to a boil.
- Add the pepper halves to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.
- Drain the pepper halves and set them face down on a paper towel to cool and dry.
For the filling:
- Lightly oil a small baking sheet with olive oil. Set aside.
- Whip 6 tablespoons of cheddar along with all remaining filling ingredients together until combined.
- Fill the filling into the pepper halves (about scant tablespoon of filling per pepper). (I like to use a small metal spatula to do this.)
- Sprinkle the remaining cheddar onto the filling and bake until the cheese is melted (about 10 minutes).**
- Serve the peppers hot or warm.