Slow Cooker Stuffed Southwestern Bell Peppers with Vegetarian & Vegan Options

There is something about the fall and winter that makes me want to stuff everything, from squash to tomatoes to potatoes. Stuffing just seems to be the thing to do!

Top-down view of southwest style stuffed bell peppers on a black ceramic plate.

Maybe it’s the fact that all the tasty is there in one delicious bite, with no need to try to get all the individual bits onto your fork at the same time. They are also warm and comforting, and can be made in your slow cooker. Awesome!

Fresh orange, green, red, and yellow bell peppers on a rustic wooden surface.

I’m a big fan of Italian-inspired stuffed bell peppers, with plenty of garlic, tomatoes, and basil.

But these peppers have a bit of a southwestern theme going on. They are chock-full of rice, beans, tomatoes, and corn, then they’re livened up with a bunch of herbs and spices, like oregano and chili powder. After assembly you simply pop them in the slow cooker, fill the bottom with some water, and let ’em cook for a few hours.

Top-down shot of a slow cooker metal insert with five vegetarian stuffed peppers in various colors at the bottom, on an unfinished wood background.

These really only need to cook for 3-4 hours, so they are not the kind of meal you’d put in the cooker before work and have ready to go when you get home.

Top-down view of a mason jar full of enchilada sauce used to flavor stuffed bell peppers.

These are best suited to weekends when you want to get the cooking done ahead of time, or if you have time earlier in the day to prep food, but not right before dinner time. (I’m imagining soccer moms who don’t want to eat out every night after practice, yes?)

Oblique view of a spoon being used to dribble enchilada sauce over the top and inside Southwestern-style vegan stuffed bell peppers.

When they are done cooking, all you have to do is top with a bit of enchilada sauce (and cheese if that’s your thing!) and serve.

Oblique overhead view of a cluster of southwest style bell peppers with and without a cheese topping. The focus is on the two examples without cheese, illustrating the vegan and dairy-free option to make this recipe.

These are great with or without the cheese; I personally prefer them without, but I had a bite of the cheesy ones when I served them to AJ and this version was also delicious. Either way, you will love them!

Oblique top-down view of meatless southwest style stuffed bell peppers made in a slow cooker. The focus is on two peppers that have cheese sprinkled on top.

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Close up top view of four stuffed southwest style bell peppers in crock-pot. Two are dairy-free and two have cheese.

Vegetarian Slow Cooker Southwestern Stuffed Peppers (Plus Vegan Option)

  • Author: Raquel Smith
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x


A delicious slow-cooked stuffed bell pepper recipe. Mexican flavors with rice, pinto beans, and enchilada sauce make these a wonderful weekend meal! Skip the cheese for a vegan, lactose-free version.


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled white rice
  • 1 15-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 medium or large ripe tomato, diced (about 1/2 lb)
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 large bell peppers (make sure they stand up on end!)
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or so, then remove from the heat. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and oregano.
  2. Place the rice, beans, corn, tomato, chipotle pepper, and cooked onion mixture in a large bowl and stir together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds and pith. Spoon the rice mixture into each of the peppers, packing lightly. If you want to add cheese, fill a pepper halfway, add some shredded cheese, then fill to the top. Do not add cheese on top yet.
  4. Place the bell peppers in a slow cooker. Fill the area around the peppers with about 1/2 inch of water (I used 2 cups; be careful not to get any water inside the peppers) and cook on low for 3.5-4 hours, until they are easily pierced with a fork but still hold their shape. If you prefer your peppers with a bit of crunch, go for the shorter time. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add cheese on top if you like and cook until melted.
  5. Remove the peppers from the cooker with tongs. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons enchilada sauce onto the top of each pepper and serve immediately, with more enchilada sauce on the side.
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Southwest

Keywords: Stuffed Bell Peppers, Vegetarian, Vegan, Tex-Mex, Meatless, Dairy-Free

What about you? What are your favorite ways to stuff veggies? Let us know in the comments below, and please give this recipe a rating if you’ve tried it! And as always, please pin, share, tweet, send a telegraph, smoke signal, cave painting, or whatever form of social you do best to share this delicious dish with others that you think will enjoy it!

For an Italian-inspired version of stuffed peppers, you’ll want to go grab ingredients for our Creamy Cauliflower Stuffed Peppers.

Looking for more vegetarian Tex-Mex dishes? Try some of our favorites:

Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 26, 2014. Last updated: April 10, 2023 at 16:46 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Raquel Smith

Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now merged into Foodal).

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