These keto & low-carb cheese stuffed mini peppers are crunchy and spicy bites with a delicious, rich creamy filling of cheddar, bacon and a bit of sriracha sweet heat.
It’s a super easy to make keto cold appetizer or snack that’s beautiful to look at and even better to bite into! A favorite in any gatherings, these colorful cheesy stuffed raw peppers do disappear quickly!
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Cold or hot keto appetizer
I created this sweet baby pepper appetizer to be served cold, but curiosity got the best of me and I popped some of them in the air fryer, and yes they were epic hot as well!
I thought the cheese filling would get too soft and run out, but no! It kept itself in place inside the peppers and resisted small bites. It was creamier and slightly less crunchy, as the peppers softened a bit, but amazing still.
So, if you’d like to serve them as hot appetizers, just go for it!
Is sriracha keto
Although sriracha contains some sugar, it can be consumed on keto in moderation. This whole recipe only takes one (or two) tablespoons of sriracha, which divided into many stuffed peppers reduces the net carbs per portion.
Years ago when I started keto I had to wean myself out of sriracha – which was a painful, long process – because I used to eat it in unreasonable amounts. I ate every single meal covered in sriracha.
I carried sriracha with me everywhere. Yes, I had a problem. So obviously, for me, that was a lot of carbs. But if you’re able to eat it in “normal” quantity, there’s no reason to abstain of sriracha on keto.
Ingredient notes & substitutions
Mini peppers: Choose baby peppers that are heavy for their size, with a shiny, firm skin free of wrinkling. Fresh peppers are the best because they will be the crunchiest!
Cream cheese: Use full-fat block cream cheese for the best texture that will hold up being outside the fridge for hours without getting too soft.
Bacon bits or bacon crumbles: please use real bacon bits! I say this because there’s some weird imitation stuff out there (like, bacon flavored soy?) In doubt, please double check the ingredient list.
Sriracha sauce: Any brand sriracha will do, just use your favorite!
Grated cheddar: I specially love the flavor of aged sharp cheddar in this recipe, but any cheddar will do. Monterey Jack and Edam are other very good options.
To make the best stuffed pepper filling, avoid buying pre-shredded cheese. These are generally thicker/harder and have a coating of starch (to prevent clumping) that doesn’t mix well.
If you grate it yourself, the cheese will combine much better with the other ingredients and make for a creamier, tastier and cheesier pepper stuffing.
Preparing raw peppers
As they are often in the Dirty Dozen list, I always wash peppers really carefully to help remove as much pesticides as possible. And, as these stuffed mini peppers will be served raw as cold appetizers, it’s specially important to get them properly cleaned.
Rinse well each mini pepper under running water and scrub with a vegetable brush (I use a natural coconut fiber brush). Scrub all nooks and crannies, including the stem area, and dry out the peppers with a paper towel or clean tea towel before slicing into them.
How to make
This is really a super simple, no cook keto appetizer recipe! You just need to gather the ingredients and assemble, in only 3 steps:
- Slice mini peppers lengthwise, remove all the seeds and membrane – the more empty space you create inside the pepper the more cheese filling you can fit in it!
- In a large bowl, add cream cheese, sour cream, grated cheddar, sriracha and bacon bits or crumbles. Mix them all together really well, simply with a spoon.
- Fill each mini pepper with the spicy cheese stuffing.
Garnishes: I chose to garnish them with smoked paprika and chives, it made for a lovely touch of smoky flavor and pop of color – not that these colorful baby peppers needed any.
Other garnish ideas: some extra crumbly bacon/bacon bits on top, chili flakes, or chopped cilantro.
Optional: To serve them hot, space them out in the air fryer for 5-7 minutes at 190 °C (375 °F) , or in the preheated oven at 190 °C (375 °F) for about 12 minutes.
Change recipe into a spicy cheese dip or spread
This spicy cheesy pepper stuffing mix has the perfect texture to be used as a spread for keto bread and crackers. You can make just the stuffing and serve as a spicy cheddar spread alongside a charcuterie board.
It can also work as a delicious cheddar and bacon spicy dip, but you’ll need to thin out the consistency first:
To make it into a cheese dip, increase the ratio of sour cream to cream cheese (use 2:1 sour cream to cream cheese, inverting the recipe proportion) and try using spreadable cream cheese instead of block cream cheese.
You can prepare this cold appetizer in advance and leave refrigerated until it’s time to be served. The mini stuffed peppers will keep well covered in plastic wrap in the fridge for 3 days.
You can also just mix the stuffing, to use as a spread or dip, and refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to one week.
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