Slow Cooker Vegetarian Barbecue Stuffed Peppers

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Slow Cooker Vegetarian Barbecue Stuffed Peppers packed with brown rice, black beans, corn, barbecue sauce, and cheddar cheese make a healthy, filling meal.

228 CAL 49g CARBS 1g FAT 7g PROTEIN 4

These Slow Cooker Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers may just be our new favorite way to make stuffed peppers. They are made in the crockpot and come out tender, hearty, and packed with flavor. Served with some Honey Garlic Carrots or Parmesan Green Beans and dinner is ready.

Stuffed peppers are one of our favorite meatless dishes, but lately, I am looking to mix up my traditional recipe using Italian flavors or Mexican flavors, like in these Stuffed Poblano Peppers). Since my family loves barbecue sauce, I thought it would be yummy to swap out the tomato sauce for barbecue sauce and add some corn, black beans, and cilantro to the mix. And they turned out so so good!

I decided not to add cheese to the recipe itself so it could be vegan-friendly, but as you can see in the picture, I like to melt some on top. We are cheese lovers around here.

Why You'll Love These Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Here are three reasons why you will want to add these to your weekly menu!

  • Kid-friendly flavors: Swapping in barbecue sauce for the more traditional tomato sauce makes these stuffed peppers a favorite for barbecue sauce-loving kids. 
  • Easy to prep: Instead of having to par-boil the peppers, these cook right in the slow cooker for easier prep.
  • Freezer friendly: Bell peppers freeze really well making them perfect for freezer cooking. Make up a big batch and freeze them for a night when you don't feel like cooking.

Vegetarian barbecue stiffed peppers with black beans, corn, rice, barbecue sauce, and melted cheese on a glass plate with cilantro.

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

Here is everything you need to make these barbecue stuffed peppers.

  • Cooked rice: Use any type of cooked rice or grains for this recipe, including cooked white rice, brown rice, quinoa, or farro. You can use frozen cooked rice to save time.
  • Diced tomatoes: Use any type of canned diced tomatoes you have on hand. Our favorites are fire roasted diced tomatoes or Rotel tomatoes for a little spice.
  • Corn and black beans: Canned corn and black beans add fiber, texture, and a touch of sweetness. You can use any beans you like.
  • Onions and garlic: Onion and garlic are important to build flavor and ensure the rice and beans taste great. We like using sweet onions, but any type will work.
  • Spices: Build more flavor with kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, oregano, and cumin. It's also delicious with taco seasoning or barbecue seasoning.
  • Barbecue sauce: Use your favorite barbecue sauce. It can be sweet, smoky, or spicy. We like to use the sugar free Kinder barbecue sauce to keeps things light.
  • Bell peppers: Make sure to choose medium to large bell peppers with a flat bottom so they stand up in the baking dish. Green, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers all work. Or use large poblano peppers for a touch of heat.
  • Vegetable broth: The slow cooker needs some liquid to ensure the peppers steam through and get soft. Use vegetable broth or chicken broth.

Slow cooker with vegetarian stuffed bell peppers drizzled with barbecue sauce.

How to Make Stuffed Peppers

Normally stuffed peppers can be a little tricky to make and it's common to hear people complain that the peppers stay too crunchy. Cooking them in the slow cooker solves this problem. The peppers have plenty of time to cook and get nice and tender. No worrying about undercooked peppers.

If you decide to make these vegetarian stuffed peppers in the oven instead, I recommend par-cooking or microwaving them first to ensure they are nice and tender.

If you are going to cook these in the oven, make sure to par-cook the peppers beforehand. First, remove the tops of the peppers and the seeds. Then either boil them for 4-5 minutes or microwave them in a moist paper towel for 4-5 minutes until they are partly cooked.

Stuffed green bell pepper with rice, corn, tomatoes, black beans, barbecue sauce, and avocado on a plate.

Ways to Serve Barbecue Stuffed Peppers

Let's talk about my favorite ways to serve and store these. Usually, I cover them in some shredded cheddar or pepper jack and drizzle some extra barbecue sauce on top just before serving. Plus, some freshly chopped cilantro and dinner are ready.

If you want to add some veggies to the dish, you could serve it on a bed of spaghetti squash or add some veggies right into the mixture. Since stuffed peppers freeze well, I usually try to make extras and then freeze them for easy meals. 

Tips and Recipe Variations

There are so many ways to customize this recipe, from adding protein to extra veggies.

  • Add protein: To add extra protein, stir in some cooked ground beef, turkey, chicken, vegetarian crumbles, or soyrizo. You could also stir in some cubed baked tofu or tempeh.
  • Extra veggies: It's easy to sneak some extra veggies into these peppers. I love to add chopped cauliflower or zucchini since it pairs really well with the flavors and no one ever complains that there are extra veggies.
  • Change the beans and grains: You can easily mix up this recipe by using different beans or a different whole grain. Use quinoa and chickpeas or cooked farro and cannellini beans. 
  • Add spice: If you like things spicy, switch out the fire roasted tomatoes for some diced tomatoes with green chilies, like Rotel tomatoes. You can also add some diced canned chipotle peppers to the rice and bean mixture for some heat.
  • Add toppings: Melt some cheese on top, grab some diced avocado, and add a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt. Sprinkle on some cilantro, pickled red onions, or pickled jalapenos.
  • Lower sugar: Although the recipe calls for light barbecue sauce to keep the calories low, you can also use a regular barbecue sauce. There are many different flavor options, each adding a different flavor to the peppers.

Freezing Leftover Stuffed Peppers

The best way to freeze these peppers is to place them on parchment and let them freeze for about 2 hours. Once they begin to freeze on the outside, you can place them in a ziploc bag and they won't stick together.

Let them defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat in the oven or microwave until heated.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making these stuffed peppers.

It's important to add some liquid to the slow cooker to prevent the peppers from drying out and to create a moist cooking environment. You can add about 1/2 to 1 cup of broth, tomato sauce, or water at the bottom of the slow cooker. This liquid also helps create steam, which cooks the peppers evenly and ensures the filling stays moist.

Yes, you can cook rice inside the stuffed peppers. However, if you use uncooked rice, ensure there is enough liquid in the filling or the slow cooker to allow the rice to absorb and cook thoroughly.

The easier and more foolproof option is to pre-cook the rice before mixing it into the filling, which can help prevent undercooking or uneven texture. Swap in frozen precooked rice for fast prep.

Crockpot vegetarian stuffed bell peppers with corn, black beans, rice, and tomatoes served with barbecue sauce and melted cheese.
The Recipe
Slow cooker barbecue stuffed peppers with rice, beans, corn, onions, and diced avocado on a plate.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Barbecue Stuffed Peppers

228 CAL 49g CARBS 1g FAT 7g PROTEIN 4
COOK TIME: 4 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 4 Hours, 10 Min
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  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 14 oz. canned fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 6 bell peppers
  • 1 cup light barbecue sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth

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Combine the brown rice, tomatoes (undrained), corn, beans, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, onion powder, oregano, and cumin. Stir in half of the of the barbecue sauce. Cut and discard tops from the peppers and remove the seeds.

Cooked brown rice, corn, black beans, cilantro, spices, and barbecue sauce in a bowl.

Mix the remaining barbecue sauce and broth in a bowl. Pour half in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place peppers on top and fill with rice mixture. Top with remaining sauce.

Stuffed barbecue peppers in a slow cooker.

Cook for 4 hours on low until peppers are tender.

Cooked meatless bell peppers with melted cheese.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 pepper
Amount Per Serving
Calories 228
Calories from Fat 13
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1257mg
Total Carbohydrate 49g
Dietary Fiber 9g
Sugars 16g
Protein 7g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Slow Cooker Vegetarian Barbecue Stuffed Peppers
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April 29, 2024 - 09:53
Add a Rating:
This is one of our favorite vegetarian meals! No one misses the meat!
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Jayme Lynn McIntyre
March 23, 2022 - 15:19
Add a Rating:
This looks soooo Delish !! Can't wait to make this
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Kelly P
March 9, 2019 - 08:39
Any recommendations on the best way to reheat after freezing?
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August 28, 2019 - 16:18
....thawing in fridge the nite before would work.
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Sharon D'Arcy
July 1, 2017 - 21:53
Add a Rating:
This is super tasty. Even my vegetable-phobic son loves them. I bake a batch on the weekend and heat them up for quick lunches, topped with yogurt and hot sauce.
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February 8, 2019 - 15:35
That makes me so happy to hear! I love when we can bring the veggie haters over to our side!!
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