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These quick and easy Sausage and Mini Pepper Poppers are an appetizer version of the beloved Italian sandwich! With plenty of sweet Italian sausage and Italian blend cheese stuffed into perfectly pop-able mini sweet peppers, these crispy delights are always a party hit! Best of all? They can be fried- or baked!


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Get the party poppin’ with the ultimate mini pepper poppers

When you’re looking for a fast and delicious party appetizer, these Sausage and Mini Pepper Poppers deliver. With a crumbled Italian sausage and cheese blend stuffed into sweet and bite sized peppers, these tasty treats are an irresistible party bite. Serve them up with my Pesto dipping sauce for all the flavors of a classic Italian sausage and peppers sandwich, in a tiny little package!

In search of even more delicious appetizer ideas?

Why not try my Italian Egg Rolls with ProsciuttoPhilly Cheesesteak Jalapeno Poppers, Salami Cheesesteak Wontons with Tangy Special SauceJalapeño Poppers with Prosciutto, Corn and Goat Cheeseor General Tso’s Ramen Egg Rolls!

Making the filling for the ultimate stuffed pepper appetizer

To make these super simple Sausage and Mini Pepper Poppers, you will need:

  • A bit of Olive oil, for cooking the filling.
  • Sweet Italian sausage. You can use ground, rope or links- just be sure to remove the casings before cooking! If you like things spicy, feel free to use Spicy Italian Sausage instead. And if you’re looking to lighten things up, this recipe is also great with Chicken or Turkey sausage!
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, for some flavor and heat.
  • A chopped onion.
  • 1 1/2-2 pounds of fresh mini sweet peppers. Depending on their size, you will need 1 1/2 -2 one pound bags.
  • Shredded Italian blend cheese. To give great flavor, and help hold the filling together.
  • Fresh garlic, or the jarred chopped stuff. No judgements here.
  • 3 beaten fresh eggs, and a bit of water to thin them out.
  • Some flour, to help the breading stick to the peppers.  
  • Panko breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese, for the breading.
  • Canola or neutral oil, for frying. Avocado oil has a a high smoke point, and also works well!

Making the peppers is really simple. All you need to do is cook up a quick and easy sausage filling, fold in some cheese, and allow it to cool. While the filling cools, you’ll make a slit up the side of each pepper. Don’t go edge to edge- we just want to make a small pocket. This makes them easier to fill, and helps them keep their shape.

Sausage and Mini Pepper Poppers

What kind of sausage should I use?

You can use any number of sausages here, and the results will be delicious! You can go for sweet or spicy pork Italian sausage (which the recipe originated with). For this classic version, you can use ground and ready-to-go, rope style sausage, or links. Just make sure you have an uncooked sausage- no smoked or cured versions.

If you’re living that light life, or simply don’t care for pork- there are tons of great chicken and turkey Italian sausages out there! Just be sure to opt for an uncooked version. You may also need to slightly reduce the cook time, as chicken and turkey tend to cook up a little quicker, and you don’t want to dry them out.


Stuffing the sweet mini peppers

Once your filling is ready and your peppers are prepped, all you need to do is fill the peppers, then dredge them. You can opt to fill them with your hands (my preferred method), or with a small spoon. Be careful not to overfill the peppers, which could cause them to tear while filling, or splatter while frying.

stuffing and breading the peppers

To bake or fry?

This answer is totally up to you! I have directions for both below. The fried mini peppers hold onto the crust a little better, but the baked version is just as delicious, and a bit healthier. Do whichever works for you!

fried stuffed peppers

Making the dipping sauce for the mini peppers

These peppers are totally amazing on their own, but do yourself a favor and make a batch of my Pesto dipping sauce to go along with them. The link is included in the recipe below, and could not be easier to make! It’s only 3 ingredients, and takes about 3o seconds.

Sausage and Pepper Poppers

Sausage and Mini Pepper Poppers

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian sausage, red pepper
Servings: 25


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage (casing removed if links or rope)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 1/2 lbs mini sweet peppers
  • 2 cups  shredded Italian blend cheese 
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed/minced 
  • 3 eggs beaten and a splash of water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups plain panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • canola or neutral oil, for frying 


  • Preparing the peppers:
    1. In a large frying pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
    2. Remove the sausage from the casing and add to the to pan with the onions.
    3. Cook, breaking up the sausage as you go with a spatula or wooden spoon, 10-12 minutes.
    4. Once sausage is cooked through and crumbled, add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, until just fragrant.
    5. Turn off the heat, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
    6. Add the shredded cheese to the warm cooked sausage mixture, and toss to coat. Once combined, allow to cool enough to handle before proceeding with filling the peppers, about 10 minutes.
    7. While the filling cools, make a slit in each mini pepper, being careful not to go edge to edge. You just want to make a long narrow opening
    8. Carefully remove any pith and seeds with your fingers or a spoon, and rinse the peppers well to remove all seeds.Continue until all peppers are slit and seeded.
    9. Using your hands or a small spoon, carefully fill each pepper with cooled filling and press gently to close.
    10. Set up a dredging station with the beaten egg and water, flour, and a well mixed combination of Panko and parmesan.
    11. Once all are stuffed, dip each in beaten egg and water, then into the flour, then into the egg again , then lastly into the breadcrumb and parmesan. Continue until all peppers are breaded.
    To Fry:
    1. Heat 2” of oil over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes until very hot.
    2. Carefully add the breaded peppers in batches, and fry over medium -high heat for 1-2 minutes a side, until juts golden brown.
    3. Carefully remove from oil with tongs, and transfer to a wire rack to cool fro 5-10 minutes.
    4. Serve hot.
    To Bake:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
    3. Layer peppers onto baking sheet, preferably cut seam side up.
    4. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
    5. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping half way through.
    6. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 5-10 mines before serving,.
    Making the dipping sauce:
    1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl, and whisk until well combined.
    2. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
    Makes about 25 poppers.

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