The Ultimate Dinner Party Appetizer: Mozzarella-Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

updated Feb 28, 2022
christmas
Mozzarella-Stuffed Peppadew Peppers Recipe

A 3-ingredient fast and fancy appetizer with colorful peppers and milky mozzarella cheese.

Makes24 to 48

Prep10 minutes

Cook2 minutes to 3 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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mozzarella stuffed peppadews on plate
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner; Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

If I had to rank my favorite parts of being an adult, hosting friends for dinner is at the very top. Relaxing around the table with full plates and a glass of wine is one of the greatest joys I’ve missed during this time. As we tentatively begin to gather again, I’ve been brainstorming ideas for fast-yet-fancy foods that won’t tie me up in the kitchen, but will impress my guests. And these three-ingredient cheese-stuffed Peppadews do exactly that.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner; Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

What Are Peppadew Peppers?

Peppadew is the brand name for the Juanita piquanté peppers grown in South Africa. The small, shiny red peppers are crisp, sweet, and mildly spicy. Peppadew peppers are the perfect vessel for easy appetizers because they are sold stemmed and seeded, which means they’re ready for stuffing.

Where Can You Buy Peppadew Peppers?

There are several bite-sized pickled peppers on the market, but not all of them have the sweet-tangy Peppadew bite. Look for them at the self-serve olive bar or the pickle aisle at select grocery stores. You can order them online by the jar or, if you want to go all in, by the case.

If you can’t find Peppadews, you can use any sweet jarred cherry peppers instead. They have a sweeter flavor and tougher skin, and you’ll need to seed them yourself.

How to Make Mozzarella-Stuffed Peppadews

You can stuff your Peppadews with whatever you like, but here we’re filling them with marinated fresh mozzarella. You can use bite-sized rounds of fresh mozzarella (often labeled ciliegine) packed in brine, but I prefer using mozzarella packed in herbed oil, which will give you big flavor with minimal effort. Most mini mozzarella balls are a perfect fit for the peppers, but if the opening is too small, slice the cheese in half.

These bite-sized apps are an easy make-ahead option, too. Simply stuff and refrigerate until party time, then slide the cheesy peppers under the broiler until browned and blistered. Add variety to the platter by stuffing Peppadews with creamy goat cheese or herby Boursin cheese, then top with chopped fresh herbs, a shower of cracked black pepper, flaky sea salt, or really good olive oil.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Peppadew Peppers Recipe

A 3-ingredient fast and fancy appetizer with colorful peppers and milky mozzarella cheese.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 2 minutes to 3 minutes

Makes 24 to 48

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons

    chopped fresh basil leaves or chives

  • 24

    marinated baby fresh mozzarella balls or ciliegine (about 12 ounces)

  • 24 to 48

    jarred Peppadew peppers (6 to 12 ounces)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack about 4 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler to high.

  2. Finely chop fresh basil leaves or chives until you have about 2 tablespoons.

  3. Stuff 1 marinated baby fresh mozzarella ball (reserve the marinade) into each Peppadew pepper. If the opening of the Peppadew is small, cut the mozzarella in half and stuff with half of the mozzarella, rounded side facing out. Arrange the stuffed peppers on a rimmed baking sheet.

  4. Broil until the peppers begin to blister and the mozzarella is hot but not melting out of the peppers, 2 to 3 minutes.

  5. Transfer the mozzarella-stuffed peppers to a serving platter. Drizzle with the reserved mozzarella marinade and garnish with the herbs.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The peppers can be stuffed with mozzarella and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance. Make sure to reserve the mozzarella marinade for serving.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Ingredient/Equipment Variation: Sweet cherry peppers, found on the pickle aisle, may be substituted for the Peppadew peppers. They have a sweeter flavor, but vary in size and have a slightly tougher skin. To prepare sweet cherry peppers, slice the stem end off. Remove the seeds with a small spoon and discard the seeds. Continue with the recipe as instructed above, stuffing the peppers, and broiling.