Peruvian Stuffed Peppers (Rocoto Relleno)

Serves 4

| Prep Time: 10 mins

| Cook Time: 45 mins

| Total Time: 55 mins

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

Stuffed peppers are popular in many regions of the world. Whether you like spicy food or a milder, fruity peppery flavor, there are recipes for every taste and these Peruvian Stuffed Peppers won't disappoint. High in the Andes mountains, the city of Arequipa, Peru is a postcard picture of a city with equally noteworthy dishes. Framed by 3 towering volcanoes, the old city is filled with baroque buildings from the 17th century, alluding to grandiose visions of the Spanish conquistadors who came searching for Inca jewels and gold, leaving behind these stunning monuments built of white volcanic stone to testify to their complex histories of stolen treasure and enslaved peoples. 

Rocoto Relleno (Peruvian stuffed peppers) is one of the Arequipeño dishes beloved throughout Peru. The traditional recipe calls for stuffing rocoto peppers, flamethrower-hot chilis that make jalapeños look amateurish. Rocoto peppers are not easy to find outside the Andes, and our recipe uses a sweet red bell pepper that you can customize to your desired heat intensity by adding jalapeño or habanero peppers if you feel brave. We spice the filling with our Aji Panca chili powder. Aji Panca is an essential ingredient in Peruvian cuisine. These chilis have mild heat with a complex fruity, almost berry like taste and create amazing flavor paired with citrus or chocolate. 


  • ½ cup raisins

  • 4 red bell peppers

  • 4 quarts + 1 cup water, divided

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 small red onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, diced

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp Piquant Post Aji Panca spice

  • 1 lb ground beef

  • ¼ cup black olives (optional)

  • 1 hard boiled egg, chopped (optional)

  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped, loosely packed

  • 1 cup queso fresco cheese (or sub in feta or Monterey Jack cheese)


Traditionally, this recipe is made with Peruvian rocoto peppers which are very spicy-hot! We substituted red bell peppers and added jalapeno for heat, but if your market carries rocoto peppers, use them if you like the heat.

We blanch the red bell peppers briefly to cook and soften them, before we bake them. This helps them cook evenly with the mixture, and to have a delicious soft and roasted pepper.

Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don’t sweat it if you don’t have them.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup of hot water. Let them plump in the water for at least 10 minutes.

Cut off the top (stem) of the red peppers, carefully scoop out white veins and seeds. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add peppers and blanch for 8 minutes. Remove, pat dry and place in a baking dish.

Heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium high heat. Add red onion and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeno and Piquant Post Aji Panca, then stir fry for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add beef and cook until browned. Drain the raisins and add them to the ground beef. Stir in black olives, chopped hard boiled egg, and parsley. 

Scoop mixture into the red bell peppers. Top with queso fresco and top of bell pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • Substitute the ground beef for ground turkey or ground chicken.

  • Queso Fresco is a latin American fresh cheese with a firm crumbly texture and a slightly tangy flavor. You can find it in most American supermarkets . But you can sub in your favorite cheese. Our recommended substitutes in this dish are feta cheese or Monterey Jack cheese.

  • For vegans/vegetarians, try substituting in a combination of cooked quinoa (native to he Andes) and lentils for the meat. See this recipe for ratios.

  • Try using Aji Panca in our Peruvian-Chinese fusion Vegan Chaufa (fried rice) or  Ceviche Mixto recipes. Or, make an Aji Panca paste with garlic, onion, and lime. Anticuchos, beef-heart skewers, are extremely popular and great with our Aji Panca, or try these Aji Panca Short Ribs.

  • Be sure to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

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