Italian Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers
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Stuffed Banana Peppers Recipe – Tangy banana peppers stuffed with savory Italian sausage and cream cheese, baked, and smothered with marinara and melted cheeses. They are gluten free, low carb, and utterly delicious!
Bold, slightly sweet banana peppers are most commonly served pickled in the USA. Often we eat them sliced on Italian-inspired dishes including sandwiches, pizza, and salads. Or enjoy them whole for a snack with some kick!
However, banana peppers are also an amazing chile to stuff and bake!
They offer a unique tangy flavor with mild spicy heat. On occasion, you might get the “surprise” hot pepper, but most of the time the can be enjoyed by all.
Italian Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers
Here we’ve stuffed long banana peppers with a tantalizing Italian sausage and cream cheese mixture, then braised them in marinara sauce until soft and silky.
The baked stuffed peppers are then smothered with more melty cheese, so the dish is ultra comforting and irresistible in flavor.
This Italian stuffed pepper recipe is low carb, and gluten-free – and can also be prepared in a slow cooker, if you like! It’s a terrific dinner that is fun, healthy(ish), and really makes your tastebuds happy.
Ingredients You Need
- Banana peppers – long and large, but uniform in size
- Italian sausage – or plain ground pork or chicken sausage
- Butter – or olive oil
- Onion – peeled and diced
- Garlic – minced
- Cream cheese – softened
- Parmesan cheese – grated
- Egg – for binding
- Italian seasoning – store-bought or homemade
- Crushed red pepper – optional
- Marinara sauce – store-bought or homemade
- Italian cheese blend – shredded
- Salt and pepper
- Parsley – for garnish
How to Make Banana Peppers Stuffed with Sausage
First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Then set out a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and a large mixing bowl.
Prep the banana peppers by cutting off the stems. Use a small knife to slice down one side of each pepper from top to tip. Note: You do not want to cut the banana peppers in half, but just create a slit so they’re much easier to stuff. Remove the seeds from inside and discard.
Pro Tip: Make sure to wash your hands well with hot soapy water. Even though banana peppers are usually mild, they may leave oils on your hands that can burn your eyes.
Next, set a small skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, diced onions, and garlic. Salt and pepper liberally, then sauté to soften the aromatics for 3 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the Italian sausage, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper in the mixing bowl.
Once the onions and garlic have softened, move to the bowl, and mix the sausage mixture by hand until smooth and even.
Get the Complete (Printable) Gluten Free Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Next, pour the marinara into the baking dish.
One at a time, scoop up the sausage mixture with your hands and press it down into the banana peppers. Use your finger to press it all the way to the tip filling the banana pepper entirely. The peppers do not have to be closed along the seam, but they also shouldn’t be so stuffed that the pepper could crack.
Place the stuffed banana peppers in the baking dish. Alternate the directions in which they lay so they fit neatly in the dish, like in the photo below.
Cover the top of the baking dish tightly with foil. Then bake for 55 minutes undisturbed.
Remove the foil and check that the peppers are very soft. Sprinkle the shredded Italian cheese over the top of the banana peppers and place the dish back in the oven, uncovered, for five minutes to melt.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, if you like, and serve the sausage-stuffed peppers warm.
How to Make Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers
Want that same melt-in-your-mouth tender pepper texture, but as a “set and forget” recipe? Make this dish in the crockpot!
Prepare the sausage filling as directed above and stuff each banana pepper. Pour the marinara in the slow cooker crock, then layer the banana peppers in the slow cooker.
Cover and slow cook on low for 5-6 hours. Sprinkle with cheese and cover again for 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Try this recipe with mild pepperoncini or sweet Italian red peppers.
Enjoy saucy, tangy stuffed peppers with traditional or gluten-free pasta, or steamed rice. For a low carb dinner serve over fluffy cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles.
Leftovers will keep well for up to 4 or 5 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. I recommend that you reheat in the oven by baking at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or so, until warm.
Yes, this recipe freezes very well. I often make a double batch and freeze one (uncooked) pan for later use. You can also place the stuffed banana peppers in a freezer bag and leave off the marinara sauce to add later. If baking from a frozen state, bake for 80-90 minutes.
Looking for More Marvelous Low Carb Recipes?
- Italian Beef Skewers
- Keto Lasagna Roll-Ups (Made with Zucchini!)
- Low Carb Pepperoni Pizza Bites
- Balsamic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Supreme Pizza Dip
Italian Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers
- 10 whole banana peppers look for the straight ones!
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 1 small onion peeled and diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ¼-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 24 ounce marinara sauce store-bought or homemade
- 1 ½ cups shredded Italian cheese blend
- Salt and pepper
- Parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set out a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and a large mixing bowl.
- Prep the banana peppers by cutting off the stems. Use a small knife to slice down one side of each pepper from top to tip. (You don’t want to cut the banana peppers in half, but just create a slit so they’re much easier to stuff.) Remove the seeds inside and discard. Make sure to wash your hands well with hot soapy water. Even though banana peppers are usually mild, they may leave oils on your hands that can burn your eyes.
- Next, set a small skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, diced onions, and garlic. Salt and pepper liberally, then sauté to soften for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the Italian sausage, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper in the mixing bowl.
- Once the onions and garlic have softened, move to the bowl, and mix the sausage mixture by hand until smooth and even.
- Pour the marinara into the baking dish.
- One at a time, scoop up the sausage mixture with your hands and press it down into the banana peppers. Use your finger to press it all the way to the tip filling the banana pepper entirely. The peppers do not have to be closed along the seam, but they also shouldn’t be so stuffed that the pepper could crack.
- Place the stuffed banana peppers in the baking dish. Alternate the directions in which they lay so they fit neatly in the dish. Cover the top of the baking dish tightly with foil. Bake for 55 minutes undisturbed.
- Remove the foil and check that the peppers are very soft. Sprinkle the shredded Italian cheese over the top of the banana peppers and place back in the oven for five minutes to melt.
- Serve warm, with marinara and a sprinkling of chopped parsley
Prepare the sausage filling as directed above. Pour the marinara into the slow cooker. Then layer the banana peppers in the slow cooker. Cover and slow cook on low for 5-6 hours. Sprinkle with cheese and cover again for 10 minutes Leftovers will keep well for up to 4 or 5 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. I recommend that you reheat in the oven by baking at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or so, until warm.
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These were an absolute hit! The only change I made was I used a mixture of 75% ground chicken and then 25% ground hot Italian sausage (to make it lighter calories) and I only had vodka sauce on hand so I used that. 10/10 delicious!
These are so good! My kids even asked if I’d make them again! Definitely!! I might try this recipe for stuffed shells as well.
Must cook longer than 55 minutes…mine were raw at the end of 55 minutes
In the picture it shows 2 eggs and whole pkg of cream cheese in the bowl but the recipe calls for 1 egg and 4oz cheese cheese,which is it?
Sorry for the confusion. I originally tested this as a much larger recipe. Then later scaled it down for a family dinner. Go with the recipe, the images are showing what would be considered a double batch.
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These are excellent, almost identical to a dish on the menu of a nearby award-winning restaurant.
I couldn’t find banana peppers, so I used Anaheims. Stuffed five of them with the entire sausage mixture, and used a 12 oz. jar of pizza sauce (There was plenty of liquid in the dish after baking). To replicate the restaurant dish, I topped each pepper with tomato basil goat cheese crumbles (6 oz. container) instead of the Italian blend cheese.
Thank you so much for posting this recipe; I will be making this often!
Had a lot of peppers from the garden and was looking for a recipe to use them. This was great, easy enough and I have everything on hand most of the time. Try this recipe, it is awesome, will be making again and again.
My rating should have been 5 stars, not 4. Not sure how that happened!
OMG! These are delicious! I took these to a football party yesterday and they were a big hit! I never even bothered telling anyone these were keto!😜
I followed the directions exactly, but subbed Italian Melrose peppers instead of the banana peppers. I baked the peppers for 55 minutes and then added the shredded mozz on top. When I got to the party, I popped the uncovered casserole into the oven for 15-20 minutes to melt the cheese and bring everything up to temp. Delish! Thanks for the great recipe!
Loved this updated stuffed pepper recipe. My family do not usually like peppers at all but I had a bumper crop of banana peppers this year. I used Rao’s marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella and it really took it to the next level.
So good! I don’t normally care for Italian sausage but this recipe has changed my mind. Love it
Very easy and tastes great! I had cooked the sausage ahead of time but it still worked great in the recipe.
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Can I prepare ahead of time and bake later in the day?
Yes, you can! Just cover and refrigerate the pan until it’s time to bake. You may need to add 5-10 minutes to the baking time if the peppers are cold. Hope this helps!
Do you cook the Italian sausage before mixing with the cream cheese and stuffing the peppers
No, the sausage will cook as the peppers bake in the oven.
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These peppers are outstandingly delicious!
This was excellent. I’ve never made stuffed peppers cooked in marinara sauce but it is definitely a winner. I used banana and Cajun hybrid peppers from my garden and jalapenos from the grocery and all were excellent. I also stuffed some mushrooms with the stuffing and they were excellent too. If you want a very good bottled sauce, try Classico Tomato & Basil.
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Soooo good! Made this with a spicy local Italian sauce.
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We bought banana peppers not knowing how we were going to use them. We came across this recipe and it was delicious! It appears to be a complicated recipe but it was not. We will definitely be adding this to our recipe rotation!
I love this recipe! I’ve made these peppers 4 times in the last 3 months and they never disappoint….even when I mess up. The last time I made them, I accidentally used 8 oz of cream cheese instead of 4 and they were still amazing.
I made this exactly as described and my only gripe is that I only had 4 large banana peppers, so I had to make a small batch :( They were SO good! My husband raved about them all night, and I’m so glad to have found a new recipe to mix things up. Can’t wait to make these again, thank you!
Tried this stuffed banana peppers recipe for my family and it turned out to be a huge hit! So delicious and also healthy too!
This hearty stuffed banana peppers recipe is so delicious and easy to make! Love making this as a weeknight dinner recipe!
this recipe is so good! I almost feel like it is a healthier way of making enchiladas!