Stuffed Calabrian Peppers: Exploring the Taste of Southern Italy

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We love stuffed Calabrian peppers! There are several varieties of Calabrian peppers. Many are elongated, conical shaped chilis. The Calabrian peppers we’re discussing here are the Piccante Calabrese, an Italian Heirloom. The pods of this variety grow to about 2″ diameter and have a short thick stem.

The peppers grow upright on the plant and ripen from green to a glossy dark red color. Piccante Calabrese peppers have a nice smoky flavor, especially when aged on the plant until dark red and slightly wrinkled. Although usually referred to as a hot pepper most people would consider them a mild to medium heat, less than a Jalapeno.

The Piccante Calabrese peppers are thick walled and great for stuffing. Seeds are in a large cluster that is easy to remove when cleaning. Traditional Italian recipes usually call for stuffing the peppers tuna or anchovies and storing submerged in olive oil.


Fresh Calabrian peppers are also used in Italian recipes such as arrabbiata pasta. However, we like these stuffed Calabrian peppers best filled with cheese and topped with bacon and baked in the over or air fryer, so that’s the recipe you’ll find here.

If you’d like to try your hand at growing these you can find the Calabrian pepper seeds in our shop. These pepper plants are easy to grow and very productive. Start the pepper seeds indoors at least 8-10 weeks before the last frost. You’ll be enjoying the Piccante Calabrese just a few months after transplanting into your garden.

You should consider using a cage or stakes as the branches of these plants will be loaded with the heavy peppers. The Calabrese is a container friendly variety. We’ve grown them many times in a 5-gallon pot.

When harvesting the peppers, we recommend using scissors or small pruning shears to sever the thick stems. The peppers can also be used green but they will be sweeter when red and even more flavorful when left to wrinkle slightly on the plant.

Stuffed Calabrian Peppers Recipe


Calabrian peppers are the perfect size for appetizers. We love stuffing them with cheese mix and topped with a little bacon

  • 24 Calabrian peppers
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cuo shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp ranch dressing powder
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup white wine (or water)
  1. Thinly slice the tops off peppers and scoop out seeds with a small spoon. Rinse peppers and set aside
  2. Bring vinegar and white wine to low boil in a small sauce pan. In small batches, add peppers to the boiling mixture for 3-4 minutes. Then remove the peppers and place on a towel to drain with cut side down until cool
  3. Cook 5 slices of bacon until crispy. When cool, crumble into small pieces
  4. Mix the cream cheese, shredded cheddar, and crumbled bacon together
  5. Spoon cheese mixture into peppers. Be sure to only fill the peppers about half way and the cheese mixture will expand when cooking
  6. Cut the remaining 5 uncooked slices of bacon into 1″ pieces. Place one piece of bacon on top of the cheese mixture of each pepper tucking the bacon down into the pepper
  7. Bake in oven or air fryer at 385F for 16 minutes or until bacon on top is cooked
  8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving

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