Skinny Cheeseburger Boats

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You might know this about me, but I’m a bit of a cheeseburger fiend. I find myself breaking my diet and ordering a cheeseburger at a restaurant all too often, even if there’s a really good-sounding salad on the menu. So, knowing this about myself, I’ve come up with a rule for myself: I cannot, under any circumstances, deprive myself of cheeseburgers. So, I developed this recipe for skinny cheeseburger boats. It means that I can satisfy my burger craving without destroying my weight-loss plan. Pretty great, right?

The best thing about this skinny cheeseburger boats recipe is how you can load it up with a bunch of toppings. We’ll get to the specific topping options in a minute, but for now I want to spend a minute telling you about how good this burger is by itself. Really, it’s all about the bell peppers. They make the perfect gluten-free, Keto-friendly sandwich “buns!” Once you remove the seeds, they’re a perfectly empty shell just waiting to be stuffed with your favorite ingredients.

Then, you season up the ground beef. Or, if you prefer, swap in ground turkey or this incredible recipe for vegan, plant-based beef. After seasoning it up with ketchup and mustard (because, those are classic burger ingredients- am I right?), you place the beef inside the shelled-out peppers. Bake ’em up and top them with cheese, and you have a fully functional, tasty burger!

Skinny Cheeseburger Boats Topping Choices

Okay, I promised to talk about some of the topping choices. Just like a real cheeseburger stuffed inside a bun, you can top these burgers with all your favorite accoutrements. That includes the standard vegetables as well as some unusual choices. Check out this list of our favorite skinny cheeseburger boats toppings:

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced avocado
  • Bread and butter pickles (or, dill pickles if you prefer)
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Pineapple pieces
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Diced onion

Really, the options are endless when it comes to burger toppings, so feel free to load them up. Keep in mind that you might be able sneak to some more vegetables onto your burger as a topping – like spinach or kale. This means you’ll get some bonus flavor and you’ll also benefit from extra servings of vitamins and minerals. That sounds like a win-win to me!

At the end of the day, these skinny cheeseburger boats make a perfect snack, or enjoy them with a side of healthy baked asparagus fries as a main dish. Let us know in the comments below if you have a favorite burger topping that we missed. We love hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

Check out this video to see how to make the recipe:

Skinny Cheeseburger Boats | Low-Calorie Burger Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Skinny Cheeseburger Boats | Low-Calorie Burger Recipe

Yields: 18 cheeseburger boats | Serving size: 2 cheeseburger boats | Calories: 237 | Total Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 396mg | Carbohydrates: 9g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Protein: 18g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5


  • 1 pound lean ground beef (optional ground turkey)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 medium bell peppers of varied colors, (remove core, seeds, and membrane)
  • 2/3 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 5 slices (reduced-fat) cheddar cheese, (any cheese slice will work


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice each bell pepper into 6 vertical pieces, along the indention line. Set peppers aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine meat, onion, salt, pepper, 1/3 cup ketchup, and mustard.
  4. Add meat mixture to boats. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook until meat is done, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove boats from the oven, drizzle with remaining ketchup, then top each with 1/4 cheese slice, place back in the oven and bake just until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove boats and enjoy will hot!

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More Burger Recipes We Think You’ll Love:

Mediterranean Grilled Eggplant Burgers With Cheese

If you’re looking for a healthier burger that doesn’t involve any meat, this recipe is bound to satisfy. Once you grill up those eggplant slices, perhaps you’ll become a veggie-patty convert! You’ll love the way that salty feta cheese melts right into the Greek yogurt “ranch” dressing. This recipe is a winner – even if you’re not a vegetarian.

Turkey Burger with Avocado Relish

It’s hard to say no to a sandwich that lists avocado relish as one of the toppings! We keep this recipe nice and healthy by using ground turkey instead of beef. You won’t notice the switch underneath all the delicious seasonings and the melty, low-fat cheese.

Buffalo Ranch Chickpea Burger

This burger celebrates everything you love about a spicy buffalo wing, just in a burger version. As a bonus, it’s completely vegetarian but still tastes meaty and satisfying. It’s really hard to find anything to dislike about the way these flavors come together. And, if you want to make this a plant-based burger, just skip the Greek yogurt in the ranch dressing mix.

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12 Comments on "Skinny Cheeseburger Boats"

  1. kathryn jansen  June 28, 2018

    this cheeseburger boat recipe looks great and looking forward to making it but im wondering about the shredded cheese. not sure if that is supposed to be part of the recipe although its listed as an ingredient…

    • Gale Compton  July 2, 2018

      Kathryn, Thanks for the comment. Shredded cheese has been removed. 🙂

  2. Karlij  October 9, 2018

    Do you cook the ground beef before putting it in the peppers/oven? Or will the meat fully cook in oven?

    • Gale Compton  October 11, 2018

      Karlij, We cook the meat after adding to the peppers. You could could the meat first, if preferred. 🙂

  3. Julie  April 7, 2019

    Lactose intolerance. More dairy free recipes please?

  4. Lydia  April 28, 2019

    One serving size is two wedges of the stuffed bell pepper and one serving is 5 points correct?

    • Nichole Furlong  April 30, 2019


  5. Becky  April 29, 2019

    What could be used instead of the peppers? Not really a fan.

    • Nichole Furlong  April 30, 2019

      Any vegetable that can create a “boat” would work – for example a scooped out zucchini or squash, tomatoes, or protabella mushrooms.

  6. Kenda  July 3, 2019

    Was the cheese added back in I see it on the recipe but comment said it was removed?

    • Nichole Furlong  July 9, 2019

      Hi Kenda, the comment was referring to shredded cheese which is no longer in the recipe. Only the cheese slices remain in the recipe.


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