Stuffed Peppers

May 7, 2019

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Homestyle Stuffed Peppers! Multi-color, nutritious bell peppers are loaded with seasoned ground beef, hearty rice and mildly sweet tomatoes, then they’re and finished with mozzarella cheese and baked until perfectly tender. It’s a delicious dinner in one that you’ll want to on regular rotation!

Stuffed Bell Peppers cut in half to show filling including ground beef, rice, tomato sauce and cheese.

Stuffed Peppers Recipe

I’ve always loved stuffed peppers but I’ve hated the extra step of boiling water and parboiling peppers before baking. So instead, here we pre-bake the peppers (in the same baking dish you’ll already be using to bake the stuffed peppers) while the filling cooks, it’s a no brainer.

Stuffed Peppers Video

 

Then to make prep faster use leftover rice from a dinner you made the day before if you’ve got some.

These are easier to make than you’d think and they make delicious left overs the next day for lunch. Plus how else could we eat a whole pepper in one sitting? A great way to get the the whole family to eat more veggies!

Nothing fancy or complicated here, just fresh, flavorful, comfort food tossed and layered together and baked until perfectly tender and tasty.

Multi-color stuffed peppers in a white baking dish.

Ingredients for Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • Long grain white rice – leftover rice works great if you have some.
  • Bell peppers – if you’d prefer you can make use all green if they’re what’s cheaper.
  • Olive oil – only a little is needed for sauteing. Another neutral oil will work such as vegetable oil.
  • Ground beef – use one that’s 80%+ lean.
  • Yellow onion and fresh garlic – these create a delicious base of flavor, only use fresh.
  • Canned petite diced tomatoes – I like these smaller chunks but standard cut canned tomatoes will work fine.
  • Tomato sauce – if you are looking to reduce sodium in the recipe use no-salt tomato sauce and canned tomatoes. And of course season with less salt.
  • Italian seasoning – I love to use this blend here rather than adding 5 kinds of dried herbs individually.
  • Fresh parsley – this adds lots of fresh flavor. It’s one of my go-to ingredients I always keep stocked.
  • Mozzarella cheese – if you want even more flavor substitute 1/4 cup of the mozzarella for parmesan.

Ingredients to make stuffed peppers show here including bell peppers, ground beef, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, italian seasoning, mozzarella, white rice, olive oil, parsley.

How to Make the Best Stuffed Peppers

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  • Meanwhile, trim about 1/4-inch from tops of bell peppers and then remove stems, ribs and seeds. Fill a baking dish just large enough to fit peppers with about 1/2-inch of water.
  • Place peppers upside down in water, cover tightly with foil and bake 20 minutes.

6 multicolor bell peppers in a white baking dish.

  • Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over-medium high heat.
  • Add onion and saute 3 minutes. Move onions to one far side of the skillet.
  • Add beef in chunks, season with salt and pepper then let sear until browned on bottom, about 2 – 3 minutes.

Showing how to make stuffed peppers, browning ground beef in a skillet along with yellow onions.

  • Break up beef and toss with onions and continue to cook 2 minutes, add garlic and cook until beef is cooked through about 1 minute longer.
  • Remove from heat, drain off excess fat (I like to tilt skillet to one side and dab up excess fat using tongs and paper towels).

Draining fat from ground beef in skillet using a paper towel and tongs.

  • Stir in tomatoes, half of the tomato sauce (about 1/2 cup), cooked rice, parsley, Italian seasoning and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Adding cooked rice, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and herbs to ground beef mixture in skillet.

How Long to Cook Stuffed Peppers?

  • Reduce oven temperature to 350. Turn par-baked peppers upright and fill with beef filling.
  • Pour remaining tomato sauce over peppers. Cover with foil and continue to bake 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese, return to oven and bake until peppers have reached desired tenderness, about 10 – 20 minutes (thinner peppers will be done near lesser time thicker near greater). Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.

Stuffing par cooked bell peppers in baking dish with rice and ground beef filling.

Can I Use Brown Rice?

Yes. Brown rice will work great here too, just use the same amount (2 cups cooked).

Can I Use Ground Turkey instead of Ground Beef?

Yes. Ground turkey will work great too (85 – 93% lean). Using the brown rice and ground turkey substitutions are great healthier options here.

Can I Cook the Stuffed Peppers in a Slow Cooker?

Yes, these can also be cooked in a slow cooker. Skip the pre-baking for the peppers, just fill them with the prepared cooked filling and cook in a slow cooker on low heat for about 3 1/2 – 4 hours or until tender, add cheese during the last 10 minutes.

Overhead image of six stuffed peppers in a white baking dish.

How Can I Make them Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers?

  • Swap the Italian seasoning with 1 – 2 Tbsp taco seasoning (omit salt and pepper).
  • Trade the parsley for cilantro.
  • Replace mozzarella with monterey jack or cheddar cheese.
  • Optional, add in some black beans for an extra filler.

Can I Prepare Them Ahead of Time?

You can make prep them up to 1 day in advance, if going that route though I recommend boiling the topless peppers for 5 minutes first. Then stuff them with prepared filling and refrigerate. The following day let rest at room temperature while the oven preheats. Increase baking time by about 10 minutes or so since they’ll be starting out cool.

Close up overhead image of stuffed peppers in a baking dish.

More Stuffed Pepper Recipes You’ll Love:

More Ground Beef Recipes to Try:

Red yellow and green stuffed pepper in a serving bowl.

Multi-color stuffed peppers in a white baking dish.
4.96 from 63 votes

Stuffed Peppers

Homestyle Stuffed Peppers! Colorful, nutritious bell peppers are loaded with seasoned ground beef, hearty rice and mildly sweet tomatoes, then they're and finished with mozzarella cheese and baked until perfectly tender. 
Servings: 6
Prep20 minutes
Cook1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup long grain white rice*
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 bell peppers, any color (medium-large size)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 lbs lean ground beef**
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp)
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  • Meanwhile, trim about 1/4-inch from tops of bell peppers and then remove stems, ribs and seeds. Fill a baking dish large enough to fit peppers with about 1/2-inch of water.
  • Place peppers upside down in water, cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over-medium high heat. Add onion and saute 3 - 4 minutes. Move onions to one far side of the skillet. Add beef in chunks, season with salt and pepper then let sear until browned on bottom, about 3 minutes.
  • Break up beef and toss with onions and continue to cook 2 minutes, add garlic and cook until beef is cooked through, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat, drain off excess fat.
  • Stir in tomatoes, half of the tomato sauce (about 1/2 cup), cooked rice, parsley, Italian seasoning and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350. Turn peppers upright, sprinkle inside peppers lightly with salt and fill with beef filling. Pour remaining tomato sauce over peppers. Cover with foil and continue to bake 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese, return to oven and bake uncovered until peppers have reached desired tenderness, about 10 - 20 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.

Notes

*Brown rice will work great here too but keep in mind it will take more than twice as long to cook. If you have left over rice you'll need 2 cups cooked rice. If using leftover rice consider adding an extra 1/4 cup of tomato sauce or a little broth as it will be drier.
**For a healthier option ground turkey (85 - 93% lean) will work great in place of ground beef. Just keep in mind it wont brown the same so no need to let it sear on bottom.
Nutrition Facts
Stuffed Peppers
Amount Per Serving
Calories 395 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 76mg25%
Sodium 475mg21%
Potassium 959mg27%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 4335IU87%
Vitamin C 164.8mg200%
Calcium 166mg17%
Iron 4.5mg25%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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187 Comments

  • Sara N Cantrell

    What are some other options I can used besides tomato sauce?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      You can try crushed tomatoes, tomato purée, tomato paste mixed with water, or marinara/ spaghetti sauce.

  • Jean Cunningham

    The recipe is great except steaming the peppers in the oven at 400 degrees with foil over it caused my peppers to get mushy and a couple of them collapsed. Very disappointing. I had fresh firm peppers to begin with. I think they should be steamed for 10 minutes. Also I kept the foil over them when I took them out of the oven while finishing cooking the filling. Perhaps that contributed to the mushiness.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Sorry about that! There in step 8 they should be baked uncovered, they likely just steamed and softened a little too much by being covered.

  • Barbie

    20 minutes at 400 degrees covered in foil made the peppers too mushy with two ripping when being turned over while the other peppers collapsed. I only had diced tomatoes w chilies and this was very tasty.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Sorry to hear that! The peppers were likely overripe (and already beginning to soften) or too thin.

  • Tyler

    Awesome recipe. I used ground turkey, salt, pepper, and ranch seasoning. Turnt out great thank you!

  • Sara

    These were so good! A few changes that I made… I cooked the rice in chicken broth, added mozzarella cheese and garlic salt to the meat mixture and a combination of mozzarella and parmesan on top! My picky eaters approved! Next time I think I will try adding in a veggie or two to the meat mixture.

  • Vaneska Adams

    I realized I didn’t have any tomato sauce once I started making this. I found a bottle of salsa and used 3/4 instead. It was fantastic!! My kids who are picky eaters, each had 2 peppers. This is a great recipe. Thanks!