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Stuffed Bell Peppers

 These Stuffed Bell Peppers are an easy and healthy dinner recipe that you can make with a variety of filling options, including ground beef, turkey, rice, cheese, tomatoes, and more! 

Stuffed Bell Peppers in a Casserole dish with meat and cheese.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Peppers are a must all year round, and there’s no better way to make use of fresh garden peppers than with this recipe. It’s hearty, delicious, easy to customize, and makes a great make-ahead meal.

Trust me when I say, this filling is like no other filling you’ve ever tried. The traditional components include ground beef and sausage along with garlic, onions, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, rice, and cheddar cheese.

The ingredients that make this better than any other are the chicken broth (depth of flavor), Worcestershire and hot sauce (flavor enhancers, the hot sauce doesn’t make it spicy), and the brown sugar (a hint of sweetness to offset the acidity from the tomatoes).

This is definitely one recipe your family will want again and again. Be sure to check out my pro tips below!

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Slice the top off of the peppers and remove the seeds/membranes. Place them top-side-down in a casserole dish with water. Cover and steam them for 20 minutes. Remove water and place the peppers back in the casserole dish. While the peppers steam, prepare the filling.

Bell Peppers in a casserole dish upside-down and right-side-up.

Prepare the meat/sauce/rice mixture and fill the middle of each bell pepper. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.

A skillet with a meat, rice, and tomato filling next to a casserole dish with stuffed peppers in a casserole dish.

Remove cover and top with cheese. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the peppers are tender. Remove and serve!

A casserole dish with stuffed peppers topped with cheese before and after baking.

Do You Have to Cook Peppers Before Stuffing Them?

  • Some recipes call for boiling, blanching, or steaming bell peppers before stuffing them, while others leave the peppers raw. No matter what, the peppers require at least 50 minutes of cooking time to have the ideal finished texture.
  • For this reason, I like to let the peppers steam in the casserole dish for 20 minutes in the oven while the filling is being prepared. This cuts down on overall preparation time as we’re overlapping tasks, but also allows the pepper to release some water as well, (raw bell peppers are 92% water).

Make Ahead Method

  • Steam the peppers and prepare the filling as outlined. Stuff each pepper.
  • Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Let frozen peppers thaw completely before baking.
  • When ready to bake, cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes if baking from a cold state. Remove the cover and top with cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the pepper is tender.

Stuffed Peppers on a white plate with melted cheese on top.

Pro Tips

  • You can use any combination of meat that you want to equal 1 ¼ lbs. Ground beef, sausage, turkey and pork are great.
  • The hot sauce is a flavor enhancer and doesn’t make this spicy. I used Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • If you do want to kick up the heat, add a little extra hot sauce, a pinch of cayenne, and diced tomatoes with green chilies instead of regular diced tomatoes. Hot Habanero cheese can also be used instead of regular cheddar.
  • Choose peppers that are close to the same size so that they cook at the same rate.
  • The bottom of the peppers should be relatively flat so that they can stay upright. If needed, take a very thin slice of the bottom of each pepper (without creating a hole), to make it stand more upright. If you accidentally cut too much, take the piece that you’ve cut off and insert it in the same spot on the inside of the pepper to ensure that filling stays inside.
  • The tops of the peppers can be diced and added to the meat mixture when the garlic is added, or they can be saved for another recipe!
  • Other colors can be used other than green peppers if desired.
  • It may seem counterintuitive to use chicken broth for the beef filling in this recipe, but it adds a delicious depth of flavor that contrasts well with the beef.
  • I use Cracker Barrel Sharp Yellow Cheese for this recipe. Mozzarella or Monterey Jack are great choices as well. 
  • Cauliflower rice can be used instead of regular rice to make this keto friendly.

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave or in a covered casserole dish at 350° for 15-20 minutes.

A Stuffed Bell Pepper sliced down the middle with meat filling inside and cheese on top.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers in a casserole dish with a meat filling and cheese on top.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

5 from 5 ratings
These Stuffed Bell Peppers are an easy and healthy dinner recipe that you can make with a variety of filling options, including ground beef, turkey, rice, cheese, tomatoes, and more!

Ingredients

  • 6 bell peppers, of roughly equal size
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ lb. ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground Italian sausage, spicy or mild
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 ½ cups marinara sauce, I love Rao’s
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 cup rice, cooked
  • 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add 1 ½ cups water to a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Cut the tops of each pepper and remove the seeds/membranes.
  • Place the whole pepper top-side-down on the baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove water from the casserole dish once finished and set the peppers aside.
  • While the peppers steam, prepare the filling.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and sausage and season it with salt and pepper. Cook and crumble it for 3 minutes. Add the onions and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the meat is brown and cooked through. Drain grease. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and Italian seasoning.
  • Add the tomato paste and brown sugar and stir to combine. Add the diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let it bubble gently and reduce/concentrate for 15 minutes or until little excess liquid remains. Stir in the cooked rice and heat through for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Fill each pepper with an even amount of filling and place in the casserole dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and top with cheese. (If there is any excess space around the edges of the pepper, I like to push cheese down into those spaces.) Bake for 10 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the peppers are tender. Serve!

Notes

Pro Tips: (Find more pro tips in blog post above!)
  • You can use any combination of meat that you want to equal 1 ¼ lbs. Ground beef, sausage, turkey and pork are great.
  • The hot sauce is a flavor enhancer and doesn't make this spicy. I used Frank's Hot Sauce
  • If you do want to kick up the heat, add a little extra hot sauce, a pinch of cayenne, and diced tomatoes with green chilies instead of regular diced tomatoes. Hot Habanero cheese can also be used instead of regular cheddar.
  • The tops of the peppers can be diced and added to the meat mixture when the garlic is added, or they can be saved for another recipe!
  • Cauliflower rice can be used instead of regular rice to make this keto friendly.

Make-Ahead Method
  • Steam the peppers and prepare the filling as outlined. Stuff each pepper.
  • Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Let frozen peppers thaw completely before baking.
  • When ready to bake, cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes if baking from a cold state. Remove the cover and top with cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the pepper is tender.

Storage
  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave or in a covered casserole dish at 350° for 15-20 minutes.

Nutritional information is an estimate and is per pepper. This recipe makes 6 stuffed peppers. 

Nutrition

Calories: 444kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 91mg, Sodium: 1003mg, Potassium: 989mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 4472IU, Vitamin C: 167mg, Calcium: 267mg, Iron: 4mg
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16 comments on “Stuffed Bell Peppers”

  1. Followed the recipe as is and my husband loved it.  First time for me making stuffed peppers, as I am not a fan of rice in anything but the sauce is to die for.  Will try to use the sauce on pasta.

  2. This recipe was DELISH!!! I’ve never made them before but it was one of my grandma’s specialties. This recipe delivered! I made it with fire roasted tomatoes and as a nod to my gram, I topped each pepper with a spoonful of tomato soup, baked for 20 minutes, topped with cheddar and baked again until melty. Also did as you suggested and added 1 chopped pepper top to the mix. My family LOVED these and I have to say, probably the best I’ve ever had. Thanks, Stephanie. I’m now a regular to your website because you cook like I do.

  3. I just made these stuffed peppers for supper and even though I cut them differently, they were delicious!  Thank you for the recipe!

  4. I’d always made these the way my mom taught me. This recipe was more work but the end result was so much better. Everyone loved them. I can’t wait for my mom to try these.

  5. I used to make these all the time. Now that I am a household of only one it almost seems like to much trouble. However, now when I make a batch I eat one and freeze the rest I pour the tomato soup over them. and then bake them. They heat up quite nicely in the microwave.

  6. I always pre-cook my peppers in the microwave. It’s so much easier and faster. I put the cleaned peppers upside down on paper towels in a plate a nd nuke them 4-5 minutes on high.

    • Nice, great tip! I bet you’d like them even more if you steam them in the microwave! (Unless that’s what you already do!) You’d put the baking dish in the microwave with 1 inch of water and cover it with a microwave cover, and cook for the same amount of time. I bet they’d be a little more tender! Thanks for the tip!!

  7. Outstanding recipe. This is the first year I have actual garden peppers so I’m so excited to stuff them!!!! Love the tip about making the bottoms flat. I did accidentally make a hole in the bottom but i put the piece inside the pepper as you suggested and it was a great patch. The meat stuffing mix is phenomenal just as you have outlined. I am going to stuff a bunch and freeze them so I can eat them this winter. I’m REALLY impressed with this recipe! Thank you.

    • Thanks so much Jenna, I can’t wait for you to try this with all your peppers! It’s such a fun use for them. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!❤️

  8. Getting ready to try these delish sounding stuffed peepers.
    Did you use regular sausage or Italian. I purchased ground mild Italian.

    • HI Deb! I am sooo excited for you to try these, I would love to know what you think afterwards! 🙂 I used ground mild Italian sausage, exactly what you got! I should have specified that, I will update it now! Thank you so much! -Stephanie

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