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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! 

Be sure to try my Egg Roll in a Bowl recipe next!

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 32 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
  • 1.5 cups cooked rice
  • 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 peppers top-side-down in the casserole dish. 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: 477kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 93mg, Sodium: 1039mg, Potassium: 995mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 4444IU, Vitamin C: 167mg, Calcium: 271mg, Iron: 4mg
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74 comments on “Stuffed Bell Peppers”

  1. This recipe was awesome!! I did a small amount of modifications to curtail to my girlfriend’s and my taste palate and these peppers turned out lovely! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and ability.

  2. What type of rice would you recommend? Jasmine? Basmati? Any preference?

  3. Loved this recipe for stuffed peppers!  Easy to put together.  I used tri colored peppers and I diced up the tops and added it to the meat mixture per the notes.  I used mozzarella since I just shredded some yesterday and the recipe has an Italian flair.  They came out perfect!  I froze 2 of them for another day.  Thanks, Stephanie!

  4. Tried this recipe last night and my family LOVED it. My husband asked if we can get this on the regular rotation and I found that our kiddo snuck in later to eat one of the leftovers as a late night snack, lol! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • I am sooooo happy to hear that Rachael!!! This is a huge hit with my family too, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie

  5. I used ground turkey and pork sausage. So yummy!

  6. I am going to try this recipe, today will be happy to give a comment

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