How to Make Stuffed Peppers
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and gather ingredients.
- Cook your rice and ground beef mixture.
- Combine all ingredients that will be stuffed into your bell peppers.
- Cut off the tops of your bell peppers, removing the seeds and stems inside.
- Stuff your mixture into your open bell peppers.
- Place the bell peppers in a baking dish, drizzle the peppers with olive oil, and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes then remove the foil, add cheese if desired, and bake for another 20-25 minutes.
Stuffed bell peppers are a classic in my household when we’ve had some sort of rice dish the night before and want a simple dinner that will please the masses. With its tomato sauce, delicious ground beef, and scrumptious bell pepper combination you can’t beat this palate-pleasing dish.
Let us walk you through the tools you’ll need to prepare these peppers and a step-by-step recipe that is super simple to follow. Then we’ll provide you with some alternative ideas to spice up the recipe, so you can use this recipe and adapt it depending on your guests. Then we’ll teach you the proper ways to store these stuffed peppers when you’re done and prove to you that they are indeed a healthy meal.
1. Tools You’ll Need For A Healthy Stuffed Pepper
This is the kind of recipe that uses those regular kitchen supplies you’re bound to have. There’s no fancy pasta roller, juicer, or specific melon cutters necessary. Rest assured you most likely have all these tools on hand.
You already know this is a necessity in the kitchen when you’re cooking anything that splatters. We’re talking tomato sauce and cooking up some ground beef, so yes, you’ll want an apron like this one.
A good cutting board is necessary for cutting those bell peppers, getting the ideal minced garlic, and ensuring your countertops don’t suffer the price.
The ideal little kitchen knife for cutting up vegetables and making sure you get the smallest slice you can. I personally recommend this bad boy as it has never steered me wrong.
This recipe calls for cooked ground beef in a tomato sauce so having some sort of frying pan on hand will be essential.
A pot with a lid or a rice cooker:
However you choose to cook your rice (I personally throw it in the rice cooker my parents got 30+ years ago as their wedding gift) you’ll need that on hand. Hint: this pot is a stellar addition to your kitchen and perfect for making rice.
Alternatively you could use an instant pot.
An ovenproof baking dish or cookie sheet:
We’re roasting these stuffed peppers in the oven people so you’ll need something to put them on.
2. How To Make Stuffed Peppers
This is a classic go-to stuffed peppers recipe when you have leftover rice in your fridge and a fresh bag of multicolored bell peppers. While this recipe uses ground beef, the fun of stuffed peppers is that you can literally put whatever you want into the mixture.
The sweetness of roasted red bell pepper (or some yummy green peppers) mixed with the savory sauce and meat combination is a hit for an easy dinner that won’t take too much culinary magic to execute superbly.
6 bell peppers (a mix of green bell pepper, red pepper, orange, and yellow)
2 tbsp of olive oil (or more as needed)
1 lb ground beef
1 yellow onion diced
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 can of tomato sauce (possible substititute: diced tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste)
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup of cooked rice (long grain works best)
¾ cup of mozzarella cheese
Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and gather ingredients.
Depending on your oven you’ll want to heat it anywhere from 350-400. Mine works best baking at a lower heat, but if you want to speed up the process go ahead and heat it higher. That said, the higher the temperature the less time your bell peppers should bake.
Step 2: Cook your rice and ground beef mixture.
Get your rice cooking, following the instructions on the packet. You can use brown rice, white rice, or really whatever type you have on hand. Make it in a rice cooker, a slow cooker, or the old-fashioned boiling water in a pot recipe. I usually make this recipe with any leftover rice I have from the night before!
Next, you’ll want to put olive oil in a skillet, along with your chopped onions and ground beef. Add a bit of salt and pepper and cook on medium-high until the meat browns and the onions are fully cooked. Then remove the meat from the skillet. Add your minced garlic (if you don’t have any fresh garlic substitute garlic powder), tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning to the skillet and stir. Heat until it bubbles, then reduce the heat and add your ground beef back into the skillet.
Step 3: Combine all ingredients that will be stuffed into your bell peppers.
Take your cooked rice and add it into the skillet and stir to combine all ingredients. Take a taste test of the filling and see if you need to add a bit of extra garlic powder or spices.
Step 4: Cut off the tops of your bell peppers, removing the seeds and stems inside.
This step can really be done at the very beginning of your process or whenever you have time (perhaps while the rice and meat are cooking). Make sure you cut off just the very top of your bell peppers. Then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and innards.
Step 5: Stuff your mixture into your open bell peppers.
Take your meat and rice and tomato juice mixture and begin to stuff each bell pepper. Be conservative at first with your amount so you know you’ll have enough to fill all bell peppers, then continue to add more until all six bell peppers are fully loaded.
Step 6: Place the bell peppers in a baking dish, drizzle the peppers with olive oil, and cover with aluminum foil.
This step is quite straightforward. Some people's favorite recipes suggest that you add a little bit (think a tablespoon) of water to the bottom of the baking dish before you put it in the oven so that the peppers can steam a bit. I personally prefer a little bit of crunch to my bell peppers, so I leave the water out of my dish. Whatever you do, make sure to cover the top of your dish in aluminum foil.
Step 7: Bake for 20 minutes then remove the foil, add cheese if desired, and bake for another 20-25 minutes.
Bake the stuffed peppers for 20 minutes and then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese onto the tops of each one before putting it back in the oven, uncovered this time, for 20-25 more minutes. If you don’t have mozzarella on hand, parmesan cheese is a fantastic substitute.
Then take out and enjoy!
3. Alternative Ideas For Easy Stuffed Peppers Recipes
The recipe I just walked you through is pretty much the perfect classic stuffed peppers. But what do we love more than the classics? Subverting the traditional!
For the meat:
Instead of ground beef in the stuffing, the typical stuffed peppers recipe, try using Italian sausage (for Italian stuffed peppers!), ground turkey, or make it vegetarian and use black beans. You can even use a ground chicken or heck mix and match with a variety of meats or veggies!
To switch it up:
This stuffed peppers recipe suggests Italian seasoning, but why not go for some spicier flavors and use taco seasoning instead. I’d suggest still using beef here or perhaps a chorizo sausage. If you're really looking to spice things up you could add chili powder.
Make yourself some Mexican stuffed peppers. That way you could even add cilantro, a bit of lime juice, kosher salt, more garlic, and throw some avocado on there at the end. Any type of cheese will complement this dish, but a nice bold cheddar cheese or even feta cheese would be perfect.
To make it healthier:
While the Italian sausage will certainly elevate the flavor, if you’re looking for a bit healthier of a stuffed peppers recipe go ground turkey for your meat, instead of beef. An even healthier option is to make a vegetarian stuffed pepper using beans or some other alternative meat.
You should be using brown rice for the rice mixture if you’re really looking out for your health. While white rice may be slightly more convenient, brown rice adds that extra nutrition we all know we want.
Consider eliminating the cheese as well. While of course a bit of cheese adds that extra flavor, it also adds extra calories that you may not want.
Have fun with this recipe and add whatever you think will compliment it. Think chopped green onions, fresh herbs, fresh cherry tomato in the sauce, vegetables from your garden, parsley you name it!
4. How To Store The Stuffed Peppers
The trick to this recipe is that you can make as much of the filling as the bell peppers you have on hand. In other words, you shouldn’t really have leftovers. In the event that you do, however, just make sure you put the stuffed peppers in a sealed air-tight container and refrigerate. To eat the next day, heat in the microwave or in the oven on broil!
5. Nutritional Value
While you can always make substitutes to make this meal a bit healthier, this stuffed peppers recipe accounts for all the basic food groups. It’s a healthy meal that is bound to make the family happy!
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value
164.8 mg (200%)
6. Frequently Asked Questions About Stuffed Peppers
Do you have to boil peppers before stuffing them?
Absolutely not! Adding a bit of water to your baking dish will ensure that the stuffed bell peppers get a nice and even cook, but I like mine with a bit of crunch so I usually just cover the dish with aluminum and pop it in the preheated oven.
What do you eat with stuffed peppers?
I usually make a quick side salad and eat the stuffed peppers with that. But it’s up to you! They could be served as your main dish or a side to a lovely array of foods. I personally find them (when I use ground beef in particular) quite filling, so all I need are a few more veggies to feel full.
How long does it take to soften peppers in the oven?
This all depends on how soft you want the peppers but to cook them through it can take anywhere from 35-45 minutes.
Why are my stuffed peppers watery?
You must not be cooking them at a temperature that is high enough. Try setting your oven for a higher temp (think 400 degrees) and cook them for less time so they get a slight char.
If I don’t have a paring knife, what can I use?
If you don’t have a paring knife, buy one! They are reasonably priced and will make your kitchen prep so much easier. But of course, any chef’s knife will work wonders on a bell pepper (I love this one), so go ahead and use whatever knife you have on hand.
How long to heat up stuffed bell peppers in oven?
To heat up stuffed bell peppers in the oven, follow this Betty Crocker recipe: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the bell peppers (with tops cut off and seeds removed) in a baking dish. Fill each pepper with a mixture of cooked ground beef, cooked rice, Monterey Jack cheese, and marinara sauce. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until heated through and the cheese is melted.
How long should you cook peppers?
Cooking times for peppers vary based on the method and recipe. For beef recipes, such as stuffed peppers, baking in an oven at 375°F (190°C) for 25-30 minutes is common. In an Instant Pot, cook stuffed peppers on high pressure for 6-8 minutes. For other dishes, like roasted peppers, baking at 400°F (200°C) for 20-25 minutes may be suitable. Adjust times for your favorite recipes.
Why do stuffed peppers take so long to cook?
Stuffed peppers take time to cook because the bell pepper itself is a dense vegetable with layers that need to soften and become tender. Additionally, the stuffing inside, which often includes ingredients like raw meat, rice, and vegetables, needs to reach a safe internal temperature. The extended cooking time ensures that both the pepper and the stuffing are thoroughly cooked and safe to eat.
How long are cooked stuffed peppers good for?
Cooked stuffed peppers can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. To extend their shelf life, you can freeze cooked stuffed peppers for up to 2-3 months. Properly sealing them in airtight containers or freezer bags helps maintain their quality. Always use your judgment and consider any changes in texture, taste, or odor before consuming leftovers.
How long should you cook peppers?
To cook peppers for dishes like stuffed peppers with ground beef and rice, bake them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 30-45 minutes or until the peppers are tender. Cooking times can vary depending on the size and thickness of the peppers, so check for doneness by piercing with a fork. You can also add cheese like Pepper Jack on top and broil briefly for a delicious finish to your weeknight dinner.
Should peppers be boiled before stuffing?
Boiling peppers before stuffing is a classic method for making stuffed peppers. To do this, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of kosher salt, and briefly blanch the peppers for 3-5 minutes until they slightly soften. This step helps pre-cook the peppers, reducing the overall baking time and ensuring they become tender when the stuffed peppers are baked with your desired filling, such as ground beef and cheese, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
How do you're cook stuffed peppers?
Cut off the tops of the peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Blanch the peppers in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, then drain. Fill each pepper with your desired stuffing, such as a mixture of cooked ground beef, rice, cheese, and seasonings. Place the stuffed peppers in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 30-45 minutes or until peppers are tender. Optionally, top with additional cheese and bake until melted and bubbly. Serve hot and enjoy your delicious stuffed peppers.
How do you prepare peppers for cooking?
To prepare peppers for cooking, start by washing them thoroughly under cold running water. Cut off the tops and remove the seeds and membranes from the inside. Depending on your recipe, you can slice, dice, or leave them whole. Peppers are now ready for various cooking methods, whether you're sautéing, roasting, grilling, or stuffing them with your desired ingredients.