I am here to present you a new idea – filled sweet peppers. There are many sweet pepper recipes around and you can use these to make delicious filled sweet peppers. Sweet peppers are high in fiber so they can make your diet healthy. Ever eaten a stuffed pepper and thought, “Wow. This is so delicious that I wish the pepper would go on forever and stuff more food inside itself?” Well, your wildest dreams have come true with these handy little peppers that do exactly that.
Classic Stuffed Peppers
Of all the food you can stuff, stuffed peppers are at the top of our list. Bell peppers are large enough to hold a lot, strong enough to keep their shape in the oven, and mild enough in flavor to go with just about anything. In other words, they’re the perfect vessel to hold a variety of different ingredients and fillings.
We’ve stuffed peppers every way we can think of– and if you don’t believe me, check out our Cheesesteak and Chicken Parm varieties!– but this classic recipe is still our favorite. Here we’re filling them with beefy tomato rice and shredded Monterey Jack cheese, but you can customize them to fit your taste (and whatever you have in your refrigerator). Swap out the ground beef for another ground protein (pork, turkey, chicken, or even Italian sausage!) and add in any melty cheese you like.
How do I prep the peppers for stuffing?
It’s super simple! Just cut off the top (we like to use a small paring knife to carve a circle around the stem, like you might when you’re carving a pumpkin) and pull out the core and the seeds. We suggest turning the peppers upside down over the sink and tapping them to get the excess seeds out. You could even try rinsing the peppers out, but you don’t have to. (Also, if a few seeds stay in, it’s not a big deal!)
Should I cook the peppers before stuffing them?
You can, but we prefer not to. The peppers are easier to fill when they’re still raw, and this way they still retain a little bit of texture after they’ve been baked. We like them to be tender, but not mushy!
How long should stuffed peppers be baked?
In this recipe we’re baking them for 45 minutes total: 35 minutes covered with foil so the peppers can slightly steam and become tender, and then 10 minutes longer uncovered, so the cheese can get all brown and bubbly.
PREP TIME:0 HOURS 10 MINS
TOTAL TIME:1 HOUR 20 MINS
extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
medium onion, chopped
cloves garlic, minced
(14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp.
Freshly ground black pepper
bell peppers, tops and cores removed
shredded Monterey jack
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, prepare rice according to package instructions. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Cook onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 6 minutes. Drain fat.
- Return beef mixture to skillet, then stir in cooked rice and diced tomatoes. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Let simmer until liquid has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Place peppers cut side-up in a 9″-x-13″ baking dish and drizzle with oil. Spoon beef mixture into each pepper and top with Monterey jack, then cover baking dish with foil.
- Bake until peppers are tender, about 35 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is bubbly, 10 minutes more.
- Garnish with parsley before serving.
How To Make Stuffed Peppers
Got leftovers? Stuff ’em in a pepper, top with cheese, and call it a day!
PREP TIME20 minutes
COOK TIME1 hour 10 minutes
- 8 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (about 4 pounds total)
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
- 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese (4 ounces)
- Cooking spray
- Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish (optional)
- 9×13-inch baking dish
- Cutting board
- Large saucepan
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Canning funnel (optional)
- Heat the oven and prepare the baking dish. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Meanwhile, prepare the peppers and filling.
- Prepare the peppers. Use a small knife to cut a wide circle around each bell pepper stem (like when carving a jack-o’-lantern) to remove the tops. Chop the tops and set aside (you’ll use them in the filling). Season the inside of each pepper generously with salt and pepper. Place the peppers in 9×13-inch baking dish, wedging them together as needed to fit in one layer; set aside.
- Cook the filling. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the Italian seasoning and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the ground beef, diced pepper tops, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook on medium-high heat, breaking the meat up with a spatula as it cooks, until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice and drained tomatoes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Stuff the peppers. Evenly divide the mixture among the peppers (use a canning funnel if you have one). Sprinkle the cheese over the peppers. Carefully pour 1 cup of water between the peppers into the baking dish.
- Cover and bake until tender. Spray one side of a large sheet with aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place it sprayed-side down over the peppers and cover the baking dish tightly. Bake until the peppers are softened but not mushy and the filling is heated through, about 1 hour. Sprinkle with scallions if desired before serving.
Make ahead: The peppers can be stuffed and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead. Add 10 minutes baking time.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
The BEST Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe With Ground Beef
Classic stuffed peppers with rice, ground beef, and a healthy rainbow of sweet red, yellow and orange bell peppers makes the best easy dinner idea any night of the week.
Ever since I was a starry eyed pre-teen, I’ve been a fan of drawing rainbows. Now I eat them.
But as a kid, I wrinkled my nose at the sight those orbed vegetables, and when they showed up on my dinner plate, I plotted how to ditch every single bite in a napkin that was slipped slyly to the dog anxiously waiting under the table. I was a kid, and eating a whole bell pepper even if it was stuffed with ground beef was not my idea of dinner. Now, it’s my favorite part!
But the cornerstone of all peppers is this classic recipe for the best stuffed bell peppers with rice and ground beef.
The Best Type of Peppers for Stuffing
Today’s selection of peppers comes from a mix of grocery store varieties (red, yellow and orange) and ultra local farmer’s market (more yellows and purple) for a rainbow of sweetness begging to be stuffed.
If you prefer green peppers, for sure go for it and use them instead.
I went back to the memory of my mom’s recipe with ground beef and rice in a tomato based sauce, and embellished it with chunks of mushroom and fresh cut corn and a sprinkle of herbs and red pepper flakes.
What You Can Put In Stuffed Peppers
This is one of those throw what you have in the fridge type of recipes. Use my portions as guidelines but definitely put on your experimental hat when choosing ingredients:
- Red, yellow, orange or even green bell peppers
- Lean ground beef
- Cooked white rice (you can use brown rice, farro or quinoa, too)
- Tomato sauce
- Corn, celery and garlic
- Cheese, I added some grated fontina, but you could use Monterey jack or mozzarella or whatever’s on hand.
- If you prefer green bell peppers, certainly use them instead of or in addition to this bevy of colorful beauties.
Cut the tops off of the peppers to stuff the whole thing with beefy goodness. If you prefer smaller portions, cut the peppers in half and serve open faced.
How to Make Stuffed Peppers Stand Up
Here are my tips to get stuffed peppers to stand up and not tip over:
- Use a baking dish that snugly fits the peppers. The peppers shrink as they cook, so pack them in tightly when raw, and they’ll soften and fall a bit with heat.
- Trim the bottom of the pepper. Give the peppers a flat surface to stand on by evening out their rollicking bottoms.
Cook the Meat Before Filling
When making stuffed peppers, a popular question is, “Do I have to cook the meat before stuffing the peppers?” The answer is, yes. Adding juicy, browned meat adds loads of flavor to this dish, so be sure not to miss this step. Brown the meat before adding the vegetables, where they will soften and gain flavor, and add the seasoning afterward to simmer and meld the flavors.
The Best Rice for Stuffed Peppers
Medium, long grain white rice or jasmine rice is the rice I use most often in stuffed peppers. But brown rice or other grains like farro or quinoa in these peppers are terrific options too.
This is a great recipe to use up leftover rice. Or, while the meat is cooking, prepare the white rice or other grain you’re adding to the pepper mixture, and stir it into the meat and vegetables just before filling the peppers.
How Long Do You Cook Stuffed Bell Peppers?
A common question is, how long do you cook stuffed peppers?
My secret time saver: Blanch the peppers in the microwave to cut the cooking time!
I pre-cook my peppers by adding them to a microwave safe baking dish, and sprinkling the interior of the peppers with a bit of kosher salt, then adding 1/4 cup water to the bottom of the dish. Cover the peppers and give them a 5 minute blast in the microwave to pre-cook and soften them.
Stuff the peppers with the warm filling and cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until fork-tender and the cheese begins to bubble.
Make Them In the Crock Pot or Slow Cooke
This recipe is one of the easiest to transition to the slow cooker or Crock Pot.
To cook in the slow cooker, prepare the recipe as instructed through step 3. Spray the inside of your Crock Pot with cooking spray before adding the peppers, adding any extra filling to the bottom of the crock’s insert. Wait to add the cheese until the last half hour of cooking time.
Cook for 3 hours on high or 5 hours on low, or until the peppers are soft and tender.
How to Freeze Stuffed Peppers
Freeze stuffed peppers after cooking them. Store in a freezer safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Freeze in individual servings to take to work for lunch or pull out for a quick to heat dinner.
To reheat frozen stuffed peppers:
- Microwave in a microwave safe container for 20 minutes on HIGH heat or until warmed inside.
- To cook in the oven, preheat to 375°F and cook for 1 hour.
BEST Stuffed Bell Peppers with Ground Beef
I use red, orange and yellow bell peppers to cover all the colors of the rainbow, and stuff them with lean ground beef, mushrooms and top with a little cheese for a good healthy dose of Vitamin C, protein, and carbs at the same time.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour
- 1 pound lean ground beef 90% lean
- 4 mushrooms chopped
- 3 ears of fresh corn kernals or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 2 ribs of celery chopped thinly
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 14.5 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons basil
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups cooked long grain rice
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 6 bell peppers
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese or monterey jack cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brown the ground beef in a large fry pan over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until cooked almost through. Add the mushrooms, corn kernals, chopped celery, onion and garlic and cook until vegetables are softened. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Season with kosher salt and ground pepper to taste and cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir in cooked rice and chopped parsley and cook for another 5 minutes or until the rice is warmed through.
- Meanwhile, cut off the tops of the peppers and spoon out the ribs and seeds, then rinse. Lightly sprinkle the inside of the peppers with kosher salt and place in a microwave safe dish with 1/4 cup water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes or until they start to soften.
- Transfer to a 3 quart baking dish and fill the peppers with the hot meat and rice mixture. Sprinkle the tops with cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until peppers are tender and cheese is browned. Serve hot.
Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 308mg | Potassium: 918mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 4429IU | Vitamin C: 166mg | Calcium: 211mg | Iron: 4mg