Stuffed Peppers made with sweet bell peppers loaded with seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, rice, and shredded cheese and baked until perfectly tender and melted. Learn how to make these easy stuffed bell peppers and enjoy this hearty veggie-filled meal as part of your regular weeknight dinner rotation.
Best Stuffed Peppers Recipe
Stuffed bell peppers are one of my favorite all-in-one recipes. They’re easy to make, and (just about) everyone loves them, which makes them ideal for entertaining.
Easily modified to fit a variety of diets and flavors, this stuffed bell pepper recipe is a perfect base recipe to get you started. Make it once, and from there, you’ll have the confidence to play around with different seasonings and fillings or use different bell pepper colors – green bell peppers are quite popular but less sweet when compared to orange, yellow, or red bell peppers.
How to Make Stuffed Peppers
1. Preheat the oven, cook the rice, and prepare the bell peppers: Start by preheating your oven to 375°F, then spray two large baking pans with non-stick cooking spray. Cook the rice or use leftover rice from a previous recipe (you’ll need 2-3 cups of cooked rice). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare the bell peppers for blanching.
2. Make the meat sauce: Make your own homemade spaghetti sauce (instructions in the recipe card below), or buy your favorite store-bought version. Both options result in delicious stuffed peppers.
3. Blanch the bell peppers: This is a step I highly recommend. It starts softening the bell peppers before stuffing and cooking, resulting in a softer, less crisp (raw) bell pepper.
- Add the prepared bell peppers to the pot filled with boiling water. Allow the peppers to cook for 2-3 minutes maximum. Using kitchen tongs, immediately transfer the blanched peppers to an ice water bath to stop any additional cooking. Repeat until all of the bell peppers have been blanched.
- Transfer the peppers to the prepared baking pans (6 peppers fit comfortably in one pan).
If you prefer not to blanch the bell peppers, add approximately 1 cup of water to each baking dish, tent with foil when baking, and add an additional 10-15 minutes to the total cooking time.
4. Stuff the bell peppers: After the sauce has finished cooking, remove from heat and stir in the cooked rice, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese. Season to taste. Use a spoon to stuff each bell pepper with filling, then top each with the remaining shredded cheese,
5. Bake the stuffed bell peppers: Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
How Long to Cook Stuffed Bell Peppers
In this recipe, you’ll want to bake your peppers at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden, melted, and bubbly. Since the bell peppers were blanched before being stuffed, they will require a shorter cooking time when compared to skipping this step.
Can You Freeze Stuffed Peppers?
Yes. Stuffed bell peppers are super easy to freeze.
Simply stuff and bake the peppers as instructed, then allow them to cool before transferring them individually, or all together, to a baking dish cut-side-up. Cover and transfer to the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat: allow the peppers to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in the microwave or oven. For best results, when reheating in the microwave, cut 2-3 slits in your peppers to help ensure that they warm evenly; otherwise, you’ll end up with a cold center. To reheat in the oven, place the peppers in a baking dish cut-side-up. Bake in a preheated oven set to 350 degrees F for approximately 10-15 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Ground turkey is a healthy and delicious alternative to ground beef. Stuffed red peppers are also delicious with ground chicken, ground pork, or ground Italian sausage.
Yes. To cook stuffed peppers in the crockpot, skip blanching the bell peppers first. They will be spending an extended amount of time in the slow cooker, so they will have enough time to soften as they cook. Simply fill your peppers with your prepared filling, transfer cut-side-up to your crockpot, and cook on low heat for approximately 4 hours. Top with cheese in the last 15 minutes or so.
What to Serve with Stuffed Peppers
Already a wholesome and well-balanced meal, stuffed peppers are complemented by less rather than more. My go-to sides include balsamic Brussels sprouts, fruit salad, balsamic tomato basil salad, or my favorite arugula salad.
Have you tried making this stuffed peppers recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes. I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Stuffed Peppers Recipe
- 2 teaspoon olive oil - divided
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 large yellow onion - diced
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes - or tomato sauce
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar - 1
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup water
- 8-12 bell peppers - Trim approximately ¼-inch from the top of each bell pepper. Remove the stems, membranes, and seeds.
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese - shredded
- 1 cup parmesan cheese - shredded
- 3 cups cooked white rice
- Fresh oregano - to garnish
- Preheat oven – Preheat oven to 375°F and spray two large baking pans with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Boil water – Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. As the water comes to a boil, prepare your sauce.
- Brown the ground beef – Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or saucepot set over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to season. Transfer beef to a clean plate and set aside.
- Cook the onions and garlic – Add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and return to medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent, stirring often. Stir in the minced garlic. Cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste and seasoning – Add the tomato paste to the vegetables, mixing thoroughly until combined. Add the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine.
- Add tomatoes – Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, water, and return the cooked ground beef back to the pot. Mix well to combine. Bring sauce to a low boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and allow the sauce to simmer for at least 20 minutes.
- Blanch your bell peppers – Working in batches, add the stemmed and seeded bell peppers to the pot filled with boiling water. Allow peppers to cook for 2 minutes max. Use tongs and immediately transfer to an ice water bath to stop any additional cooking. Repeat until all bell peppers have been boiled.
- Transfer peppers to prepared baking pans – Transfer your blanched peppers to your prepared baking pans (6 peppers fit comfortably in one pan, so plan to for two baking pans or cook your peppers in batches.
- Combine sauce with rice and cheese – After the sauce has simmered for approximately 20 minutes, remove from heat and add the cooked rice, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese. Mix well to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Fill the peppers – Stuff each pepper with filling, top with a few leaves of fresh oregano (optional) and top with the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat until all peppers have been stuffed.
- Bake – Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is golden and melted. Remove from the oven and enjoy.
- This recipe is terrific with ground beef or ground pork, lamb, chicken, or turkey.
- Thin the sauce by adding additional water, chicken stock, or even salted pasta water. To thicken the sauce stir in additional tomato paste, one tablespoon at a time.
- Slow cooker instructions: Skip the blanching step and fill your peppers with your prepared filling. Transfer cut-side-up to your crockpot and cook on low heat for approximately 4 hours. Top with the remaining cheese in the last 15 minutes or so.
- Leftovers: Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)