These Stuffed Peppers are a comfort food classic, deeply satisfying and hearty, and utterly succulent and delicious. Bell peppers, roasted and stuffed with saucy meat filling and topped with mozzarella cheese, are irresistible. And incredibly easy to make.
While they may look time-consuming, they are one of the simplest, even prettiest dishes you can make. Individual servings of brightly colored stuffed bell peppers will delight everyone at your table.
If you’re meal prepping or looking for make-ahead meals, these stuffed peppers are a perfect candidate. And they freeze well too.
Which color bell peppers should you use?
I love to use brightly colored peppers, as I’ve done here. However, green bell peppers are tasty too.
Most bell peppers begin life as a green pepper. But over time, hanging out on the vine, they begin to ripen. As they ripen, the color changes from green to light yellow to orange and finally to red.
The evolving colors help indicate the ripeness of the peppers. Generally, the sweetest peppers are yellow, orange, and red.
What to Love About Stuffed Peppers
- Stuffed Peppers are incredibly easy to make with a handful of ingredients. And here is some blissful news — there is no chopping involved. Unless you want to chop the parsley (which is optional). The filling is made quickly and the oven does the rest.
- Make Ahead Friendly. Some may argue these peppers are even more flavorful the next day! To make ahead, simply assemble the peppers, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake.
- Lunch? Yep, with a quick warm-up in the microwave, they make delicious, filling, and healthy lunches.
Stuffed Peppers Ingredients
Here is a list of what you will need to make stuffed peppers as well as ingredient notes and alternatives. The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Cooked rice: I’m using long grain rice but you can substitute your favorite grain, like quinoa or brown rice.
- Lean ground beef: To make the stuffed peppers lighter, substitute ground turkey breast or chicken for the beef.
- Garlic cloves, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper for flavor.
- Tomato sauce: canned sauce makes this recipe incredibly easy and delicious.
- Bell Peppers: choose your favorite colors, I’m using red, yellow, and orange
- Shredded Mozzarella, or your favorite Italian-type shredded cheese. Monterey Jack is delicious too.
- Fresh parsley: although completely optional, I like to garnish each top with a sprig of parsley, and while you have it handy, tossing a handful into the stuffing adds another layer of flavor.
How to Make Stuffed Peppers
Classic stuffed peppers are really easier to make than you might think. Detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here is an overview.
1. Cook the Rice and Beef
Cook the rice (or grain you are using) until tender. The Instant Pot can cook the rice in 4 minutes, or make it in a covered saucepan on the stovetop. While the rice is cooking, brown the ground meat until there is no longer any pink remaining.
When meat is browned, add the additional ingredients to create the stuffing.
2. Stuff the Peppers
Hollow the bell peppers by cutting off the tops and removing seeds and membranes. Arrange in a single layer inside a baking dish. And then stuff the peppers with the filling. Top with shredded cheese.
Cover and bake until the peppers are tender.
What to Serve With Stuffed Peppers
How to Store Stuffed Peppers
Let the peppers cool completely before storing leftovers in an airtight container. Refrigerate for 3 to 5 days.
Can You Freeze Stuffed Peppers?
Yes! You can absolutely freeze stuffed peppers. Wrap each completely cooled pepper individually in plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil. I then add them to gallon-size freezer bags and store them for up to 3 months.
Thaw frozen stuffed peppers in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through.
Can I Make Stuffed Peppers in the Slow Cooker?
Absolutely! Pour ½ cup of water into a 6-quart slow cooker. Then, assemble the stuffed peppers, omitting the cheese (this step comes later).
Add the stuffed peppers to the crockpot, cover, and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, or until the peppers are tender.
Once soft, add the cheese to the top of the peppers, cover, and cook for 10 minutes more, or just until the cheese is melted.
Storing and Reheating Stuffed Peppers
Refrigerate: let the leftover peppers cool to room temperature before storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezing: when the stuffed peppers have come to room temperature, wrap individually in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil, or you can store them in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until warmed through.
Reheating in the Microwave: Stuffed peppers will reheat evenly if you cut them in half or quarters. Microwave for about 90 seconds, in 20-second intervals, or until warmed through.
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- 1 cup cooked rice (or favorite grain)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 6 medium bell peppers
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bring water and rice to a boil in a covered saucepan (or cook for 4 minutes in the Instant Pot). Reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is tender.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned and no longer showing any pink spots.
- While the rice and meat are cooking, hollow out bell peppers by removing and discarding the tops, seeds, and membranes. Arrange peppers in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward.
- In the skillet, stir together the cooked rice, cooked beef, tomato sauce, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt and black pepper to taste. Spoon an equal amount of filling into each hollowed pepper.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the peppers are tender. Remove from the oven, top with shredded cheese, and return to the oven. Bake until the cheese is melted; about 7 to 10 minutes.
Lighter Stuffed Peppers
For lighter stuffed peppers, substitute ground turkey breast for ground beef and use reduced-fat cheese.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 326Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 628mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 28g