These stuffed bell peppers are filled with a mixture of ground beef, tomato sauce and rice, then topped with cheese and baked to perfection. A classic dish that’s comfort food at its finest!
Stuffed bell peppers have been popular for many years for good reason – they’re totally delicious! My version features a hearty beef and rice mixture with plenty of melted cheese. Serve your stuffed peppers as-is, or add a side salad for a meal that your family will be sure to love.
Stuffed Bell Peppers Ingredients
- Bell Peppers: You can choose any color bell peppers you like. Be sure to choose peppers with flat bottoms so they will stand up in the baking dish.
- Ground Beef: I use 90% lean ground beef as it has plenty of flavor without a lot of grease. If you use meat with a higher fat content you may need to drain excess grease from the pan after it is cooked.
- Rice: This recipe calls for cooked rice. Leftover rice will work just fine.
- Onions: The onions should be finely diced and add a lot of flavor to the beef and rice mixture.
- Seasonings: Season everything up with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning. Tomato sauce adds moisture and flavor. A sprinkle of parsley over the baked peppers is the perfect finishing touch.
- Cheese: I use freshly grated mozzarella cheese in this recipe, but you can feel free to substitute your favorite cheese if you prefer.
How do you make stuffed bell peppers?
Prepare the bell peppers by slicing off the tops and removing the seeds. Bake the empty peppers to soften them up before you add the filling. While the peppers are cooking, brown your beef in a pan and break it into crumbles. Add onion and garlic to the pan, and cook until the vegetables have softened.
Next, place the rice, tomato sauce and seasonings in with the beef and stir to combine. When the meat mixture is finished, use a spoon to place it into the peppers. Add the cheese to the tops of the peppers and bake. Finish the dish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, then serve and enjoy.
Tips for stuffed peppers
- Look for bell peppers that are about the same size to make sure that each of the peppers takes the same amount of time to cook.
- If a pepper does not stand up on its own, cut a thin slice off of the bottom of the pepper to make the bottom level.
- Feel free to use different colored bell peppers. The cooking process is the same for each of the colors and the dish will be more vibrant.
Peppers need to be cooked before they are stuffed to ensure they are tender. If you want a crispier pepper you can omit the par-baking step.
Stuffed peppers can be made in advance. You want to follow all the steps in the recipe except topping the peppers with cheese, then refrigerate the peppers. When you are ready to serve the peppers, top them with cheese and bake them at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. Remove the covering and bake them for an additional 10 minutes.
You can reheat stuffed peppers either in the oven or in the microwave. To reheat in the oven, bake the peppers in a covered dish at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. To reheat the peppers in the microwave, cook them individually on high heat for 2 minutes.
I like to serve my peppers with a veggie based side dish such as green beans, broccoli or a green salad. For heartier appetites, I also include a sliced baguette bread.
Stuffed bell pepper variations
These meaty stuffed peppers are delicious as-is, but you can also customize them to suit your taste.
- Meat: You can use sausage or ground turkey instead of ground beef.
- Grains: Try quinoa or orzo instead of rice
- Veggies: These peppers are great with other vegetables added to the filling such as diced zucchini, olives or corn.
- Cheese: You can use a different cheese to top the peppers such as cheddar or Monterey Jack.
These stuffed bell peppers are a classic dish that remain popular because they are so delicious. Everyone will be asking for seconds when these stuffed peppers are on the dinner table!
More comfort food classics
Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 6 bell peppers any color, or a combination of colors
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef I use 90% lean
- 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups cooked white rice do not use raw rice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded, divided use
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray.
- Slice the tops off the peppers and remove the ribs and seeds inside.
- Place the peppers cut side down in the baking dish. Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the dish.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
- While the peppers are cooking, prepare the filling. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
- Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until meat is cooked through.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the rice, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the peppers from the oven and drain off the water. Turn the peppers over and fill each one with the beef mixture.
- Top each pepper with the remaining cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned and peppers are tender.
- Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.
- Look for peppers with flatter bottoms so that they will stand up in the pan. If your peppers are not completely flat on the bottom you can cut a thin slice off to help them stay up better.
- Be sure to use cooked rice in this recipe, raw rice will not work.
- If you are using meat that has a higher fat content, you may need to drain excess grease from your pan after it is cooked.