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!

I love to prepare stuffed veggies such as stuffed zucchini, stuffed cabbage and these fabulously delicious stuffed peppers. My family requests this recipe time and time again, it’s just that good.

Stuffed bell peppers in a baking dish topped with melted cheese.

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

Bowls of ingredients including ground beef, peppers, rice and seasonings.
  • 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 can drain any excess grease from the pan after it cooks.
  • Rice: This recipe calls for cooked rice. Leftover rice will work just fine. I prefer the flavor and texture of long grain rice such as Jasmine or Basmati. Brown rice is a great option if you don’t want to use white rice.
  • Onions: The onions add a lot of flavor to the beef and rice mixture. Finely dice them for the best results.
  • Seasonings: Season everything up with salt, black pepper, garlic cloves 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. No need to remove the stem! Bake the empty peppers to soften them up before you add the filling. While the peppers are cooking, brown your beef in a pan or large skillet and break it into crumbles. Add onion and garlic to the pan, and cook until the vegetables have softened.

Step by step process shots on cooking bell peppers and ground beef.

Next, place the rice, tomato sauce and seasonings in with the beef and stir to combine. When the meat mixture is ready, 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.

Process shots making ground beef filling and stuffing it into peppers.

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.
  • I recommend grating your own cheese. The bags of pre-shredded cheese at the grocery store typically contain anti caking agents and do not melt smoothly.

Quick Tip

Leftovers will stay fresh in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe FAQs

Do peppers need to be cooked before they’re stuffed?

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.

Can stuffed bell peppers be made in advance?

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.

How do you reheat stuffed peppers?

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.

What should I serve with stuffed peppers?

I like to serve my peppers with a veggie based side dish such as roasted green beans, sauteed broccolini or an Italian salad. For heartier appetites, I also include a sliced baguette bread.


A stuffed bell pepper cut open on a plate.

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 Italian sausage, ground chicken 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.
  • Spices: Feel free to add other flavorings such as cumin, chili powder, or fresh cilantro for a pepper with more of a Mexican style flavor.

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

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5 from 206 votes

Stuffed Bell Peppers

AuthorSara Welch
Stuffed bell peppers in a baking dish topped with melted cheese.
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!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Serves 6


  • 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.


  1. 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.
  2. Be sure to use cooked rice in this recipe, raw rice will not work.
  3. 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.


Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 628mg | Potassium: 912mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 4335IU | Vitamin C: 160mg | Calcium: 186mg | Iron: 4.1mg

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5 from 206 votes (98 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Made tonight for dinner. Followed recipe to the T other than adding some sazon to the meat while cooking. DELISHES!!!!!!!

  2. 5 stars
    Fabulous recipe. I added zucchini and bell pepper top with celery and frozen Italian meatballs as well as more mozzarella cheese than original recipe. I used leftover cooked brown rice . Seasoning consisted of tony Chachere, pink salt and powered beef 🥩 broth while making the fixings. Served with garlic bread 🍞. Happy flavor in every bite.

  3. 5 stars
    I make these Stuffed Peppers quite often I. The summer..bell peppers in the garden are easy to grow & plentiful. This recipe is easy & just delicious.
    I’ve loved every recipe of yours that I’ve made. I’m a senior citizen, I cook a lot, and I love good food that’s not going to take all day.
    That’s why I keep coming back! 😋😍

  4. Is the rice cooked or uncooked when you mix it with the cooked ground beef? Some recipes call for cooked rice and some call for uncooked rice.

    1. 5 stars
      Rice should be fully cooked before mixing with ground meat. Best to use 50/50 pork and beef. Use the sweeter female pepers. Male pepers have 3 knobs on bottom, female 4.

  5. We make this using brown rice use raw ground chuck in with rice and tomato mixture. We don’t double bake peppers just stuff bake at 375° and serve. Delicious starter recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    Followed recipe and I have to say that these are the best stuffed bell peppers I have ever made! So yummy!!

  7. 5 stars
    Recipe came out perfect! I did use ground turkey instead of beef and it came out just as good!

  8. I followed the recipe but instead of the ground beef, I substituted ground turkey. I had to drain the ground Turkey cause it’s filled with lots of water. But it turned out good and tasted, less fat.

  9. FIve stars. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out beautifully (both taste and presentation). Thank you for the recipe.
    It is a keeper!

  10. 5 stars
    Very good. Used lots of smoked cheddar cheese and red/orange peppers, sweeter, less acid than green. Agree with other comments, softened the onions first, then garlic, then ground beef. I always add a little bit of water to ground beef as I am browning to help break it down into smaller pieces.

  11. I cook this, but I don’t understand cooking the meat first and then adding in the onions and garlic. I do it the other way around. Very yummy

  12. I put raw ground beef, 1 egg, finely chopped green onions, spices and baked for 45 mts at 350 with the pepper top and 10 uncovered 400 deg with some mozzarella cheese