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.

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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

Love This Recipe?

Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

5 from 201 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!
Time
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Serves 6

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  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.

Nutrition

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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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Definitely a hit in my family! Delicious!
    Any left over filling can be used as a burrito the next day or if your kids are not a fan of bell peppers. You get two in one. I made a minor change in filling, I added a taco package and used orzo instead of rice. Definitely a staple in my family.

  2. This was s the second recipe I have tried from Dinner at the Zoo and it is so good. I can’t wait to eat dinner this week!

  3. Is this something I can prep then freeze? Maybe skip the precooking of the peppers to help then hold up after frozen?

    Thanks!

    1. You should be able to freeze them, you could precook the peppers for a few minutes less but I wouldn’t skip the precook completely!

  4. I had a leftover combination of cooked brown rice and barley, which I used instead of white rice.
    It added a bit of a nutty flavor, which my guests enjoyed.

  5. This recipe was really helpful as a base guideline for stuffed peppers, so thank you for that! I’ve been wanting to make this for a while so had it saved, but ended up with spare yellow+red peppers and cilantro that needed to be used. I modified for a tex-mex vibe: Subbed green chile sauce for the tomato sauce; added jalapenos in with the onion; and subbed paprika, cumin, coriander and oregano for the italian seasoning, cheddar and queso fresco for the mozz, and cilantro for the parsley.

  6. Making these peppers tonite for dinner. Love the ingredients and versatility. Can’t wait for family feedback ☀️

  7. This is my first time making it I hope we like it cause I’ve been trying to make different things cause we’re so tired of the same stuff all the time so I saw this and never made them so I hope he loves it cause if he doesn’t oh well but he always likes whatever I make so hoping it’s a great recipe thank you very much

  8. 5 stars
    Oh yum! So many wonderful flavors packed into these bell peppers. I especially love all that cheese on top.

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe was so good and so easy! I made this with only 4 peppers and having the extra stuffing was great. We ate it with sour cream and ugh it was amazing. Will be making more for sure!

  10. 5 stars
    Used Uncle Bens already cooked long grain and wild rice so I didn’t have to cook rice, plus it added more flavor. Also used roasted garlic tomato sauce and didn’t have mozzarella so used Colby Jack. Turned out great. Will make this again!!

  11. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious!!! I have some picky eaters but this was an easy sell, lol. With your ingredients i added a few of mine like diced up some fresh mushrooms, diced the tops of the green pepper (never no waste, or give the kids a snack while waiting for dinner, lol), I used two large bottles of Ragu only bc kids like dipping and they can put the meat sauce on a piece of bread. We love lots of sauce :). Thanks this was awesome!!!

  12. 5 stars
    2nd time making this and we like it a lot! Think we are going to add another can of tomato sauce to the bottom of the pan when baking these next time so there’s a little “juice” to spoon on top when they are done.

  13. 5 stars
    I used red onion, diced the tops of the pepper and added it to the meat. At the last minute I realized I did not have tomato sauce 🤦🏻‍♀️ I did however, have picante sauce. So, I substituted that, then threw some cayenne and taco seasoning in. I also used medium cheddar because I didn’t have moz. See the pattern here? 😂 Anyway, it turned out great and I can’t wait to try the original recipe next time.

    1. Yummy!! This time I used 2 leftover kabalsa sausage,fried potatoes and mushrooms along with ingredients in recipe. Didn’t have mozzarella cheese so used cheddar and parmesan. AWESOME!!