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

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

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Recipe Rating


  1. great recipe for vegetarian substitutes! i used impossible ground “beef” and added in carrot, celery and cauliflower. so delicious! loved it.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve made stuffed bell peppers a variety of recipes, but this one is the best. The only alterations I did was I added ketchup to the mix for a little sweetness. Two 👍👍!

  3. 5 stars
    This was BY FAR the best recipe of stuffed bell peppers I have ever eaten. Easy enough and packed with flavor! 100/10. Very grateful, thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    Soooo good! I only modified by chopping up the tops of the bell peppers and sautéing them with the beef/vegetable mixture. So good my 13 y/o son went for seconds! Win!

  5. 5 stars
    This was hearty and delicious. I used ground Turkey and added a grated carrot. I also used half Monterey Jack and half freshly grated Parmesan cheeses. My mom and husband loved it. Thanks for sharing.

  6. 5 stars
    My dad passed on this recipe.
    Instead of rice, I pulsed and sautéd a cup of cauliflower. Since the cauliflower doesn’t bind like rice, I added one large beaten egg to the somewhat cooled ingredients.

    One pepper and I was so full! Definitely a keeper!

  7. 5 stars
    Made these for dinner a few nights ago. They were amazing.Will definitely make again. Will make a double batch and feeze.

  8. 5 stars
    Easiest and yummiest stuffed pepper recipe I’ve found that requires ingredients I usually already have on hand. All the other recipes I’ve tried are ingredient intensive.
    I added a can of hot Rotel to add some spice and tomato chunks. Couldn’t stop eating the mixture!! Be sure to add enough salt to give it flavor.

    1. Oh, be sure to not waste the tops of the peppers when they’re cut off. Chop them up and add to the mixture.

      1. I was going to say the same. I’ll either add the tops to the beef filling when I make this for dinner tonight, or I’ll save them for tomorrow’s salad.

      2. Not only did I cut up the tops and added to the recipe, but I cut a hole in the middle of one to help hold up a wobbly pepper bottom

  9. Can these be made and the precooking done and assembled then frozen and cooked the rest of the way later

  10. 5 stars
    This is a great base recipe! I grew up with stuffed peppers having more Mexican seasonings/flavors, but my husband prefers Italian stuffed peppers. I use this recipe, but quadruple the amount of Italian spice and add fresh basil. I also usually reduce the beef to 1 lb, or use ground chicken depending on what I have on hand. To add in extra veggies for my kids I finely grate 4 large, peeled carrots. A few of adjustments here and there, but the bones of this recipe are wonderful! Thankful for your website and an easy way to feed my big family.

  11. First time trying this recipe and I forgot to buy the mozzarella cheese, can I make a substitution with cheddar cheese?

  12. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe! I used this recipe to make a number of scrumptious meals! I like the flavor of stuffed peppers, but not the time it takes. So I just chop however many bell peppers I have left wilting in the giant bag of peppers from the big box store and toss in a whole diced onion. Cook and spice the meat as directed, add in the peppers, onions, garlic, can of tomato sauce and a can of diced chillies and cook on medium till the veggies are done. After a rough day, I added it on top of corn tortilla chips like super nachos and topped with cheese and avocados. Wow, if people knew how quick/easy/tasty this was, the fast food places would be out of business!!! Tomorrow I’ll serve it with quinoa for a healthier dinner. (Eat your veggies first so you don’t end up enjoying too much of this goodness!) 😉

  13. Instead on tomato sauce, could you substitute cream of mushroom soup? My husband cannot have tomatoes of any type.

  14. I salted the filling to taste and added a splash of lemon juice to this recipe and it cranked it flavor up to 11. It is a really good recipe.

  15. 4 stars
    This was a nice change from the stuffed pepper recipe I usually make. It was good but I don’t think I’d make it again.