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 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.

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 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.

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.

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 green beans, broccoli or a green 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 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

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!
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. I used this same recipe but used turkey instead of beef and I put them in the air fryer. I forgot to add cheese to them so when they were finished I put a good bit of shredded cheese on top of them and put them in the microwave for two minutes. They turned out fine. Everyone loved them.

  2. I made this but I had to use up some leftover spaghetti. So I used that as the filling and it was so yummy!!!

  3. 5 stars
    1st time I’ve ever done stuffed peppers. Picked a random recipe. It was absolutely delicious. Stuck with the recipe, added a bit more onion and garlic. It was so delicious. My husband & parents loved it too. Will absolutely fix it again and personalize it with additional
    yummy stuff 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Easy, yummy recipe. Will become a staple for my partner and I.

    P.S if you prefer your bell peppers on the softer side, I’d add a bit more bake time!

  5. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness! This is soooo good! The first time my stuffed peppers got ate in one sitting! I would recommend to add a cup of cheese in the mixture instead of a half of a cup . But the recipe is on point. I topped with extra cheese and the fam loved it. I will be making this again!! Thanks.

    1. 5 stars
      Easy and good recipe. I diced up the tops of the peppers and added them to the beef from the start as I didn’t want to waste them. Turned out great.

    1. I make extra of the meat mixture, and used crushed tomatoes instead of tomato paste. Just enough for tomato flavor; then stopped and divided at that point. Took 1/2 half away while I added the quinoa (better than rice for me because not so soft) and finished the dish. While baking, I added the rest of the crushed tomatoes to the remaining meat to make Bolognese for later in the week. I like to make a vat of quinoa, or wild rice, or lentils or a mix of those at the beginning of the week. Any would work here. Used beef this time, but might try ground turkey or chicken next time. I did use shredded parmesan, too. It took the right time to melt.

      Also, I prefer to cut the peppers sideways, like little boats. I find them easier to eat, and you don’t have to worry about making them stand upright. They came out just right, with the pre-baking: not too soft and mushy, but cooked. You could use those mini sweet peppers with this, too.

    2. 5 stars
      Easy and good recipe. I diced up the tops of the peppers and added them to the beef from the start as I didn’t want to waste them. Turned out great. Another hack is to use Ben’s ready rice as it’s already cooked. 1 pouch is about 1 and 1/2 cups perfect for this recipe.

  6. I made this for dinner and it was so delicious my husband went back 2 times for more. This is a keeper. I used cheddar cheese, what I had in hand.

  7. 5 stars
    I put together my stuffed Bell Pepper Recipe, checked here for ideas. My Mother’s Recipe was almost word for word . We always use corn and rice in ours topped with a dab of ketchup and cheese. I copied the recipe with all the hints and notes., for salt-free i used garlic, pepper, and a variety of other seasonings that go with beef. Whole family loved my bell peppers.

    1. I have tried it this way. It’s very good!! But I did use two cups, instead of one and a half. The texture is a whole different pepper, but I can’t pick a favourite.

  8. I didn’t have big peppers so I used a bunch of mini peppers and made the stuffing as per recipe. Then cut the mini peppers in half and cooked them per recipe with the water etc. Than when peppers were done. I drained and turned the peppers over and placed the filling over the top of the peppers. I made mine for 2. But if you had make this style for more. Just do a layer of pepper and a layer of filing another layer of pepper and another layer of filling (like lasagna style), then cheese on top. Cover cook at directions. Enjoy!!

    1. 5 stars
      Also my wife doesn’t like mushrooms so I cooked mushrooms separately along with kale and spinach and added that on top of my finished peppers. Sorry forgot to add this. Enjoy

  9. 5 stars
    Made this using vegetarian beef crumbles.added more Italian seasoning. And I alternated the mixture and cheese in layers. This was definitely a hit in my household. Thanks!

  10. 5 stars
    Delicious! Used truffle and porcini spaghetti sauce instead of the tomato sauce and italian seasoning, and my whole family loved it!

  11. I made this recipe into a stuffed bell pepper casserole. I used mushroom sauce instead of plain tomato sauce . I put cheddar, jalapeños pepper and Colby Jack cheese on it in layers with the beef, bell peppers. Loved it!