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 212 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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5 from 212 votes (98 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Made these for dinner tonight and they turned out great! They were super satisfying and packed with flavor – my whole family loved them!

  2. HELP!!!!


  3. 5 stars
    Super delicious stuffed peppers, they are so easy to make too! We all loved them, I’ll be making them again for sure, thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    Lovely – these were filling and delicious, perfect for dinner. Love the cheesy topping

  5. 5 stars
    I absolutely love these stuffed peppers, so hearty and savory and perfect for a nice easy dinner! Definitely making these again ASAP 🙂

  6. Instead of par-baking the peppers for 25 minutes simply par-boil them instead. Pan of boiling water large enough to hold the peppers (or do a couple of batches if needed). Make sure the water covers the peppers. Boil for 5 minutes and then shake off excess water and move to dish they will be baked in.

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you so very much for sharing this stuffed pepper recipe. I appreciate all who commented on this post. I took the advice of substituting ground beef with ground turkey breast and cauliflower rice for regular rice. My elderly mom and daughter-in-law both have diabetes. This dish will be a nice addition in our meal rotation. P/S.. My 3 year old granddaughter who happens to be my official taste tester gives this dish two thumbs up!

  8. 5 stars
    Family loved it. I skipped the tomato sauce because I didn’t have it, but a little extra seasoning brought the flavor back up. Much easier than I thought it was going to be, will probably make again

  9. Perfect bell pepper recipe! I used Uncle Ben’s wild rice and so delicious! I also added some tomato paste! I will definitely use this recipe again!!

  10. Followed directions to the letter but my peppers didn’t get very soft. They required a steak knife to cut. I may have to add extra prebake time to my peppers next time but the filling was delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Step 4 tells you to cook the pepper upside down in the oven for 25 minutes while you are making the filling.

    2. Try parboiling the peppers. Boil your water, then put peppers in, with tops cut off and gutted, and boil for 5 minutes. It’ll work every time!

  11. 5 stars
    Just finished dinner. These were excellent. I’ve made stuffed peppers before, but this recipe is far superior. The key is steaming the peppers before stuffing them. Like other reviewers, I diced the pepper tops and added them to the meat mixture. Also added corn and diced celery. I will definitely make these again!!

  12. Hi, Should there be water in the pan after you take the peppers out and fill withe the meat and rice stuffing? Or do I drain the water from the baking dish before adding them back to the dish?
    Thank you

  13. 5 stars
    Very good!! As a diabetic, I had to tweak a few things. Instead of beef, I used ground turkey and instead of rice, I used cauliflower rice. And everything is so delicious. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!!

    1. 5 stars
      thank you so much for the suggestion regarding using ground turkey and cauliflower rice. The stuffed pepper dish is a hit.

  14. 5 stars
    Used this recipe as a base to build off of since I like to experiment, and it turned out perfect! I used tomato paste instead of sauce and added cream cheese to make up the difference. Added more onion and garlic, seasoned meat with salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, and paprika. It was delicious!!!