Stuffed Peppers


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Stuffed peppers are always a family favorite. This classic version is loaded with ground beef, garlic, onion, tomatoes, spinach, and rice. They’re healthy, filling, and bonus – they make for delicious leftovers or meal prep.

Six stuffed peppers in a casserole dish.

There are so many ways you can get creative with stuffed peppers. One of the things I love about this recipe is that it’s endlessly customizable to fit a variety of diets and preferences. You can even make stuffed pepper soup! But today, we’re making the classic version with ground beef, rice, and veggies.

When bell peppers are sliced in half they become the perfect holding device to stuff with a variety of ingredients. They’re firm enough to maintain their shape while cooking, yet soft enough to enjoy sliced up with the filling. But the best part (in my opinion), is that this recipe is perfect for meal prep – so you can easily reheat it for a quick-and-easy dinner in the future. I’ve got a few tips on that for you below!

Ingredients for stuffed peppers on a table.

Stuffed Peppers Ingredients

  • Ground Beef: You can choose lean or extra lean ground beef, it’s up to you! You could also easily swap the ground beef with ground chicken or ground turkey.
  • Onion & Garlic: These ingredients both add a punch of flavor, and the onions also help to keep the filling moist.
  • Tomatoes: I prefer fire roasted diced tomatoes for that smoky depth of flavor, but any diced tomatoes work.
  • Rice: You can use any kind of rice, including white, brown, or wild rice.
  • Italian Seasoning: This spice blend is a classic combination of aromatic herbs. If you don’t have Italian seasoning, feel free to swap in dried thyme, basil, oregano, and parsley.
  • Cheese: Monterey Jack cheese pairs nicely with this recipe. But you can also use shredded Pepper Jack, Swiss, or Mozzarella.

How To Make The Best Stuffed Peppers

I’ve got a secret tip to make this a quick weeknight dinner. Pre-bake the peppers! No, you don’t need to get more dishes dirty and par-boil them. And there’s no need to wait until you’ve cooked the meat mixture. Pre-bake the peppers while you’re making the filling and save yourself about 15 minutes. Preheat your oven 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then follow these steps:

Prep bell peppers. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membrane. Then rub the insides and outsides with a a bit of olive oil and arrange them face down in a baking dish. Pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes to soften them up.

Cook the meat. While the bell peppers are baking, in a large skillet sauté the onions, garlic, and beef. Then drain off any excess liquid.

Cooking the ground beef and onions on the stove.

Sauté the rest. Add in the rice, tomatoes, spinach, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Sauté for about one to two minutes or until the spinach has wilted.

Adding the tomatoes and spinach to the pan.

Start filling. Remove the peppers from the oven and flip them over. Then fill them with the beef mixture and a sprinkle of cheese.

Filling the peppers with the stuffing.

Bake. Place them in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the peppers soften. Then, just garnish with a little chopped parsley if you’d like, and serve them up!

Close up photo of stuffed peppers in a baking pan.

Stuffing Alternatives and Ideas

The beauty of this recipe is that you can stuff your peppers with just about anything! Here’s a few tasty combinations to toss into your weekly meal rotation:

  • Mediterranean Peppers: Ground beef, chickpeas, onion, rice, tomato sauce, feta, garlic powder and paprika.
  • Vegan Mushroom and Walnut Peppers: Diced mushrooms, walnuts, garlic, onion, rice, and taco seasoning.
  • Vegetarian Tex-Mex Peppers: Black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, rice, taco seasoning, pepper jack cheese, and chopped cilantro.

If you’re looking to meet a few dietary needs, try these substitutions.

Different colored stuffed bell peppers in a white baking pan.

Common Questions

Which way should you cut the bell pepper?

While some recipes slice the top off, there’s a few reasons why I halve them through the stem. First, you won’t waste any of the bell pepper if you slice it lengthwise.
Second, they don’t topple over when you try to slice into them after they’ve been baked. And third, they’re easier to store in flat storage containers for meal prepping.

Which color bell pepper is best to use?

All bell peppers start out green, and then change colors as they mature and ripen. Green bell peppers are always the cheapest as they’re picked under-ripe and have a slightly bitter taste to them. If allowed time to ripen on the vine, green bell peppers turn into vibrant yellow, orange and red bell peppers. These versions are sweeter and have more nutrients. In fact, red bell peppers have twice the amount of vitamin C of green bell peppers. This gives them a higher price tag compared to the other two. But for this recipe, you can choose whichever color you prefer!

How to Store and Meal Prep

If you need to jazz up your meal prep routine, these stuffed peppers are a great option!

  • Store for the week: After you’ve made the recipe above, store them in airtight containers for up to 5 days in the fridge.
  • Freeze for later: You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. If you stack them, just make sure to place parchment paper in between layers.
  • To reheat: You can place the frozen peppers directly in the oven and bake at 350°F for about 10 to 15 minutes, or microwave them for about 3 to 4 minutes. If you thaw them overnight in your fridge first (which I recommend doing), it will reduce the time needed to re-heat by a couple of minutes.

More Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas

Have a busy schedule ahead? Here’s a few dinner recipes to keep up your sleeve. They’re easy to make, full of flavor, and make for great leftovers.

And for an appetizer spin on stuffed peppers, try these bacon and goat cheese stuffed mini peppers!

I hope you enjoy these tasty stuffed peppers! If you make it, I’d love to hear how they turned out in the comment box below.

Several stuffed peppers of different colors in a white baking pan.

Best Stuffed Peppers

4.97 from 112 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Stuffed peppers are no doubt a family favorite. They're filling, healthy, easily customizable, and make for a delicious leftovers and meal prep. Watch how I make them in the video below!




  • 6 bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil (separated)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (15-ounce can) diced tomatoes (I love fire roasted tomatoes), drained
  • 1 ½ cups cooked rice
  • ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • chopped parsley, for garnishing


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and membrane. Drizzle with a little olive oil and rub both the inside and outside to coat them. Arrange them upside down in two baking pans or one half sheet pan and pre-bake for about 15 minutes, while you're making the stuffing.
  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil and saute the garlic and onions for one minute.
  • Add the ground beef and cook until the beef is browned, breaking it up with a spatula as needed.
  • Drain off any excess liquid from the beef and stir in the diced tomatoes, rice, spinach, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir for a minute or two, or until the spinach is wilted.
  • Remove the bell peppers from the oven and use tongs to flip them over.
  • Fill the peppers with the beef mixture and top with a sprinkle of cheese. Place them back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the peppers are soft.
  • Top with fresh parsley and serve.

Lisa’s Tips

  • Each serving is two halves of stuffed pepper.
  • You can get 1 1/2 cups cooked rice by cooking 1/2 cup of dry rice (approx). But you can always cook more than needed and meal prep it for other recipes as well.
  • You can bake these in two casserole pans or one larger half sheet pan. 


Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 115mg | Potassium: 590mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4736IU | Vitamin C: 156mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Stuffed Bell Peppers, stuffed bell peppers recipe, stuffed peppers, stuffed peppers recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted July 2020, but updated to include new information.

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This is a go to recipe for me. I absolutely love it, and every time I serve it everyone wants the recipe. They are the best stuffed peppers I’ve ever eaten!5 stars

  2. This recipe has become one of my favorite quick meals to prepare. I make it at least 2 x per month. I made it for a friend on her birthday and she loved it. Just yummy 😋 especially with e next day.5 stars

  3. I absolutely love these stuffed peppers! I make the whole batch, eat a few then freeze the rest. The peppers break down a little (get watery) after freezing but flavor is still awesome.5 stars

  4. Hi Lisa,
    I’ve heard a lot about Fire Roasted Tomatoes but I can’t find them anywhere!
    I looked on Amazon and the make, e.g Polpa, is what I have in my cupboards, are these Fire Roasted… ? It doesn’t say so on the tin!

    Looks a lovely recipe and now I’m hungry!!5 stars

    1. Hi Heather – you can click the link in the recipe card and it will take you directly to the ingredient on Amazon. :) Enjoy!

  5. Wow!!! I made this using your Mediterranean variation and it’s wonderful!!! I substituted mushrooms for the rice in your variation and couldn’t stop eating them! They were so good!!! Thank you Lisa for another great recipe!!!5 stars

  6. I love this recipe! As a child my Grandmother always had frozen stuffed peppers in the freezer she had made. So stuffed peppers always remind me of her. This recipe is a healthy updated version of my Grandmother’s and very delicious! I used both rice and quinoa as a mix and some tomato sauce but kept everything else the same. Another winner!5 stars

  7. Having cook peppers for years, love the halves and oiling with olive oil. I like using the colored peppers, but green was all I had . We just don’t eat the pepper, but savor the taste in the filling.
    A great recipe, easy to store and freeze.5 stars

  8. Great recipe! I appreciated your rice substitution suggestions. That was so helpful for me! I used sautéed mushrooms, yum! I’ll definitely make this again!5 stars

  9. I love the simplicity of this recipe and the fact that I always have leftovers for another meal. I’m not a big rice fan so I replaced the rice with quinoa and it still came out delicious!5 stars

  10. These are on regular meal rotation at our house for a few years now. So delicious every time.. all in one meal. We never get tired of it!☺️5 stars

  11. Lisa,
    This is by far the most often used recipe in my house. My husband loves them, so do I. I make it at least once a month and I make I make enough for leftovers. They are so tasty and honestly, not very difficult to make. Thank you!
    Virginia5 stars

  12. Another winner for us! I used ground turkey instead of beef but it was absolutely delicious. I love cutting the peppers in the other direction. All the years of finding the perfect stand up peppers!
    Even the grumpy man loved it and had seconds “since it’s so healthy”. He didn’t even complain about the spinach. I don’t think I’ll have enough to freeze but I will definitely have one left for a lunch. Thank you!

  13. Delicious and wonderfully easy recipe. I had a pound of smoked brisket that I used instead of hamburger. Loved the tip about cooking the empty pepper while preparing the stuffing. I used more than a 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.. Very good!5 stars

  14. Hi Lisa just a quick question, I made yr recipe twice it was a hit for sure, the last time I froze the capsicums halved uncooked  separate from the mixture in glad wrap in a container , when I defrosted in the fridge over nite the capsicum were quite soggy lots of liquid came from them, I still used them but not quite as nice,  can you tell me is this normal also I’d be worried freezing the complete meal after thus happening 
    Thanks in advance 

  15. Hi Lisa congratulations on your new book by the way , just wondering do you use organic bell peppers in your recipe actually do you normally use organic for most things , I’m pretty much into organic & you do seem very health mined just interested to know 

  16. I love this recipe so much! Easy to make and tasty! Thank you so much for all of your recipes they are wonderful. Your recipes are easy to follow and the videos help as well. 

  17. Think recipe should read 3 bell peppers halved as that is what is pictured as well as shown in your video demo???
    Excellent! Easy and best way to get veggies in. Variety of fillings is just another bonus.
    Agree with another commentator, your rice video was super informative as I’ve tried many different recipes for “perfect” rice.
    Thanks kindly!5 stars

  18. This recipe was easy and tasty.  Our son and daughter ate here that night as well, thumbs up from everyone.  Hubby actually suggested that we make it again this week.  (There are green peppers from our garden to use.  We have had frost a couple of nights already…think our growing season is over.). He thought the filling would even be good on its own.  Next time we are going to try the taco filling.5 stars

  19. If I freeze this recipe, do I need to precook the bell peppers first or can they be placed in freezer first without being pre-cooked? Thank you! 5 stars

  20. First time with stuffed peppers and they turned out so BEAUTIFUL! :D This is a great, quick recipe that has a lot of versatility. I used cauliflower rice instead of white and it still tasted yum. This is like the first time ever my dish almost turned out like the pictures used in the recipe LOL.

    PS: Do you have the breakdown nutritional value of the whole recipe? I’m trying to do the math for using cauliflower rice but it seems way too low.5 stars

    1. Aw, I’m happy to hear this turned out beautifully Julie! As for the nutritional information, you can found how much it is per serving at the bottom of the recipe card. Then just multiply it by how many servings I have listed at the top of the recipe card. Hope that helps!