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 111 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

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!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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. 

Nutrition

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




250 Comments

  1. I don’t usually watch food prep videos, but I watched yours — the way you cut the peppers, par-cooked them, and your rice-cooking method all were enlightening. We ate every bite. I’m following you. These stuffed peppers were brilliant!5 stars

  2. I loved this recipe! Made exactly as written except used kale (bc it’s in the garden) instead of spinach. Thank you-my favorite stuffed pepper recipe. I love that Lisa listed variations. Can’t wait to make the one with feta and chick peas. I like Lisa’s recipes bc they are maximum taste for minimum effort. That’s a win in my book!!!5 stars

  3. Hi, this is Luvi,
    My first time makin’ stuffed bell peppers…seems to be the only way I can get my husband to eat his veggies is to stuff ’em with meat or seafood! He loved ’em too!
    I adjusted the recipe meat by using half ground beef & half ground breakfast sausage to bump up the flavor. I also used red, yellow & orange peppers, green one seemed bitter. I shared 2 halves with my parents they too struggle eating their veggies, they loved ’em too!5 stars

  4. They were delicous very tasty i done new potatoes and salad with them big hit for my dinner party and had no waste at all thank you

  5. Loves this!  Made this last night. Unfortunately due to an onion allergy and garlic sensitivity, I have to omit these ingredients, but it was tasty nonetheless!  I do think next time I will add black beans and maybe some chili powder! My husband just said I need to get more peppers to make it again!   Thank you for sharing!  5 stars

    1. I would say any roasted veggie of your choice, or even a simple side salad like my massaged kale salad :)

    2. I made a simple side salad!  Next time I think I will use tortilla chips to scoop up the overflow bits!  

  6. You so much for this recipe every time I’ve ever made them they’ve always been too soggy and fall apart when I parboil them and if I don’t do that they’re too stiff I never thought to pre-bake the peppers what a great idea thank you so much I wish I had found this out 30 years ago🥰!

  7. First time I made stuffed peppers. Turned out well. Only had 3 peppers so cooked rest of “stuffing” in a casserole along with peppers. Want to remake just the mixture and serve with roasted peppers this time.
    How long should I cook the mixture or bake to make sure the chicken is fully cooked. Thanks.4 stars

  8. Hi, Lisa. Are the measurements in this recipe based on 6 whole peppers (12 prepared halves) or 3 whole peppers (6 prepared halves). Just want to clarify before shopping, thank you!

  9. What an easy and quick dish to prepare! We loved it. I added more Italian seasoning and another can of tomato sauce with herbs to the sausage mixture as well as a can of tomato sauce with herbs to the bottom of the dish before adding the stuffed peppers. Add a salad and or biscuits to this wonderful meal and you are set.5 stars

  10. Great simple weekend recipe

    I added feta and red pepper flakes to the meat mixture and it was perfect! Added the kick I was looking for and some briney-ness to brighten the whole dish up4 stars

  11. I had leftover apple sausage stuffing from your butternut squash recipe but no butternut squash in the house… but I did have peppers!  So delicious and some leftovers for more meals this week.  Thank you Lisa 5 stars

  12. I’ve omitted using rice in our peppers and just use uncooked oatmeal, about 3/4 cup. It’s heart healthy and lots of fiber! You don’t even know it’s there.4 stars

  13. I made these peppers last night. Followed your recipe, and added a little shredded carrot along with the spinach. They were a hit at my house. I will be making these again. 

  14. This is an absolute favorite dish that I rotate consistently for meals. Freezing a meal of this for later works beautifully. It is beautiful, delicious, and healthy. Thanks, Lisa!5 stars

  15. I realized after I started cooking that I didn’t have like half the ingredients! So it ended up being made with ground turkey, taco seasoning, kale, corn, and tomatoes. I still did the garlic and onion and the cheese on top. It was still delicious! So this recipe is VERY forgiving haha and I will definitely make it again (hopefully the correct way!)5 stars

  16. One of the best stuffed bell pepper recipes I’ve tried! I did ground chicken and used cauliflower rice. Came out excellent! 5 stars

  17. Made these tonight, the whole family loved them. I read the recipe incorrectly and served each person 1 half with a large green salad & vinaigrette dressing. So good! We added a little tomato sauce, about 4 ounces. Easy, fast, delicious and keeps us on track. Thank you!5 stars

  18. Another excellent recipe Lisa! Cutting the peppers long-ways and pre-baking them was so much easier than trying to boil the whole peppers before stuffing them. They only thing I I did different was give them a little squirt of ketchup before topping with the cheese. I know, that’s added sugar but old habits are hard to break… but I’m trying :)5 stars

  19. These are the best peppers I’ve ever had! Cutting them lengthwise (why didn’t I think of that before?) and pre baking the peppers make a big difference. The meat mixture is perfect. I used a pre seasoned taco flavored turkey meat this time and it worked great. Only stuffed pepper recipe I’ll use from now on.5 stars

    1. Pre-baking is definitely key to tender bell peppers! Happy to hear you really enjoyed this recipe Jennifer :)

  20. I added wild rice to my cooked rice and I would HIGHLY recommend it! We had children with us and it’s Halloween soon, so while adults ate the halves as you suggest, the kids were allowed to carve faces into whole peppers which we then stuffed and cooked. It was a fun and delicious way to end the day!5 stars

  21. What a wonderful channel and host! I love making different yet easy recipes, and this has to be one of my favorite! Thank you very much. 

  22. How would you suggest I space this out for a guest that I’m picking up from the airport? Basically, what should I prep/cook before leaving for the airport, and what can I do when I get back to still serve a fresh, tasty meal? The down time would probably be around 30-45 minutes. Thanks!

    1. I say make the filling mixture and pre-bake the peppers. Then when yo come back, you can stuff the peppers and bake them in the oven for the remaining 20 minutes.

  23. I’m going to make them, but you said six whole peppers and it looks like you mean 3 whole peppers cut in half. Am I correct?  Thank You 

  24. If you are going to freeze these, would you bake the pepper halves for the 15 minutes before stuffing to place in the freezer or just freeze unbaked ?

    1. Just freeze them as is after they’ve been completely baked! You can find more storage instructions written in the post.

  25. Hey Lisa,

    I followed the recipe exactly, and they were wonderful. I am 74 years old and I have been cooking close to 50 years. I have to say this is the best stuffed bell pepper recipe yet. You are a good cook! :) I had friends over and they loved it, also.

    Thank you, Susanne

    1. Hi Susanne – I’m so thrilled you and your friends loved the stuffed peppers – yay! I hope you enjoy more of my recipes in the future! :)

  26. I made these last night & they were fantastic. I didn’t have a small can of tomatoes so I chopped grape tomatoes. This recipe is a keeper & I’ll definitely make it again. Thank you for sharing. Sorry no picture. 5 stars

    1. Happy to hear you enjoyed these stuffed peppers Carmen! Don’t worry about the photo – next time the community would love to see though :)

  27. Great recipe – almost perfect! It was a little dry, so I added some tomato sauce at the end. I think it would be better to add some of the cheese into the mix instead of just topping as well. 4 stars

  28. I made these for the first time today. They are the “bomb”! Thank you for all your hard work to help us eat healthier!5 stars

  29. Best stuffed peppers ever.   I am making the recipe for the second time.  Worked fine with my brown rice. Thank you for sharing Lisa as I will do.5 stars

  30. These peppers are so good! And Lisa always has the best tips. I only cook my stuffed peppers this way now.5 stars

    1. Hi Daisy – I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! Sometimes those little tips make all the difference. :)

  31. Delish! My teens boys loved it! I added some smoked paprika to go with the fire roasted tomatoes. Great tip to cook the peppers for 15 minutes first, saved alot of time. Will definitely be making this again.5 stars

  32. I used diced tomatoes with green chilies because that’s what I had in the pantry. I added about 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper because I didn’t have spinach. I added about a 1/2 tsp. dried basil and kept adding more Italian seasoning per taste.
    Perfect recipe.5 stars

  33. Lovely, made these last night and they were great. Perfect for a weeknight dinner and I have leftovers in the fridge and freezer. :)5 stars

  34. This recipe is so much more than the sum of its parts! The only alteration I made was using vegan ground round instead of ground beef (and it worked very well). I can stop looking for other stuffed pepper recipes now.5 stars

  35. This is a go to meal for my family; a full meal in one dish! The meal is easy to prepare, and so flavorful/fresh! I highly recommend this recipe and think it will be in your rotation as well!5 stars

  36. I’ve made these stuffed peppers twice and it is just so delicious!  Definitely on my go to comfort foods recipe list.  Lisa, your recipes are really the best and the instructions are easy to follow. Thank you!!5 stars

  37. Really loved this recipe, I used peas instead of spinach as I had some on hand I needed to use up. Peppers were soft but still held their shape, filling was just the right amount. Thank you!5 stars