Stuffed Peppers

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.

When bell peppers are sliced in half they become the perfect vegetable to stuff with a variety of ingredients. They’re firm enough to hold their shape while cooking, yet soft enough to enjoy sliced up with the filling, for a self-contained complete meal (even in this stuffed pepper soup!)

This recipe is also endlessly customizable to fit a variety of diets and preferences, so have fun with it. But I do have a few tips below when it comes to flavors, time, and meal prepping for the future. Now let’s get into it.

Which Way to Cut the Bell Peppers

The base of this recipe uses 6 bell peppers that are halved lengthwise. While some recipes slice the top off, there’s a few reasons why I halve them the other way.

  • You won’t waste any of the bell pepper if you slice it lengthwise.
  • They don’t topple over when you try to slice into them after they’ve been baked.
  • They’re easier to store in flat storage containers for meal prepping.
Ingredients for stuffed peppers on a table.

Filling Ingredients for Stuffed Peppers

The filling in this classic version is just a handful of simple ingredients, such as:

  • Ground Beef: If you’re not a fan of beef, ground chicken or turkey will work too.
  • Onion & Garlic: adding both ingredients will kick up the savoriness.
  • Tomatoes: I’m using fire roasted diced tomatoes for that smoky depth of flavor
  • 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.
  • Cheese: Monterey Jack cheese pairs nicely with this recipe. But you can also use shredded Pepper Jack, Swiss, or Mozzarella.

Which Color Bell Pepper to Use

Have you ever wondered why bell peppers come in different colors and prices? 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.

Making the filling for stuffed peppers on the stove.

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.
  • 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.
  • Start filling. Remove the peppers from the oven and flip them over. Then fill them with the beef mixture and a sprinkle of cheese.
  • Bake. Place them in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the peppers soften.
  • Garnish and serve! Top them off with chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Close up photo of stuffed peppers in a baking pan.

Get Creative With The Stuffing

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.

How to Meal Prep

If you need to jazz up your meal prep routine, add these stuffed peppers to your menu. After you’ve made the recipe above, store them in airtight containers for up to 5 days in the fridge. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months.

To re-heat, you can place the frozen peppers directly in the oven and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes, or microwave them for about 3-4 minutes. If you thaw them overnight in your fridge first, it will reduce the time needed to re-heat by a couple of minutes.

Stuffed Peppers Recipe Video

Want to see how I make this recipe step-by-step? Watch the video below!

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!

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

BEST Stuffed Peppers + Meal Prep Tips

4.96 from 89 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
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 the video above!


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


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • 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
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @downshiftology and hashtag it #downshiftology.

Leave a Comment

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you for sharing your feedback!

Recipe Rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

203 comments on “Stuffed Peppers”

  1. This was so good. I never liked stuffed peppers till tonight.5 stars

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. So easy and delicious! I used plant based meat and jasmine rice. 5 stars

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. What is a good side dish to have with the stuffed peppers?  

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

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

  9. 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🥰!

  10. 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

  11. Do you have directions/measurements for the Mediterranean stuffed peppers recipe? 
    Thank you 

  12. 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!

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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. 

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Very easy recipe to follow/use and end up with very tasty results! Liked the helpful hints!5 stars

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

  22. 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

  23. 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

  24. Delicious! I added sweet corn to the meat mixture. Everyone loves them!5 stars

  25. I tried this recipe today.  AWESOME definitely a keeper.  My family loved it.5 stars

  26. 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

  27. 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

  28. 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. 

  29. These are fabulous! For such a simple recipe the flavor is so rich and delicious! One of my favorites!5 stars

  30. 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!

    • 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.

  31. 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 

  32. 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 ?

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

  33. 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

  34. 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

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

  35. This recipe is fantastic and very easy to make.5 stars

  36. 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

  37. Delicious! Good presentation. You made it sound very easy and appetizing😀 Making it tonight!!

  38. Honestly, the best stuffed bell peppers I’ve ever had! 5 stars

  39. 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

  40. 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

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

  42. Can you use microwaved rice?

  43. 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

  44. 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

  45. 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

  46. 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

  47. 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

  48. 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

  49. 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