See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Stuffed bell peppers with rice, ground beef or turkey, tomato sauce and seasonings. These easy stuffed peppers are a delicious dinner that you can make ahead.
Classic stuffed peppers are a comforting meal that the whole family will love. The hearty and flavorful filling is stuffed into fresh bell peppers, topped with cheese and baked. The result is a complete meal with protein, whole grains and veggies.
You can use any color of bell peppers that you like in this stuffed pepper recipe. I like to use a mixture of colors so that everyone at the table can choose their favorite!
My best stuffed peppers recipe
- These stuffed peppers can be made ahead. You can assemble the peppers and then refrigerate them for up to one day before baking and serving.
- Or, you can make this stuffed bell pepper recipe a freezer meal by freezing the peppers before baking.
- These peppers are a healthy dinner idea. You can make your stuffed peppers with ground beef or ground turkey for a leaner option. I use brown rice in this recipe for its healthy whole grains. And the serving vessel for this meal is a vegetable – you can’t get much healthier than that!
How to make stuffed peppers
This easy stuffed peppers recipe requires just a few simple steps.
- First, cook your rice. I use brown rice in this recipe, but you can use white rice if you prefer. Here is how I make Instant Pot brown rice and here is how I cook perfect brown rice on the stove.
- Prep your bell peppers. Use a knife to cut the tops off of the peppers. Using your fingers, remove any membranes and shake out the seeds.
- Cook the onion and ground turkey or ground beef in a skillet.
- Add the garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and the seasonings to the skillet. Simmer for 5 minutes, just to get the flavors combining. Stir in the rice and cheese.
- Spoon the filling into the bell peppers, top with more cheese and bake.
Do you need to pre-cook peppers for stuffed bell peppers? No, the peppers will cook and soften enough as they bake with the filling in the oven. There is no need to partially cook your bell peppers before stuffing them.
You can also make stuffed peppers in the Instant Pot with my Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers recipe.
How to cook stuffed peppers
How to cook stuffed peppers in the oven
You can cook your stuffed bell peppers in a baking dish in the oven. You will add about 1/2 cup water (or broth) to the baking dish and cover the dish with foil. The water will create steam which will help to soften the peppers. The steam will also keep the stuffed peppers and filling from drying out.
How long do you cook stuffed peppers in the oven? You bake stuffed peppers for about 30 minutes, until the filling is hot. Then, uncover the dish and bake them for 5 more minutes until the cheese is lightly browned.
How to cook stuffed peppers in a crockpot
You can also cook your stuffed peppers in a crockpot (slow cooker). Cook the stuffed bell peppers on low for about 6 hours.
Can you freeze stuffed bell peppers?
Yes! I tested this stuffed bell peppers recipe as a freezer meal and it worked well. The only difference that I noticed is that the filling of the frozen peppers had more liquid in it after baking.
You will prepare your peppers as directed in the recipe card below. Let them cool completely and freeze them before baking. When you are ready to eat your stuffed peppers, thaw them in your refrigerator for 24 hours and then bake as directed in the recipe.
What to serve with stuffed peppers?
- garlic bread or bread and butter
- a green salad, such as this simple kale salad
- fresh fruit for the kids
If you love stuffed bell peppers, I recommend you also try these Quinoa Stuffed Peppers.
Tips for making stuffed bell peppers
- Replace the brown rice with quinoa for an extra protein boost. Or, use cauliflower rice for a low-carb meal.
- Start your rice cooking first as that takes the most time.
- You can prepare your stuffed peppers up to one day ahead and refrigerate before baking.
- You can freeze stuffed bell peppers before baking. Thaw them completely in your refrigerator for 24 hours and then bake as directed.
- ¾ cups uncooked brown rice, or white rice, 1 ½ cups cooked
- 6 bell peppers, any color
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ¾ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 pound ground beef, or ground turkey
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 8 ounce can tomato sauce, ¾ cup
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, or cheddar cheese, 4 ounces, divided
- Cook rice according to package directions or your preferred cooking method. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400° F.
- Cut the tops off the peppers and remove seeds and membranes.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts to soften, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the ground beef (or ground turkey) to the pan and cook, crumbling, until browned and cooked through. Drain off any excess grease. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds.
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring for 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from the heat and stir in the cooked rice and half of the cheese.
- Pour ½ cup of water into a baking dish. Fill bell peppers with the meat and rice mixture and place in the baking dish. Sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese.
- Cover with a piece of aluminum foil that you have lightly sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Bake for 30 minutes, uncover, and bake 5 minutes more, until cheese is lightly browned and filling is hot. Serve.
- Prepare the peppers as directed above, through step 7. Do not bake.
- Let peppers cool completely and then place them in a baking dish in the freezer. Freeze for 1-2 hours, then transfer to a zip-top plastic freezer bag and store in freezer for up to 3 months.
- To bake, thaw completely in your refrigerator (this will take about 24 hours). Then, bake as directed above.
This is one of my favorite recipes! I’ve made these stuffed peppers several times and they are always so yummy. And I agree, it is difficult to get a good photo of them! 🙂
These look excellent. Love the colors in the pics. I just made these recently, yours look alot better than mine!?
Thank you, James! You are too kind. 🙂
These were delicious and definitely something I’ll be making again!
I am so happy to hear that!
Do you have to cook ground beef before you stuff the peppers my mom never did?
I find that the flavor is better when you brown the meat first, but you don’t have to. If you choose to skip the step of cooking the meat first, you should poke a few holes in the bottom of the peppers to let the juices drain out. You might need to increase the cooking time if using uncooked ground beef.
I made these with Minute Brown Rice and Quinoa to save time. They came out delicious!! They freeze so well too so you can have them again in a week or two ?
Yes! I love to freeze these for a quick dinner later on.
Just made these, wow really good, it’s been a long time since I had stuffed peppers. I retired Jan 3 and I Love to walk and cook and I hit the farmers market and got a good deal of peppers and corn. So my wife says what you are gonna do with all these peppers, And I say Stuffed Peppers I quess, and here We Are. Thank You ,My Wife says I make a good Wife hahaha.
Haha, I’m glad this recipe was a hit with you and your wife! Walking, cooking and going to the farmer’s market sounds like a great way to enjoy life!
What degree to you bake the stuffed peppers at?
400 degrees F.
I made this tonight with ground turkey and white rice and then added an 8oz can of tomato sauce and 8oz water in bottom of the pan. Was delicious!
Looks so yummy!! Is there a way to modify this to make it in an instant pot?
I haven’t tested these in the Instant Pot, but here is what I would try: Depending on the size of your peppers, you should be able to fit 3 large or 4 small in the IP. So you may want to halve this recipe, or cook in two batches. You do not need to pre-cook the meat for the peppers (you can mix it with the cooked rice and other ingredients raw and it will cook in the peppers in the Instant Pot). Cook the peppers on the trivet with 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot for 6-8 minutes plus 5 minutes natural release, or until the meat is cooked to 165 degrees F. Wait and add the cheese after cooking.
WANT TO PRINT OFF STUFFED PEPPERS RECIPE
Hi Kim, In the box with the recipe ingredients and directions, there is a green print button that will take you to a printer-friendly version.
These are the best stuffed pepper my husband and I have ever had! Thanks for the recipe. It’s goibg to be a go-to for us!
I am so happy to hear that! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. 🙂
Anyone tried this using Ground chicken instead of turkey or beef?
If vacuum sealed will these last longer in the freezer?
Possibly, I haven’t tried using a vacuum sealer.
Suzy, I used my seal a meal. I stuffed them, xcept for the cheese on top, used my seal a meal and froze them for months. They were as good as freshly made. Hope this helps. Enjoy!!!
Holy guacamole! I made this dish with spicy rotel instead of regular diced tomatoes, and substituted cheddar cheese; what a wonderful and perfect dish. I can not wait to enjoy these stuffed peppers again! Thank you for sharing your recipe!
These Stuffed Peppers sound & look amazing! This might sound like a silly question, but I’m assuming that you drain the diced tomatoes before adding them in? Also, what would you suggest as a ‘binder’ other than rice – perhaps Barley? I’d use Brown Rice for us, but I’d like to make these for our friends who are going through a rough time, & they don’t eat rice. Thank you Kristine, for all of your lovely recipes. ?
I don’t drain the tomatoes. (I will always note in the recipe if canned tomatoes should be drained.) Barley may work as a binder, but I would also suggest trying quinoa. I use quinoa in my Quinoa Stuffed Peppers and it works perfectly! Enjoy!
Thanks for the easy stuffed peppers recipe. It’s going to be a go-to for us!
What do you recommend substituting for cheese in recipes like this? Thank you in advance, and great job on this website!
I would probably just leave it out without substituting in a recipe like this one. You could also try a dairy free shredded cheese, such as Daiya.
These stuffed peppers were delicious and I will definitely be making them again!
Instead of Italian seasoning I used Chili Powder and Cumin and Mexican style diced
tomatoes. Love your recipes and am always looking for new ideas! Thanks!