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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 turkey for a leaner option, or you can make your stuffed peppers with ground beef. 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 2-3 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 cup uncooked brown rice (1 ½ cups cooked)
- 6 bell peppers (any color)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ¾ cup onion (finely chopped)
- 1 pound ground turkey (or ground beef)
- 2 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 cheddar or mozzarella cheese (4 ounces, divided)
- Cook rice according to package directions or your preferred cooking method. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees 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 turkey (or beef) to the pan and cook, crumbling, until browned and no longer pink. 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 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the cooked rice and half of the cheese.
- Pour ½ cup of water into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Fill bell pepper halves with the meat and rice mixture (about 1 cup of filling per pepper) 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.
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