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Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are an easy one pan meal that is packed with flavor! Tender bell peppers stuffed with a savory ground beef, rice and tomato filling.

stuffed peppers in a cast iron skillet

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Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Growing up stuffed peppers was one of my favorite meals! They are so hearty, warm and comforting. Tender bell peppers stuffed with a delicious ground beef, rice, tomato and herb filling is simply divine.

My Mom made stuffed peppers often growing up and they were always a favorite in our house. This is her famous recipe that is so easy to make in just one pan! Hooray for less dishes… thanks Mom!

What are Stuffed Peppers?

Stuffed peppers are just as they sound – peppers stuffed with a savory filling. This recipe is for my Mom’s classic stuffed peppers (checkout our Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers for a fun twist). The filling is a combination of ground beef, rice, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, and lots of spices. The filling is precooked and has parboiled rice in it so you don’t have to worry about the rice being under or overcooked. Using parboiled rice is the secret to perfect (and quick!) stuffed peppers.

This recipe can be made in one pan which is always great because who likes doing dishes?! Not me! Once the peppers are stuffed and baked, they are topped with cheese. The cheese gets nice and melty and a little crispy. It’s so delicious!

What to Serve with Stuffed Peppers

What is in Stuffed Peppers?

bowls with tomatoes, onion, parboiled rice, cheese, ground beef, spices, oil, water and peppers. the ingredients to make stuffed peppers
  • Bell Peppers – you can use any combination of colored bell peppers but I recommend using red, orange and/or yellow as these are the sweetest. Green bell peppers are not as sweet and can often be a little bitter.
  • Ground Beef – we like to use lean ground beef for this recipe. It is leaner than regular or medium ground beef but it stays more moist than extra lean ground beef. For an even healthier recipe you can use extra lean ground beef or ground chicken or turkey, they are all great in this recipe.
  • Parboiled Rice – the secret to perfectly cooked rice in stuffed peppers is to use parboiled rice. This rice has a shorter cooking time and does not require as much liquid as regular white rice. The parboiled rice is added into the filling raw and while the peppers cook in the oven the rice absorbs liquid from the tomato sauce in the filling and cooks perfectly.
  • Onion, Garlic – sautéed into the filling.
  • Crushed Tomatoes – crushed tomatoes are the sauce for the filling. You can use store bought crushed tomatoes or home canned. When the stuffed peppers are baked, some of the crushed tomatoes are also spread on the bottom of the baking tray with water to create a sauce for serving. The liquid in the pan also helps steam and cook the peppers.
  • Water – added to the crushed tomatoes in the bottom of the pan for baking the stuffed peppers to create a sauce for serving and steam the peppers while they bake.
  • Oil – to sauté the onion and garlic.
  • Cheese – a little cheese adds a beautiful color to the tops of the stuffed peppers and who doesn’t like a little cheese?!
  • Spices
    • Chili Flakes
    • Dried Oregano
    • Dried Basil
    • Fresh Parsley
    • Paprika
    • Salt, Pepper
stuffed peppers in a cast iron skillet and glass container

How to Make Stuffed Peppers

Full Printable Recipe at Bottom of Page

making the filling for stuffed peppers in a cast iron skillet

Preheat the oven to 400°F and set oven rack in the middle position. For this recipe you can use a large oven safe skillet or frying pan to prepare the filling and then bake the stuffed peppers in the skillet in the oven. Alternatively, you can use any frying pan to prepare the filling and then bake the stuffed peppers in a baking tray.

Prepare the Filling

1 Heat oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently until soft and translucent, about 3 – 4 minutes.

2 Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, until just fragrant.

3 Add the ground beef, chili flakes, oregano, basil, paprika, parsley, salt and pepper and increase the heat to medium high. Sauté and use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the meat into small pieces. Cook until the meat is browned and just cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.

4 Add the parboiled rice and stir until evenly combined. Add 3/4 of the crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 6-8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.

stuffing peppers in a cast iron skillet

Baking Methods

Baking Dish – to a 9×13 baking dish, add the remaining crushed tomatoes and ¼ cup water. Stir to combine and evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Place the peppers, cut side up, in the baking dish. Fill each pepper with meat mixture. Cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes or until peppers are tender.

Oven Safe Skillet – stuff the peppers by evenly distributing the filling mixture between the pepper halves and set aside. When all the peppers have been stuffed and the skillet is empty, add the remaining crushed tomatoes and ¼ cup of water. Stir to combine and evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Add in the stuffed peppers. Cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes or until peppers are tender.

Remove the foil and top the peppers with the shredded cheese. Cook uncovered for about 4-5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley. Enjoy

stuffed peppers in a cast iron skillet

Tips for the Best Stuffed Peppers

  • Peppers – we like to use orange, yellow and/or red bell peppers when we make this dish. The colors are so fun and beautiful. These peppers also have a sweeter flavor compared to green bell peppers which can often have a more bitter flavor. When preparing the peppers you can leave the stems on and just slice the pepper right in half (and remove the seeds). This method has less waste compared to slicing the tops off of the peppers where you lose some of the pepper. I love the way the stems look when they are baked but when you slice the peppers in half you can remove the stems if you prefer.
  • Filling – for the filling we like to use lean ground beef for the best flavor but you can also use extra lean or medium ground beef. You can even use ground chicken or turkey for a healthier option.
  • Baking – for less clean up, if you have an oven safe skillet, frying pan or cast iron pan use that to prepare the filling. That way you can use the same pan to bake the stuffed peppers and don’t have to wash another baking tray. You can also bake the peppers in individual serving sizes in glass containers for meal prep lunches or dinners.
stuffed peppers in a glass meal prep container

FAQs Stuffed Peppers

How to reheat Stuffed Peppers?

Reheat leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350°F covered with foil for about 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through. Or, microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warmed through.

How to store Stuffed Peppers?

Refrigerate stuffed peppers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container (see freezing below).

Can I make Stuffed Peppers ahead?

Follow the recipe as usual, stuff the peppers and place in the baking dish. Cover with foil and store in the fridge up to 2 days in advance. The day of serving, remove from the fridge and follow baking directions.

Can I freeze Stuffed peppers?

Cooked and cooled stuffed peppers can be frozen in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Do not stack the peppers when freezing. If you need to stack the peppers place a piece of parchment paper between them so they do not stick together. Let thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating in the oven or microwave.

Are Stuffed Peppers healthy?

Yes! Stuffed peppers are a healthy meal. This recipe uses lean ground beef. For a healthier option you can use extra lean ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey.

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

For a vegetarian recipe swap the ground beef for vegan ground meat substitute.

Vegan Stuffed Peppers

For a vegan recipe swap the ground beef for a vegan ground meat substitute and use a vegan cheese.

Gluten Free Stuffed Peppers

This recipe is gluten free.

Dairy Free Stuffed Peppers

For a dairy free recipe, omit the cheese or use a dairy free cheese.

Looking for More One Pan Meals?

Enjoy!

– Sab

stuffed peppers in a cast iron skillet

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are an easy one pan meal that is packed with flavor! Tender bell peppers stuffed with a savory ground beef, rice and tomato filling.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Stuffed Pepper Halves
Calories 310 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb ground beef, lean
  • 4 bell peppers, any color or combination, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ tbsp chili flakes
  • ½ tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup parboiled rice
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes, approximately 28 ounce, 3.5 cups
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¾ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded, or cheese of choice

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and set oven rack in the middle position. For this recipe you can use a large oven safe skillet or frying pan to prepare the filling and then bake the stuffed peppers in the skillet in the oven. Alternatively, you can use any frying pan to prepare the filling and then bake the stuffed peppers in a baking tray.

Prepare the Filling

  • Heat oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently until soft and translucent, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, until just fragrant.
  • Add the ground beef, chili flakes, oregano, basil, paprika, parsley, salt and pepper and increase the heat to medium high. Sauté and use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the meat into small pieces. Cook until the meat is browned and just cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the parboiled rice and stir until evenly combined. Add 3/4 of the crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 6-8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.

Baking Methods

  • Baking Dish – to a 9×13 baking dish, add the remaining crushed tomatoes and ¼ cup water. Stir to combine and evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Place the peppers, cut side up, in the baking dish. Fill each pepper with meat mixture. Cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes or until peppers are tender.
  • Oven Safe Skillet – stuff the peppers by evenly distributing the filling mixture between the pepper halves and set aside. When all the peppers have been stuffed and the skillet is empty, add the remaining crushed tomatoes and ¼ cup of water. Stir to combine and evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Add in the stuffed peppers. Cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes or until peppers are tender.
  • Remove the foil and top the peppers with the shredded cheese. Cook uncovered for about 4-5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Serve

  • Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Notes

Reheat
Reheat in a baking dish in the oven at 350°F covered with foil for about 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through. Or, microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warmed through.
Storage
Refrigerate in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container (see below).
Make Ahead
Follow the recipe as usual, stuff the peppers and place in the baking dish. Cover with foil and store in the fridge up to 2 days in advance. The day of serving, remove from the fridge and follow baking directions.
Freezing
Freeze leftovers in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Do not stack the peppers when freezing. If you need to stack the peppers place a piece of parchment paper between them so they do not stick together. Let thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating in the oven or microwave.
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NUTRITION

Calories: 310kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 16gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 768mgPotassium: 573mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 3027IUVitamin C: 114mgCalcium: 114mgIron: 3mg
This nutrition information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. See our full nutrition disclosure here.
stuffed peppers in a cast iron skillet

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Frank

Thursday 5th of January 2023

What do you mean by parboiled rice?