Classic Stuffed Peppers

5 from 3 votes
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Classic Stuffed Peppers made with tender and sweet bell peppers filled with flavorful ground beef and rice with melty cheese. This recipe for hearty stuffed bell peppers is the perfect light meal, or you can serve them with your favorite side dishes.

If you love this healthy recipe for traditional baked stuffed peppers, give my Low Carb Stuffed Pepper Soup a try, too! 

Two stuffed pepper halves on a white plate, with more stuffed peppers in a casserole dish in the background.

Classic Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef

Stuffed peppers are a hearty and healthy weeknight dinner, literally filled with protein! I’ll make these whenever I find large, fresh bell peppers in the produce aisle.

These classic stuffed peppers are filled with a traditional savory blend of beef, tender rice, tangy tomato sauce, and melted cheese. But they’re also crazy versatile, ready to be customized to your family’s tastes. 

These stuffed bell peppers are perfect as a meal, or you can bulk them up with your favorite toppings and sides. Don’t forget to check out the sections later on with tons of fun variations and easy serving ideas!

A fork scoops beef filling from a stuffed pepper on a white plate.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Stuffed peppers are an easy weeknight dinner, and they take hardly any effort to prepare. Here are more reasons to love this recipe:

  • Simple, delicious filling. Stuffed peppers with beef and rice are a classic. The savory filling is made from easy-to-come-by ingredients, it’s quick to prepare and always tastes great.
  • Customizable. After something different? Use this recipe as a launch point for tons of easy variations. Change up the filling and add-ins to suit just about any diet or preference.
  • Gluten-free. This stuffed peppers recipe is 100% naturally gluten-free, making it one of our family’s favorite all-in-one meal ideas. 
Stuffed peppers in a white ceramic baking dish.

What You’ll Need

Below is a quick round-up of the ingredients you’ll need to make these healthy stuffed peppers. Remember to scroll to the recipe card for the full details!

  • Bell Peppers: You’ll need 3 large bell peppers cut in half, or you can use 4-6 smaller peppers, and leave them whole with the tops and seeds removed. Fresh bell peppers are high in fiber and vitamin C, and they bake up deliciously tender with the savory beef filling. Use any combination of colors you’d like.
  • Ground Beef: Lean ground beef adds heartiness and protein to the mix. You can also use ground chicken or ground turkey. See further on in the post for more easy variations.
  • Onion and Garlic: Chopped onion and minced garlic bring flavor and depth to the stuffed pepper filling.
  • Tomato Sauce: Canned tomato sauce works great, or you can use canned diced tomatoes or Homemade Marinara Sauce.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: I add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce to enhance the beefy flavors of the filling.
  • Rice: You can use any kind of cooked rice, including brown or white rice, or even wild rice.
  • Cheese: I recommend a melty variety like shredded cheddar, gouda, or mozzarella. For a spicy kick, use Pepper Jack.
Ingredients for classic stuffed peppers.

How to Make Stuffed Peppers

The ground beef filling for the peppers comes together easily in a skillet, and then all that’s left to do is fill and bake! Here’s how to make the best stuffed peppers:

  • Prep the Peppers: While the oven preheats to 350ºF, prepare your peppers. Slice off the tops, remove the seeds, and then halve the peppers lengthwise. Arrange the pepper halves cut side up in a baking dish.
  • Brown the Beef: Next, in a skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef with the diced onions, and season with salt and pepper. After, add the garlic. Before you add the remaining ingredients, remember to drain the excess grease.
  • Combine: Add the cooked rice to the pan along with 1 cup of tomato sauce. Then, stir in Worcestershire sauce and bring the beef mixture to a simmer. After about 5 minutes your mixture should be slightly thickened, and ready to fill the peppers.
  • Fill: Spoon the meat mixture into each pepper. Finally, top the filled peppers with shredded cheese, plus additional tomato sauce, then cover the whole pan with foil.
  • Bake: Bake the stuffed peppers under foil for 30-40 minutes, until fork tender. Remove the foil for the final 5 minutes of baking time, so that the cheese gets golden and bubbly. Then, dig in!

Can I Make These Ahead of Time?

Sure! If you’d like to get a headstart on your stuffed peppers, you can deseed and cut up the peppers and even prepare the filling up to 1 day ahead. Simply store the peppers and filling in separate airtight containers in the fridge until you’re ready to fill and bake. Make sure that you give the filling enough time to cool completely before refrigerating.

You can also prepare and stuff the peppers as directed, and freeze them before baking. Store the uncooked peppers airtight and freeze them for up to 3 months. Defrost the stuffed peppers in the fridge and then bake them as usual.

Stuffed peppers in a white ceramic baking dish.

Tips for Success

I have no doubt that you’re going to go crazy for these stuffed peppers, just like we did! Here are some final tips to get these baked up perfectly:

  • Keep an eye on the peppers while they bake. You want your peppers to be fork-tender, though not overcooked and soggy, or underdone. The exact baking times can vary from oven to oven, so I recommend testing the peppers for doneness after the minimum suggested baking time and going from there.
  • Cut the peppers lengthwise. Cutting the peppers from top to bottom makes it easier to lay the halves flat in the baking dish. They’re also a lot nicer to cut into once they’re baked and will store more easily.
Stuffed peppers in a white ceramic baking dish.

Common Questions

Here are some FAQs I’ve encountered while making these savory stuffed bell peppers:

Should you cook peppers before stuffing them?

Some recipes recommend cooking or parboiling the peppers before stuffing them. However, I’ve found that pre-cooking the peppers isn’t necessary if you bake them covered with foil.

How long does it take to bake stuffed peppers?

These classic stuffed peppers should bake at 350ºF, covered, for 30-40 minutes, followed by another 5 minutes or so uncovered while the cheese melts.

Why are my stuffed peppers soggy?

The key to perfect stuffed peppers is to not overbake them. Overbaking causes the peppers to become mushy. Also, be mindful of add-ins, and don’t mix too many watery veggies or extra liquids into the beef filling before baking.

Two stuffed pepper halves on a white plate.

Easy Stuffed Pepper Variation Ideas

Homemade stuffed peppers are endlessly versatile, so you’ll never run short of delicious variations! Try these ideas:

  • Vegetarian: Make vegetarian stuffed peppers using brown lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, or your preferred brand of meatless mince. 
  • Mexican: Try making Mexican stuffed peppers by adding black beans (you can also borrow the beef filling from my Instant Pot Ground Beef Tacos). 
  • Italian: Use spicy Italian sausage in place of beef, along with shredded mozzarella cheese for Italian stuffed peppers.
  • Chicken: Swap ground beef for ground chicken to make chicken stuffed peppers, or make ground turkey stuffed peppers.
  • Low-Carb: Use lean chicken or turkey mixed with Cauliflower Rice for a lower-carb version.
  • Without Rice: Try substituting the rice in this recipe with quinoa, cauliflower rice, farro, or orzo pasta.
  • Spinach: Wilt fresh baby spinach into the filling for an added dose of healthy iron and vitamins. Cooked kale or Swiss chard would also work well.
  • Spices: Up the flavors in the filling with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, dried herbs, cumin, etc.
A fork scoops beef filling from a stuffed pepper on a white plate.

Make It a Meal

Wondering what to serve with your stuffed peppers? Along with sides (see below), one of our favorite ways to enjoy these peppers is loaded up with toppings! Fresh chopped cilantro, a dollop of sour cream (or Greek yogurt), salsa, or this Creamy Southwestern Dressing are all delicious topping ideas.

Stuffed peppers are an all-in-one meal, or you can bulk things up with your choice of side dishes. Here are some of my go-to easy sides to serve with classic stuffed peppers:

Two stuffed pepper halves on a white plate.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Store any leftover stuffed peppers airtight in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat the peppers in the oven at 350ºF until warmed through. You can also chop up leftovers and sprinkle them over a fresh green salad, or roll them up in a Gluten-Free Wrap.

Can I Freeze Stuffed Bell Peppers?

Yes! You can freeze these peppers before or after they’re baked (see my make-ahead directions above). To freeze your cooked leftovers, store the stuffed peppers airtight and freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge prior to reheating.

Two stuffed pepper halves on a white plate.
5 from 3 votes

Classic Stuffed Peppers

Classic Stuffed Peppers made with sweet bell peppers filled and baked with flavorful ground beef, rice, and melty cheese. This recipe for hearty stuffed bell peppers is the perfect light meal-in-one, and just as tasty served with sides!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 3 large bell peppers , red, orange, yellow, green, or a combination
  • 1-1 1/3 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion , chopped (roughly 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1 One 15-ounce can of tomato sauce , divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup cooked white or brown rice
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese , divided (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Slice the top off of each of the peppers and remove the seeds. Cut them in half lengthwise. Place the peppers in a baking dish cut side up.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef, onion, salt, and pepper, and cook, breaking up the meat, until it is browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Drain any excess grease.
  • Stir 1 cup of the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and cooked rice into the beef mixture. Bring it to a simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Divide the meat mixture between the peppers, then top with the shredded cheese. Top with the remaining sauce from the can.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F, covered, for 30-40 minutes or until the peppers are about as tender as you would like them. Remove the foil and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.


If you have smaller peppers, you can use 4-6 whole peppers, and just slice the tops off and remove the seeds.
Nutrition Facts
Classic Stuffed Peppers
Amount Per Serving
Calories 370 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 80mg27%
Sodium 588mg25%
Potassium 535mg15%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 2008IU40%
Vitamin C 77mg93%
Calcium 131mg13%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Disclaimers: Please discuss your individual dietary needs (i.e. gluten free) with a physician. Even when not specified, be sure to verify all ingredients are gluten free, if needed, by reading labels on all packaging and/or confirming with the manufacturer this varies by brand and can change at any time. Nutrition information shown is an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.


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