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Not your basic stuffed pepper recipe, these are carved into jack o’ lanterns to turn them into Halloween Stuffed Peppers. And even better, they are filled with an easy mixture of ground beef and veggie, then topped with cheesy mashed potatoes. Yes, it’s just like shepherd’s pie, but made to look like a little pumpkin carved into a jack o’ lantern instead of the classic comfort food casserole. So tasty and fun!
Disclosure: This post was previously sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission. All opinions are my own.
Halloween Stuffed Peppers – a fun Halloween Dinner Recipe!
Kids and kids-at-heart are going to love this fun Halloween dinner recipe. Carve some spooky or cute faces into orange bell peppers, and then fill them with a savory beef and vegetable mixture. Top with fluffy mashed potatoes and cheese then put the pepper tops back on top before baking for a deliciously ghoulish meal. Healthy, naturally gluten free, and loaded with protein and veggies.
Come on, how can you resist? Especially when you carve cute or creepy faces into your orange bell peppers to make them look like jack o’ lanterns. And not only do they look awesome, but they also taste pretty awesome as well. Both of my boys happily devoured them, and they’ll fuel your little trick-or-treaters all over the neighborhood!
They may look and sound like a bit of work, but I promise you, this recipe is super easy and can even be prepared in advance. As cute as they are, you can definitely make these any time of the year without carving the jack o’lantern faces. Perfect for any busy weeknight, and especially Halloween when the kids just want to run out the door to go trick-or-treating.
The simple filling is quick and easy. It is based on my favorite shepherd’s pie recipe that uses ground beef in a savory mixture with mixed vegetables and simple gravy. I’m not saying it is 100% authentic, but it is 100% delicious!
- Orange bell peppers: Obviously you can use any color if you aren’t making Jack O’Lanterns, but the orange color makes them perfect for Halloween dinners since they look like pumpkins. If not making them for Haloween, I still prefer to use red, orange, or yellow, since they are sweeter than green peppers.
- Ground beef: I like to use 93% lean ground beef, but use what you prefer.
- Tomato paste
- Worcestershire sauce: In the United States, Lea & Perrins is gluten free.
- Beef broth
- Frozen mixed vegetable medley: I like to use the common mix of peas, carrots, corn, and green beans.
- Russet potatoes: Peeled and cut into about 1 inch chunks
- Greek yogurt or sour cream: Either work fine, so use what you have or prefer.
- Shredded cheddar cheese
How to Make Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Peppers
Carve the Peppers into Jack O’Lanterns
Cut the tops off of the peppers horizontally about a half-inch from the top, then remove the seeds and membranes. Keep the tops. Use little paring knives to carve the little jack o’lantern faces. As mentioned, you can skip the funny faces altogether to just make regular stuffed peppers any time of the year with any variety of bell pepper.
Make the Mashed Potatoes
To make this meal as fast as possible, cut the potatoes into small pieces so they boil quickly. Place cubes of potatoes in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender. In the meantime, prepare the ground beef mixture. Then come back and use a hand mashed to mash the potatoes with milk, Greek yogurt, and cheddar cheese.
Make the Ground Beef Filling
Add the ground beef, onions, and garlic to a killer and cook until browned, breaking up as you go. Add mixed veggies, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth. Simmer till thickened.
Fill and Bake the Halloween Stuffed Peppers
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the carved peppers in a baking dish. Fill the peppers with the meat mixture and top with mashed potatoes and more cheddar cheese. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the peppers are tender and everything is heated through.
Make it in Advance
Yes, you have several options to make the stuffed peppers ahead of time and reheat them.
- Prepare the recipe entirely and bake it. Then store it in the refrigerator or freezer. If frozen, be sure to thaw in the refrigerator. They can then be reheated in the microwave or in the oven at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Note that this will make the peppers a little softer so they may not hold the pumpkin shape as well.
- Prepare everything in advance but don’t bake it. This includes stuffing the peppers. Store it in the refrigerator without baking them. Then just bake before serving, but you may need to add another ten minutes or so to the bake time to ensure it is completely heated through.
- Make just the meat mixture and mashed potatoes ahead. They can also be made a day or two before and stored in the refrigerator, stuffing the peppers just before baking. You can even carve the peppers and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Again, this may require a bit longer in the oven.
Make them All Year: No need to carve Jack O’Lanterns. You can just make basic stuffed peppers any time of the year.
Use a Different Meat: Feel free to substitute ground turkey or ground chicken, if you prefer a leaner meat.
Have Leftover Shepherd’s Pie Filling?
If you don’t need to use up all of the ground beef mixture or decide to make a double batch, try one of these ideas.
- Divide the mixture into ramekins to make Individual Shepherd’s Pies.
- Don’t want to make mashed potatoes? Pile everything into some Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Potatoes.
- Or turn the recipe into a gameday snack by making Shepherd’s Pie Loaded Fries.
Jack O’Lantern Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Peppers
- 4-6 orange peppers See Note*
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped (roughly 1/2 cup)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
- 3/4 cup tomato paste (one 6-ounce can)
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ cups beef broth
- 4 cups frozen mixed vegetable medley, thawed (about two 10 oz. packages)
- 1 pound Idaho® russet potatoes peeled and cut into about 1 inch chunks
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- Slice the top off of each of the peppers and reserve. Remove the seeds and, if desired, use a paring knife to carve a jack o’lantern face into each pepper.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, breaking up the meat, until it is browned. Drain any excess grease. Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth. Add vegetables, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While the meat is cooking, place the Idaho® potatoes and a pinch of salt into a pot of cold water, cover, and bring to boil. Remove cover and boil for 10-12 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and return to the pot, add 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream, milk, and salt. With potato masher or hand mixer, mash to desired consistency.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Divide the meat mixture between the peppers, then top with the mashed Idaho® potatoes and remaining cheese, and place in a glass baking dish.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until heated through, peppers are tender and cheese and potatoes are slightly browned.
More Halloween dinner recipes
- Steak Bites with Bloody Maria Dipping Sauce
- Fettuccine Pumpkin Cauliflower Alfredo
- Twice Baked Potato Mummies Covered with Roaches by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Halloween Baked Potato Skin Pizzas by Alida’s Kitchen
- Loaded Mashed Potato Spider Web Casserole by NeighborFood
- Jack O’Lantern Quesadillas from Big Bear’s Wife
- And don’t forget dessert. You can go with a fall favorite like no crust mini pumpkin pies. Or try one of these 20+ Halloween Recipes like Witches’ Brew Halloween Cupcakes