Classic Stuffed Peppers

Classic Stuffed Peppers on a platter

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 peppers
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
466 Calories
22g Fat
26g Carbs
41g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 466
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 8g 42%
Cholesterol 115mg 38%
Sodium 1314mg 57%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 41g
Vitamin C 51mg 257%
Calcium 217mg 17%
Iron 6mg 32%
Potassium 1045mg 22%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Baked stuffed peppers have long been a favorite cold weather dish across the U.S. The stuffing in this version is a classic combination of ground beef, rice, aromatic vegetables, tomato sauce, and cheese. It's an easy dish to prepare and bake. Just blanch the peppers, brown the ground beef and vegetables, stuff the peppers, then bake and eat.

Stuffed peppers are versatile as well because the bowl-shaped peppers are the perfect vessel to hold just about any savory stuffing you can imagine. Feel free to make them with a different ground meat or a combination, replace the mozzarella or cheddar with another melty or flavored cheese, or change the flavor profile of the stuffing with your favorite spice or herb blend. You could even make them vegetarian or vegan friendly by replacing the ground meat with cooked beans or a crumbled meat alternative and using a cheese alternative.

If you're wondering what to serve with that tasty stuffed pepper, there are plenty of options. Add a broccoli salad or tossed salad, or serve them with steamed or roasted vegetables, such as broccoli, corn, or Brussels sprouts.

“I like that these stuffed peppers are an all-in-one meal. You’ve got your veg, starch, and protein all wrapped up in a colorful package. It's easy to add your own twist. Next time I’ll add some cheese to the meat and rice mixture before stuffing so there’s cheese in every bite.” —Carrie Parente

Classic Stuffed Peppers Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 large bell peppers, green or multicolored

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup cooked rice

  • 16 ounces tomato sauce, divided

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, or shredded cheddar

  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Stuffed Peppers ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Slice off the very top of the pepper at the stem end to remove the stem. Chop these pepper caps and set aside to use in the filling.

    Chopped red, yellow and green peppers on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Remove the seeds and white membranes from the inside of the peppers, then slice a thin layer off the bottom of the pepper crosswise so it stands flat

    Red, yellow and green peppers with the cores removed on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil; add the peppers and cook for 2 minutes.

    Peppers in a pot with water

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove the blanched peppers and drain well; arrange them in a baking dish, cut-side up. Set aside.

    Peppers on a baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, kosher salt, pepper, and onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.

    Ground beef, kosher salt, pepper, and onions in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Add the reserved chopped bell pepper and garlic and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the beef is no longer pink.

    Ground beef and pepper mixture in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Add the cooked rice, about half of the tomato sauce, and the Worcestershire sauce to the skillet and heat through. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

    Ground beef and rice mixture in a cast iron skillet, with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  9. Stuff the 4 large bell peppers with the ground beef and rice mixture.

    Stuffed peppers on a baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  10. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

    Stuffed peppers on a baking sheet, covered with aluminum foil

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  11. Remove the foil and spoon the remaining tomato sauce over each stuffed pepper. Top with shredded cheese and return to the oven.

    Stuffed peppers with cheese on top, on a baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  12. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted and the center of the peppers reach about 165 F. Remove the stuffed peppers to a platter or individual plates and garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

    Classic Stuffed Peppers on a baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack


  • Blanching the peppers softens them a bit, so they are more tender and less bitter. It’s OK to skip blanching, but the peppers will be slightly crunchy.
  • You may use 5 or 6 small to medium peppers instead of 4 large.
  • You’ll need approximately 1/2 cup of raw rice to make 1 cup of cooked rice, or you may want to make more rice and use the extra in other dishes. Cook the rice on the stovetop, in a rice cooker, or use an Instant Pot.

Recipe Variations

· If you prefer vertically cut stuffed peppers, leave the stems in place, slice the peppers in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and membranes. Blanch if desired, and then stuff and bake as directed.

· Swap out the beef with ground turkey or chicken, or make them with a combination of beef and lean ground pork.

· To make vegetarian stuffed peppers, replace the meat with a plant-based alternative or 1 can of black beans or pinto beans (drained). For vegan, use a cheese alternative.

· For Italian flavors, replace the tomato sauce with seasoned marinara sauce and add 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to the beef mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese.

For a different flavor profile, add 1 teaspoon of an herb or seasoning blend

How to Store Stuffed Peppers

· Refrigerate leftover stuffed peppers in a covered container within 2 hours and eat within three days. 

· To freeze stuffed peppers, let them cool completely. Freeze one or more cooked stuffed peppers on a baking sheet. When frozen solid, wrap each stuffed pepper in foil and transfer to zip-close freezer bags. Freeze for up to three to four months. Defrost in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

· Reheat leftover refrigerated or frozen defrosted stuffed peppers in a foil-covered baking dish in a 350 F oven for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until the center reaches at least 165 F.

Do you eat the pepper when you make stuffed peppers?

Yes, you eat the pepper along with the stuffing. 

Why are my stuffed peppers watery?

Unblanched peppers might be a bit watery after stuffing and baking. If you blanch the peppers, make sure to let them dry or use paper towels to dab any pooled water on the inside of the peppers.