Stuffed Peppers With Ground Beef and Rice

Stuffed peppers on a plate with kale
The Spruce
  • Total: 110 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 85 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
525 Calories
20g Fat
47g Carbs
40g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 525
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 141mg 47%
Sodium 927mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Protein 40g
Calcium 118mg 9%
*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.)

Stuffed bell peppers make a delicious everyday meal, one that many people consider comfort food. With the classic combination of ground beef and rice, veggies, and melted cheese on top, they are more filling than you might expect.

For this recipe, you aren't cooking or even browning the beef before you add it to the peppers. Because of that, the beef should be as lean as possible (at least 90/10); otherwise, it may make the filling too greasy when the peppers bake in the oven. That being said, you can adapt the filling to your liking, replacing the beef with leaner options such as ground turkey or chicken, or change the flavor profile a bit by using a mix of ground Italian pork and ground beef. And when you're shopping for the peppers, look for ones that are large and sturdy; sometimes bell peppers can vary in size and you want ones that can fit the filling. This way when you core and seed them, there's plenty of pepper left.

This tried-and-true recipe is a family favorite. Beef stuffed peppers make for a great meal on their own for a hearty lunch, but if you're serving them for dinner, you might consider a green salad and a loaf of crusty bread. Or if you'd like something warm and starchy, mashed or baked potatoes would amp up the comfort food factor.

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Ingredients

  • 6 green bell peppers (or a choose a combination of colors)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed and minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons salt (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (divided)
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90/10)
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice (cooked)
  • Optional: Shredded mild cheddar cheese (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for stuffed peppers with ground beef and rice
    The Spruce 
  2. Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and rinse them under cold water; remove seeds and cut away the white ribs, which might be bitter. Chop the edible part of tops and set aside. Place the peppers in a large pot and cover with salted water.

    Bell peppers with tops removed on a cutting board with a knife
    The Spruce
  3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

    Bell peppers, tops cut off, in a pot of water

    The Spruce

  4. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until oil is hot and the butter is foamy. Sauté the chopped bell pepper (from the tops), chopped onion, and chopped celery for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

    Chopped peppers, onions, and celery in a deep saucepan

    The Spruce

  5. Add the (undrained) canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, crushed garlic, oregano, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

    Tomatoes and tomato sauce in a saucepan with chopped veggies

    The Spruce

  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Gently stir to blend; add ground beef, cooked rice, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce mixture. Mix well.

    Ground beef mixed in a bowl with egg and tomato mixture

    The Spruce

  7. Heat the oven to 350 F. 

  8. Stuff the peppers loosely with the ground beef mixture and place them in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Pour the remaining tomato mixture over the stuffed peppers. 

    Stuffed peppers in a baking dish with tomato sauce on top

    The Spruce

  9. Bake the peppers for about 45 minutes, or until the meat mixture is thoroughly cooked.

    Baked stuffed peppers with cheese melted on top in a baking dish
    The Spruce

Tips

  • To ensure the peppers are thoroughly cooked, insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of a stuffed pepper. The minimum safe temperature is 160 F for ground beef, pork, or lamb, or 165 F for ground turkey or chicken.
  • Use a baking dish that can accommodate peppers that are closely packed together peppers because they will soften a bit as they cook. You don't want to lose all that hard work with peppers that have fallen over.
  • The peppers may also be halved horizontally so you have two halves to fill. You won't have the extra chopped pepper from the tops, but you can chop an extra bell pepper.

How to Store Stuffed Peppers

  • Cooked stuffed peppers will keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days. Simply heat the oven to 350 and put the peppers in a covered baking dish (in case anything spills out) and reheat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through. You can add more cheese before doing so if you want.
  • Stuffed peppers can also be frozen once they have cooled completely. Transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet and freeze until frozen. Then, wrap each pepper individually in foil, put them in a zip-close bag, and label. When it's time to eat, you can either let them thaw in the fridge first before reheating or put them frozen in a 350 F oven until they're completely heated through, about an hour.