Unstuffed Peppers Casserole

Unstuffed Pepper casserole recipe

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
571 Calories
33g Fat
25g Carbs
43g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 571
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 15g 73%
Cholesterol 138mg 46%
Sodium 1134mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 43g
Vitamin C 44mg 220%
Calcium 363mg 28%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 995mg 21%
*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.)

This is an easy way to enjoy stuffed pepper flavors, and because the prep work is so simple, the recipe takes about half the time as traditional stuffed peppers. The casserole is made with ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and cheese, along with peppers and seasonings. This casserole riff is made with all of the familiar ingredients you would expect from classic baked stuffed peppers.

Use this recipe if you are heading to a potluck or need an easy meal for a family dinner or party. It's also quite flexible. Two large bell peppers are used for the dish—one green and one red—but you could use more or use whatever colors you have on hand. If you prefer not to use beef, some ground turkey would also work well in the recipe. If you want to make a vegetarian version, use crumbled tofu or another meat substitute in place of the ground beef. The texture might be a bit different, but the casserole is so flavorful, it will still be tasty.

Serve with a tossed salad and biscuits or any other side dish.


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery

  • 2 large bell peppers, cut in 1-inch squares

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon celery flakes, optional

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice

  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, or Cheddar Jack blend, divided

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 3-quart baking dish.

  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef with the onion and celery for 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers, salt, freshly ground black pepper, celery flakes, if using, oregano, basil, and garlic powder. Continue sautéing until the vegetables are tender and the meat is no longer pink. 

  4. Add the tomatoes to the beef, along with half of the tomato sauce and the Worcestershire sauce. Stir to blend. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and half of the cheese. 

  5. Spoon the meat mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spoon the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Glass Bakeware Warning

For premade casseroles or leftovers that are in a glass baking dish and have been refrigerated, do not place directly into a hot oven as the glass can shatter. Instead, place any cold glass bakeware into a cold oven to warm up while it preheats. Or allow the bakeware to rest outside of the fridge for 30 minutes to reach room temperature while the oven preheats.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Any leftover casserole can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • If you have a large quantity, the casserole will freeze nicely for up to three months. To reheat a frozen casserole, defrost it on the counter and then heat in a foil-covered baking dish until warmed throughout.

What's the difference between red, yellow, and green peppers?

There are different stages of ripeness in bell peppers which makes the colors change—from green being unripe, to red being the ripest. So, the difference is in the ripeness, color, and taste, which gets sweeter the riper it gets.