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Classic Stuffed Peppers

What is it about the smell of classic stuffed peppers that gets you right in the feels? It’s the best of simple ingredients–fresh beef, onions, tomatoes, and seasonings that come together in their own little portable, edible bowls. 

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one green pepper stuffed with meat on a small white plate with a baking dish full of green stuffed peppers in the background on a wooden cutting board

But here’s my secret:

While these classic stuffed peppers are really tasty, I’ve been ruined on them.

We ate them alot as a kid but with their basic ingredients, no fuss and no frills, they really are the best slate for you to experiment with.

I know you will enjoy them.

How to make these classic stuffed peppers

  • Make these stuffed peppers with any rice you like. I prefer brown but I only had white on hand so I went with it. It does need to be cooked before you put it in the peppers.
  • Ground turkey would also work well in place of the beef if you want a healthier stuffed pepper recipe. They are already fairly healthy, but you can lighten them further by changing the meat you use.
  • Remember that if your peppers won’t stand up in the dish, just cut a little bit off the bottom. Try not to cut into the pepper though. You don’t want to lose your filling. I used three very large peppers in this recipe. If your peppers are smaller you can probably fill 5-6 easily.
  • Swap the tomato sauce for pasta sauce and some fancy parmesan cheese for an Italian flare.
  • If you’re in to Mexican flavors, use salsa and pepper jack cheese mixed in. So many options! I have a great post on how to use leftover taco meat any extra filling would work great in.
a skillet with rice, tomato sauce and cooked pepper fillings

Why do you boil stuffed peppers?

Bell peppers are quite firm and may take longer to cook properly if they don’t get a bit of a jump start.

Cut off the tops and remove the seeds and any large ribs but try not to break the pepper. Place the pepper into boiling water for a minute or so then turn upside down to drain before filling.
The goal isn’t to cook them to the point of being totally soft–just softer than what they were so that they will finish cooking in the oven with the filling.

You could also pre-bake the empty peppers for 5 to 7 minutes before adding the stuffed pepper recipe filling, then finish baking for the full time in the recipe.

Save time and skip cooking rice with this trick

Unless you keep cooked rice on hand, waiting 20 minutes or more for a batch to cook can feel like one extra step in your day you just don’t have time for. Instead, cut right to the chase with Thrive Life freeze dried brown or white rice. Simply refresh the cooked rice by pouring over a bit of warm water and in just a few minutes it’s ready to go in your next recipe.

To make these stuffed peppers ahead:

Cook the filling, stuff the peppers and place them in a baking dish. Wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge till ready to bake, up to 2 days ahead.

A note on freezing: Don’t freeze the peppers stuffed or they will go soggy on you when they thaw. The filling freezes great though!

To reheat: You may need to cover them loosely with some foil for the first half of their bake time to keep them from drying out, then uncover them for the last half or until they are hot all the way through.

Can I pack the meat in raw?

I’ve had a few readers who have done this over the years and I just can’t support it. Where is all that grease from the beef going to go? And the cook time is going to be much longer while the dense filling cooks through. This isn’t a method I would recommend.

a stuffed pepper sliced open to show the filling

How to make stuffed peppers in one pan

You could also deconstruct this and brown the beef, drain and add the remaining ingredients. Dice the peppers and add them to the skillet then bake it up in in the oven. Easy stuff! And it would make ahead like a dream. Even better for busy nights.

What to serve with stuffed peppers

This stuffed pepper recipe is basically a meal in one but try these sides to round out your meal:

one green pepper stuffed with meat on a small white plate with a baking dish full of green stuffed peppers in the background on a wooden cutting board

Classic Stuffed Peppers

Classic stuffed peppers go the traditional route and deliver the familiar flavors you crave.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 4 very large green bell peppers or about 5 small ones
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup cooked brown or white rice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook 3 minutes, just until the peppers are slightly soft. Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside on paper towels to drain.
  • In a skillet, heat the ground beef and onion and cook until no pink remains. Drain.
  • Add the salt, pepper, rice, garlic powder and half of the tomato sauce.
  • Stir well and spoon into the peppers.
  • Top with the other half of the tomato sauce.
  • Bake in an ungreased dish at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm.


Calories: 376kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 16gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 257mgPotassium: 745mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 670IUVitamin C: 106.4mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 3.3mg
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword how to make stuffed peppers, stuffed pepper recipe

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  1. I just made this recipe exactly as written with brown rice except added a big pinch of shredded cheddar to the tops at the final 10 mins. Delicious and I will make again, thank you for an easy weeknight recipe.

  2. I don’t blanch the peppers and I don’t cook the rice ahead, I make this like I am making meatloaf, I use bread crumbs, one egg and half a small diced onion, I use ketchup instead, I bake the peppers start 400 oven for 30 minutes, then turn it down to 350 for one hour more, and they are baked perfect. If you are cutting the bottom of the pepper off, don’t cut all the way thru, the liquid from the pepper will leak out and the rice won’t be cooked. Make sure you use salt. The purpose of the rice is to soak up the fat from the meat and juice from the pepper giving the rice very good flavor. The beef should be no less than 80% fat. Don’t use too much rice, half a cup is enough.

  3. 4 stars
    Tasty. I doubled the meat & used less rice, added Italian spice, 1 raw egg, Worcestershire sauce & real garlic. But I’d rather mix all raw ingredients in a bowl then fill the raw peppers. It may take 1hr in the oven but the flavors meld & pepper flavor permeates the meat during cooking & overall time spent was about the same. And fewer steps & pots needed. I sprinkled shredded mozzarella on top once 160 temp was confirmed & baked another 5 min or pitch under broiler. Will make again.

  4. My mother used to make the best stuffed peppers but she never precooked anything…she just cooked them for hours in the oven and the flavors were haunting! All I remember is rice and ground beef with s&p

    1. We never precooked anything either. We cook on top of stove in tomato juice, it thickens some as rice cooks.

  5. 5 stars
    Sitting here waiting for the rain to arrive. So, figured your version was so easy I had to cook it up, NOW. We will be ready for the rain, with our local wine to go with our bell peppers. My husband loved how they turned out. (hope hubby leaves some for us). This can be made keto friendly.

    Thank you for sharing your recipe, Rachel!

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.