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Classic Stuffed Peppers

What is it about the smell of classic stuffed peppers that gets me 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. 

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.

I  blame my mother.

And her Texas Hash. Good heavens.

As a kid my mom forced me to eat it. It’s basically a deconstructed stuffed pepper made with all the same ingredients–and the first time I made these peppers for Jeremy, we sat down, took a bite and looked at each other–” Texas Hash,” we said.

Even my husband has been subjected to a big plate of it. He’s scarred too.

I was digging deep for you on this recipe.

Now if I’m being totally honest, these peppers are great. They have the basic ingredients, no fuss and no frills, and they really are the best slate for you to experiment with. And I actually like every single ingredient that’s in them, just as long as my mom doesn’t make them.

I know you will enjoy them–if your mom didn’t ruin you with years of Texas Hash.

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!
a skillet with rice, tomato sauce and cooked pepper fillings

To make these stuffed peppers ahead:

Cook the filling, stuff the peppers and wrap them in plastic wrap. Place them in the fridge till ready to bake, up to 2 days ahead. Don’t freeze the peppers stuffed or they will go soggy on you when they thaw. The filling freezes great though!

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.

a stuffed pepper sliced open to show the filling

You could also deconstruct this (aka Texas Hash) 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.

Serve yours with a batch of crispy southern cornbread and you’ll have dinner heaven. If you want to learn how to make cornbread, I’ll show you!

Watch the full recipe on YouTube!!

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.
4.79 from 46 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 376kcal
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: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 745mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 670IU | Vitamin C: 106.4mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 3.3mg

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Recipe Rating

Cathy Fudge Ballard

Thursday 8th of April 2021

Hey Rachel Ballard....Cathy Ballard here in Charleston SC! I couldn't remember my Mama's recipe, but it's the same as hers and very thankful. My husband said they were delicious, appreciate your help!! 👍


Saturday 3rd of April 2021

I had everything except tomato sauce,but I had spaghetti sauce so I used that instead and didn't bother with the garlic because it is already in the sauce. Yummy!

Susan Oakes

Friday 26th of March 2021

We tried this and it was delicious! It came out perfect. Thank you!

The Texas hash story made me laugh; my mom made that too and called it Spanish rice.😀 I have no idea why🤷🏼‍♀️.

As a side note, I read the other comments and seriously, I was laughing really hard. You have the patience of a saint, really. Is it that hard for people to carefully read a recipe? Anyway, thanks again!

Rachel Ballard

Sunday 28th of March 2021

Haha Susan! I'm glad you liked it. Apparently it's very hard to follow recipes and I wish my patience was saintly! --Rachel

Kim Coomer

Sunday 7th of March 2021

Can you freeze these before cooking?

Rachel Ballard

Sunday 7th of March 2021

You can freeze the filling after it's cooked but if you freeze the peppers they will go really soft and watery when they thaw. It's not a great final result. --Rachel


Friday 26th of February 2021

If I wanted to add some cheese to the recipe, how much and when would I add it.

Rachel Ballard

Friday 26th of February 2021

I don't add cheese Christine but I think people do it in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking and as for the amount, measure that with your heart. LOL. --Rachel