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I have a fresh twist on a house favorite today: Italian Stuffed Peppers. Sweet bell peppers stuffed with a savory blend of ground chicken or turkey, Italian herbs and cheeses, and the whole grain of your choice, each stuffed pepper is its own tidy and complete healthy dinner package.

A pan of healthy Italian stuffed peppers; red bell peppers filled with ground chicken, tomatoes, and whole grains, then topped with basil and cheese.

Every time I make stuffed peppers, I’m reminded of just how fantastic they are as their own mini recipe genre.

Whether I choose to make these Stuffed Peppers, Mexican Stuffed Peppers, Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, or Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers, I always look forward to dinner (and leftovers!). They’re so easy, tasty, and a total crowd-pleaser. I even created this delicious deconstructed Stuffed Pepper Casserole to further profess my love for all things stuffed pepper.

And today, I’m sharing these highly addictive sweet (or spicy) Italian stuffed peppers for your healthy eating and meal prep pleasure.

I started with my tried-and-true stuffed pepper base recipe, then gave it an Italian twist. PERFECTION.

Italian flavors and red bell peppers are a natural match. By the time you shower on the fresh basil and a generous handful of Mozzarella and Parm, this might be your favorite stuffed pepper recipe yet!

Healthy Italian stuffed peppers with chicken that bake in the oven

Italian Stuffed Peppers – Healthy Cooking MVP

Before we dive into the recipe, I want to share a few reasons why I consider stuffed peppers such a wonderful resource when you are seeking healthy meals.

  • Stuffed peppers are a meal prep dream. You can assemble these stuffed entirely in advance or prep the filling only, whatever works best for you.
  • Italian stuffed peppers are also quick and easy enough to where if you haven’t done any prep at all (me, most of the time!), you can still have them on the table in less than an hour.
  • You can scale stuffed peppers to just about any quantity you need.
  • They freeze and reheat like a dream. When I worked in an office, I often packed stuffed peppers for lunch, as they’re easy to reheat in the microwave (try it—your co-workers will be envious). These days, I like to bake them early on in the week, then reheat them in the oven for fast, healthy dinners.
  • Stuffed peppers are healthy. Lean protein, veggies, and whole grains: the gang’s all here! I’m constantly looking for ways to cut down on time spent prepping ingredients and washing dishes (hence the robust collection of one-pan recipes in my blog recipe index), so recipes like these authentic Italian stuffed peppers that offer every food group in one are always a prize hit around here.
Healthy filling for stuffing peppers in a skillet with chicken and tomatoes

How to Make Healthy Italian Stuffed Peppers

The ingredients for this recipe are simple and scrumptious—two of my favorite qualities of Italian-inspired (or let’s be honest, any) recipe.

The Ingredients

  • Bell Peppers. I like to look for ones that are large and round, as they are the easiest to stuff. While you can use any color, for this Italian version, red bell peppers are my favorite, as their sweet flavor pairs nicely with Italian herbs and cheese.
    • How Do You Cut Peppers for Stuffing? Start by washing and drying the peppers. Then, halve your peppers from top to bottom, cutting right down through the stems. Remove the seeds and membranes. That’s it! You are ready to stuff.
  • Ground Chicken. Italian stuffed peppers with chicken is ultra mild, meaning you can flavor it any way you like! For a different twist, try using sweet or spicy Italian turkey sausage (look for either bulk ground sausage or uncooked sausage in casings; remove the meat from the casings prior to cooking). Regular ground turkey works too.
    • If you want to make vegetarian Italian stuffed peppers, you could try using crumbled tofu in these peppers or swap a can of rinsed and drained white beans.
  • Whole Grain of Your Choice. We use cooked brown rice, as I always have it in my pantry and often keep a container of cooked brown rice in my freezer for easy meals. Cooked farro (a whole grain popular in Italy) would be delicious, though it’s not gluten free like rice, so definitely keep that in mind if making this recipe gluten free is important to you. I also am dying to try these Italian stuffed peppers with orzo at some point! If you go that route, undercook the orzo a bit, as there will be some carryover cooking in the oven.
    • For a low-carb option, you can make these Italian stuffed peppers without rice; swap cauliflower rice instead.
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes. A pantry staple! These make the inside of the peppers tender and juicy. Look for no-salt-added diced tomatoes so that you can control the saltiness of your pepper.
  • Italian Seasoning. This herb blend gives you a mix of dried herbs in every pinch. You can find it in the spice section of almost any grocery store.
  • Red Pepper Flakes. I used a small pinch for flavor, but these Italian stuffed peppers are not hot. If you’d like truly spicy Italian stuffed peppers, add additional red pepper flakes or use a spicy Italian sausage in place of the ground chicken.
  • Cheese. I recommend a mix of a gooey, melty cheese like Mozzarella and a sharp, nutty cheese like Parmesan. For a more elevated spin, try swapping the Mozzarella for fontina, smoked Provolone, or a mix.
  • Fresh Herbs. I’m all about the basil here. Chopped fresh thyme or parsley would be nice too.
Healthy Italian stuffed peppers that can be made without rice or with orzo

The Directions

  1. Arrange your peppers cut-side up in a baking dish that’s lightly coated with nonstick spray. This recipe will yield 8 pepper halves. If all of your peppers don’t fit in one dish (as you can see from the photos, mine did not), you can bake the rest in a separate dish.
  2. Brown your chicken and spices together. Add the tomatoes.
  3. Stir in your grain of choice and part of the cheese. Fill each pepper half with the yummy mixture, and top with more cheese (yes, please).
  4. Add just enough water to the baking dish so it covers the bottom. Bake the peppers for 30 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees F. Sprinkle on fresh basil, and DIG IN!

How to Freeze Stuffed Peppers

  • Do You Freeze Stuffed Peppers Cooked or Uncooked? I recommend freezing these stuffed peppers after they’ve been cooked. Leftovers will be easy to reheat and serve for fast, healthy dinners.
  • To Freeze. Place the baked Italian stuffed peppers in a freezer-safe container cut side up in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat from Frozen. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Reheat gently in the microwave or oven. To microwave, cut the peppers into a few pieces first to ensure that they warm evenly. For the oven, place the peppers on in baking dish cut side up and warm at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.

What Is a Good Side Dish for Stuffed Peppers?

We usually enjoy these Italian stuffed peppers on their own. Since they offer protein, vegetables, and whole grains, it feels like a fairly wholesome, balanced meal.

That said, if you would like to serve something with the stuffed peppers, they go well with a number of sides:

Or, (my personal favorite!) whip up some of these Italian Margaritas that are a delicious complement to the Italian stuffed peppers.

Healthy, easy, and cheesy dinner served on a plate with chicken and fresh basil

Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe

While I love and will happily make Italian stuffed peppers year-round, if ever they were made for a moment, it is this one, the “season” where winter and spring collide. They’re light and fresh enough for a warm day, with enough comfort by way of stretchy, melty cheese to see us through the chilly temperatures.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

4.78 from 136 votes
Italian stuffed peppers are a fresh, healthy twist on a classic! Made with ground chicken, tomatoes, herbs and cheese, they're easy and freezer friendly.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

Servings: 4 servings


  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or up to ½ teaspoon if you like more spicy
  • 1 can no salt added diced tomatoes with juices, 15 ounces
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice farro, quinoa, cauliflower rice, or orzo (if using orzo, undercook it slightly)
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella provolone (or a mix)
  • ½ cup Parmesan divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Slice the bell peppers in half from top to bottom. Remove the seeds and membranes then arrange cut side up in the prepared baking dish.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook, breaking apart the meat, until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid, then pour in the can of diced tomatoes and their juices. Let simmer for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the rice (or farro) and ½ cup of the Mozzarella and ¼ cup of the parmesan. Mound the filling inside of the peppers, then top with the remaining cheeses.
  • Pour a bit of water into the pan with the peppers—just enough to barely cover the bottom of the pan. Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, until the peppers are tender and the cheese is melted. Top with fresh basil. Serve hot.



  • Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in the microwave or oven. For easiest reheating, cut the peppers into a few pieces first so that they warm evenly.
  • Adapted from my Mexican Stuffed Peppers.


Serving: 2(pepper halves)Calories: 437kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 34gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 743mgPotassium: 955mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 4067IUVitamin C: 152mgCalcium: 328mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. I have made these several times. Always with rice. I have made them for my friends who keep Kosher, I just bought a shredded non dairy substitute. They totally enjoyed them. They are a great lunch item for the next day.5 stars

  2. I used this recipe to make plant-based meat substitute stuffed peppers and my Mom loved them;
    I used Champagne Cheese at the end and broiled them for about 5 minutes. I have been asked to make them again so the recipe is beyond good.5 stars

    1. Hi Pam! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review and feedback on the plant-based meat!

  3. I wanted to like this recipe, I really did. My husband and I both like stuffed bell peppers and we have enough out of the garden that I need to find different things to do with them. Plus, ground chicken is a good change from ground beef.

    Unfortunately…as written, this recipe is very, VERY bland. I wanted a more intense Italian flavor, so I didn’t want to add more red pepper flakes; heat is no substitute for actual flavor. I had tried the dish once before and had the same result, but I also, as mentioned, *really* wanted it to work, so this time, I used diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, added a few leaves of fresh basil as well as more Italian seasoning, and hoped for the best.

    Unfortunately, the mixture was still blah — and I *didn’t* use no-salt tomatoes. I also used steamed basmati rice, not brown rice; we don’t care for it. Orzo might have been better, but I had none at hand.

    To up the flavor, I added half a jar of Rao’s marinara and half a teaspoon of chicken Better than Bouillon. By the time I added the cheese, it was okay. I think it might be better still if I’d had flavored ground chicken; there’s a brand (I think it’s Mighty Spark) that has bruschetta-flavored ground chicken, and that might help. I ended up with much more stuffing than peppers, but that was okay; our peppers were on the small side. I steamed the peppers first and put a layer of stuffing down, then the peppers, then filled them with the remaining stuffing. The extra stuffing more than made up for the small peppers.

    I am sorry to make this report, but I think others are going to have the same concerns as I, and at least this might give people some suggestions to address them. I do thank you for sharing the basis for the recipe, though.2 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Aline. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  4. I followed the recipe as presented, but I made a couple of changes. I cooked a cup of orzo in 4 cups of chicken stock for four minutes. When I stained the orzo, I reserved the chicken stock and that is what I poured into the casserole when it was time to cook the peppers.
    I sautéed one small diced onion, and a few cloves of garlic for about three minutes, before I added the chicken to the pan to Brown. In addition to the spices listed in the recipe, I added some fresh chopped up basil at the end, after mixing in the orzo and before stuffing the peppers. I used Parmesan Reggiano cheese and Parmesan cheese. I put some of the mixture into the filling before I stuffed the peppers. I covered the casserole with tinfoil and baked at 400 for 30 minutes. Then I took the tinfoil off, topped peppers with the remaining cheese, and cooked for another 10 minutes without the tinfoil. That made the pepper the perfect consistency. I did not par boil, or roast the peppers at all. I feel the chicken stock helps to bring a nice additional flavor. I think vegetable stock would be nice also. definitely taste the filling as you go and add any additional spices or salt. Have fun!5 stars

  5. This is a delicious recipe! I have made as written, but my latest is kinda like inside out stuffed peppers. My hubby doesn’t love the pepper part of stuffed peppers as claims he doesn’t enjoy the big pepper. I add 2 chopped bell peppers to the filling minus rice (make rice separately) and I serve this filling over white rice and eat mine without for a lower carb version. We Love this recipe.5 stars

  6. Made these tonight — they looked lovely. But I have to agree with the other poster who found them bland. It’s an easy fix, I think: just use some marinara sauce (garlic, four cheese, your pick) instead of the no-salt diced tomatoes. The diced tomatoes don’t add a lot of flavor or thickness to the filling. In the past, I’d stand the peppers up, which left me enough pepper to dice and add to the filling which is nice; I’ve also added frozen roasted corn in the past. I think this is a good starter recipe, and I like the way the peppers look and how easily the eat when cut this way instead of standing, but it was not the most mind-blowing flavor I’ve experienced.3 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Seth. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

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