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Succulent bell peppers filled with a hearty, flavorful blend of ground beef, rice, and cheese, this classic Stuffed Peppers recipe is the ultimate all-in-one meal. It gives you all of the food groups in one tidy, delicious package.

Baked stuffed peppers with rice in a white casserole dish

Why You’ll Love These Classic Stuffed Peppers

  • All-In-One-Meal. Each stuffed pepper is its own package of vegetables, protein, and whole grains. Like my Stuffed Zucchini, this is a one-and-done dinner.
  • Budget-Friendly. Stuffed peppers turn humble, affordable ingredients like rice and ground beef into a well-rounded meal (don’t miss these other Ground Beef Dinner Ideas for more wallet-friendly meals).
  • Loved the World Over. Similar to Cabbage Rolls, different cultures have different versions of this recipe. You can vary the spices and ingredients to suit your cravings, or the ingredients you have on hand.
  • Meal Prep and Freezer-Friendly. Don’t miss all of my tips below to make these stuffed peppers in advance to enjoy this week, or months from now.
The BEST stuffed peppers on a plate with arugula salad

5 Star Review

“These are SO GOOD! Definitely our favorite stuffed pepper recipe, and we’ve tried many. Whole family loved them, including the picky toddler which is saying something.”

— Nicole —

The Best Stuffed Pepper Recipe

This is a go-to, CLASSIC stuffed pepper recipe ideal for everyday enjoyment.

This stuffed pepper recipe:

  • Contains a traditional stuffed pepper filling of beef, rice, and cheese.
  • Is a hearty, all-in-one meal. Veggies, protein, and whole grains, all in one tidy package.
  • Is EASY. You don’t need to cook peppers before filling them. Just pour a bit of water into the pan to ensure they soften quickly and properly.
  • Is endlessly versatile—offering plenty of options to play around with the ingredients and toppings to suit your taste preferences and diet.

To summarize, this recipe for stuffed peppers is simply fabulous!

Recipe for stuffed peppers with rice and cheese arranged in a casserole and baked in the oven

How to Make Easy Stuffed Peppers

Feel free to change up the kind of meat, swap the rice for another grain (like in Quinoa Stuffed Peppers), or use whatever cheese is in your refrigerator.

The Ingredients

  • Bell Peppers. Vitamin-rich (especially vitamin C) and fiber-rich bell peppers act as a healthy, colorful, and tender vessel for the flavorful filling. Use any mixture of colors you desire. Red are my favorite, but green work too!
  • Ground Beef. Not just for Hamburger Casserole, lean ground beef is a wonderful source of protein. It’s hearty and pairs nicely with the spices, tomatoes, and cheeses. You could also make these stuffed peppers with ground turkey, chicken, or sausage (Italian or regular).
  • Brown Rice. Stuffed peppers with rice are a classic. Adding a grain, like long-grain brown rice, makes the recipe more filling and stretches this recipe to be budget friendly. (To cook rice, see How to Cook Brown Rice on the stove top, or make Instant Pot Brown Rice).

Substitution Tip

For stuffed peppers without rice, try stuffed peppers with quinoa, farro, cauliflower rice, or orzo instead.

If making stuffed peppers with orzo, make sure it is very al dente (or even a little undercooked) before stuffing since the orzo will continue to cook in the oven. 

  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes. A can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes is a simple change that adds a more complex flavor without sacrificing moisture.
  • Fresh Spinach. Fresh spinach cooks down and blends seamlessly into the filling, making it an excellent healthy sneak for stuffed peppers. Spinach is packed with iron and vitamins.

Market Swap

Swap for other greens of your choice if you don’t enjoy spinach. Try stuffed peppers with sautéed kale or wilted Swiss chard.

  • Cheeses. Because stuffed peppers with cheese is a true crowd-pleaser! I used a combination of pepper jack cheese and sharp cheddar cheese.

Substitution Tip

If you want a less spicy version of the recipe, swap the pepper Jack for more cheddar, or use gouda, muenster, or mozzarella.

  • Spices. Italian seasoning, cumin, garlic powder (which is quicker and easier than garlic cloves), salt, and pepper make this from-scratch filling far from one-note.
stuffed peppers with ground beef in a baking dish with quinoa, cheese, and Italian herbs

The Directions

  1. Slice the Bell Peppers. Lay them in a baking dish.
Ground beef in a skillet with sautéed onions and spices
  1. Brown the Beef. Add the seasonings.
Spinach being added to a skillet of ground beef
  1. Add the Spinach. It will wilt pretty quickly.
A skillet with ground meat and vegetables with bowls of quinoa and shredded cheese next to it
  1. Add the Tomatoes. Canned is perfect and gives a more interesting texture than tomato sauce.
Cheese and quinoa being added to a skillet of ground beef and vegetables for stuffed peppers
  1. Add the Grains and Cheese. Rice and quinoa are my favorites. I love a mix of cheeses.
Uncooked classic stuffed peppers with quinoa in a baking dish
  1. Fill the Peppers. Then top with more cheese!
  2. Pour a Little Water in the Dish. This is my trick so you don’t have to precook the peppers.
  3. Bake. Cook stuffed peppers in the oven at 375 degrees F until tender. ENJOY!
cheesy stuffed peppers in oven served on a plate with salad

Recipe Variations

You can find an easy stuffed peppers recipe for every need and craving!

Topping Suggestions

While stuffed bell peppers are great as-is, for something special, try them with one (or all!) of the below.

  • Fresh Herbs. A sprinkle of parsley or cilantro would be delicious, fresh, and colorful.
  • Greek Yogurt. Instead of sour cream, try cool, thick, and creamy plain Greek yogurt. It’s tangy and scrumptious on stuffed peppers.
  • Avocado. Sliced avocado is always a good choice.
  • Salsa. You’re missing out if you’ve never tried stuffed peppers with salsa. It’s an excellent way to add a little extra kick to this dish.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate peppers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
  • To Freeze. Freeze peppers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Plan Tips

Options 1: Make-Ahead Stuffed Peppers

Cut and core the bell peppers up to 1 day in advance, and refrigerate them in an airtight storage container. Cook the filling as directed up to 1 day in advance. Let cool, then refrigerate it in a separate airtight storage container. Fill and bake peppers as directed just before serving.

Option 2: Freezer Stuffed Peppers

Did you know stuffed peppers can be frozen before cooking? Prepare and stuff the peppers as directed. Then, rather than baking, store the fully assembled peppers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw overnight in the fridge, and bake as directed.

Leftover Ideas

Cut your leftover stuffed peppers into small pieces, rewarm them, and enjoy them on top of greens like a salad. Or, dice up, reheat, and pile the peppers into tortillas for a spin on burritos.

What to Serve with Stuffed Peppers

While these can serve as an all-in-one meal, if you’d like to pair them, here are a few sides that go well with stuffed peppers.

  • Dutch Oven. The perfect cookware item for preparing the pepper filling.
  • Baking Dish. You’ll use this beautiful dish on repeat.
  • Hamburger Chopper. The ideal tool for stirring and breaking up ground meat.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Keep the Peppers from Getting Soggy. Don’t overbake your peppers. They will get mushy and soggy if cooked too long. Also, avoid adding extra liquids to the filling before baking to keep the stuffed peppers from getting soggy.
  • Make Sure the Peppers are Fork Tender. While you don’t want your peppers soggy, you certainly don’t want them underdone. When properly baked, you should be able to easily pierce the stuffed peppers with a fork. If the peppers aren’t tender when the cheese is melted, and the filling is hot, simply tent the pan with foil and continue baking until they are. The amount of time you need can vary based on your oven, baking pan, and pepper size.
  • Cut the Pepper in Half from Stem to End. When making stuffed peppers in the oven, I find splitting them from top to bottom best. It allows you to lay the peppers flat on their back in the baking dish, which makes for easier stuffing. If all of your peppers don’t fit in one pan, you can bake the extras in a second, smaller baking dish such as an 8×8-inch pan.

Stuffed Peppers

4.61 from 73 votes
The best classic stuffed peppers with flavorful ground beef, rice, tomato and cheese. Quick, easy recipe with no need to precook the peppers!

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

Servings: 8 pepper halves


  • 4 large bell peppers any mix of colors you like; red is our favorite
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or swap for ground turkey or ground chicken
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups roughly torn fresh spinach
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juices (15 ounces)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice or farro, quinoa, cauliflower rice, or orzo (if using orzo, undercook it slightly)
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese or additional cheddar
  • For serving: chopped fresh parsley or cilantro


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Slice the bell peppers in half from top to bottom down through the stem. Remove the seeds and membranes, then arrange cut side up in the prepared baking dish.
  • Heat a Dutch oven or similar deep, wide skillet over medium-high. Add the beef and onion. With a wooden spoon or spatula, break the meat into small pieces. Cook and stir until the meat is browned and fully cooked and the onion is tender, about 7 minutes. Drain off any excess fat.
  • Stir in the Italian seasoning, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Let cook for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the spinach a few handfuls at a time, cooking until it wilts down; this will take between 1 and 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the can of diced tomatoes along with the juices. Let simmer for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the rice (or your grain of choice), 1/4 cup of the cheddar, and 1/4 cup of the pepper jack. Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper as desired.
  • With a spoon, mound the filling inside the peppers, then top with the remaining cheeses. The peppers will be very full.
  • Pour a bit of water into the pan with the peppers—just enough to scantly cover the bottom of the pan. I like to put the water in a liquid measuring cup, then carefully pour it around the outside (be careful not to pour it into the peppers themselves).
  • Bake the stuffed peppers uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the cheese is melted. Top with parsley or cilantro. Serve hot.



  • TO STORE: Refrigerate stuffed peppers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze peppers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • TO MAKE AHEAD: Cut and core the bell peppers up to 1 day in advance, and refrigerate them in an airtight storage container. Cook the filling as directed up to 1 day in advance. Let cool, then refrigerate it in a separate airtight storage container. Fill and bake peppers as directed just before serving.


Serving: 1pepper half (of 8)Calories: 201kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 18gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 49mgPotassium: 432mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 2916IUVitamin C: 80mgCalcium: 153mgIron: 3mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Boil Peppers Before Stuffing Them?

No, you do not need to precook the peppers before stuffing. While some stuffed pepper recipes may parboiling, blanching, or roasting, I’ve found that it is not a necessary step. If you follow the suggested preparation method in this post (pouring a little water into the bottom of the dish), there’s no need to soften the peppers before stuffing them.

Why Are My Stuffed Peppers Soggy?

If your stuffed peppers are soggy, they were likely overcooked. Unfortunately, you can’t do much to fix soggy bell peppers. If the soft texture bother you, try dicing them up and mixing them with pasta for a chunky spin spaghetti sauce.

How Long Does it Take to Soften Peppers in the Oven?

The amount of time needed to soften peppers in the oven will depend on the size of your peppers, the selected filling, and your oven’s temperature. On average, I find that most baked stuffed peppers will be tender after 30 to 35 minutes in the oven at 375°F.

Where Did Stuffed Peppers Originate?

It’s hard to pinpoint who was the first person to stuff a pepper with a cheesy, meaty rice filling. This is because it’s a method that has been practiced for generations across cultures. From pimientos rellenos of Spain, to bharvan mirch of India, dolma in the Mediterranean, and chile rellenos in Mexico, different ethnic groups throughout history have made their own version of stuffed peppers using local ingredients.

More Delicious Ground Beef Recipes

Looking for more ways to use up that package of ground beef in your freezer? Here are more popular beef recipes to try.

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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. These are SO GOOD! Definitely our favorite stuffed pepper recipe, and we’ve tried many. Whole family loved them, including the picky toddler which is saying something. Looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow.5 stars

  2. I made these last night, and despite my booboo (I forgot to put cheese in the meat mixture) they were delicious! I’m reheating the leftovers right now for tonight’s dinner. I’ll totally make these again!5 stars

  3. Fabulous! I made it with ground beyond meat (for my meatless household), lightly cooked in a separate pan then added with cheese + brown rice. Definitely going to be a repeat for us!5 stars

  4. This recipe is definitely going into the rotation (among the other Well Plated we’ve tried). This was an outstanding recipe… I am now a Greek yogurt convert!!! I used ground turkey which in my opinion worked just as well as beef (very tasty). On a side note… this recipe will work even if you cut the peppers the wrong way! Whoops!!! Thanks Erin!5 stars

  5. These were fabulous! For me, they actually filled 5 peppers. I’m trying to limit my cheese, so I only put in on top. They turned out perfectly; I loved that idea to put a little water in the bottom of the pan so the peppers were tender. I will be making them again!5 stars

  6. Easy and delicious

    I modified this recipe because I used small garden peppers. They fit in my muffin tin, so I copped the tops off and added the extra pepper to the stuffing instead.
    I deleted the rice. it’s a filler in my opinion5 stars

  7. I made it last night- first time ever making stuffed peppers (my husband usually makes them). We LOVED them! Definitely a 5 star rating.5 stars

  8. 62 years old, and this is the first time i made stuffed peppers–for company, no less! and it got RAVE reviews! absolutely delicious!!5 stars

  9. I loved this. We didn’t have bell peppers but I used the last of our homegrown pablano peppers and it turned out amazing. My husband loved it.5 stars

  10. Truly delicious! I used ground chicken, quinoa, and lowered the salt a bit (heart condition), but other than that I followed the recipe to a tee. My wife said it was one of the best (healthy) dishes I’ve ever made. I look forward to exploring more of your recipes….Thank you!5 stars

  11. I made this for an easy weeknight dinner and it did not disappoint! I substituted ground Turkey instead of ground beef and added extra seasoning to my taste but other than that it was great! I’ll probably try one of her other stuff peppers recipes in the future to see how it compares as well5 stars

    1. Hi Pam! There are two different options in the blog post. #1 under “Meal Plan Tip” explains how to make them ahead of time and freeze before cooking. #2. under “Make Ahead and Storage Tips” explains how to freeze them after they are made. Hope this helps!

  12. Absolutely wonderful recipe. I did add about a teaspoon Worcestershire. A little basil in the mix would be nice next time. My family was very impressed!5 stars

  13. Killer seasoning. Used leftover cheeses and canned chickpeas about to expire lol. Also, I pre boiled the peppers a bit, a tip I heard somewhere ! Thanks for this.5 stars

  14. Hiii,
    I was going to make this tomorrow, but now I am very confused! I know you talked about using Greek yogurt or sour cream… but I can’t seem to find either in the recipe!!!🤦‍♀️
    What am I not seeing??????
    Thank uuuuuuu!

    1. Hi Saina, if you take a look at the blog post that was listed under the section “TOPPING IDEAS”. That means when you are done cooking your stuffed peppers you can top them with various ingredients, one being Greek yogurt or sour cream. It doesn’t actually go into the peppers. Hope this helps!

  15. Threw it together pretty quickly, not a lot of planning necessary. Used chili pepper, coriander, cumin, oregano and a little cinnamon with salt to taste. Used sour cream and avocado on top, and it was a huge hit for my friends and all m roommates. Time everything based on the brown rice and you can finish up pretty quickly.5 stars

  16. Came out pretty damn good the 1st time..its definitely better than the basic way..and its not complicated..this way will be the way it will done for now on.4 stars

  17. As a Chef for twenty or so years of my life, This recipe is AWESOME! Naturally I did a few “tweaks”, being adding 1 tsp of Knorr beef bouillon flavor(powder), 1/2 tsp of coriander, 1/2 tsp celery salt, 2 diced fresh tomatoes (I had a couple that needed to be used), grated Asiago for the mixture, and a small can of diced tomatoes for a sauce-i-ness. Will top with sharp cheddar, bake, and use a sprig of parsley (or mint leaf) to top it off. Not many changes, but really, really next level! Thank you so much!5 stars

  18. This recipe was so delicious and easy to follow!! I loved the seasonings and the traditional stuffed pepper taste. I thought about skipping the spinach but it added to the flavor and health benefits. I used both red and green peppers. Liked the crunch of the peppers not too soggy. Thank you!5 stars

  19. What is the best way to freeze these?
    Should they be fully or partially baked?
    Or could the peppers be raw but stuffed with cooked meat mixture?

    1. Hi Adelina! I’ve got this completely covered in the section of the blog post labeled “Meal Plan Tip”! Hope this helps!

  20. I used leftover orzo and diced tomatoes with green chilies (my store did not have fire-roasted). it was amazing! Great recipe.5 stars

      1. VERy GOOd! I didn’t have Italian seasoning so I used Taco instead. This is amazing and easy to make. Thank you!5 stars

  21. So tasty! I wanted a true, authentic stuffed pepper recipe, and I didn’t immediately find a vegan recipe that was similar to the one my mom used to make for me. I left out the spinach and substituted the meat for Beyond Meat and it was super delicious! This is a very good recipe. Thank you!5 stars

  22. I veganized this by using lentils and Miyokos fresh mozzarella broiled on top. The flavors were delicious! Will definitely be making again!5 stars

  23. Great recipe. The second time I made it I cut up all the peppers and so I take them with the onions added it to the ground beef and the rice and the tomatoes and the cheese and just served it like that kind of like a casserole.5 stars

  24. Great recipe! It’s very versatile and you could put whatever vegetables you have on hand in it. My 8 year old loved it!5 stars

  25. I made just as directed except I added some sliced mushrooms to the ground beef mix. Made it with 1/2 sharp cheddar and 1/2 pepper jack. Excellent recipe! Great for after the Holidays.5 stars

  26. Stumbled on your site and made this yesterday. Came out spectacular! Omitted the cumin as we don’t like it, but made up for it with more garlic. Should have used the recommended amount of salt, but backed off some. Definitely will make this again and try with the amount of salt per the recipe. Thanks again!5 stars

  27. Had to scroll through too much stuff to get to the recipe and all the ads made the page unreadable. I can barely type this now from all the ads on your page.

    1. I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience the ads caused you! I will certainly keep paying close attention to the number of ads and how they load, as I never want them to hinder your ability to view the recipe or the blog post. I do truly appreciate your feedback and apologize again for the inconvenience! Also, there is a quick and convenient “jump to recipe” button that will help you get to the recipe faster and a print button to have the recipe quickly at your fingertips. Hope this helps!

      1. Hi Erin,
        I love your recipes and use them all of the time… I do agree about the advertisements though…not sure if you can do anything about it but the recipe keeps jumping as the adds continue to load… it doesn’t stop me from using your site but it makes reading your recipe and wonderful tips challenging. Keep up the good work! You make me look good!!

        1. Hi MaryAnn! I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience the ads caused you, ! I will certainly keep paying close attention to the number of ads and how they load, as I never want them to hinder your ability to view the recipe or the blog post. I do truly appreciate your feedback and apologize again for the inconvenience! Also, there is a quick and convenient “jump to recipe” button that will help you get to the recipe faster and a print button to have the recipe quickly at your fingertips. Hope this helps!

  28. This recipe is difficult to follow because the instructions are not presented in chronological order and key details are spread between the cliche intro blabbery and the instruction section.

    1. I’m sorry Janet, are you referring to the blog post where there is an overview of the recipe or the recipe card itself? The recipe card has all of the details, ingredients, and instructions (in order of how to make the dish). If you are looking for just the recipe I’d encourage you to bypass the blog post and go straight to the recipe. There is even a “jump to recipe” button at the top of the screen to get you there faster. Hope this helps!

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe, Marcia. The method and timing has worked well for myself (and others) but I know how frustrating it can be to try a new recipe and not have it work out, so I really wish you would’ve enjoyed it!

  29. This dish has no flavour. Other than the tomatoes, there is nothing to distinguish the nuance of spices. At the price of peppers, I will not waste them again.1 star

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Sandra. 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!

  30. Thank you for another great recipe, Erin! I made it into a skillet meal rather than baked peppers (diced the bell peppers and sautéed with the onions and meat), but I used all of the ingredients listed. Doubled the rice, spinach, and tomatoes to stretch the meat a little more. :-) Delicious!5 stars

  31. I am getting ready to make this receipe and need to use 12 peppers. I am considering leaving the peppers whole instead of cutting them in half. Would that affect the bake time?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Fran! It shouldn’t affect it too much! I’d just keep an eye on it and start checking how tender the peppers are at the 30 minute mark. Hope this helps!