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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

4.70 from 94 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. I’m only an occasional cook, so I appreciate the simplicity! It came out well, I really enjoyed it, and will keep it in mind for the future.5 stars

  2. Love this! Made this last night. Unfortunately due to an onion allergy and garlic sensitivity, I have to omit these ingredients, but it was tasty nonetheless! I do think next time I will add black beans and maybe some chili powder! My husband just said I need to get more peppers to make it again! Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  3. Absolutely delicious! I did add celery as I had a LOT on hand and also chopped fresh cherry tomatoes with basil in my mix. Cleaning excesses out of the kitchen and they turned out wonderful!5 stars

  4. I added feta cheese and red pepper flakes to the meat mixture and it was perfect! Added the kick I was looking for in the dish. I will try your other recipes next time.5 stars

  5. This is by far the most often used recipe in my house. My kids loved them. I make it at least once a month and I make enough for leftovers. They are so tasty and honestly, not very difficult to make. T5 stars

  6. Loved this dish! Made for the second time tonight with only a few tweaks for personal preferences. My husband dislikes garlic powder so I used onion powder instead, I also added some chopped celery for additional flavor.5 stars

  7. Excellent recipe! I mix 1/2 spicy Italian sausage and 1/2 ground beef. They also freeze great! For two of us I make the full recipe and then serve half for dinner and freeze the other half for a quick meal the next day.5 stars

  8. I used small green peppers picked from our garden this morning. I added a packet of spicy taco seasoning in the mixture and it was just the boost that I needed. Overall easy and delicious.5 stars

  9. What a great idea to cut them in half rather than try to stand them up to roast. A friend gave me lovely peppers from her garden. I wound up using 4 and had just the right amount of stuffing and perfect for 2 nights. I thought they were even better reheated.5 stars

  10. I made these peppers last night. Followed your recipe, and added a little shredded carrot along with celery. They were a hit at my house. I will be making these again.5 stars

  11. Amazing! Made exactly as written. Like comfort-food from my childhood but so much better! I love the combination of spices that you used. It’s a savory, well-seasoned, balanced dish. I had too much filling so we will roll that up in a tortilla or something for tomorrow.5 stars

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