Dad’s Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, rice, onions, tomatoes, and spices. Classic American stuffed bell peppers recipe!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

A classic American dish that one can’t easily find in restaurants (unless it is a cafeteria) is stuffed bell peppers.

It’s essentially meatloaf stuffed into bell peppers and baked in the oven. My mom and dad have their own different versions, both delicious. Here is my dad’s:

Dad’s Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 1 1/2 cup of cooked white rice (from about 3/4 cup raw rice)
  • 4 bell peppers, any color
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned (if using can, drain of excess liquid first)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce


1 Cook the rice: If you are starting with raw rice, you'll need to cook it first. Cook the rice following the directions on the rice package.

2 Steam the bell peppers: Cut the tops off of the bell peppers about 1/2 inch to 1 inch from the stem end and remove the seeds. (Save the extra bits of bell pepper for another dish such as Ground Turkey and Peppers.)

Place a steaming rack in a large pot and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan by an inch. Place the bell peppers on the rack, cut side up, and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot and let the peppers steam for 5 to 10 minutes until they start to soften.

to make stuffed bell peppers, steam the bell pepper shells first

Note that you can skip the steaming if you want, but this step will help ensure that the peppers cook through thoroughly when they are stuffed and baked.

3 Sauté onions and garlic: Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

4 Make filling: Add the meat, cooked rice, cooked onions, tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Mix everything together with your hands or a wooden spoon, just enough so that the ingredients are all well distributed. Do not over-mix.

5 Stuff the peppers: Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil inside the peppers. Arrange the cut side of the peppers up in a baking dish, then stuff peppers with filling.

Combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl, then spoon over filling.

6 Bake: Add 1/4 cup of water to the baking dish. Place in 350°F oven and bake for 40-50 minutes (or longer, depending on how big the peppers are that you are stuffing), until the internal temperature of the stuffed peppers is 150-160°F.

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Dad's Stuffed Bell Peppers

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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159 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. roxanne

    I’ve had this recipe of yours for years and needed a new copy, as mine was well worn. I found this recipe and there was no Italian sausage mentioned in this recipe. Did you omit the sausage for a specific reason?

  2. Danni

    Follow up to previous comment. I’m pleasantly surprised because I love stuffed peppers. These were not greasy, no grease floating out [and I use regular beef, not lean]. However, I didn’t trim the bottoms to level them and there was no way out for any liquid. Adding the seasonings to the mix is a plus; I’ll do that in the future. I also chopped the pepper tops up and added them to the beef mix, and just put ketchup on top. I baked for 40 minutes and the beef was fully cooked. This mix would be wonderful for stuffed cabbage [which I also love]. I’d spice it up a little more next time.


  3. Danni

    These are in the oven right now but I do have a couple comments before they are done….be sure the peppers you use are big ones. This makes enough filling for six to eight peppers. For four, a good pan size is 8×8. It will be interesting to see how the beef cooks out; the fat from the meat has to go somewhere. I also added the seasoning [including ketchup etc.] in the meat mixture [accidentally] so just topped it with the ketchup.

  4. Kelsea

    The ground beef sure made this a disaster. It was overflowing with greasy juice from the beef. Next time I will not be cooking them like that. Also you mention add 1/4 cup of water to the sauce which makes it really runny. These were embarassing to serve. Wondering what I did wrong honestly I followed the recipe…


  5. Kathy

    I haven’t made this yet, but definitely going to try it. This is the way my grand mom made stuffed peppers. Thanks for posting.

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