Dad’s Stuffed Bell Peppers

VideoComfort FoodGluten-FreeBeefBell Pepper

These Stuffed Bell Peppers are such a classic. They're made with a mix of ground beef, rice, onions, tomatoes, and spices. No need to pre-cook the filling — just stuff, bake, and serve!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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

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

VIDEO! How to Make Stuffed Peppers

The Best Peppers to Buy

These stuffed peppers can be made with any bell pepper. Red, yellow, and orange peppers are sweeter, because they’re riper, having been on the plant longer, while green peppers have a fresh bitterness that can make a welcome contrast to the meatloaf-like filling. Pick your favorite or mix them up!

Look for medium to large bell peppers that will hold a decent amount of stuffing. Choose peppers that are more round than long and will stand up on their own and not teeter over once you’ve stuffed them.

Steam Peppers Before Stuffing

One tip that adds a little time, but makes a difference, is to steam the raw peppers before stuffing them. You don’t cook them all the way; just until they start to soften. This ensures that the peppers cook through thoroughly once they’re stuffed and baked, making them easier to cut and eat.

You can skip this step if you need to save some time, but know that your peppers may be still be somewhat crisp after stuffing and cooking.

Easy Stuffed Peppers baked in a casserole dish

Make Ahead Stuffed Peppers

You can steam the peppers and stuff them up to a day ahead, and then bake them in the oven when you’re ready. The baked, stuffed peppers also reheat well, and make an excellent lunch the next day.

Once the peppers are cooked you can freeze them, either individually or together. They’ll keep for up to a month in the freezer. Thaw overnight and reheat in the microwave or a 350°F oven.

What to Serve with Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed peppers include vegetable, starch, and meat, so they really are a meal in themselves. We usually serve them a lightly dressed green salad or coleslaw on the side, and maybe a side of greens if we are feeling virtuous (or buttered noodles if not).

More Stuffed Pepper Recipes to Try

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Updated March 2, 2020 : We spiffed up this post with a brand new video! Enjoy!

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 to 6 bell peppers, any color
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound 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 needed): 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.

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.

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

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.

Cook the onions for the stuffed peppers

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.

Mix together the ground beef filling for the stuffed peppers

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.

Stuff the peppers and line them up in a baking dish

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

Top the stuffed peppers with a ketchup mixture

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.

Baked the stuffed peppers until the filling is cooked through

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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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174 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Donna Kay

    First, I really like your name! :-)
    Secondly, after reading all the great reviews, I’d like to make this tomorrow with 6 peppers but with 1 1/2 lbs. meat and 1 cup cooked rice.
    Do you think these changes will work with this recipe or change the mixture and flavor too much? The topping sound sooo good. Thanks so much for any tips or suggestions!

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Gerri

    Very very delicious!! Excellent recipe! Thankyou! We enjoyed these so much! I used cherry tomatoes and fresh oregano from garden!
    Definitely making these again and again!


  3. Alfred

    Save the juice from the drained tomatoes and use in place of the 1/4 cup of water when baking…. really amps up the flavor!!

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Judith

    Made these last night and they were just what I wanted. My mom used to make these with only green peppers and her recipe got lost along the way. Though I still like the green peppers the best, I also used the red. The steaming of the peppers before stuffing made a big difference. I will be making these again using this recipe, so tasty.


  5. Kelley L.

    I have these in the oven now. I’ve made them a number of times, but never posted a review. I make them exactly as written, and my husband loves them! Very easy to prepare and assemble and a bit “different” from my usual go-tos. My husband grew up in the 50’s and his mom used to make this dish. This recipe reminds him of her and he requests it every so often. Thanks for another great recipe that we enjoy!


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