Mom's Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is perfect comfort food! Bell peppers stuffed with ground beef, rice, and herbs and baked in the oven.

Stuffed Bell Peppers
Elise Bauer

Stuffed bell peppers is one of those classic comfort food dishes that my family practically lived on when I was a kid.

This recipe my mother adapted from Adelle Davis when mom was teaching herself to cook in the 1960s.

Like so many of those early recipes, mom has modified them to her taste and style through the years. This one, she rarely does exactly the same way twice. She'll use a different set of herbs and seasoning, depending on what strikes her fancy looking through the spice cabinet.

Stuffed Bell Peppers
Elise Bauer

Whereas my father is a stickler for details and exact ingredient measurements, mom usually can't be bothered, She keeps things simple and improvises as she goes along.

While dad's stuffed bell pepper recipe is terrific, it's a little too much fuss and bother for her to make. This one is easier and more her style.

Mom's Stuffed Bell Peppers

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 80 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

Red and yellow bell peppers have a very different flavor than green bell peppers. The red ones especially are much sweeter. Any bell pepper can be used for this recipe; use the type you like the best.

If you need to cook rice from scratch, you’ll need 3/4 to 1 cup raw rice to get 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked rice. To save time, you can use pre-cooked packaged rice.

You can substitute the herbs with other herbs such as an Italian herb mix.


  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked white rice

  • 4 to 6 bell peppers (red, yellow, or green), 4 large or 6 medium

  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds ground beef (ground chuck, 16% fat)

  • 6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry summer savory or thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram or 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Paprika, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven:

    Heat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Cook the rice:

    If you haven't already made the rice, start cooking the rice.

  3. Steam the bell peppers:

    Cut the tops off of the bell peppers. Remove and discard (compost) the stem and seeds.

    How to cut the top off bell pepper
    Elise Bauer
    bell peppers for stuffing
    Elise Bauer

    Place the bell peppers cut side up on a steaming rack over an inch of water in a large covered pot. Bring to boil, and let steam for 10 minutes.

    (Note: you can skip this step if you want, but steaming the pepper shells first will make them more tender and easier to eat.)

  4. Mix the filling:

    In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, basil, summer savory, marjoram, salt, several turns of black pepper, and the cooked rice.

  5. Fill the bell peppers:

    Remove the bell peppers from the steamer pan. Place cut side up in a Pyrex or other oven-proof casserole dish. Gently, stuff the peppers with the ground beef and rice mixture.

    filling stuffed bell peppers
    Elise Bauer
    stuffed bell peppers in baking dish
    Elise Bauer

    Drizzle olive oil over the stuffed peppers, along the outside of the peppers, and into the pan. Rub the oil over the outside of the peppers; it will help with browning. Sprinkle the tops generously with paprika.

  6. Bake:

    Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake at 350°F for 35 to 50 minutes, or longer, until the meat is cooked through.

    Serve with ketchup on the side.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
417 Calories
26g Fat
18g Carbs
27g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 417
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 84mg 28%
Sodium 440mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 27mg 137%
Calcium 50mg 4%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 451mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.