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This stuffed green peppers recipe makes a crowd-pleasing dinner, starring a hearty filling of rice, tomatoes, and cheese!

Stuffed Green Peppers
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Here’s a fun, hearty dinner idea that pleases everyone: Stuffed Green Peppers! We love the retro vibes of this concept. Throw rice, ground beef or plant based crumbles, tomatoes and cheese into a pepper and call it dinner! This one is so full of flavor, even veggie haters will be converts. The savory Italian-style seasonings of garlic, oregano and fennel make magic with tangy tomatoes and mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. It takes a bit of effort to prepare, but it’s well worth it!

Ingredients in this stuffed green peppers recipe

Stuffed peppers are a classic dish in many cuisines, like Spanish, Mexican, Central European, Indian, and more. These stuffed green peppers are classic American-style, filled with ground beef or plant-based crumbles, rice and cheese. The concept has been around since the 1890’s in American cuisine (source), but it became very popular in the 1970’s and remains a popular dish to this day. Here’s what you’ll need to make stuffed green peppers:

  • Green bell peppers
  • Rice
  • Plant-based beef crumbles or ground beef
  • Garlic
  • Crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • Oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, fennel seeds, and salt
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Whole milk mozzarella cheese
  • Parsley
Stuffed Green Peppers

Tips for making stuffed green peppers

Stuffed green peppers are a simple concept, but they take some time to put together! The effort is well worth it, in our opinion. Make sure to set aside about 1 hour: 30 minutes for prep and 30 minutes for baking. Here are a few tips for putting together this recipe:

  • When chopping, choose peppers that stand upright. They’ll be standing upright in the dish when serving. If they’re a bit wonky, you can slice off part of the bottom to make a flatter surface.
  • Boil the peppers first. This makes sure they’re perfectly tender before stuffing them. (Without pre-boiling, the peppers are much too crunchy after the bake time.)
  • Consider making the rice in advance (or using pre-cooked rice). This speeds up the prep time and decreases complexity.
  • Bake with a bit of water in the bottom of the pan. This helps to steam the peppers so they don’t dry out during the bake time.
Stuffed Green Peppers

Vegetarian vs ground beef filling

This stuffed green peppers recipe is easily customizable to a vegetarian diet. There are lots of great options these days when it comes to plant-based meat substitutes. You can also make your own ground beef substitute. Here’s what to know about vegetarian and vegan options:

  • Use any plant-based crumbles, ground beef or sausage. We like the brands Impossible and Beyond.
  • Substitute 2 cups Homemade Vegan Ground BeefWant a homemade version instead? This mixture of mushrooms, walnuts and savory spices remarkably tastes like meat.
  • Or, go for regular ground beef. If you’re a meat eater, regular sausage works beautifully. Make sure to drain any extra fat before adding the sauce ingredients.

Can you make it vegan? Yes, simply substitute your favorite brand of vegan mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, as well as vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Tips for make-ahead and meal prep

This stuffed green peppers recipe takes about 1 hour to make, so we typically make it for a weekend or when we have extra time. But want to save time and make it on a weeknight? You can do that too. There are several options depending on what you’d like to do:

  • Make rice in advance: We recommend doing this either way: it’s helpful to not have to balance yet another component while making the recipe. You can also use pre-cooked packages of rice.
  • Make entire filling in advance: Make the entire filling in advance and refrigerate it, then re-warm it before stuffing the peppers.
  • Boil the bell peppers in advance: You also can pre-boil the peppers in advance, then fill and bake them day of.
  • Make the entire stuffed peppers in advance: Make the entire pepper recipe in advance and refrigerate. Add a few minutes to the bake time since you’ll be baking them from cold (not warm).

And that’s it! We hope you’ll love this recipe as much as we do. Let us know in the comments below!

Stuffed Green Peppers

More stuffed recipes

Love stuffing vegetables with tasty fillings? Here are a few more recipes you’ll enjoy:

This stuffed green peppers recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Stuffed Green Peppers

Stuffed Green Peppers

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 1x


This stuffed green peppers recipe makes a crowd-pleasing dinner, starring a hearty filling of rice, tomatoes, and cheese!


  • 6 green bell peppers*
  • 2 cups cooked rice (1 cup dry)
  • 1 pound plant based beef crumbles or regular ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 15-ounces fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus more to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook the rice (or use precooked rice).
  3. Boil the bell peppers: Cut off the tops of the peppers, then cut around the seeds and remove them. Boil for 5 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from the water and drain upside down on a towel.
  4. Make the filling: Place the plant based crumbles or ground beef in a medium skillet and cook according to the package instructions, 2 to 3 minutes for plant-based crumbles and 6 to 7 for regular ground beef (for regular beef, drain excess fat after cooking).
  5. Add the garlic to the pan and cook 30 seconds, then add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, fennel seed, kosher salt, Worcestershire sauce, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, chopped parsley, and the cooked rice. Heat for 1 to 2 minutes until warmed through.
  6. Stuff the peppers: Place the peppers in a casserole dish. (If they have trouble standing upright, you can slice off part of the bottom: just try not to pierce into the pepper and make a hole.) Spoon the filling into each pepper.
  7. Bake the peppers: Top each pepper with a handful of shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan. Add about 1/2-inch water to the bottom of the pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese melts and slightly browns, covering loosely with foil after 15 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.


*Look for peppers that have flat bottoms so they’ll easily stand up in a pan.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Alex Overhiser says:

    This is a vegetarian blog!