These ground beef stuffed peppers are filled with tasty seasoned ground beef, rice, cheddar cheese, and tomato sauce. It's a delicious classic that your whole family will enjoy!
Why you'll love them
Stuffed peppers are the kind of thing to cook when you don't mind spending a bit of extra time in the kitchen. This recipe is simple to make, but it is a little more time consuming. You won't mind, though, since stuffed peppers are incredibly yummy.
This recipe makes six of them, so you're practically guaranteed leftovers if you don't have a big family. You can also make these classic stuffed peppers for meal prep if you're trying to plan out your week!
These beef and rice stuffed peppers are sure to be a hit with the whole family. It's a fantastic way to get kids to eat their veggies since an edible bowl is fun, and they're also fairly inexpensive, so it's a win-win all around in my opinion.
Ingredients you'll need
- Cooked rice - I used jasmine rice. Any long grain white rice would work, as would brown rice.
- Bell peppers - pick whichever color you prefer. I think it's pretty to use different colors, but any will work! Just make sure they're fairly large to accommodate the filling.
- Olive oil - for frying
- Onion - sweet Vidalia onions are my usual, but yellow is fine. This aromatic infuses loads of savory flavor
- Ground beef - I chose extra lean. Make sure to use at least 90%
- Garlic - I can't resist some garlic here. Use even more if you're a garlic lover
- Tomatoes - pick up a can of crushed tomatoes or use tomato sauce/passata
- Worcestershire sauce - if you don't have any, you don't need to buy some just for this recipe, but I do like to always keep some in my fridge since it adds so much flavor to tons of dishes!
- Italian seasoning - a handy blend of dried herbs all in a single jar
- Cheddar cheese - the shredded bagged kind is fine, but you're welcome to shred your own from a block
Did you know?
- It's a myth that the colors are all just the same bell pepper picked at different stages of ripening. Green bell peppers are simply picked before ripening of any color, so they're the least sweet of all. Red, orange, and yellow are the sweetest varieties, and each have their own distinct seed. So a yellow pepper can't turn red!
- The number of lobes/bumps on the bottom doesn't mean a pepper is male or female (another common myth) and has no impact on sweetness. In this recipe we chose four lobes instead of three just to keep the peppers upright in the baking dish.
How to make ground beef stuffed peppers
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Cook the rice. Preheat the oven to 400F, and prep your ingredients, including cutting the tops off the peppers. Place them in a 9x13 baking dish with some water so they'll steam.
- Sauté the onion and chopped up pepper tops in oil. Add in the beef, cook it through, and spoon out any excess fat.
- Stir in the garlic, followed by the crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning. Let it warm through. Add in the cooked rice and half of the cheese, and season generously with salt & pepper.
- Spoon the beef mixture into the peppers, cover the baking dish with foil, and bake for 40 minutes.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese, bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes, and enjoy!
Substitutions and variations
- I use Italian seasoning because it's a good all-around herb blend that eliminates the need to add individual herbs in many recipes, but you can definitely use individual herbs if you prefer (try oregano). You can give the filling a taste prior to stuffing the peppers and adjust the seasonings as needed.
- Feel free to swap the shredded cheddar with any cheese that easily melts. Mozzarella would work too, or even a spicy southwest or Tex-Mex blend!
- You can switch up the meat and use ground turkey, ground sausage, etc.
Leftovers and storage
- Stuffed peppers make great leftovers and will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer (thaw overnight when ready to heat).
- To reheat stuffed peppers, microwave for 3-5 minutes in smaller increments until warmed through. Microwaves vary, so check them as needed.
- You can also reheat them in the oven. Place them in a baking dish and cover it with foil. Bake at 350F until the internal temperature reaches 165F. It'll vary based on the size of the peppers and whether they're straight out of the fridge or not. Check them after about 20 minutes.
What to serve with stuffed peppers
- They're a filling meal in themselves, but you could certainly eat them with a salad on the side. Try mixed greens with this chipotle lime ranch dressing or creamy balsamic dressing!
- If you want some lighter veggies, try these Simple Sautéed Leeks or steamed broccoli.
- A dinner roll or a slice of bread is another option.
Let me know in the comments below if you've made these ground beef stuffed peppers or if you have any questions!
Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers
- 1 cup cooked rice I used white jasmine rice
- 6 large bell peppers any color
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (14 fluid ounce) can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce optional
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese blend, divided
- Salt & pepper to taste
- If you don't have cooked rice, make some (this step can be done ahead of time if you want). I typically just make 1/2 cup uncooked rice which ends up making a bit more than you need for this recipe, and then I save the rest for another time.
- Preheat your oven to 400F and move the rack to the middle position. Meanwhile, prep your ingredients. Cut the tops off the peppers as if you were carving a pumpkin (do it as evenly as possible so the filling doesn't fall out). Remove any seeds/membrane. Chop up the usable stuff from the pepper tops (you'll add it to the filling).
- Place the peppers cut-side up in a baking dish (I used a 9x13). Add one cup of water to the bottom of the dish (the peppers will steam and cook faster).
- Add the oil, onion, and chopped up pepper tops to a skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook it, breaking up the meat as you go along, until it's browned and cooked through (about 8 minutes). Spoon out most of the fat/liquid.
- Stir in the garlic, followed by the crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning. Let it warm through and then take the pan off the heat.
- Stir in the cooked rice and 1/2 of the cheese. Season the mixture with salt & pepper as needed (give it a taste). I was generous with both the salt & pepper. Spoon the mixture into the peppers.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Place it in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- Take the dish out of the oven. The peppers should be still a little bit firm to the touch (you don't want them to go limp and fall apart, but if they feel too firm, cook them for longer). Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over top. Return the peppers to the oven (uncovered) for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. You can broil at the end for a few minutes if you want the cheese to be a bit browned.
- This recipe works best with bell peppers that are roughly the same size. Also, the ones with 4 "bumps" on the bottom are less likely to fall over, so I look for those.
- Cooking technique adapted from The Kitchn.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.