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These simple ground beef stuffed peppers are filled with seasoned ground beef, rice, cheddar, and tomato sauce. It’s a delicious recipe that your whole family will enjoy!
Why you’ll love it
These beef and rice stuffed peppers are sure to be a hit with the whole family. It’s a fantastic way to get picky eaters to eat their veggies since a bowl that you can eat is fun. They’re also fairly inexpensive and ultra cheesy, so it’s a win-win all around, in my opinion.
This easy stuffed pepper 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!
What you’ll need
- Cooked rice – I use jasmine rice. Any long grain white rice would work, as would brown rice.
- Bell peppers – pick whichever colors you prefer; just make sure they’re fairly large to accommodate the filling
- Olive oil – for frying
- Onion and garlic – sweet (Vidalia) onions are my usual, but yellow is fine
- Ground beef – I like extra lean. Make sure to use at least 90%
- Tomatoes – use crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
- Worcestershire sauce – if you don’t have any, you don’t need to buy some just for this recipe, but I do like the savory depth it adds!
- Italian seasoning – a handy mix of dried herbs all in a single jar
- Cheddar cheese – I picked a blend of white and orange cheddar
The number of lobes/bumps on the bottom doesn’t mean a pepper is male or female (a 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.
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!
How to make stuffed peppers with beef
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Cook the rice. Preheat the oven and prep your ingredients, including cutting the tops off the peppers. Place them in a 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, then add 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. Top with the other half of the cheese, bake uncovered until hot and bubbly, and enjoy.
Substitutions and variations
- You can definitely use individual herbs vs. Italian seasoning if you prefer (try oregano). 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 Mexican blend!
- You can switch up the meat and use ground turkey, ground sausage, etc.
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 crusty bread is another option.
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).
- Microwave for 3-5 minutes in smaller increments until warmed through, checking 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.
Let me know in the comments below if you made these cheesy stuffed peppers or if you have any questions! You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram with your creations.
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 lean ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce optional
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese blend, divided see note
- 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 9×13). 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 excess fat if needed.
- 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 one cup 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.
- I use a blend of white and orange cheddar, but any kind of cheddar or easy-melting blend will work.
- Cooking technique adapted from The Kitchn.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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