Cook’s Tips And Recipe Variations
- Any color bell pepper will work in this recipe. Choose red, yellow or orange peppers for a sweeter taste grab green bell peppers for a less-sweet, more zesty taste.
- Add ground Italian sausage to the filling instead of ground beef for extra flavor. You can also use ground turkey or ground chicken in lieu of the beef.
- Any variety of rice will work. I like to use cooked long-grain white rice, but cooked wild rice or cooked brown rice will both be delicious, too. For a shortcut, try microwaveable packets of rice like Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice. You can even try this recipe with cauliflower rice for more veggies!
- For the Slow Cooker: To make these stuffed peppers in a Crock Pot, skip the step of pre-baking the peppers. Stuff the peppers with the rice and ground beef filling, cover, and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours. Top with the cheese and continue cooking until the cheese melts .
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Can You Freeze Stuffed Peppers
Shockingly, YES! Stuff the bell peppers with the meat filling and prepare as directed. Reserve the tomato sauce mixture and freeze separately.
To Freeze stuffed peppers: stuff each bell pepper with a heaping mound of the rice and beef mixture. Place into a disposable 13×9 baking dish. Double wrap with aluminum foil and keep frozen for up to 3 months.
To Reheat Stuffed Peppers: thaw the sauce and stuffed peppers completely in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Before baking pour the tomato sauce mixture over the peppers and bake for up to 2 hours.
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How Long To Bake Stuffed Peppers At 450 Degrees
It is recommended to bake your Stuffed Peppers at 450°F for around 25-35 minutes to offer you the greatest chance of cooking your meal without scorching the filling or undercooking the pepper.
Some ovens have built-in thermometers if yours does not, use an instant-read meat thermometer and place it in the oven for approximately 10 minutes before beginning your preparation.
Tips Variations & More
Can I Use Brown Rice Yes, definitely! This recipe uses cooked white rice, but you can easily substitute in cooked brown rice or any other cooked grain.
Can I Use Ground Turkey Yes, you can! Substitute in equal amounts ground turkey, sausage, pork, etc. for the ground beef.
Slow Cooker? Using the slow cooker is a great way to prep this recipe ahead of time and let it cook during the day. You can skip the pre boiling of the peppers and just go right into stuffing! Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
How To Freeze Stuffed Peppers These are great for making ahead of time and freezing. Freeze them prior to baking, then just pop them into the oven from frozen and cook until heated through. Finish the rest of the way as stated in the recipe below.
How To Make Peppers Stand Up Sometimes the peppers dont want to stand up on their own. Simply trim a little off the bottoms until they are even and they should stand perfectly!
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Can I Cook The Stuffed Peppers In A Slow Cooker
Yes, stuffed peppers can also be cooked in a slow cooker. Skip the pre-baking the peppers but follow the rest of the instructions through assembling the peppers but do not add the cheese on top. Pour ½ cup water into 6-quart slow cooker. Add the stuffed bell peppers so they are evenly spread apart. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, until the peppers are tender. Once tender, add the remaining cheese on top of the peppers, cover, and cook an additional 10 minutes or so until the cheese is melted.
The Best Rice For Stuffed Peppers
Medium, long grain white rice or jasmine rice is the rice I use most often in stuffed peppers. But brown rice or other grains like farro or quinoa in these peppers are terrific options too.
This is a great recipe to use up leftover rice. Or, while the meat is cooking, prepare the white rice or other grain youre adding to the pepper mixture, and stir it into the meat and vegetables just before filling the peppers.
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What Goes Well With Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed peppers are very filling because of the rice and meat mixture stuffed inside. But you need to serve something else with it. When it comes to a side dish for stuffed peppers, salads are a great and healthy option or you can roast some veggies too. Potatoes are another divine option you can bake alongside your peppers in another dish.
Make Ahead Stuffed Peppers
You can either completely assemble the stuffed peppers ahead of time so all you have to do is pop them in the oven, or you can prepare them up to any stage ahead of time:
- Prep the peppers. Slice the tops off of the peppers, remove the seeds and chop the tops for the filling up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate the peppers an airtight container.
- Bake the peppers. Roast the peppers just for 15 minutes, let cool, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day before filling.
- Make the filling. Prepare the filling up to 3 days ahead of time, let cool, then transfer to an airtight container.
- Assemble the peppers. Stuff the peppers with the filling and cheese, cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours before baking. Let the stuffed peppers sit at room temperature while the oven preheats. Add an extra 5-10 minutes to the baking time to compensate for the chill factor.
- Freeze the peppers. Assemble the peppers as directed and freeze for up to 3 months. See freezer instructions below.
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Why This Recipe Works
- Quick and easy start to finish this dish comes together in just 20 minutes!
- Super flavorful using ground sausage really take the flavor up to a new level.
- Minimal prep work using pre-cooked rice and skipping the pre-roasting of the peppers cuts out a ton of preparation time.
- All in one these peppers include veggies, rice, and meat all in one bundle of deliciousness so you dont have to use sides if you dont to.
What Can You Dip Bell Peppers In
If bell peppers are excellent for one thing, its dipping. Here are some of our favorite dips for bell peppers, ranging from peanut butter to Nutella:
- Hummus: This traditional dip goes well with bell peppers. To fully savor the dips texture against the peppers sharpness, pick an extra-creamy hummus!
- Pesto: Have any pesto left over? Spread it on a bell pepper! The bitterness of the basil in the pesto will truly wake up your taste buds and bring out the amazing tastes of your vegetable.
- Guacamole: What isnt there to love about guacamole? It goes well with almost everything, but we really enjoy it with bell peppers!
- If you have any avocados on hand, mash them with some lemon juice and onion and serve with your pepper slices!
- Ranch dressing or another creamy dip: Ranch dressing is a simple way to keep things on the milder side.
- Aside from those you can try: Any flavor of jelly, chocolate frosting, cake batter, or ketchup
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What To Serve With Stuffed Bell Peppers
Since this meal is on the hearty side, stuffed peppers are best paired with something light.
You could make a simple side salad full of mixed greens and your favorite toppings. Sauteed greens, such as spinach, kale, or collard greens also work well as a side dish.
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If you want something more filling, opt for a side of hot, cooked white rice, polenta, or mashed potatoes.
How To Store The Stuffed Peppers
The trick to this recipe is that you can make as much of the filling as the bell peppers you have on hand. In other words, you shouldnt really have leftovers. In the event that you do, however, just make sure you put the stuffed peppers in a sealed air-tight container and refrigerate. To eat the next day, heat in the microwave or in the oven on broil!
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Can I Freeze Stuffed Peppers
Yes, all of the stuffed peppers should be placed in a freezer-safe dish. Leave no portion of the peppers exposed to avoid freezer burn. You may also freeze each pepper separately by allowing them to cool before covering them in plastic wrap. Place them in sealed freezer bags and place them in the freezer.
Stuffed Bell Pepper Variations
These meaty stuffed peppers are delicious as-is, but you can also customize them to suit your taste.
- Meat: You can use sausage or ground turkey instead of ground beef.
- Grains: Try quinoa or orzo instead of rice
- Veggies: These peppers are great with other vegetables added to the filling such as diced zucchini, olives or corn.
- Cheese: You can use a different cheese to top the peppers such as cheddar or Monterey Jack.
These stuffed bell peppers are a classic dish that remain popular because they are so delicious. Everyone will be asking for seconds when these stuffed peppers are on the dinner table!
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Ingredients For Stuffed Bell Peppers
Here are all the ingredients youll need for these Mexican stuffed peppers with uncooked rice and ground beef.
- Bell peppers: the star of the show. Use all the same color or a variety. Purchase ones that are uniform in size, so they cook at the same rate.
- Beef: we use lean ground beef, but ground Italian sausage is delicious, too. Or you can use lean ground turkey for a healthier option. All good!
- Rice: long grain white rice is our preference. Brown rice may be substituted, but it will require more cooking liquid and a longer simmer time.
- Onion: sweet diced onion with the diced pepper tops, sautéed in olive oil, is the base of the filling.
- Tomatoes and Chiles: a combination of canned petite diced tomatoes and canned Rotel with their liquid, takes the flavor up a level. Rotel comes in original, mild, and hot, so you can control the spiciness to suit your taste.
- Chicken Broth: the filling simmers in low sodium chicken broth, adding an extra layer of flavor.
- Cheese: these are Mexican stuffed peppers, so we use shredded Mexican blend cheese. You can certainly replace this with all cheddar or kick it up a notch with Pepper Jack.
- Olive Oil: the vegetables sauté in extra-virgin olive oil.
- Seasonings:taco seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt, and pepper are combined to knock the flavor out of the park.
- Parsley and/or Scallions: We love finishing this dish off with fresh chopped parsley and scallions, for color and additional flavor.
Choice #: How To Cook The Stuffed Peppers
How long and at what temperature you cook your stuffed peppers comes down to how soft and you want your pepper and to whether the filling has raw ingredients that need to reach a particular temperature.
Ive seen stuffed pepper recipes with temperatures ranging from 350ºF to 450ºF and cooking times from 20 minutes to an hour. Ive also seen recipes where the peppers are blanched in boiling water for a few minutes before stuffing to get them even softer. See a recipe that blanches the peppers here.
Here are some times and temperatures that work for the different choices youve made above:
Filling Adders & Ideas
Youll use that vegetarian sausage or ground beef filling and mix it with rice, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese to make a gooey, savory and altogether irresistible filling. There are lots of fun add-in ideas for this filling . Here are some ideas to get your wheels churning consider adding:
- Chopped basil or fresh oregano
- Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded
- Feta cheese crumbles
Precooked Fillings For Stuffed Peppers
The most standard way to make stuffed peppers is to prepare a filling, often by making rice and/or cooking meat and combining it with seasonings and cheese. Then you fill the pepper and bake until the pepper is tender . A recipe in this style: Italian Stuffed Peppers by Well Plated.
Another great precooked stuffed pepper filling is leftovers. Leftovers of almost any kind. Im serious. You can put leftover spaghetti and meat sauce in there, topped with cheese of course. Leftover roast or pulled pork mixed with mashed potatoes and even the leftover veg . Think about leftover chicken souvlaki stuffed peppers. Imagine it! Your leftover chicken mixed with diced pita, some olives, perhaps mixed with a bit of tzatziki mounded into peppers and, yes, topped with cheese feta in this case. Oh, and dont get me started about Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Peppers. Im nutty for them and even ate one for breakfast last week.
So you see, any leftovers can be used. Mound them into the peppers, top with cheese, and bake until peppers are tender and middle of filling is heated through .
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Try Dalstrong’s Cookware Finder Quiz Today
Stuffed bell peppers are a classic in my household when weve had some sort of rice dish the night before and want a simple dinner that will please the masses. With its tomato sauce, delicious ground beef, and scrumptious bell pepper combination you cant beat this palate-pleasing dish.
Let us walk you through the tools youll need to prepare these peppers and a step-by-step recipe that is super simple to follow. Then well provide you with some alternative ideas to spice up the recipe, so you can use this recipe and adapt it depending on your guests. Then well teach you the proper ways to store these stuffed peppers when youre done and prove to you that they are indeed a healthy meal.
Easy Side Dish Suggestions
Mmmmm sides. You can serve these cheesy stuffed bell peppers all by themselves it is a complete meal, in my eyes. Or, you can add a side to round out this dish. Some of my favorites include:
- Salad. Side salads are easy to pull together and if you dont have the ingredients for a salad handy, you can pick up a pre-mixed bag in the produce department. There are so many varieties now, my favorites include Caesar mixes and the kind that has the sliced kale and Brussels sprouts.
- Roasted veggies. Roast up a side of veggies right alongside your peppers. Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and green beans are all favs in this house.
- Mashed potatoes. If youre looking for an easy side or have some potatoes that need to be cooked, then mash those babies right up. Mashed potatoes go with everything, honestly.
- Oven roasted potatoes. Dont want mashed potatoes? Can you handle another three ingredients? Then you must make these 3-Ingredient Oven Roasted Potatoes.
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Tips From The Betty Crocker Kitchens
- tip 1 Shredded cheese is added after removing the peppers from the oven. For extra cheese melt, feel free to pop the cheese-topped peppers back into the oven for a few minutes.
- tip 2 Chose a rainbow of large sweet bell peppers to stuff and while prepping, stand them upright in your baking dishits easier to stuff them this way.
- tip 3 Sprinkle a handful of chopped fresh oregano or parsley over each pepper before serving.
- tip 4 Replace the rice with another cooked grain. Try quinoa, bulgur wheat, or a small pasta like orzo or pearl couscous.
How To Freeze Stuffed Peppers
In the event that you have leftovers after dinner, portion your stuffed peppers into individual servings and place them in air-tight containers.
Store in the freezer and enjoy them for up to 3 months.
When youre ready to reheat your stuffed bell peppers, you can heat them in the microwave for approximately 2 minutes.
You can also bake them covered in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Do You Have To Cook The Meat Before Stuffing The Peppers
In this recipe, you’ll pre-cook the rice and the meat before stuffing the peppers. Some recipes call for a hybrid: pre-cooked rice, which is combined with raw meat for the stuffing. When using raw meat, the rice can soak up some of the drippings from the meat. This adds great flavor, but it can also yield a slightly less healthy, greasier dish. Either way works, but here we’re pre-cooking the beef to make sure that it’s totally cooked through and lean.
Which Way To Cut The Bell Peppers
The base of this recipe uses 6 bell peppers that are halved lengthwise. While some recipes slice the top off, theres a few reasons why I halve them the other way.
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