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Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

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We take classic stuffed peppers to the next level by adding a secret ingredient (chopped walnuts) and using both ground beef and ground pork to prevent the filling from drying out. Believe it or not, these are even better reheated the next day!


  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lb. ground beef (20% fat)
  • 2 oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about ½ cup), divided
  • 4 medium or 6 small bell peppers, any color
  • 4 cups tomato juice (100% juice)

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook onion, stirring often, until translucent and starting to brown, 10–15 minutes. Add walnuts, garlic, tomato paste, cayenne, cumin, turmeric, and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, until combined and garlic is softened, 2–3 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until just slightly reduced, 1–2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Mix beef, pork, and remaining 1 tsp. salt with your hands in a large bowl. Fold in rice, raisins, and ¼ cup cheese with a wooden spoon and mix well to combine. Add onion mixture and mix with wooden spoon until incorporated.

  • Carefully cut off bottom bumps of bell peppers to create a flat end so they can stand upright. Don’t shave off too much or the filling can leak out. Using a spoon, stuff peppers with meat mixture and fill to the top. Press down and pack pepper fully.

  • Arrange peppers in a small Dutch oven or baking dish. Pour tomato juice around them, leaving about 1" of pepper exposed.

  • Top stuffed peppers with remaining ¼ cup cheese; season with pepper. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour. Uncover and continue to bake until peppers are tender and cheese is browned, about 30 minutes more.

  • Do Ahead: Stuffed peppers can be made 2 days ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill. Reheat in a 350° oven, covered, until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Reviews SectionReally good! I made last night for a crowd not familiar with traditional stuffed peppers and they loved. I followed recipe minus the raisins and used parmesan and gruyere as that is what I had on hand.. Great flavors in the meat and the tomato juice thickened with the cooking. I recommend good smoked paprika otherwise it will overtake the profile. Can't wait for the leftovers.AnonymousGranite Bay, Ca06/03/20Sooo good! I actually used a can of tomatoe sauce instead of paste and I used sauce+water+tsp of sugar in the bath. Very flavorful!! Idk what happened w that one reviewer below... My boyfriend loved these.Candieee13Los Angeles04/12/20These were delicious!! I made a few adjustments based on what I had in the house. I added a half a can of corn niblets (leftover!) and added a tablespoon of bbq sauce (end of a bottle) in place of the tomato paste. I used V-8 juice in place of tomato juice, again because it was already open in the fridge. It made enough for nine medium red peppers, which is dinner for two nights. Yum!AnonymousBrandon, Manitoba 04/05/20I made it with a savory tofu instead of the meat and it was p good but also kinda strange. I tried to create replacement umami with msg, mushrooms, caramelized onions and a tiny bit of soy. Resulting flavor made roomates go "hm..." but the rice/pepper parts were very solid. I think I would recommend against vegetarianism (or at least against soy sauce) with this one, but top scores on the parts of the recipe I did not butcher (pun intended).Unfortunately, not delicious... very bland. We spooned the tomato sauce from the pot onto our plates, and because the tomato sauce was not seasoned in any way, it was very very bland. I felt like, in hindsight, some of the tomato sauce might have been good mixed in with the meat mixture. The red peppers themselves were very bland too. I didn't have turmeric, but I didn't think that would make a huge difference. Also, I will say that I did use a can of crushed tomatoes, instead of tomato juice... Not sure if that would have made a big difference either. Disappointing.CatCatCatgrand rapids, MI10/08/19Good recipe but didn’t add the full slate of spices, cumin, smoked paprika, chili flakes. Used beef only as no pork within reach. Used cotilla cheese rather than parmesan which melts much better. Overall a very good recipe that i will use again. No tomato juice (really, tomato juice? Who has that lying around?). Used jar sauce, calm down, it was Valencia brand (best jar sauce on the shelf) thinned 50/50 with water. Walnuts were good for texture but have a no-nut person sometimes and i don’t think the loss will be evident. No sultanas but regular raisins provided a nice sweetness. I liked it. Good meat to rice ratio. Careful with the smoked paprika as it is quick to overpower, used a quarter maybe.These were lovely. I thought the cayenne might be too much but it was not. I did forget to add the chopped walnuts -- I discovered them in my FP just as I'd put the stuffed peppers into the oven. So I just added them in at the top when serving. I didn't really miss them although I don't doubt that I'll notice the difference next time. I had thought the cooking time seemed far too much, but they came out perfectly as directed.AnonymousBrooklyn, NY05/23/19The meat in the peppers was severely undercooked - Where did I go wrong? That being said, I put some of the extra meat mix in the pan (it cooked all the way through) and it was delicious.Brad knows his stuff. This recipe is delicious. I've always HATED stuffed peppers but I figured I'd give this one a shot. I used a nice short-grain rice and packed the peppers tight and it did indeed give me that nice "meatball" texture, super juicy and delicious, the raisins plumped up with the juices from the filling, and the top got nice and crispy. Thanks for converting me, Brad!mr_mrakBoston, MA04/10/18OMG, I am 100% Not Italian, and this recipe for stuffed pepper is delicious. I will never get sick of people trying to "improve" on an old standard; it often works. Walnuts, tumeric, cumin, in stuffed peppers?? YASSSSSS, You have got to be kidding.gretchinfRapid City, SD04/09/18OMG, I am 100% Italian, and this recipe for stuffed pepper is disgusting. I'm sick of people trying to "improve" on an old standard; it never works. Walnuts, tumeric, cumin, in stuffed peppers?? Yuk, You have got to be kidding.I made this last night with only one change: 12 oz 80/20 ground lamb and the remainder ground sirloin, instead of the pork/beef called for. I thought the lamb would marry well with the spicing. We loved the silky peppers, spiced filling, and the surprisingly complex-tasting sauce the tomato juice made. I only needed 22 oz tomato juice to fill my baking dish -- around 6 medium peppers fitted tightly in a dutch oven. I was somewhat disappointed that the filling crumbled as we ate -- I was expecting a meatball-like texture. It may have been from not packing the filling in the peppers sufficiently, or the meat substitution, but I'm not likely to use ground pork, so "oh, well." My husband -- who loves walnuts -- was put off by the nuts but I liked them. I would definitely make again, but put an egg into the filling mixture.AnonymousCalifornia02/26/18Enjoyed this thoroughly and will definitely make again. If preparing a day or two before, be prepared to reheat much longer than the 20 minutes mentioned in the recipe. After 20 minutes, the center of the peppers was still ice cold. Another 15 or 20 minutes and they were ready to serve.weparslCoopersburg,PA02/26/18I would with some modifications. I prefer to cook the beef, pork and sometimes sausage with the onion, garlic and spices. Add 1 - 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes instead of tomatoes juice and then add the uncooked rice. Cover the pan and cook until the rice is done. Cut the peppers in half, lengthwise and fill them and then bake them. It's easier, I think, to do that rather than risk cutting through the bottom of the peppers. I'm just saying!jguglietti1Fallbrook, CA02/25/18

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¼ cup chopped shallot
  • 1 (11 ounce) package baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 6 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 red bell peppers (about 8 ounces each), cut in half lengthwise and seeded
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons shredded part-skim low-moisture mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 1 minute. Add spinach in batches and cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in dill, parsley, garlic and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the spinach mixture to a large mixing bowl. Stir in ricotta and feta.

Rub bell peppers with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with salt. Divide the spinach mixture among the peppers and top each with 1 tablespoon mozzarella. Place in an 8-inch-square baking dish.

Bake until the peppers are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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How to Make Stuffed Peppers Stand Up

When I ate these as a kid, my mom served the peppers cut in half, laid on their backs. But I like stuffed peppers best when standing straight up, brimming to the top with filling.

Here are my tips to get stuffed peppers to stand up and not tip over:

  • Use a baking dish that snugly fits the peppers. The peppers shrink as they cook, so pack them in tightly when raw, and they’ll soften and fall a bit with heat.
  • Trim the bottom of the pepper. Give the peppers a flat surface to stand on by evening out their rollicking bottoms.

Sunshine Stuffed Peppers

Sodium: All of our recipes are low in sodium because it is hard on kidneys and raises blood pressure. Most people should limit sodium to 1,500 milligrams per day.

Potassium: If you are on hemodialysis, limit potassium too, to 2,000 milligrams per day. If you are on peritoneal dialysis or short daily dialysis, limit potassium to 3,500 milligrams per day.

Phosphorus: If you are on dialysis, limit phosphorus to about 1,000 milligrams per day.

Protein: If you are not on dialysis but have kidney disease, you might benefit from a diet lower in protein. Check with a kidney doctor or dietitian for guidelines.


Based on 8 servings per recipe.

  • 8 bell peppers
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup leftover rice or cooked instant
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dry oregano fresh or dried
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dry parsley


Nutrition Facts

Based on 8 servings per recipe.

Carbohydrates17 g
Protein17 g
Sodium109 mg
Phosphorus143 mg

Sodium: All of our recipes are low in sodium because it is hard on kidneys and raises blood pressure. Most people should limit sodium to 1,500 milligrams per day.

Potassium: If you are on hemodialysis, limit potassium too, to 2,000 milligrams per day. If you are on peritoneal dialysis or short daily dialysis, limit potassium to 3,500 milligrams per day.

Phosphorus: If you are on dialysis, limit phosphorus to about 1,000 milligrams per day.

Protein: If you are not on dialysis but have kidney disease, you might benefit from a diet lower in protein. Check with a kidney doctor or dietitian for guidelines.

This list is quite minimal, based on how much flavor you get out of this stuffed pepper recipe! The longer you cook these, the better they taste! And be sure to not skip browning the roux. It’s the secret ingredient.

  • Green Bell Peppers – I like using green peppers because that is how my mom made this recipe, but red or yellow work well too!
  • Ground beef and pork – The combination of these two meats makes for a moist and flavorful filling.
  • Rice – I use uncooked long grain white rice. Uncle Ben’s is my go-to.
  • Onions – diced up and added for flavor
  • S&P – seasonings!
  • Tomato juice – this is the cooking liquid for our stuffed peppers.
  • Vegetable Shortening or lard – part of the roux.
  • Flour – thickening agent for the tomato sauce
  • Sugar – I love a sweet tomato sauce to accompany the savory stuffed peppers! Add as much or as little sugar as you’d like.

Hope you all are in the mood for some German food tonight! Or maybe it’s Hungarian. (My ancestors are from both places, so we eat food from both places and things get confusing!) Either way, these stuffed peppers are mighty tasty.

Printable recipe card below! Enjoy!

How do you make the best crockpot stuffed peppery? My Tips to Make them EASY and perfect!

I’ve been making stuffed peppers in the crockpot for a while now, and I figured out a few tips to share with you. These will help you make this recipe absolutely foolproof!

1 – Make sure there is some sauce underneath the peppers

The first time I made these, I made the mistake of not adding any sauce to the bottom of the crockpot. The result: Two of the peppers totally burned and stuck to the bottom of the crock.

The simple solution is to ladle a little bit of sauce into the crockpot before you add the peppers – this will help prevent the burning from happening. If your crock is new and runs very hot, you might still experience a little blackening – but that happens in the oven too and isn’t too dramatic.

2 – To make this even easier:

The recipe gives instructions to make this with unseasoned tomato puree.

I usually have some home-cooked, seasoned pizza sauce in the freezer, so I’ll often use this to make my stuffed peppers easier.

If you want to use a pizza sauce to make prep extra quick, go ahead. Just skip the extra seasoning indicated in the recipe.

If you can’t find tomato puree in your local grocery store, you can also use tomato sauce. It will just be a little thinner!

3 – Stuff the peppers as much as you can

To me, the secret to juicy, comforting stuffed peppers is to absolutely stuff them with the filling.

While you don’t want it overflowing (since the rice will expand as it cooks), you want to make sure the filling is packed without any air holes or gaps in between.

4 – If you don’t want to use raw meat:

If you feel uncomfortable about adding raw ground beef to your crockpot, you can just brown the beef in a skillet on the stove before combining it with the remaining ingredients for the filling.

It will make the filling a little less juicy and it won’t hold up as well, but it’s still super delicious.

My recommendations to make this recipe go faster

  • Start with cooked rice. Whenever I need rice, I always make extra and freeze the leftovers. it's a beautiful thing to have on hand for recipes like this, when you just need one cup of cooked rice.
  • Have your marinara sauce already made. Again, it's so helpful to make extra batches of sauce and freeze them in quart containers. You'll need a quart of sauce for this recipe.

With those two ingredients out of the way, cut your peppers in half and clean out the seeds and membranes. Boil the pepper halves for three minutes and let them drain while you prepare your meat filling.

Brown your ground beef with chopped onions, stir in some sauce, rice and Romano, then stuff those peppers! I like to use my tablespoon scoop (affiliate link) to make it easier.

You'll have some extra filling (so sad!) Nestle it around your peppers in the pan.

Next, you'll top your stuffed peppers with mozzarella and bake for 15 minutes.

And, it's not mandatory, but I recommend you broil those Italian Stuffed Peppers for two minutes to get some gorgeous browning on the surface of that melted cheese.

Serve the stuffed peppers with more marinara sauce spooned on top. Extra Pecorino is nice, but not necessary.

These stuffed peppers make a complete meal and are so filling! I can eat one half, plus half of another half, maximum.

But I like to serve them with The Best Italian Green Salad with Homemade Dressing. It rounds out the perfect dinner.

Video: Stuffed Bell Peppers

Cut the tops off the peppers. Remove and discard the stems, then finely chop the tops set aside. Scoop out the seeds and as much of the membrane as you can. Place in a plastic bag or other fridge container.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper and cook, breaking up the lumps, until the meat is cooked through. Remove to a plate.

Add a little more olive oil to the pan. Add the onions and chopped peppers and cook until beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and zucchini and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until everything is heated through, then stir in the beef and rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Allow the mixture to cool and store it in a fridge container. Store the extra cheese in a small container. (All ingredients can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days.)

When you're ready to make dinner, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the peppers cut-side up in a baking dish just large enough to hold them upright. Fill the peppers with the rice mixture and top each with a sprinkle of the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Pour a small amount of water into the bottom of the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the peppers are soft and the cheese is melted and lightly browned, another 15 to 20 minutes.

Ohhhh, I love this dish. And I&rsquove shown it in make-ahead meal kit form in this new video! It&rsquos a relatively quick, speedy video&hellipbut it&rsquos also relatively long at 2 1/2 minutes. But it&rsquos action packed (and kinda weird as always. Ha.)

Hope you enjoy, friends! The handy dandy printable is also below.


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