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Saucy Stuffed Bell Peppers

These Saucy Stuffed Bell Peppers are filled with a mixture of ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and cheese and then baked in plenty of tomato sauce. It’s an easy, satisfying, and delicious dinner for any night of the week!

Classic Italian-style stuffed peppers are a dinner staple for lots of home cooks, including me. And for good reason…they’re very easy to make and are a budget-friendly meal that’s filling and super tasty!

There’s only about 15 minutes of prep time to make the filling and stuff the peppers, and then the oven does the rest of the work for you. Win!

And how about this? You only need ½ pound of ground beef and 2 bell peppers for this recipe, and you get 4 servings! That makes me really happy because, holy cow, grocery prices have really gone up lately.

But don’t go thinking that means you’ll be left unsatisfied. No, siree!

Rice, tomatoes, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, Worcestershire sauce, and other seasonings make a filling that not only tastes really good, but there’s plenty of it, and the peppers are stuffed full and then some.

With a side dish or two, no one will walk away hungry from this meal. I usually do a tossed salad and some bread, garlic bread, or my cheesy garlic biscuits because the peppers are an all-in-one meal already (they’ve got meat, a starch, and a vegetable).

And if you’re like me and you love sauce, this dish will be right up your alley. I think too many stuffed pepper recipes skimp on the sauce. Not mine! There is plenty of tomato sauce to spoon all around and on top of your peppers (extra YUM)!

saucy stuffed bell pepper on a white plate with a fork with extra sauce on the plate and on top of the pepper

Ingredients you need:

  • Bell peppers (any color)
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Ground beef
  • Onion
  • Cooked white rice (see next section)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried basil
  • Grated or shredded parmesan cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh chopped parsley (for garnish, optional)

What kind of rice to use:

I use white rice, but you can really use any kind of rice you like – jasmine, basmati, brown, even instant rice – but it needs to be cooked first. This recipe is a great way to use up leftover cooked rice.

If you don’t have any rice already made, go ahead and start cooking up a small batch before you move on to the other steps (you need about 1/3 cup of dry rice to get 1 cup of cooked rice). Small batches can be challenging to cook, so I usually just cook up a larger batch and freeze the rest to use another time.

If you have an Instant Pot, however, you can easily cook up the 1 cup of white rice you need using the pot-in-pot method of cooking:

  • Put 1/3 cup white rice and 1/3 cup water in a 2-cup oven-safe bowl.
  • Place 2 cups of water in the Instant Pot and then put the trivet in the pot. Place the bowl of rice and water on the trivet.
  • Put the lid on, seal, cook for 6 minutes on high pressure, and then natural pressure release for 15 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork. Done!

Here’s a look at how to make Saucy Stuffed Bell Peppers:

Note: This is just a quick overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe with detailed instructions.

two images; one a graphic of an oven with text that says preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; the other of halved bell peppers on a cutting board with a knife with text that says halve peppers from top to bottom, remove seeds and stems
2 images; one of tomatoes and sauce in a baking dish with a spoon with text that says combine diced tomatoes and tomato sauce in a baking dish; the other of 4 bell peppers halves in the baking dish with the tomatoes and sauce with text that says place pepper halves in baking dish
2 images; one of browned ground beef and onions in a pan with a wooden spoon and salt and pepper shakers on the side with text that says cook ground beef and onions, season with salt and pepper; the other of tomatoes, cheeses, rice, and seasonings added to the pan with text that says add rice, tomatoes, seasonings, and cheeses
2 images; one of the ground beef/rice mixture in a pan with a wooden spoon with text that says stir until well-combined; the other of the pepper halves in the baking dish stuffed with the beef and rice mixture with text that says stuff the peppers with the meat/rice mixture
2 images; one a graphic of an oven with text that says 350 degrees Fahrenheit, cover, bake 45 to 60 minutes until peppers are crisp-tender; the other of a finished stuffed peppers on a plate with sauce being poured on it with text that says enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • You can use any color bell peppers you like – green, red, yellow, or orange (I’ve even seen purple) – or a combination of colors, which I think makes a really pretty presentation. They all taste very similar, with red, yellow, and orange usually being a little sweeter than green.
  • Pick peppers that are all the same size so that they cook evenly and all get done at the same time (and try to pick larger ones so you have enough room for all of that filling).
  • I wrote this recipe to get crisp-tender peppers, which is how I like them. If you prefer a softer pepper, you can parboil or steam the cut peppers for a few minutes before stuffing (or just cook them longer in the oven).
  • The one teaspoon of sugar in the sauce helps balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, but it is optional, and you can leave it out if you’d prefer.
  • Feel free to put some shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the peppers if you’d like. Wait until the cooking time is up, remove the foil, sprinkle on the cheese, and then broil just until the cheese melts.
  • Variation: Use sweet or hot Italian sausage instead of ground beef. Fabulous!
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • Leftover cooked peppers and sauce can be frozen in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • To reheat: Place the peppers and sauce in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake in a 350°F oven until heated through.
saucy stuffed bell pepper cut in half on a white plate with shredded parmesan cheese on top and a knife and fork on the side

We had these for dinner last night, and since there’s only two of us, we’re going to have them again tonight (and can I say that these might be even better the second day?). My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

I hope you try this Saucy Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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Saucy Stuffed Bell Peppers

These Saucy Stuffed Bell Peppers are filled with a mixture of ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and cheese and then baked in plenty of tomato sauce. It's an easy, satisfying, and delicious dinner for any night of the week!
Print Recipe Rate/Comment Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 368
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

  • 2 large bell peppers, any color
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, divided, one drained, one undrained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, optional
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 1 cup cooked white rice, (see note below)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • additional Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Cut the peppers in half from top to bottom; remove the stems and seeds.
  • In an 8×8-inch baking dish, stir together the drained can of diced tomatoes, the can of tomato sauce, and the sugar (if using).
    Note: The peppers will shrink down a little during cooking, so it is okay if they are snug in the dish. If needed, you can use a larger baking dish, such as an 11×7-inch.
  • Place the pepper halves in the dish on top of the sauce, cut side up. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  • In a medium skillet over medium heat (I use a 10-inch skillet or larger), cook the ground beef and onions until the meat is cooked through and lightly browned and the onions have softened. Drain of any excess grease, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Add the cooked rice to the beef mixture along with the undrained can of diced tomatoes, the Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, basil, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese; stir until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Stuff each of the pepper halves with ¼ of the filling (they will be very full).
  • Cover the dish with foil; bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the peppers are crisp-tender (test by poking them with a knife).
  • To serve: place one stuffed pepper on each plate. Stir the sauce in the baking dish to incorporate the liquid released by the peppers during cooking. Spoon some of the sauce around and over the top of each pepper. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and a sprinkle of additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

Notes

  • If you don’t have any rice already made, go ahead and start cooking up a small batch before you move on to the other steps (you need about 1/3 cup of dry rice  to get 1 cup of cooked rice). Small batches can be challenging to cook, so I usually just cook up a larger batch using and freeze the rest to use another time (or read the post to find out how to cook a small batch in your Instant Pot).
  • Pick peppers that are all the same size so that they cook evenly and all get done at the same time (and try to pick larger ones so you have enough room for all of that filling.
  • I wrote this recipe to get crisp-tender peppers, which is how I like them. If you prefer a softer pepper, you can parboil or steam the cut peppers for a few minutes before stuffing (or just cook them longer in the oven).
  • Variation: Use sweet or hot Italian sausage instead of ground beef.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • Leftover cooked peppers and sauce can be frozen in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 to 4 months. Thaw in refrigerator before reheating.
  • To reheat: Place the peppers and sauce in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake in a 350°F oven until heated through.
  • Estimated calories shown do not include any additional parmesan cheese used for garnish.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Mention @nowcookthis or tag #nowcookthisrecipes!
Recipe Rating




danette kidd bailey

Sunday 18th of December 2022

Thank you

Michelle

Sunday 18th of December 2022

You're welcome!

danette kidd bailey

Sunday 18th of December 2022

looks good I cook and stuff my bell peppers with a raw . mixers. like i am making meat loaf.I will try yours yours looks good.

Michelle

Sunday 18th of December 2022

Hi, Danette! So glad you're going to give these stuffed peppers a try...please come back and let me know how it went!