How To Make Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers are such a huge favorite. Below you’ll find my guide to how to make stuffed peppers with various options and ideas as well as recipes to try out.

I love stuffed peppers, don’t you? They’re a true comfort food with a bit of healthiness thrown in. I’m going to fill you in on the details of how to make stuffed peppers here today.

There are several different ways to make stuffed peppers and so you have some choices to make along the way. First, what type of filling to use. Second, how to cut the pepper. Third, how to fix a tippy pepper and finally, the time and temperature needed to cook your peppers.

I’ve got all that info, advice, and more today in my Stuffed Pepper Extravaganza!

Collage of various kinds of stuffed peppers, text reads How to Make Stuffed Peppers, methods & recipes.

Choice #1: Precooked Filling Or Uncooked?

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 (see info about cooking times and temperatures in the How To Cut It section below). A recipe in this style: Italian Stuffed Peppers by Well Plated.

Another great precooked stuffed pepper filling is leftovers. Leftovers of almost any kind. I’m 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 (I’d still top it with cheese). 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 don’t get me started about Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Peppers. I’m 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 (see info about cooking times and temperatures in the How To Cook Stuffed Peppers section below).

Uncooked Fillings for Stuffed Peppers

If you don’t want to cook up a filling, which can be time-consuming, and you don’t have any leftovers to use, you can still make stuffed peppers. In fact, stuffed peppers can be a super-quick weeknight meal.

Consider mixing together some diced ham, bread cubes, chopped tomatoes, seasonings, and cheese for the simplest of stuffings (this is best in the halved version of stuffed peppers, explained in the Hot To Cut It section below). Similarly, an omelet mixture (eggs and any fillings you’d like) will cook in a halved pepper in the time it takes the pepper to soften. Here’s just such an eggy stuffed pepper recipe from my friends over at Healthy Family Project.

One thing that is more difficult to add raw to a stuffed pepper is an uncooked carbohydrate. Regular rice or pasta will not cook properly inside the pepper. Although, if you’re making your stuffed peppers in a slow cooker (something I’ve never done and so don’t have any advice on) I’ve seen stuffed pepper recipes that use uncooked couscous or other uncooked grains.

Something that I often do for a quick weeknight meal is to chop up uncooked chicken meat into bite-size pieces. I then toss it with a bit of flour, seasonings, maybe a bit of sauce, cheese (of course!) and pile it loosely into halved peppers. The chicken cooks fully in the time it takes the peppers to soften. The flour miraculously traps any juices that escape from the chicken as it cooks so that it’s not all wet in there. Here’s an example of this kind of stuffed pepper recipe with an uncooked filling: Chicken and Cheddar Stuffed Peppers.

And stay tuned because later this week I’m bringing you another uncooked filling that is beyond ridiculous. Oh geez, I can’t keep this a secret: It’s Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers! AMAZING.

A classic way to make stuffed peppers is a hybrid of precooked and uncooked fillings.

You cook rice and mix it with raw ground beef seasonings and sometimes a sauce. The rice soaks up the juices let off from the cooking beef. Very tasty. Here’s an example of a stuffed pepper recipe that uses cooked rice and raw beef from Simply Recipes.

Choice #2: How To Cut The Peppers

Whole Peppers, Top Removed

The most traditional way to cut a pepper for stuffed peppers is to cut off the top (the stem end). To do so, set the pepper stem side up. Use a small sharp knife to cut a big circle all the way around the stem. Lift out the stem and any attached seeds and pith. Use your knife to carefully dislodge any seeds and pith that remain in the pepper. These Jambalaya Stuffed Peppers use whole peppers.

Halved Stuffed Peppers

I find whole stuffed peppers a bit daunting to eat. It’s hard to cut into the without all the stuffing spilling out onto the plate. I therefore rarely make them that way (the exception being the Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Peppers I mentioned earlier. I wanted as much mac as possible in those babies!).

Instead of using the whole peppers with the tops cut off, I usually halve peppers before stuffing them. To do so, set your pepper on a cutting board stem-side-up. Cut the pepper in half vertically by cutting down right through the middle of the stem, all the way through to the base of the pepper.

At this point you have another choice to make. You can either remove the stems completely from the peppers, or just cut away the pith and seeds leaving the stems intact. The benefit to the former is that everything remaining on your pepper is edible since the stem is gone. The benefit to the latter is that leaving on that stem makes the pepper edge more even and lets you put more stuffing into your pepper.

You can compare the methods and looks of the peppers at TheCookful.

Choice #3: What To Do About Tippy Peppers

If your pepper doesn’t stand up nicely there are two things you can do. Try cutting a small flat piece off of the bottom of the pepper so that it has a more even bottom. But don’t cut all the way through the pepper when doing so or any liquid from your stuffing will leak out.

The other thing you can do for tippy peppers is to make nests for them using aluminium foil. Take a 12” square of foil and form it into a bowl shape by crumpling the edges towards the center. Make the scoop of the bowl the size of your pepper. Set the nests in your baking dish and then put the peppers in the nests.

Choice #4: 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.

I’ve seen stuffed pepper recipes with temperatures ranging from 350ºF to 450ºF and cooking times from 20 minutes to an hour. I’ve 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 you’ve made above:

For Halved Peppers With Fully Cooked Ingredients In The Stuffing

450ºF for 20 minutes will soften the pepper to al dente (soft with the tiniest bit of bite) and even darken them in places. It will also heat the ingredients through and give any lightly oiled breadcrumbs on the tops of the pepper and nice brown touch. If you like your peppers softer, go for 350ºF for 35-40 minutes.

For Halved Peppers With Raw Meat In The Stuffing:

So long as the meat is either ground or cut into bite-sized pieces and you haven’t stuffed the peppers too tightly, these will cook quickly. 400ºF for 25 minutes is enough. But do check the insides with an instant read thermometer and make sure that they’re fully cooked (160ºF for a stuffing containing ground beef and 165ºF for a stuffing containing ground chicken, ground turkey, or pieces of chicken). If you want your peppers softer, cook at 350ºF for 35-40 minutes.

For Whole Peppers With Fully Cooked Ingredients In The Stuffing

Whole peppers take longer than halved peppers because there is more filling inside. But the peppers themselves cook at essentially the same rate. 400ºF for 25 minutes will heat everything through and soften the pepper up a bit. 350ºF for 45 minutes if you want a softer pepper.

For Whole Peppers With Raw Meat In The Stuffing

People tend to pack this style of pepper pretty full. That means that it takes longer for the heat to reach the center of the stuffing and really cook everything through. I go with 350ºF for about an hour. Again, use an instant read thermometer pushed to the center of the stuffing to make sure that your meat is cooked through (160ºF for a stuffing containing ground beef and 165ºF for a stuffing containing ground chicken, ground turkey, or pieces of chicken).

There you make it, the guide for How to Make Stuffed Peppers! What’s your favorite way to make them?

This post originally appeared in February 2014 and was revised and republished in May 2021.
How To Make Stuffed Peppers

36 responses to “How To Make Stuffed Peppers”

  1. Melinda says:

    I bake my peppers in a muffin tin. No need to cu5 the bottom. You can also pre-bake by adding a little water to the pan 

  2. donna says:

    i use to have recipe for stuffed peppers with a ham and cheese stuffing. everyones favorite. i have lost the recipe and cannot find it anywhere, could you be helpful with this ?

  3. Colleen says:

    For my family of 6 with each different picky tastes I make it fun for them by having a stuff-your-own pepper meal. I pre-cook and lay out all kinds of fillings so they can make their own creations. Seasoned ground beef, ground sausage, spanish rice-a-roni, parmesan, cubed cheddar, pepper jack, swiss, or whatever cheese I have in the fridge, sauteed diced onion, fresh green onion, cubed tomatoes, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, diced fresh spinach, spices and anything else I can think of I have on hand. The kids love it! Any left-over cooked meat & rice goes into the next casserole or burger stew.

  4. Huggs says:

    I just fixed Spanish Rice-A-Roni added a can of tomatoes extra spices ground chicken and a vegetable tomorrow night I’m going to stuff the Rice-A-Roni that was left over inside mini bell peppers and bake it probably put breadcrumbs or cheese on top

  5. Philip Hammond says:

    Try them with boudain sausages crumbled up inside. Yummy! 

  6. […] Click here to find out how to make stuffed peppers using different methods and get a bunch of stuffe… […]

  7. Annette says:

    I just realized that I’ve never made stuffed peppers! My mother made them a lot when I was growing up and she always used the whole pepper (minus the top). She cooked the stuffing first, then put it inside the peppers. They were delicious and the presentation was so pretty.

  8. Heather says:

    We always make double the stuffing! And add lots of cheese!

  9. Barbara Bradford says:

    I have always precooked my filling separately. Mainly I cook the meat by itself then start adding. I then put the stuffed peppers in a casserole dish and then that dish into a larger pan that has warm water in it. I cover all of that with tin foil, and bake. I just remember my grandmother and my mom cooking them like that.

  10. Linda C. Seal says:

    Stuffed Peppers are so great and so versatile. You can stuff them with about anything and even make them vegan which is great.

  11. Barb says:

    I have never made stuffed peppers before

  12. Brittany Koelmel says:

    i personally have never made stuffed peppers, but ive had them with tuna inside, and its really yummy!

  13. itzia says:

    i haven’t made stuffed peppers yet, but I do enjoy eating them.

  14. Sandy Headtke says:

    I mix rice, ground beef, onions and spices together then fill halved bell peppers. My sauce is tomato soup and worcestershire sauce.

  15. Natalie J Vandenberghe says:

    I used to make peppers by stuffing them with a Spanish Rice mixture–they were delicious!

  16. Louly says:

    I don’t really have a method, I just sautee onions and sausage and combine with rice and spices :)

  17. Rebecca says:

    I have never actually made stuffed peppers, but I know my neighbor has a wonderful recipe that I have been dying to try!

  18. […] Click here if you love stuffed peppers. You’ll find tips and methods for making stuffed pepper… […]

  19. Toni B says:

    I’ve never made stuffed peppers before. However, I have eaten them and like them very much!

  20. Tracy says:

    I love peppers, but have never made them stuffed — I usually slice and grill or roast them. But a couple of those vegetarian stuffed pepper ideas look good, so I’ll be sure to try them soon! (@Becca — I’ve pinned those pepper Jack-o’-lanterns more than once! They are adorable!)

  21. Great instructional on making stuffed peppers all different ways Christine! Thanks so much for including my Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa, Grilled Vegetables and Pesto Sauce.

  22. Kat Emerick says:

    I always make stuffed peppers! Now here is a tip: Always boil water and put your peppers in whole for about 3-5 minutes, remove , cool , cut and stuff. This process takes all the bitterness away from the peppers and they are so good. I have an family recipe that when you start making your stuff peppers I use… ground meat, kolbassi ( cut into bite size) onions, rice, sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well and stuff into peppers. NOTE: If you don’t know what kolbassi is you can use beef sausage.

  23. LOVE these little dishes !!!!! They are perfect for baking dinner for us

  24. SandyN says:

    I’ve never made stuffed peppers, but I love them!! Going to have to give them a try!! These casserole dishes are too cute!!!

  25. Diana @ASpoonfulofLuxe says:

    Love this post! I love to stuff peppers with an Israeli Cous Cous salad w/lots of roasted veggies and parmesan cheese!

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Diana, I’ve never stuffed peppers with Israeli Cous Cous. Sounds wonderful! Will definitely try it soon!

  26. Christine Huff says:

    I learned about cooking poached egg in bell pepper rings not too long ago and love it!!

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Christine, I’ve never actually tried it but have seen it online. It really works, huh? Must test it out!

  27. MaryB says:

    I usually use small whole peppers with raw filling but I will definitely be trying out some of your suggestions. Love the casserole dishes! Thanks for the chance to win.

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Mary, I guess the raw filling cooks faster in the smaller peppers. Good idea! Thanks for the comment and for entering the giveaway!

  28. Gladys says:

    I love stuffed peppers and the casserole dishes are gorgeous! I stuff peppers with ground beef, bulgar wheat, cauliflower, onion , tomato paste, spices and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours covered with foil. It’s delicious!

  29. Oh my GOSH… those casserole dishes are adorable!
    I love to precook as much of the filling as I can before I stuff the peppers, and also love to stand them up and cut cute faces into them on Halloween. Jack-o-peppers :)

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