Stuffed Bell Peppers

$12.21 recipe / $2.03 serving
by Marsha - Budget Bytes
4.79 from 19 votes
Pin RecipeJump to recipe →

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that we make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Stuffed Bell Peppers have been a huge favorite of mine since my aunt first made them for me many many years ago. At the time it seemed like such an elaborate, fancy recipe, but who knew they were really this simple to make! It’s a classic comfort food recipe that’s hearty, filling, easy to customize, and can feed a large family. Plus the flavors in this version are incredibly delicious! So much so that we’re still talking about it over a month later! ;)

Close up side view of stuffed bell peppers in a casserole dish garnished with parsley.

What’s in Stuffed Bell Peppers?

There are several versions of stuffed bell peppers out there and most usually include ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and cheese. I got a little creative with this recipe as I wanted it to be simple to make, but still have tons of flavor! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bell Peppers: I used different colors of bell peppers because I love how colorful and vibrant they look, but if you’re working with a tight budget you can certainly just use all green bell peppers instead.
  • Italian Sausage: Italian sausage instead of ground beef for an extra boost of flavor. But you can use ground beef, ground turkey or even Italian turkey sausage if you like.
  • Onion and garlic: These two ingredients produce a great combination of aromatics to help flavor the sausage and rice.
  • Seasoning: A simple mix of Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder is all you’ll need. If you want an extra kick, you can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes too!
  • Marinara sauce: Instead of adding a can of tomatoes or tomato sauce, I used marinara sauce. It’s tomatoes with extra herbs & spices all in one…aka more flavor!
  • Long grain white rice: The rice helps bulk up the filling for the bell peppers. In this recipe the rice is cooked in the same skillet as the meat filling. It gives the rice a ton of flavor and let’s be honest…who wants to clean more dishes by cooking a separate pot of rice? Not me!
  • Chicken broth: Broth is used to help cook the rice and it provides even more flavor of course!
  • Shredded Mozzarella: And mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top for a gooey, tasty finish!

Should I cook the bell peppers first?

I definitely suggest par-cooking the bell peppers first, just a little bit before stuffing them. Not only does this help to soften the bell peppers, but it also cuts down on your cook time. As the bell peppers are cooking you can make the filling, shaving off about 20 minutes from your total cook time.

Budget Saving Tips!

Here are a few tips to help you stretch your money when making Stuffed Bell Peppers:

  1. Use the green bell peppers! Although it makes for a colorful final dish when you use red, yellow or orange bell peppers, these colors often cost a little bit more. You can just buy all green bell peppers instead and save some coins.
  2. Cut a 4th bell pepper in half and stretch the filling out to make 8 servings instead of 6. Trust me..we stuffed these bell peppers quite a bit, but you could totally stretch the filling if you wanted to.
  3. If you want to just use 1/2 a pound of sausage, that works too! Just add an additional 1/2 cup of rice and 3/4 cup of broth to what is listed in the recipe below, to increase the filling and make up the difference.
  4. Feel free to use ground beef instead if it’s cheaper than the Italian sausage at your local store. You may need to add a bit more seasoning to make up for the flavor you would get in the sausage though.
Overhead view of 6 stuffed bell peppers in a white casserole dish.

What to serve with Stuffed Bell Peppers

The filling inside each of these stuffed bell peppers are pretty hearty by themselves, but if you want to serve something with it on the side, they would also be great with a simple salad or some crusty garlic bread. If you want to double down on the veggies, you can also serve these with some roasted broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, or a side of simple sautéed vegetables.

Storing & Reheating

Got leftovers? No problem! These stuffed bell peppers hold up very well in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days. They can be reheated in the microwave or the oven and the leftovers taste just as good the next day, making them perfect for meal prep!

Close up side view of stuffed bell peppers on a serving plate.
Share this recipe

Stuffed Bell Peppers

4.79 from 19 votes
These Stuffed Bell Peppers are a classic comfort food that’s hearty, filling, has incredible flavors, and can easily feed a large family.
Overhead close up view of stuffed bell peppers on a serving plate.
Servings 6 servings
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 50 minutes
Total 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 bell peppers ($3.97)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil, divided ($0.08)
  • 1 lb Italian sausage ($4.99)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced ($0.38)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced ($0.24)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt, divided ($0.06)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce ($0.71)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice ($0.21)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth ($0.15)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella ($1.25)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash and dry each bell pepper, then cut the bell peppers in half horizontally. Make sure to cut them as evenly as possible. Using a sharp paring knife carefully cut and remove the stem from the top half of each bell pepper (see picture below). It's okay if there is a small hole left where the stem was removed.
  • Place each bell pepper half in a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Brush the bell peppers with 1 Tbsp oil and season with ¼ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp cracked black pepper. Bake the bell peppers in a preheated oven for 20 minutes to soften. After 20 minutes remove the bell peppers from the oven and set aside.
  • While the bell peppers are baking, make the filling. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp of oil. Brown the Italian sausage.
  • Once the sausage has browned, add the diced onion and minced garlic to the skillet. Continue to sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
  • Next add the uncooked rice, marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, 1 tsp of salt, and chicken broth to the skillet. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the mixture to come to a full boil. Once boiling, immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer, without lifting the lid or stirring, for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, without lifting the lid, for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Next remove the lid, fluff the rice, and stir the mixture again to redistribute the ingredients. Begin to fill each bell pepper with the meat filling. Stuff as much filling as you can into each, filling them all the way to the top.
  • Top each bell pepper evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese. Loosely place some tented aluminum foil over the top of the casserole dish and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes the bell peppers should be tender but not mushy.
  • Now remove the foil and turn the heat on to broil. Broil the stuffed bell peppers for 2-3 minutes or just until the cheese gets a little brown on top. Be sure to watch the bell peppers closely at this step to prevent the cheese from over browning. Garnish with parsley, if desired, and enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Nutrition

Serving: 6servingsCalories: 454kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 18gFat: 33gSodium: 1461mgFiber: 3g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!

How to Make STUFFED BELL PEPPERS – Step by Step Photos

Bell peppers cut in half and placed in a casserole dish. One bell pepper lifted up towards the camera.

Preheat the oven to 350°F then wash and dry 3 bell peppers. Cut the bell peppers in half horizontally, yes horizontally. Most stuffed bell pepper recipes either keep the bell peppers whole or cut them vertically, but by cutting them horizontally you end up with a flatter bottom service and it’s easier to stuff. Trust me! Make sure to cut them as evenly as possible. Using a sharp pairing knife carefully cut and remove the stem from the top half of each bell pepper. It’s okay if there is a small hole left where the stem was removed.

Bell peppers being brushed with olive oil.

Place each bell pepper half in a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Brush the bell peppers with 1 Tbsp cooking oil, divided between all 6 halves, and season with ¼ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp cracked black pepper, also divided between all 6 halves. Bake the bell peppers in a preheated oven for 20 minutes to soften. After 20 minutes remove them from the oven and set aside.

Cooked Italian sausage in a large skillet.

While the bell peppers are baking, make the filling. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp of oil. Add 1 lb Italian sausage and cook until brown.

Cooked Italian sausage with onions and garlic.

Once the sausage has browned, add the 1 diced yellow onion and 3 minced garlic cloves to the skillet. Continue to sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

Cooked sausage, rice, marinara, seasoning and chicken broth.

Next add ½ cup uncooked white rice, 1 cup of marinara sauce, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp of salt, and ¾ cups chicken broth to the skillet. Stir to combine. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the mixture to come to a full boil. Once boiling, immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer, without lifting the lid or stirring, for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, without lifting the lid, for an additional 5 minutes.

Cooked stuffed bell pepper filling.

Next remove the lid, fluff the rice, and stir the mixture again to redistribute the ingredients. Begin to fill each bell pepper with the sausage and rice mixture. Stuff as much filling as you can into each, filling them all the way to the top.

Overhead view of stuffed bell peppers with mozzarella cheese being added on top.

Divide 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of each bell pepper evenly. Loosely place some tented aluminum foil over the top of the casserole dish and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Overhead view of finished stuffed bell peppers in a casserole dish.

After 15 minutes, remove the foil and turn the heat to broil. Broil the stuffed bell peppers for 2-3 minutes or just until the cheese gets a little brown on top. Be sure to watch the bell peppers closely at this step to prevent the cheese from getting too brown. Garnish with parsley, if desired, and enjoy!

Overhead shot of stuffed bell peppers topped with mozzarella cheese and fresh parsley. Served in a white casserole dish.
Share this recipe

Posted in: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Really wonderful fall/winter comfort food ❤️. I subbed canned crushed tomatoes for the marinara (cheaper) and it still tasted great. It was quick and easy to roast the peppers in the air fryer (as directed). Definitely a keeper!

  2. So I have cooked rice I need to use up and want to replace the uncooked rice. I’m thinking less chicken stock and simmer time?

    1. You’ll likely need no broth, since the rice will not absorb any more, but unfortunately that will remove a lot of flavor from the dish. If you have bouillon, you can try stirring some of that (the amount needed to make ¾ cup broth) into the pasta sauce to see if that will help, but it may just make the sauce more salty instead of actually soaking into the already cooked rice, like it does when the rice is actually cooked in the broth.

  3. Just like my mama used to make. Very flavorful and yummy. Thank you for this recipe.

    1. We haven’t made this one with brown rice, but if you give it a try just keep in mind that brown rice requires more liquid and needs to be cooked about 3x as long as white rice.

  4. This is an excellent recipe and the first time I’ve made stuffed peppers that I really liked! I didn’t have a pound of sausage, so I used part hamburger and part Jimmy Dean regular Sausage. I also made the marinara sauce—takes only about 30 minutes and is very flavorful.

  5. It looks really good and I’m going to try this recipe. But I’m not really sure how you came up with the pricing I don’t think I’ve ever paid $.38 for a pack never under a dollar.🤔🤣

  6. Great recipe! I’ve been cooking stuffed bell peppers for years but never pre-cook the pepper. Also, I’ve added cooked rice. Your recipe is outstanding!

    Thank you so much for your recipes and website!!!

    Marla

  7. This is the first time I made stuffed peppers and they turned out great. I used 1/2 pound of hamburger and 1 hot Italian sausage link since that’s what I had in the freezer, and there was plenty of flavor. I definitely suggest using 4 peppers instead of 3. They were completely stuffed full even with the slight reduction in meat. My sister says the recipe she uses requires parboiling the peppers, so I much prefer this pre-baking method. Less dishes and much easier!