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Recipes

Italian Stuffed Peppers – Barefeet in the Kitchen

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Loaded with flavor and just a hint of heat, these Italian stuffed bell peppers are filled with ground beef and rice, seasoned with plenty of Italian spices, and topped with cheese.

stuffed peppers with rice and ground beef on baking tray with spatula

Served with a salad or warm rosemary garlic bread, this is a hearty meal that comes together without any fuss.

Just brown the meat, fill the peppers, and let them roast away while you kick back on the couch with a book. Sprinkle the warm peppers with cheese just before serving and you’ll have an easy dinner on the table with minimal effort.

Spicy Italian Peppers

These Spicy Italian Peppers are one of my husband’s favorite meals. I’ve been making them for at least 8-10 years now and I double this recipe almost every time I make them.

They’re loaded with flavor and just a hint of heat, but if spicy dishes aren’t your thing, skip the crushed red pepper and you’ll have Italian-style stuffed peppers that will make everyone happy.

The meat mixture freezes perfectly on its own and the stuffed peppers freeze well too. I often freeze the cooked peppers individually for quick and easy lunches.

Italian Style Stuffed Peppers

To make the recipe even easier, you can also use cooked rice leftover from a previous meal. Make rice as a side dish for your lunch and use the leftovers in stuffed peppers for dinner!

My kids and I typically eat one pepper each and my husband will eat a couple of them. They’re filling, delicious, and enthusiastically enjoyed by everyone.

Stuffed Bell Peppers are easy to customize based on your family’s tastes. You can play with different pre-made spaghetti sauces, adjust the spices and try different kinds of cheese on top of the cooked peppers.

Feel free to use this recipe as a jumping off point for making the Stuffed Peppers of your dreams. I love the ground beef in the original version but sausage and ground turkey work well too.

These Italian style stuffed peppers have the advantage of being convenient, easy, customizable and kid-friendly to boot. As far as weeknight meals go, can we ask for anything more?

Italian style peppers stuffed with cheese and beef on tray with spatula

I’m a big fan of freezer meals and meals I can make ahead with ease. They let me have all the convenience of frozen and fast foods while saving money and delivering the great taste of homemade meals.

For more freezer-friendly lunches and dinners, check out Sean’s favorite Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup and my favorite Chicken and Bacon Stir-Fry. Both of those meals freeze beautifully and work great for quick and easy reheating.

These Southwest Chicken Tacos are a big hit and the fact they’re freezer friendly just makes them better. This Chicken Tuscan Pasta Bake also works great as a freezer meal. For easy mornings check out these freezer-friendly Breakfast Burritos.

Italian style stuffed peppers on metal tray with striped towel

Kitchen Tip: I use this skillet and this sheet pan to make this recipe.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the rice and the water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. While the rice is simmering, cook the ground beef with the onions in a large skillet.
  2. Add the olives, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes to the skillet with the meat. Bring to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes.
  3. While the filling is simmering, split the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Place the peppers on a large sheet pan and set aside. Add the cooked rice to the skillet with meat and stir to combine.
  4. Spoon an equal amount of this mixture into each bell pepper. Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the top of each pepper.
  5. Cover loosely with foil and bake 50 minutes in the oven. Remove foil and sprinkle with your favorite cheese. I use mozzarella, Monterrey Jack or pepperjack most of the time. Place back in the oven just until the cheese is melted, approximately 10 minutes.
ground beef and rice stuffed peppers with cheese on baking sheet

How To Freeze Stuffed Peppers

  • Prepare the filling, let cool and transfer to a zip-close freezer bag or airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating or stuffing the filling into peppers to bake. This Unstuffed Bell Pepper Skillet recipe is a great option for a freezer meal with this filling as well.
  • The cooked stuffed peppers can also be frozen once they have cooled. Place them in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator prior to reheating the peppers in the microwave.

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Services: 4 -6 servings

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  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the rice and the water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. While the rice is simmering, cook the ground beef with the onions in a large skillet.

  • Add the olives, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes to the skillet with the meat. Bring to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes.

  • While the filling is simmering, split the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Place the peppers on a large sheet pan and set aside. Add the cooked rice to the skillet with meat and stir to combine.

  • Spoon an equal amount of this mixture into each bell pepper. Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the top of each pepper.

  • Cover loosely with foil and bake 50 minutes in the oven. Remove foil and top with cheese. Place back in the oven just until the cheese is melted, approximately 10 minutes.

calories: 588calories · Carbohydrates: 36g · protein: 30g · Fat: 37g · Saturated Fat: 12g · Cholesterol: 95mg · Sodium: 2052mg · Potassium: 1482mg · fiber: 9g · Sugar: 18g · Vitamin A: 7055UI · Vitamin C: 247.2mg · Calcium: 221mg · Iron: 6mg

{originally published 7/8/11 – recipe notes and photos updated 1/3/23}

stuffed peppers covered in cheese on baking tray
A close up of food, with Bell pepper and Stuffed peppers

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