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Of all the food you can stuff, stuffed peppers are at the top of our list. Bell peppers are large enough to hold a lot, strong enough to keep their shape in the oven, and mild enough in flavor to go with just about anything. In other words, they’re the perfect vessel to hold a variety of different ingredients and fillings.

We’ve stuffed peppers every way we can think of– and if you don’t believe me, check out our Cheesesteak and Chicken Parm varieties!-- but this classic recipe is still our favorite. Here we’re filling them with beefy tomato rice and shredded Monterey Jack cheese, but you can customize them to fit your taste (and whatever you have in your refrigerator). Swap out the ground beef for another ground protein (pork, turkey, chicken, or even Italian sausage!) and add in any melty cheese you like. 

Read on for more tips to make these classic stuffed peppers. And if you’re looking for more ways to get your stuffed pepper fix, check out this Stuffed Pepper Soup.

How do I prep the peppers for stuffing?

It’s super simple! Just cut off the top (we like to use a small paring knife to carve a circle around the stem, like you might when you’re carving a pumpkin) and pull out the core and the seeds. We suggest turning the peppers upside down over the sink and tapping them to get the excess seeds out. You could even try rinsing the peppers out, but you don’t have to. (Also, if a few seeds stay in, it’s not a big deal!) 

Should I cook the peppers before stuffing them?

You can, but we prefer not to. The peppers are easier to fill when they’re still raw, and this way they still retain a little bit of texture after they’ve been baked. We like them to be tender, but not mushy!

How long should stuffed peppers be baked?

In this recipe we’re baking them for 45 minutes total: 35 minutes covered with foil so the peppers can slightly steam and become tender, and then 10 minutes longer uncovered, so the cheese can get all brown and bubbly.


1/2 c. uncooked rice
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. tomato paste
cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef
(14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
bell peppers, tops and cores removed
1 c. shredded Monterey jack
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, prepare rice according to package instructions. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Cook onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 6 minutes. Drain fat.
  2. Return beef mixture to skillet, then stir in cooked rice and diced tomatoes. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Let simmer until liquid has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.
  3. Place peppers cut side-up in a 9"-x-13" baking dish and drizzle with oil. Spoon beef mixture into each pepper and top with Monterey jack, then cover baking dish with foil.
  4. Bake until peppers are tender, about 35 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is bubbly, 10 minutes more.
  5. Garnish with parsley before serving.