Italian Stuffed Peppers are the ultimate summer comfort food! Tender roasted bell peppers are filled with ground beef, rice and marinara sauce, and topped with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. It’s an easy dinner that can be prepped entirely in advance so it’s great for busy weeknights or entertaining!

Italian stuffed peppers on a white serving platter

I have a serious thing for all types of stuffed peppers. I’d gladly eat my weight in spicy stuffed jalapeños on game day, and the hearty southwest flavors in my stuffed poblano peppers always keep me coming back for more.

I also find these Italian Stuffed Peppers completely irresistible because they combine my love of lasagna and rice casserole in one delicious dish.

The sweet flavor of roasted bell peppers pair beautifully with the saucy ground beef filling and melty mozzarella cheese, and they’re the perfect portion size.

This is pure comfort food with a lighter feel that’s great for summer…or any time. 🙂

Italian stuffed bell peppers recipe

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Stuffed bell peppers are sweet and tender with a hearty filling of ground beef, rice and marinara sauce, and they’re topped with melty mozzarella cheese.
  • They’re a lighter take on comfort food yet every bit as satisfying.
  • This recipe is easily customizable and may be made entirely in advance.

Recipe ingredients

There’s so much to love about this Italian stuffed peppers recipe. One of the best things is how incredibly versatile it is.

See the ingredient notes below for a variety of ways to customize this recipe.

Stuffed bell pepper recipe ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Bell peppers. Use your favorite color or variety of bell peppers — they’re all delicious! The larger your bell peppers are, the more filling you can pack into them. Any size will work however, just note that cooking time will vary depending on the size of your bell peppers.
  • Ground beef. I used grass fed ground beef, which has amazing flavor. It can be subbed with your favorite ground meat, or use beans to make this recipe vegetarian.
  • Rice. Leftover white or brown rice work perfectly in these stuffed bell peppers. You can also use quinoa or substitute the rice with cooked cauliflower rice to make it low carb.
  • Marinara sauce. Use my easy homemade marinara sauce or your favorite store bought brand. You can also change things up with enchilada sauce or pesto sauce!
  • Cheese. This recipe uses a combination of parmesan cheese in the stuffed pepper filling and mozzarella on top. It can be easily customized with what you have on hand, or omit the cheese altogether to make this recipe dairy-free.

How to make stuffed bell peppers

There are a few components in this Italian stuffed peppers recipe, but each one can be made in advance.

You can pre-bake the peppers and assemble the entire dish 1-2 days in advance then bake it off when you’re ready for an easy weeknight dinner.

Pro tip: Cooking time will vary based on the size of your bell peppers.

See the recipe card below for full instructions.

How to make stuffed bell peppers collage
  1. Halve the bell peppers and remove the seeds and white membranes.
  2. Pre-bake the peppers for 20-30 minutes or until slightly softened before adding the filling.
  3. Brown the ground beef with the onions, garlic and Italian seasoning.
  4. Stir in the marinara sauce, rice and parmesan cheese.
  5. Divide the filling between the peppers and top with the mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes more until the the peppers reach the desired doneness and the cheese has melted.
Italian stuffed peppers in a baking dish

FAQs

How do you cut peppers for stuffed peppers?

Stand the bell peppers upright on a cutting board and cut in half from the top down, then remove the seeds and inner white membranes from each.

Should peppers be cooked before stuffing?

Bell peppers take quite a while to cook, so to ensure that they’re nice and soft they should be baked for 20-30 minutes before stuffing them.

Do I have to cook the rice before stuffing peppers?

Use cooked white or brown rice for this Italian stuffed peppers recipe. It’s a wonderful way to use leftover rice!

Can I make stuffed bell peppers in advance?

This recipe is wonderful for meal prep. There are a few components, but they may all be done in advance. The peppers may be prepped and pre-baked, the filling may be made ahead of time, and the entire dish may be assembled ahead of time and baked off when you’re ready.

Italian stuffed peppers on a serving platter with basil

Serving suggestions

This Italian stuffed peppers recipe can be served a number of ways!

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip: Cooking time will vary based on the size of your bell peppers.
  • You can pre-bake the peppers and assemble the entire dish 1-2 days in advance then bake it off when you’re ready for an easy weeknight dinner.
  • Leftover white or brown rice work perfectly in this recipe. You can also use quinoa or substitute the rice with cooked cauliflower rice to make it low carb.
  • The ground beef may be subbed with your favorite ground meat, or use beans to make this recipe vegetarian.
  • Omit the cheese to make this recipe dairy-free.
Fork cutting into a stuffed bell pepper

More dinner recipes you’ll love:

Did you try this recipe?

If so, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below, and don’t forget to tag @flavorthemoments on Facebook and Instagram!

Italian stuffed peppers on a white serving platter

Italian Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Italian Stuffed Peppers are tender bell peppers filled with ground beef, rice and marinara sauce, and they're topped with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. They're a hearty, delicious dinner that can be made entirely in advance!
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 3 very large bell peppers use (4) if medium sized
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 lb. grass fed ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup cooked rice white or brown rice
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped basil

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease an 9×13" baking pan.
  • Cut the peppers in half from top to bottom and remove the seeds and white membranes. Brush each bell pepper halve with 1 tablespoon of the oil (inside and outside), then pre-bake for 20-30 minutes or until slightly softened (it could take a bit longer depending on the size and thickness of your bell peppers).
  • While the bell peppers cook, prepare the filling. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 3-5 minutes until softened. Add the ground beef, breaking in to chunks with a wooden spoon, and cook until no longer pink. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cook 30 seconds longer. Drain excess grease as necessary.
  • Add the marinara sauce, rice and parmesan cheese to the beef mixture, stirring well to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  • Divide the filling between each bell pepper (don't be afraid to overfill!), then top with the mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes more until the cheese has melted and the pepper has reach the desired doneness. Remove from heat and sprinkle with fresh basil. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Pro tip: Cooking time will vary based on the size of your bell peppers.
  • You can pre-bake the peppers and assemble the entire dish 1-2 days in advance then bake it off when you’re ready for an easy weeknight dinner.
  • Leftover white or brown rice work perfectly in this recipe. You can also use quinoa or substitute the rice with cooked cauliflower rice to make it low carb.
  • The ground beef may be subbed with your favorite ground meat, or use beans to make this recipe vegetarian.
  • Omit the cheese to make this recipe dairy-free.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pepper, Calories: 380kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 898mg, Potassium: 727mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 3202IU, Vitamin C: 112mg, Calcium: 218mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Did you try this recipe?Be sure to tag @flavorthemoments with the hashtag #flavorthemoments on Instagram so I can see what you made!

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