Try this easy recipe for the best Stuffed Peppers! A classic dinner now made healthier and more affordable! Freezer-friendly, versatile, and simple with only a handful of real food ingredients. Enjoy with easy roasted potatoes and a side salad.
I wasn’t a huge fan of them as a child, mostly because the bell pepper fell apart. I usually opted for a meatball instead, chopping it up over a bed of rice and smothering it with extra pasta sauce.
As an adult though, I’ve grown to enjoy bell peppers and missed the comfort of them being stuffed and served with homemade sauce.
Wouldn’t you know, the first time I tried to replicate her recipe was a complete and utter disaster. The stuffing came out of my peppers, my meatballs never cooked through, and I had no clue how to even begin to eat this monstrous pot of seemingly random mixed up food.
Not too long after we got married, I proposed the idea of stuffed peppers to Mr. Crumbs. He’s not a big fan of ground meat, so stuffing them with ground beef was clearly out of the question. But not wanting to disappoint his new wife, he asked if I could do it with chicken instead.
Stuffed peppers with chicken?
Hmm… I guess I could do that. They wouldn’t be the same, but that doesn’t mean they would be bad.
It’s now several years later and the tradition of stuffed peppers has officially been passed on. Granted, my method is different, and my stuffing is different, but the deliciousness and comfort that comes from a hot homemade meal is still the same.
I think you will love this great recipe!
Best Stuffed Peppers Recipe
Not only is this a delicious take on a classic comfort food, it’s also:
- Freezer-Friendly. This meal is PERFECT for making ahead and freezing. See the specific instructions below if you happen to stumble across a plethora of bell peppers and you’re not sure what to do with them.
- Simple. In a good way. With only a handful of simple, real food ingredients, you can’t get any healthier for a classic comfort food.
- Frugal. Made with simple, easy-to-find ingredients, this recipe is a super affordable way to get a healthy and satisfying meal on the table.
Ingredients for Chicken Stuffed Peppers
What can I put in stuffed peppers?
- large bell peppers
- shredded or diced cooked chicken
- cooked rice
- red pasta sauce
- creamy cauliflower sauce
- Italian seasoning (or my homemade Italian seasoning)
- dried sage
- dried thyme
- salt & pepper, to taste
- shredded Monterey jack or mild cheddar cheese
- shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
Note: If you have picky family members, choose a sweeter pepper like red, orange or yellow.
Should I use organic bell peppers for stuffed bell peppers?
The current Dirty Dozen lists “sweet bell peppers” at #7. Whether this includes the green bell pepper or just the orange / yellow / red bell pepper varieties, I’m not sure. My advice would be to buy organic if you go colored, or choose a green pepper instead.
What size bell peppers do I need for this stuffed peppers recipe?
When you’re picking out peppers for this meal, try to get the biggest peppers possible so you can buy fewer and split them in half to stuff instead. If you can only find smaller peppers, allow one full pepper per person, possibly two for teenagers and dads.
Can I make Stuffed peppers with rice?
My mom traditionally served this with long grain white rice and extra red sauce, but you can also eliminate both of those in order to reduce your consumption of grains and to stretch the homemade sauce. Choose to serve with a side veggie and a vegetable salad instead.
How to Make Easy Stuffed Peppers?
- Preheat the oven and boil a large pot of salted water.
- Wash and slice the peppers through the middle (not top to bottom), removing the seeds and membranes. Boil peppers for 5 minutes. Cool.
- In a large bowl, combine cooked chicken, cooked rice, creamy cauliflower sauce, seasonings and 1/2 cup red pasta sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread red sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
- Fill each pepper 3/4 of the way full with the chicken mixture, then top with cheese.
- Bake the peppers in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the peppers are hot. If desired, place peppers under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown and bubble the cheese.
Serve hot with the optional Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and the remaining 1/4 cup red pasta sauce, if desired.
Do you have to cook meat before stuffing peppers?
Yes, I do. That way the meat is already cooked through, and all you’re doing is combining ingredients and baking them together until the cheese is nice and melty.
Can I substitute the chicken for other meat in stuffed peppers?
- Sausage Variation: Substitute 1/2 lb spicy ground sausage (cooked) for the chicken and creamy cauliflower sauce for the red pasta sauce. Double the spices and add 1/2 tsp dried onion powder and 1 tsp dried garlic powder.
- Ground Beef or Ground Turkey Variation: Substitute chicken with your favorite ground beef recipe, prepared up until the baking step.
Why are my stuffed peppers watery?
This particular recipe is not going to get watery because it uses cooked or leftover rice. If you use uncooked rice, the water ratio needed to cook the rice could potentially be off, which could cause the stuffed peppers to become soggy. So just be sure to used cooked rice, or omit rice if you prefer.
How to Freeze this Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe
This meal is PERFECT for making ahead and freezing. See the specific instructions below if you happen to stumble across a plethora of bell peppers and you’re not sure what to do with them.
Bell peppers lose their crunch once they’re thawed from a frozen state, so this eliminates the need to boil the peppers before stuffing. Skip that step and follow the directions through the filling. Then, double wrap each pepper in plastic wrap individually and freeze upright on a cookie sheet. When they’re frozen through, place them in a labeled freezer bag. To serve dinner:
- Remove and unwrap as many peppers as needed.
- Place each pepper upright in an appropriate sized glass baking dish that is smeared with red pasta sauce.
- Allow to thaw to at least refrigerator temperature, then bake at 400F for 30-40 minutes until warmed through.
- Top with shredded cheese and continue to bake until the cheese is melted.
- Serve hot with optional Parmesan cheese and/or additional red pasta sauce.
Side Dishes for this Stuffed Peppers Recipe
- Southwestern Corn
- Crispy Baked Potato Wedges
- Pan Roasted Broccoli
- Roasted Vegetable Kale Salad
- Garlic Green Beans
More Classic & Easy Dinners
- All Purpose Slow Cooker Chicken
- Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup
- Easy Minestrone Soup
- Mediterranean Grilled Cheese
- Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Soup
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Stuffed Bell Peppers
An easy recipe for the best Stuffed Peppers, a classic dinner now made healthier and more affordable! Freezer-friendly, versatile, and simple with only a handful of real food ingredients. Enjoy with roasted potatoes and a side salad.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Yield: 4-6
- Category: Main Meals
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- 3 large bell peppers
- 1 cup shredded or diced cooked chicken
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 cup red pasta sauce, divided
- 1/4 cup creamy cauliflower sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup shredded Monterey jack or mild cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, prepare the peppers by washing well, cutting in half (through the middle, not from the top down) and removing the seeds and white pulp the pepper.
- Place cleaned peppers in the pot of water, boiling for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- In a large bowl, combine cooked chicken, cooked rice, creamy cauliflower sauce, seasonings and 1/2 cup red pasta sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper, adjusting seasonings as desired.
- When peppers are cool, spoon 1/4 cup of red pasta sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish. Smear around, covering the entire bottom with a thin layer of sauce.
- Place peppers in the baking dish, cut side up.
- Fill each pepper evenly with the chicken and rice mixture, pressing the mixture into the peppers well so that they are truly “stuffed.” Fill each pepper approximately 3/4 of the way full.
- Top each pepper with approximately 2 Tbsp of shredded Monterey jack or mild cheddar cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the peppers are hot.
- If desired, place peppers under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown and bubble the cheese.
- Serve hot with the optional Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and the remaining 1/4 cup red pasta sauce, if desired.
Keywords: Stuffed Peppers
What’s your favorite meal from childhood that you’re now making for your own family? Is it the same recipe? Have you made it healthier?
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