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Classic Stuffed Peppers stuffed with rice, ground beef, tomatoes, and zucchini are a complete meal that can be made ahead.

Classic Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Classic Stuffed Peppers with rice, ground beef, tomatoes, and zucchini are a complete dinner recipe that can be made ahead. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 6
Calories 621


  • 6 bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 zucchini (diced)
  • 2 cups rice (par cooked)
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes (15-ounce can, drained )
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
  • 8 ounces pepper jack cheese (grated)


  • To prepare the peppers, slice the tops off and remove any veins or seeds inside. Do not discard tops as you will use any remaining pepper attached to the stem.
  • Add peppers to a casserole dish, fill with about ½ inch of water, cover with aluminum foil, and bake in a 425o F oven for 20 minutes in order to steam, or parbake, the peppers.
  • While the peppers are steaming, cook the ground beef, onion, garlic, and any remaining pepper from the stem piece (diced) in a large saute pan over medium high heat until the meat is crumbly, about 10-15 minutes. Add the diced zucchini and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the par cooked rice (frozen microwavable rice works best) and tomatoes. Add salt to taste.
  • Once peppers are done, remove from oven, discard water, and return peppers to casserole dish. Fill each pepper cavity with the ground beef and rice filling until all of the peppers have been evenly filled. Top with pepper jack cheese. If making ahead, store in airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to heat and serve.
  • Return peppers to oven and cook until heated through and cheese has melted. This should only take a few minutes.


Cooking tips:

  • You can use any kind of bell peppers when you make stuffed peppers. I'm partial to the red, orange, and yellow ones.
  • Since the filling is often already cooked when you stuff them into the pepper cavity, it is important to par bake the peppers so that they are evenly cooked with their stuffed ingredients. To do this you can roast in a covered pot in the oven like I did,  blanch the peppers in boiling water and then transfer them to an ice bath, or you can even steam them in the microwave in a covered dish with a bit of water.
  • To make this recipe easier, buy frozen pre-cooked rice that only needs to be heated prior to eating.
  • Grated cheese from a block always melts better than pre-shredded cheese, but you can use either.


Calories: 621kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 368mg | Potassium: 802mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 4165IU | Vitamin C: 166.1mg | Calcium: 354mg | Iron: 3.6mg