Unstuffed Peppers Recipe (2024)

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Get all the delicious comforting flavor you love in classic stuffed peppers with these equally yummy but twice as easy Unstuffed Peppers. Makes a full meal, all in one skillet!

Unstuffed Peppers Recipe (1)

Unstuffed Peppers

Mr. Gracious has a few favorites that he eats at the firehouse all the time. One of these is stuffed peppers. Now, I'm all for a good stuffed pepper, but they are so involved and time consuming to make.

This led me to the totally delicious decision to make UNstuffed peppers. All of the yummy ingredients you use in stuffed peppers, only they're not stuffed. Get it? UNstuffed peppers.

Unstuffed peppers are packed with ground beef, bell peppers, rice, tangy tomato sauce, and lots of gooey cheese to finish it off. It is ridiculously easy to make. Plus, it's a full meal in one skillet.

Yup. It's that good. And just for you, here's a gratuitous cheese shot.

Do I Have to Use White Rice?

Nope. I prefer it because it has the fastest cook time, clocking it at only 25 minutes.

Here are the cook times for some other options:

  • Brown Rice. Preparation instructions are the same, but the cook time needs to be upped to 50 minutes. If your liquid gets low during this time, add another ½ cup of water until the rice is tender and cooked through.
  • White Basmati Rice is cooked for the same amount of time as long grain white rice, but it needs to be rinsed first because it is very sticky otherwise. Rinse rice in luke-warm water until it runs clear.
  • Quinoa actually has a shorter cook-time at only 15-18 minutes. It also will only need about 1 cup of water. Be sure to rinse quinoa before cooking.
  • Instant rice. If you want a much faster cook time, you can use instant rice. Omit the water entirely, and cook for only about 8-10 minutes.
Unstuffed Peppers Recipe (2)

What to Serve with Unstuffed Peppers

Unstuffed peppers is pretty much a meal by itself, with ground beef for protein, rice for carbs, and bell peppers for veggies.

For a side, we'll typically just have a fresh green salad to keep it simple.

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Unstuffed Peppers Recipe (3)

Unstuffed Peppers

Get all the delicious comforting flavor you love in classic stuffed peppers with these equally yummy but twice as easy Unstuffed Peppers. Makes a full meal, all in one skillet!

5 from 25 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Unstuffed Pepper Casserole, Unstuffed Peppers

Prep Time: 5 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Calories: 465kcal

Author: Michelle

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 green bell peppers cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (24 ounces)
  • cups water
  • 1 cup long grain white rice uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon steak and burger seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella divided

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef with onion and green peppers. Drain and return to skillet.

  • Add spaghetti sauce, water, rice, steak seasoning, garlic powder, and black pepper to the ground beef mixture. Stir to combine.

  • Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and continue simmering on medium-low heat for about 25 minutes, or until rice is tender. If liquid gets too low, add an additional ½ cup water.

  • When rice is tender, stir in cup shredded mozzarella.

  • Sprinkle the remaining cup mozzarella on top. Cover and continue cooking until cheese is melted and bubbly.

  • Serve warm.

Notes

  • This recipe is gluten free.
  • To make this recipe dairy free, simply omit the cheese or use a dairy-alternative cheese such as Daiya.
  • Do not stir while rice is cooking. Stirring releases starches and makes the dish sticky.
  • Cover while rice is cooking, or it will take way too long to cook and the liquid will evaporate too quickly.
  • To make this dish low carb, use about 2-3 cups riced cauliflower. Omit the water, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • If your liquid is evaporating too fast, turn down the heat a little and add an additional ½ cup water.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave-safe dish.
  • Freezer Instructions: After cooking rice, transfer to a freezer container. Top with remaining cheese. Cover and freeze for up to 3-6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake dish at 350°F for 20-30 minutes until cheese on top is melted and dish is heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 886mg | Potassium: 774mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 972IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 241mg | Iron: 3mg

Did you make this recipe?I love seeing your creations. Snap a quick photo and mention @TheGraciousWife or tag #thegraciouswife on Instagram! Leave a STAR rating below!

Update Info: This recipe was originally published in August 2016. It has been updated with new pictures, video, and recipe tips and republished in December 2019.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Helen at the Lazy Gastronome says

    I like the idea of deconstructing the dish - I've always had a hard time eating them as whole peppers! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up and don’t forget to leave a comment at the party – Next week’s features that also leave a comment get pinned and tweeted!

    Reply

  2. Beverly says

    This sounds like a great dinner and so much easier than making making each pepper.
    Bev

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      Oh, it's SO easy. And so yummy too!

      Reply

  3. Karly says

    This is a great comfort food dinner! Thanks for linkin' up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

    Reply

  4. Kelly Kimbrough says

    I'm not one to cook much in the summer but hallelujah fall is on the way and this looks like a dish we'd love! Thanks so much for sharing on Friday Favorites Linky Party underatexassky.com/friday-favorites-linky-party - I can't wait to try it.

    Reply

  5. Katherines Corner says

    thank you for sharing this yumminess at the Thursday Favorite Things link party. I love stuffed peppers so I know I will love this too. Watch for your feature at the party xo

    Reply

  6. Laura says

    I love this idea. I'm always looking for good low carb recipes and I've made stuffed peppers like this with cauliflower rice before and really liked it, but I agree it's a lot of effort. Deconstructing it is brilliant.

    Reply

  7. Jessica says

    Thanks for such a great family friendly skillet meal! I'll be sure to pin it and save.

    Reply

  8. Veena Azmanov says

    A very delicious DInner option, full of flavors and the combination amazing. Definitely a must try dish for sure.

    Reply

  9. Jen says

    This is such a delicious and filling meal! With 3 boys to feed, I’m happy to say they all cleaned their plates. A total dinner win!

    Reply

  10. Beth says

    This is so much easier than traditional stuffed peppers and my family like it even better! Thanks!

    Reply

  11. Lisa | Garlic & Zest says

    This is positively the cheesiest, most indulgent un-stuffed pepper dish ever! Is it wrong that I just want to grab a spoon and dig in?

    Reply

  12. Dannii says

    What a great twist on stuffed peppers. Looks super comforting.

    Reply

  13. Jenn says

    This is one of our family's top 5 favorite dishes. It is so warm and comforting and hearty - and it works out perfectly every time!

    Reply

  14. Alyssa says

    What a great twist on stuffed peppers. I'm going to try it with quinoa next because I think my family would actually eat quinoa this way!

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      Yes, I love this recipe with quinoa too!

      Reply

  15. Julia says

    This sounds like a delicious meal. Perfect for winter!

    Reply

  16. Kristin says

    Made this for supper tonight and it was delicious!

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      I'm so glad you liked it as much as we do!

      Reply

  17. Joan LoPresti says

    This was so delicious! I used riced cauliflower so I could still serve pasta. Also an easy way to get veggies ! I had extra time so I assembled the ingredients and put them in a casserole dish. Heated in the oven at 350deg. Added a light layer of mozzarella on top. Family loved it! Will definitely make again.

    Reply

  18. Christine says

    This was a winner with my family!

    Reply

  19. Kathy says

    Very good recipe! Easy to follow instructions. Will make again!

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      So glad you liked it 🙂

      Reply

  20. Ang says

    What steak/burger seasoning did you use?

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      There are a lot, and you can use any. Some barbecue restaurants even sell them, so you can try to find one from your favorite barbecue joint if you want. Or McCormick is usually a safe bet.

      Reply

  21. Shana Ellis says

    This was delicious and soo quick and easy! I was able to run home after softball lessons and whip this up before my husband and other daughter got home from her softball practice! Can’t wait to try more recipes!

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      Yes! So glad you guys liked it 🙂

      Reply

  22. Tiffany Pearson says

    Are there any substitutions if you don't have spaghetti sauce?

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      Tomato sauce or undrained diced tomatoes. I would also probably add some garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning.

      Reply

  23. Aubrie johnson says

    Love this recipe! I was wondering How big is a serving size supposed to be?

    Reply

  24. Marlen says

    Do we need to wash the rice or use dry rice?

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      Dry rice is fine.

      Reply

      • Nikki says

        What is the serving size ? Thanks

        Reply

  25. Eloise says

    I made this tonight... and what can I say! It was delish! Definitely making this again! 😁 thanks for the recipe 👩‍🍳

    Reply

  26. JoLynne Warkentin says

    Is there a recipe for steak and burger seasoning so I don't have to buy special seasoning?

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      You can use half seasoned salt and half black pepper instead

      Reply

  27. Nicole says

    what size jars of spaghetti? and it doesnt specify the amount of cheese, it just says cup... lol thanks

    Reply

  28. nicole says

    ummm nevermind. i changed the serving size and i'm obviously blind about the parenthases.. my mistake sorry!

    Reply

  29. Pam says

    Well that is just a skillet ful of deliciousness! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    Reply

  30. Katia says

    made these for dinner last night and my difficult kids loved these! and it was so easy to make!

    Reply

  31. Tara says

    Oh how fun! You had me at all in one skillet. Such a wonderful combination of flavors. Love all that cheese too.

    Reply

  32. Aimee Mars says

    Oh, I absolutely love this idea and it's a great way for me to actually hide the peppers in the mix since no one in my family likes peppers except me.

    Reply

  33. Angela says

    Made this for dinner last night and it was so good! The kids gobbled it up. Super easy to make too. Will never stuff peppers again!

    Reply

  34. Autumn Brooke says

    Excellent! Nobody has time to prep and stuff the peppers. I love the simplicity of this recipe.

    Reply

  35. MA says

    If I wanted to add black beans to this, would I add at the same time as the dry rice (especially if I use brown rice and am simmering for ~50 minutes)? Any concern the beans would overcook/break open simmering that long…or they should be fine?

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      Are you using dry beans or canned beans? Dry beans would need more water, depending on the amount, and would need to be cooked probably at least as long as the brown rice. They're usually cooked for an hour or more. The beans would also make that thick black goo (aquafaba) into the skillet. Your best bet would be to use canned beans or pre-cook the beans and then stir them in close to the end, just to heat through.

      Reply

  36. Ronda says

    My family that consists of an older daughter, my husband and myself loved this recipe.

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      So glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  37. Carina says

    I’ve made this many times and we’ve always enjoyed it. It’s far easier to make than stuffed peppers and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

  38. Chris says

    Has anyone ever cooked rice in 25 minutes?!? Make the rice separately and add…

    Reply

    • Michelle says

      White rice cooks in about 20 minutes, per package instructions. So 25 minutes should be plenty. If you are having a hard time getting your rice to cook through, it's possible your rice is too old or your heat is too high causing the liquid to evaporate too quickly before the rice could cook. Your best bet to save rice that's not cooking is to lower your heat and add more water, a little at a time and allowing it to come to a simmer, until the rice is cooked through to desired texture.

      Reply

    • Rebekah says

      Can you use minute rice in this and does it change the amount of liquid?

      Reply

      • Michelle says

        Minute rice would change the cook time and amount of liquid. Since I haven't made it with minute rice, I'm not sure what the adjustments would be precisely.

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Unstuffed Peppers Recipe (2024)

FAQs

How do you're cook stuffed peppers? ›

When it's time to heat them up again, we recommend placing them in an oven-safe container and covering with foil. Bake in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes or until heated through and centers are 165°F.

Should you soften peppers before stuffing them? ›

I definitely suggest par-cooking the bell peppers first, just a little bit before stuffing them. Not only does this help to soften the bell peppers, but it also cuts down on your cook time. As the bell peppers are cooking you can make the filling, shaving off about 20 minutes from your total cook time.

Why are my stuffed peppers soggy? ›

No Moisture In, No Moisture Out

Following the logic of precooking your peppers to safeguard against sogginess, you should also avoid watery ingredients in your stuffing. Let's say your filling calls for tomato sauce. Rather than spooning it directly into your hollowed peppers, reduce it on the stove until it's thick.

Why do my stuffed peppers fall apart? ›

The goal is to tenderize them before they're stuffed and baked, but generally the poor fellas are over-boiled, which results in their tendency to fall apart and, as noted, be flavorless. But peppers can have tons of flavor when given the right treatment. The trick is to roast them at high heat.

What's the ingredients for stuffed peppers? ›

Image of What's the ingredients for stuffed peppers?
The bell pepper is the fruit of plants in the Grossum Group of the species Capsicum annuum. Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow, orange, green, white, chocolate, candy cane striped, and purple.
Wikipedia

Do you have to boil peppers before stuffing them? ›

Many recipes call for boiling the peppers first, but I prefer to roast them – more flavor and less cleanup! The best way is to slice the peppers in half from the stem end down through the base, remove all the seeds and membranes, and then roast the halves until they're tender-crisp.

How long does it take for peppers to get soft on the stove? ›

Remove seeds and ribs from peppers; cut lengthwise into strips and halve crosswise. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bell peppers and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are just tender, about 10 minutes.

How do you know when stuffed peppers are done? ›

Cook them quickly at 400°F for 20 minutes, although you should always test your meat with an instant read thermometer (160ºF for a stuffing containing ground beef and 165ºF for a stuffing containing ground chicken, ground turkey or pieces of chicken). For softer peppers you can bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes.

Why do you boil peppers for stuffed peppers? ›

Pre-cooking is the idea of quick-starting the cooking process of your stuffed pepper. Since stuffed peppers can take as long as 45 minutes to bake, shortening that down with a quick boil really helps me out.

Why do my stuffed peppers taste bland? ›

The thing about most stuffed bell pepper recipes is 3that they call for salt in the filling, not for the peppers themselves. Without salt, the peppers are flabby and bland, merely a filling case. With a sprinkle of salt, they transform into a sweet and powerfully savory part of the dish.

Why are my stuffed peppers tough? ›

If the peppers aren't tender when the cheese is melted, and the filling is hot, simply tent the pan with foil and continue baking until they are. Cut the Pepper in Half from Stem to End. When making stuffed peppers in the oven, I find splitting them from top to bottom best.

What goes good with stuffed peppers? ›

Salads
  • Green Salad. When you're wondering what to have with stuffed peppers, you can never go wrong with a simple green salad! ...
  • Cucumber Yogurt Salad. ...
  • Artichoke. ...
  • Halloumi Quinoa & Pomegranate Salad. ...
  • Rice. ...
  • Garlic Bread. ...
  • Quinoa. ...
  • Sauteed Broccoli.
Nov 16, 2023

How do you fix too much pepper in stuffing? ›

Sour cream, yogurt, ghee, butter and milk can all neutralize the pepper flavor, depending on the dish. Mix in a small amount of a dairy and see if you taste a difference.

How long does it take to reheat a stuffed pepper in the microwave? ›

Microwave for 2 minutes on full power and the highest setting. Check to see if they are fully heated through. If not, you can add 30 second increments of microwave time until the stuffed peppers are steaming hot.

How long do stuffed peppers last in the fridge? ›

Storing in the Fridge

The uncooked stuffed peppers will have a “best-before” date on the label of the package and can be stored in the fridge until that date. If you plan to eat the leftovers within a few days, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

How long to cook store bought stuffed peppers? ›

We found that the perfect temperature for baking these peppers is fast, hot heat. We recommend 450°F for 20 minutes.

Can you microwave peppers to soften them? ›

Remove seeds and membranes; rinse. Place peppers, with tops, upright in ungreased 9x12 inch glass baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap; microwave until hot, 3 to 4 minutes--(note: do NOT cook peppers until done, you are just blanching them, 3 to 4 minutes should be plenty, depending on the size of your peppers).

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