Mom’s Famous Stuffed Bell Peppers

Posted on 02 April 2012 by Mădălina

My mom is one of the best cooks I know and she was kind enough to show me how to make her famous stuffed bell peppers.

If you are strapped for time, you can prep 90% of this recipe the night before your dinner party– with that being said, the prep isn’t that bad!

Mom’s Famous Stuffed Bell Peppers


6 large red or green bell peppers
2 ½ cups long-grain white rice
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chicken seasoning
1 egg

2 ½ cups tomato juice
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 bay leaves
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp all-purpose flour


1. Pre-heat oven to 400’F.  Cut the bell peppers in half, top to bottom, or through the transverse of the pepper (up to you). Remove the seeds and the segments.

2. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rise, onion, seasoning, and egg. Mix until it comes together.  Generously fill the peppers with the ground beef filling.

3. Grease your casserole dish or pan with vegetable oil, and snugly place peppers in the dish. Carefully pour tomato juice into the dish to fill ¾ of the way (approx 2 ½ cups). Season to taste, add bay leaves and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes.

4. Remove the foil and using a ladle, carefully drain the tomato juice into a saucepan. Generously top each pepper with cheese and return the pan to the oven, uncovered, and bake for about 7-10 minutes until the cheese melts and starts to bubble.

5. While the peppers are baking make the tomato sauce: heat the tomato juice over medium high heat. Add all-purpose flour and whisk until combined. Once the sauce begins to thicken, remove from heat. Season to taste. I add a few fresh leaves of basil. Spoon sauce over peppers and serve.


30 Comments For This Post

  1. jenna Says:

    omg. you’re mom is my hero. these look delicious

  2. Jessica Says:

    Are they as good as they look?yumm-yumm
    dinner anyone?

  3. Laura Says:

    How much rice? I’m guessing you mean 2 1/2 cups. Cooked or uncooked?

  4. Mădălina Says:

    Hey Laura,

    Thanks for catching that! Yes, 2 1/2 cups. It can be cooked, or uncooked– the baking time is sufficient for uncooked rice, and it will tenderize. If you want to cut your baking time, use cooked rice.

    Hope taht helps.


  5. Julia Says:

    The stuffed peppers looked awesome so I tried to cook them tonight. I used uncooked rice. It didn’t work out very well. The rice was still really crunchy by the time it was done. I would definitely cook the rice before mixing it in with the meat. I’m definitely going to try to cook them again though because they smelled amazing when they were done!

  6. Melanie Says:

    This looks so good!! I am going to attempt this tonight! I did have one question though…

    I noticed the directions say pour the tomato juice in the casserole dish before baking but the picture shows the juice being poured into the peppers.

    Which is correct?

  7. Mădălina Says:

    I sort of pour most of the sauce on top of the peppers, and the rest spills to the bottom of the pan. As Julia noted, you might want to try cooked rice for this recipe. I used raw rice, and it worked out tender– it might have to do with the type used (I used long white grain rice)

  8. Jacquie Says:

    I’ve read several ingred. My husband doesn’t like ground beef and I have found recipes using ham. Also, as a variation, red kidney beans are used. Dwaine doesn’t like these either. In my chili con carne recipes, I use beans in tomato sauce – for stuffed peppers, i can’t feature using beans in tomato sauce. Any ideas as to what I could substitue for the kidney beans? I thought of garbanzo, lima beans are too big, nah…..
    I have to come up with something.

    Enjoy the comments. Thanks.

  9. Lydia Says:

    Hi Jacquie, try using lentils or another sort of bean that is small like blackeyed peas. I put them into my rice when cooking and my boys never complain.

  10. denis Says:

    this is to die for thank you so much for sharing this recipe thank you thank you thank you

  11. Mim Says:

    Hi, I would like to make this tonight and just wanted to clarify the tomato juice part.

    After reading so many recipes I wanted to double check

    Do you mean tomato juice like juice you drink buy of the shelf of a supermarket or tin tomatos or tomato passata which looks like tomato juice.


  12. Mădălina Says:

    Hi Mim– Tomato juice is fine! (think V8, or pure tomato juice)

  13. Teri Says:

    Well mine turned out exactly like the picture but they are way too bland. Very disappointed I spent all that time and expense. They don’t taste bad but they are really lacking in flavour.

  14. Debbie Says:

    Try using black beans. Adds a little something something to it.

  15. Debbie Says:

    Another variation is to cut the bell pepper tops off, scoop out inside, and place ingredients directly inside bell pepper. Lower temperature to 350 – cooking slower seems to help seal in the juices.

    My daughter likes her a little spicy, so I use pepper jack cheese and mozzarella. Gives it a good Italian feel.

  16. Meg Says:

    I would defiantly recommend using cooked rice. I’ve had these baking for 2.5 hours!! Been “basting” every half hour to keep them moist as the rice is really dry.

  17. rocky Says:

    just made these bad boys an used spaghetti sauce with mots clamato turned out amazing

  18. Jenny Sieck Says:

    Hi there-
    So excited to try this…I used mild sausage and Turkish spices…Aleppo Pepper, and threw in some chia seeds and chia seeds to boost the overall nutritional value. Oh, and wild rice and cilantro… will come back to share the results. BTW-Love that you don’t need to parboil the pepper or cook the pre-cook the rice. Just trying to decide between feta and sharp cheddar for the topper! :)

  19. Jenny Sieck Says:

    sorry that was supposed to say spinach and chia seeds… LOL

  20. Dinnie Says:

    Well, wish me luck ! I just made this recipe using ground turkey and different seasonings, Spike, and Lemmon Pepper. It is in the oven now.

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  22. Brian Says:

    Used low fat shredded tex mex cheese instead and added a can of rinsed and drained black beans to meat mixture. I also added a teaspoon of taco seasonings replacing the salt,didn’t have any tomato juice so puréed a can of herbed tomatoes. The results were fantastic and I will be making this recipe at least once a month for the wife and I. Thanks for original recipe idea. Brian

  23. Carolyn Says:

    You didn’t say how much flour for thickening!!

  24. A.Penelope Says:

    I used uncooked rice and followed the recipe exactly . The pepper was delicious, however, the rice was not cooked. So for next time I will definitely cook my rice first.

  25. Margaret Says:

    My Mom always used uncooked Minute Rice in her stuffed peppers and they perfectly cooked each time!

  26. Kathy Says:

    Hi, Just wanted to add something to all the fans. This recipe turned out
    great but I hate rice, and beans, so have never used them in my stuffed vegetable recipes. I sauté onions with fresh minced garlic and tiny slices of celery..sometimes baby bellas too. steam my peppers..mix the meat mixture with the onions, celery and garlic. Then add one large egg and about a third of a cup of Italian bread crumbs..add some of my whole canned tomatoes, { diced up } and press into bells. cover with rest of tomatoes and juice. slice Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheeses and put on top. crown with a light mix of parmesan and bread crumbs…absolutely the best. You don’t have to use rice at all and I think is denser, moister and tastier without..

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  29. Shopping4the best Says:

    These were amazing, recipe is simple . I use the uncooked rice but allowed it to simmering some with the turkey meat and egg before adding to the peppers so rice could be partially cooked. I only partially cooked the ground turkey and turned the temp down to 300 covered with tops of peppers and foil and allowed peppers to cover about one and half.. Perfection! Thanks

  30. Lisa Miller Says:

    Wow — Yea WAAAAY too much rice. I used uncooked, but I’m thinking you mean 2-1/2 cups of cooked rice or change the measurement to the uncooked amount. It is now going to be jambalaya! :)

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