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Italian Stuffed Peppers

5 from 4 votes

posted: 01/15/22

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

These Italian Stuffed Peppers are a family favorite and I know they will be for you too! With my tips and tricks, this will be an easy meal you adore.

close up of a orange Italian stuffed pepper in a casserole dish

My kids absolutely love this stuffed pepper recipe. In fact, they know the smell! They have been known to come into the kitchen as I’m cooking them, fists pumping in the air, yelling, “Pizza Stuffed Peppers!!”

They aren’t wrong. This easy stuffed pepper recipe is an amazing dinner.

Reader Review

This is one of the best recipes for stuffed peppers. Our family loves it. Turkey making it pretty healthy too.

Italian Stuffed Pepper Ingredients 

This stuffed pepper recipe comes together with simple ingredients. I have more information about each lower in the post.

  • Ground Turkey: Read below on how to swap this for ground beef.
  • Bell Peppers: While red, yellow, and orange peppers are more expensive than green, I think they are worth the cost. They make this recipe a lot more delicious than green bell peppers.
  • Cooked Rice: Using cooked rice is key in this recipe. There are a number of different ways to do that, and they are laid out below.
  • Seasonings: The seasonings are delicious as listed, but for an added layer of flavor, you could swap out the dried herbs for 2 tablespoons of my Homemade Italian Seasoning.
  • Pasta Sauce: Homemade sauce is great in this recipe, but you should definitely feel free to use a jarred sauce. It’s a great way to cut some time.
  • Cheese: I urge you to grate your own cheese for this recipe. The melted cheese on top is amazing, but if you buy pre-shredded cheese, it won’t melt nearly as well as if you grate your own.
overhead of bell peppers with their tops cut off and hallowed out on a cutting board

Tips and Tricks to Make this Easy

Italian Stuffed Peppers doesn’t have to be a long recipe that you slave over. There are a few things that can speed things along.

  1. Pre Cook the Peppers: Step three of this recipe has you microwaving the peppers. This will soften them and make the time in the oven shorter. They will be done in the microwave by the time you are ready to fill them. If your family doesn’t microwave things, you can pop them in the oven. See how in my Chicken Fajita Stuffed Pepper recipe.
  2. Cut Cooking Rice Out: Cooking rice can add a lot of time to a stuffed pepper recipe. I have a few different options that bring pre cooked rice to the party listed below under What Rice to Use.
overhead of raw hallowed out peppers for stuffed peppers in a mixing bowl

Ground Turkey vs. Sausage or Beef

We make this recipe with ground turkey. Occasionally, I will use Italian seasoned ground turkey which my family loves. Though the seasonings in this recipe make it delicious with just lean ground turkey.

Making these Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers by using Italian pork sausage is a wonderful way to add another layer of flavor. Just make sure that you drain the grease from the pan at the end of step five before adding the pasta sauce.

You could also replace the ground turkey with ground beef. I would use 90% lean, and make sure to drain it of any fat at then end of step five.

stuffed pepper filling in a skillet

Buying Bell Peppers

When you are buying bell peppers for this recipe there are a few things to look for:

  • Buy bell peppers that are all the same size.
  • Make sure they are firm.
  • Look for any soft spots, that is an indication of a pepper that is moldy inside.
  • Pick what your family likes! We love a variety of yellow, red, and orange. But green bell peppers are less expensive and work great!
overhead of stuffed pepper recipe in a white casserole dish and garnished with fresh parsley

What Rice to Use

As mentioned above, we want to start this recipe with rice that is already cooked. There are a couple ways to make this happen:

  • Use Minute Rice: This instant rice comes in a large box at the grocery store. It cooks up in your microwave, and works well here.
  • Use Uncle Ben’s Seasoned Rice: These come in a 8 ounce microwaveable pouch. They are done and 90 seconds and work great!
  • Make Rice the Night Before: This is what I do most often. I pop some rice in the Instant Pot while I’m making dinner the night before and then the left over rice is ready to be tossed in with the sauce at the end. It warms up perfectly.

What Sauce to Use

We use pasta sauce in this recipe, and really just use whatever your family loves most over spaghetti. You could use my spaghetti sauce or my marinara if you want this completely from scratch.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

This Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe from scratch comes together in about 25 minutes!
Jar of Spaghetti Sauce on counter
stuffed pepper recipe in a white casserole dish

Making Ahead of Time

This recipe can be made the night before for a really easy dinner done in 30 minutes when you get home from work.

  1. Make through Step 6.
  2. Cover and put in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Uncover before baking and bake for 30 minutes instead of 25.
stuffed peppers that are topped with melted mozzarella cheese and garnished with parsley on a platter

Other Stuffed Pepper Recipes

Our family loves stuffed peppers so much, that we have a lot of spins on this.

If you make this Italian Stuffed Pepper recipe, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

close up of a orange Italian stuffed pepper in a casserole dish
5 from 4 votes

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Serves: 6 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
These Italian Stuffed Peppers are a family favorite and I know they will be for you too! With my tips and tricks, this will be an easy meal you adore.



  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the tops off of the peppers, remove the ribs and seeds, and then dice the tops of the peppers.
  • Place the hallowed out peppers in a large bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover with a plate and microwave for 7 to 10 minutes. Be very careful when you remove the plate as there will be a lot of steam.
  • While the peppers cook, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Add the chopped bell pepper tops and garlic. Sauté until soft, about five to seven minutes.
  • Add the ground turkey and break up as you cook it. Season with onion powder, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Stir in the cooked rice, pasta sauce, and one cup of the mozzarella cheese. Taste the mixture and add more salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture between the hollowed out bell peppers. Top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Serving: 1pepper Calories: 410kcal (21%) Carbohydrates: 29g (10%) Protein: 29g (58%) Fat: 21g (32%) Saturated Fat: 8g (50%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 21g Cholesterol: 86mg (29%) Sodium: 1140mg (50%) Potassium: 677mg (19%) Fiber: 5g (21%) Sugar: 8g (9%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
close up of a orange Italian stuffed pepper in a casserole dish

did you make this

Italian Stuffed Peppers

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


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    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Michael Lutes says

    Could the Italian stuffed pepper be put into poblano or anaheim peppers. Topped with Italian mixed cheeses? Or likewise the Taco stuffed pepper be placed into poblano or anaheim peppers, topped with Mexican cheese blend? Will using these thinner peppers affect baking time? Sounds awesome! Thanx. Mike

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hey Michael! I would have to test it to try it for sure, but it sounds delicious. I think you could just skip softening them pepper shells in the microwave and then the baking time would likely be the same.

  2. Pat says

    5 stars
    This is one of the best recipes for stuffed peppers. Our family loves it. Turkey making it pretty healthy too.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Glad to hear you like it so much, Pat!

  3. Deb Wilson says

    Hey Lisa this looks like a good recipe but I think I’m gonna change it up a little bit I think I’m gonna use Italian chicken sausage instead of the ground turkey and low-carb orzo instead of the rice and see how it turns out…..

  4. Jason says

    5 stars
    I made these peppers last night and loved them! I made with half green and half red. I used Turkey mince. So yummy! I’m excited to freeze some and have them available when I don’t feel like cooking. I also topped with a little Greek yogurt on the side. Delicious. Thanks so much!

    • Lisa Longley says

      So glad to hear you liked them!

      • Marguerite Paull says

        Can I use ground beef instead of turkey?

        • Lisa Longley says

          Yes! Just make sure to drain the fat.

  5. Karla Sams says

    5 stars
    My first time making stuffed peppers and this recipe is delicious! I really appreciated using the microwave to cook the Bell peppers. And I used the suggestion and used Minute Rice too. My family loved them! And yes, the smell in my kitchen was wonderful!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad, Karla!

  6. Renee Maus says

    Do u microwave the peppers at 100% power?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Yes I do, if you are nervous though, or if your microwave is an over achiever, start at 50% and add more time until they are just tender.

  7. Becky says

    I have made these two times now. I followed the recipe and my hubby and I love it! So easy but so tasty! I’m wondering if I could freeze the meat filling for another time as it’s just the two of us.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Oh shoot! I thought I had freezing instructions in this post. I will have to add that. I would actually make all the peppers, but then before baking flash freeze all the ones you won’t eat. Store them in an airtight container and then when you are ready to eat them they can go from the freezer to the oven and you should only need to add on 15 to 20 minutes of baking time.

  8. Maritza Gamez says

    The Italian Stuffed Peppers were delicious, my family loved them!!!! I haven’t used the spaguetti sauce you recommended, but I’ll try to make it for next time. Instead I used the Basil and Tomato Sauce which was very good. Thank you Lisa!!!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked them!

  9. Mary stratton says

    Can I use rice cauliflower?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I haven’t made this using rice cauliflower. My only concern is that it will add too much moisture to the recipe.

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners