Italian Stuffed Peppers

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posted: 10/25/20

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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.

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
  • Bell Peppers
  • Cooked Rice
  • Seasonings
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Cheese
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.

stuffed pepper recipe in a white casserole dish

Making Ahead of Time

This recipe can be made the night before.

  • Make through Step 6.
  • Cover and put in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Uncover before baking and bake for 30 minutes instead of 25.

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!

stuffed peppers that are topped with melted mozzarella cheese and garnished with parsley on a platter

Recommended Tools

  • Good Knife: Nothing makes cooking dinner easier the way a good knife does.
  • Skillet: I’m obsessed with this skillet because recipes cook so perfectly in it.
close up of a orange Italian stuffed pepper in a casserole dish
3.34 from 3 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.

Ingredients

  • 6 bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey 93% lean (read about substituting pork and beef here)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (see note in the post for tips and tricks)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided

Instructions

  • 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 five 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

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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.

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  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!

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