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Stuffed Pepper Casserole

4.54 from 13 votes
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posted: 08/30/22

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

This Stuffed Pepper Casserole is an easy weeknight dinner that will become part of the regular rotation. It is my kids’ newest favorite recipe and I bet it’s going to be a winner for yours too!

overhead of a skillet of stuffed pepper casserole with a spoon digging in

My kids are obsessed with stuffed peppers. It is one of those things in parenting where I try to not make a big thing about it because I don’t want to jinx it. They literally do fist pumps when they see me making them.

So they absolutely love this Stuffed Pepper Casserole. It checks so many boxes for them. And it’s super easy to make, which is basically my only box. It is loosely based on my Italian Stuffed Peppers, but a little easier because it’s a one pot meal.

Reader Review

This was delicious! Why bother stuffing peppers, this was way easier and better! My husband LOVED it, froze a batch for later. THANK YOU!

How to Make Stuffed Pepper Casserole

This whole recipe comes together in a large 12 inch oven proof skillet. As with all my recipes, please see the full recipe and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Brown the meat. We are using ground turkey in this recipe, so use a little olive oil. See the section below on using pork or beef.
  2. Add seasonings.
  3. Sauté the vegetables. We are adding onions and peppers. Cook them until the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft.
  4. Add the rice and the sauce. Then bring it all to a simmer.
  5. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. The key to this recipe is to have the simmer strong enough that it cooks the rice in this time, but not too high that the liquid cooks off before the rice absorbs it. Read more on this below.
  6. Add the cheese. Stir in the cheese, allowing it to melt, and then add some to the top. Put it under a broiler for a minute or two for it to melt.
overhead of a skillet of stuffed pepper casserole recipe on a cutting board

Simmering this One Pot Casserole

As mentioned above, a key to this recipe is simmering at the correct heat level for 20 to 25 minutes. It is important that the heat is high enough that the rice cooks in 25 minutes, but not too high that the liquid cooks off before the rice can absorb it.

You want to look for consistent bubbles that are about pea sized. If you are seeing big roaring bubbles, like a boil, it is too hot. If you are seeing a lot of time between each bubble (more than 3 seconds), then it is not hot enough. This sounds far more complicated than it is, but it is something to watch for.

Using Pork or Ground Beef

If your family doesn’t love ground turkey, you can certainly make this with Italian sausage (pork) or ground beef. Because the fat content in those is higher, you can skip the olive oil if using those. When you are done sautéing the vegetables, drain the pan of any excess grease, and after that add the seasonings.

Seasonings

This recipe gets a lot of it’s flavor from the dry oregano and dry basil we are using. You could make this a little easier and by replacing those with 1 1/2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning. I have a great recipe for it, but you could also use store-bought.

Italian Seasoning

This Italian Seasoning Recipe makes a big batch that allows you to have it on hand anytime you want to make a great recipe. Skip buying the Italian seasoning packet all together and just make a batch of this!

Freshly Grated Cheese

If you’ve been around these parts for a while, you know that one of my biggest tips is to skip the pre-shredded cheese sold in U.S. grocery stores. The reason for this is that cheese that you shred off the block melts infinitely better than shredded cheese you buy in the bag. Pre-shredded cheese is covered in preservatives that keep it from melting well.

While it is tempting to use the pre-shredded stuff to cut time from the recipe, it’s not worth it. Instead, shred the cheese while the recipe is simmering. It is well worth the added effort.

a spoonful of cheesy stuffed pepper casserole lifting out of the skillet

Using Rice in One Pot Casseroles

This stuffed bell pepper casserole uses uncooked long grain white rice. It is important to use the correct type of rice for this recipe, otherwise the recipe won’t turn out correctly. As this recipe hasn’t been tested with minute (instant) rice or brown rice, I would stick with white rice.

If the rice does not cook properly, it is likely an issue of the heat being too high or too low during the simmering time. Please read my detailed instructions on that above.

Storing Leftovers

Left overs of this stuffed pepper casserole can be kept in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. As with any leftovers, use your best discretion. Reheat in a covered dish in the microwave on half power for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once in the middle. Alternatively, reheat in the oven in a covered dish for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

small plate full of stuffed pepper casserole garnished with parsley

Freezing Stuffed Pepper Casserole

If you want to freeze this recipe, you will want to make it through step 5. Then stir in half the cheese as called for in step 6. Transfer the casserole to a disposable casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Wrap the casserole dish several times with plastic wrap. Freeze for up to three months.

When you are ready to cook the frozen casserole, you can cook it right from frozen. Remove the plastic wrap and cover in aluminum foil. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for 15 more minutes.

What to Serve with Stuffed Pepper Casserole

This is a great one pot dish, and for our family a stand alone dinner. But if you are looking to stretch it further and add more to your table, here are a few great side dish ideas.

overhead of a skillet of stuffed pepper casserole garnished with parsley

More Great Stuffed Peppers

If your family loves stuffed peppers as much as mine, here are some other great recipes.

If you make this Stuffed Pepper Casserole recipe or any of my easy dinners, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

overhead of a skillet of stuffed pepper casserole with a spoon digging in
4.54 from 13 votes

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Serves: 5 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
This Stuffed Pepper Casserole is an easy weeknight dinner! It is my kids' newest favorite recipe and I bet it's going to be a winner for yours too!

Ingredients

  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 pound ground turkey (if using ground beef or pork, no need to spray first)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 medium bell peppers diced (I used yellow, orange, and red)
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 22 ounces chicken stock
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes (with liquid)
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Over medium heat, spray a large oven proof skillet with cooking spray so that the bottom is coated. Add ground turkey and break up, cooking until it begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Add in the basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
    2 teaspoons dried basil, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Add in the peppers, onions, and garlic. Sauté, stirring often, until the peppers are tender. About 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Pour in the chicken stock, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and uncooked rice. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium low. The bubbles should be about the size of peas and shouldn't go more than about 3 seconds between them. Read more about this here.
    22 ounces chicken stock, 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes, 8 ounces tomato sauce, 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • Stirring often, let your casserole simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is tender. Simmer uncovered, and make sure to scrape the bottom of the dish as you stir so no rice sticks there.
  • Stir in half the mozzarella cheese. Top with the remaining half and put under the broiler just long enough for the cheese to melt. Serve and enjoy!
Serving: 1.4cups Calories: 403kcal (20%) Carbohydrates: 44g (15%) Protein: 37g (74%) Fat: 10g (15%) Saturated Fat: 2g (13%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 69mg (23%) Sodium: 748mg (33%) Potassium: 595mg (17%) Fiber: 5g (21%) Sugar: 10g (11%) Vitamin A: 76IU (2%) Vitamin C: 171mg (207%) Calcium: 58mg (6%) Iron: 13mg (72%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
overhead of a skillet of stuffed pepper casserole with a spoon digging in

did you make this

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

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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  1. Diane says

    5 stars
    Looking forward to making this.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope your family likes it Diane!

    • Carol Wake says

      Hi, Im looking forward to making this and thanks for all the little tips.

  2. parentingpassage says

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing the recipe, Lisa. I’m going to try it out tonight.

  3. Hope says

    What are your thoughts on using quinoa in place of the rice? Do you think I’d need to make any adjustments to the liquids? Thanks!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Generally speaking, rice is a 2 to 1 liquid to dry rice ratio. When cooking quinoa you use the same ratio. So I think it would work just fine, but I would have to try it to say for sure.

      • Hope says

        4 stars
        Made for dinner tonight and it turned out delish. As directed with rice would’ve been even better, but trying the lower carb thing. Flavor is great. Thank you!

        • Lisa Longley says

          Totally get trying the low carb thing. I’m glad the quinoa worked!

  4. Karen says

    I will definitely be making this. It sounds awesome.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope you love it, Karen!

  5. Kimberley says

    2 stars
    This sounded good, so I made it. It has no flavor, very bland. And honestly plain gross. Even my husband that will eat anything wouldn’t eat it. I followed the recipe exactly as written.

    So disappointed.

    • Lisa Longley says

      To be honest, I’m really surprised to get this comment. There are so many things that bring great flavor to this recipe from the garlic to the seasonings. This is a recipe my family loves and that I stand by. That being said, I know tastes vary, and I’m sorry you didn’t like it.

      • Theresa Starkman says

        5 stars
        I can’t imagine, if they cooker according to the recipe, that it was bland. My husband is a very picky eater. I have made this 3 times. I am actually cooking it tonight.

        • Lisa Longley says

          This makes me so happy, Theresa! So happy you liked it!

  6. Erin says

    I made this last night. I would typically have used white rice but you put so much time into describing the correct rice, I went with the Basmati. The rice was incredibly under-cooked. The recipe only calls for a 25 minute simmer time and that was not enough at all. Even the bag of rice says to cook for 40 minutes and then steam for another 10. The undercooked rice definitely ruined this meal.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Erin. First, I want to say that I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t work for you. There is nothing more frustrating to me than recipe fails. Without me being in the kitchen with you, it’s hard for me to know what went wrong. Did you use brown basmati rice? I will update the recipe to indicate that it should be white basmati rice. It is available as both, but I only ever see it sold as white.

  7. sjd says

    I didn’t grow up with any peppers as my mom didn’t like them. My dad got his stuffed peppers from his mom. We’d visit her and he’d eat one and take the other 3 home for subsequent days. I only discovered peppers about 8 years ago. And just last week, after talking with a colleague, ordered some frozen stuffed peppers to try out. I like the idea of 1 dish. I guess I could buy a small bag of white rice for this recipe. I am looking forward to trying it.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope you enjoy it!

  8. Donna Leonard says

    5 stars
    This was delicious! Why bother stuffing peppers, this was way easier and better! My husband LOVED it, froze a batch for later. THANK YOU!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it, Donna!

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