Stuffed Pepper Casserole

When I was growing up, I loved having stuffed peppers for dinner but now that I’m the cook sometimes I don’t have the time (or energy!) that it takes to make them at the end of a long day. That’s why I came up with this easy stuffed pepper casserole recipe, sometimes called an unstuffed pepper casserole because it basically a deconstructed pepper recipe.

wooden spoon digging into stuffed pepper casserole with text overlay for facebook


 

I’m always looking for ways to quickly get a healthy dinner on the table during the week. This is one of my favorite recipes that achieves just that.

With tomatoes, onions, peppers and plenty of protein, this dish is as healthy as it is delicious. Plus, it’s topped with melted cheese which makes everything better, of course.

This casserole is also a great make ahead meal. If you like to prepare for the week you can make it on Sunday and quickly heat it up on a busy weeknight.

The next time you’re craving traditional stuffed peppers but don’t want to put in the work, try this quick and easy recipe. You can even switch it up and use the flavors from my Mexican stuffed peppers.

angled shot of cheesy casserole

Why You’ll Love Stuffed Pepper Casserole

This recipe is easy to love — it’s a great recipe the whole family can enjoy!

  • Easy – This recipe is quick to make and allows you time to get a side dish together (or pack lunches for tomorrow) while the rice cooks.
  • One pot – This one pot casserole makes for quick and easy cleanup.
  • Customizable – You can easily add flavors that you like to change it up. 
stuffed pepper casserole with wooden spoon in pan

Ingredients

This casserole only requires some simple ingredients to get dinner on the table fast.

  • Lean ground beef – Using lean beef lowers the fat and calories in the casserole.
  • Sweet onion – Dice a medium sized onion into small pieces.
  • Green bell peppers – Make sure to seed the green peppers before you dice them into pieces similar in size to the onion.
  • Italian seasoning – You can mix up your Italian style seasonings or buy the store-bought version.
  • Salt – I like to use Kosher salt but your typical shaker of table salt will work, too.
  • Black Pepper – Grind it so that it’s fresh or just sprinkle in some ground pepper.
  • Garlic – Mince the garlic so that it’s fine.
  • Fire roasted diced tomatoes – The fire roasted variety adds extra flavor but if you don’t have it on hand you can use plain diced tomatoes.
  • Tomato sauce – Plain tomato sauce will work well. Since you’re adding seasoning, you’ll want to avoid a sauce that’s already been seasoned. Diluted tomato paste can also be used, but is very thick and you need some of the moisture to cook the rice.
  • Worcestershire sauce – This adds some depth to the flavor of the casserole.
  • Long grain white rice – Make sure the rice is uncooked — the water and other moisture in the casserole will help it to cook up just right with all of the other ingredients.
  • Water or Low Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Broth– This is a timesaver — it helps the rice to cook properly in the dish so that you don’t have to make it separately. Using a low-sodium broth will give you even more flavor.
  • Cheddar cheese – Either grate a block of cheddar or use the shredded store-bought variety.
  • Parsley – This is optional but it makes a great garnish.
spoon digging into bowl of stuffed pepper casserole

How to Make Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Making this casserole is super easy with only 10 minutes hands-on time. The rest is for you to spend time with your family.

  1. Brown Beef. Add the ground beef and diced onion to a large skillet that has been preheated at medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, move the beef and onion around so that it cooks evenly. We use wooden spoons in cooking dishes like this because they do not get hot- I can sit them in the pot and not burn myself!
  2. Add Seasonings. Stir in the bell peppers, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the pan, allowing the peppers to soften. Pour in the diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, and water or broth.
    onion and ground beef in pan
  3. Increase Heat. Stir occasionally while you bring the entire mixture to a boil.
  4. Add Rice. Once the meat mixture has reached a boil, stir in the uncooked rice and lower the heat so that the mixture can continue to simmer. Cover the skillet. Stir once while cooking.
  5. Add Cheese. When the rice is completely cooked and tender, remove the pan from the heat. Top the dish with the shredded cheese and cover again until the cheese has completely melted, using the steam and residual heat to melt it.
  6. Garnish & Serve. Once the cheese melts, garnish with the fresh parsley if desired.

Variations for This Casserole

This recipe is simple and easy with classic flavors, but you can add or swap ingredients, too. 

  • Meat – Instead of beef, you can use ground turkey, ground chicken, ground pork, or a meatless substitute. You can also try using Italian sausage.
  • Powders – While fresh ingredients are best, you can swap the garlic or onion out for garlic powder or onion powder.
  • Green onions – Instead of parsley try garnishing with sliced green onions (scallions).
  • Rice – Swap out the white rice for brown rice or another variety. You can also use cauliflower rice though you may want to cook it separately and add it at the end. Quinoa and others grain alternatives can also be added or used.
  • Heat – Spice this dish up with diced jalapeno peppers or green chilies. You can also try hot sauce, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or chili powder.
  • Broth – Instead of water try using beef broth or chicken broth. You can use vegetable broth as well. Use something low-sodium so you stay in control of the saltiness.
  • Oil – If you want to add some healthy fat and flavor try drizzling a bit of olive oil or avocado oil into the pan.
  • Soy sauce – Up the umami in this dish by adding a little bit of soy sauce or doubling the Worcestershire.
  • Slow cooking – Instead of cooking this on the stove add the ingredients to your slow cooker in the morning and have a delicious meal ready for dinner.
  • Cheese – Try swapping out some or all of the cheddar for pepper jack cheese or monterey jack.
  • Casserole Dish Instead of Cast Iron Pan– You an easily transfer the ingredients from the pan to a casserole dish or baking dish for storage or to finish the cooking in the oven instead of on the stovetop.
overhead shot of bowl of stuffed pepper soup

Storage, Make Ahead and Freezing

You can store the whole casserole in its pan (covered with aluminum foil) or you can wrap up individual pieces or place it in airtight containers.

Can you Make Stuffed Pepper Casserole Ahead of Time?

Yes! In fact, it is great for meal prep or potlucks. Make the whole casserole and cover tightly with aluminum foil. When ready to eat, place in a 350°F preheated oven for 15 minutes.

How to Store Stuffed Pepper Casserole Leftovers

You can keep stuffed pepper casserole in the fridge in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap for 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave. If it is the whole casserole, see instructions above for reheating.

Can You Freeze Stuffed Pepper Casserole?

Freeze the whole casserole or individual slices! See my instructions for how to freeze a casserole (without the dish!) To reheat, place in the same or similar sized dish while frozen, bake in a 350°F for 30-40 minutes, or until the center comes out to 165°F using a digital thermometer.

Questions You Might Have

What Is A Stuffed Pepper Casserole?

A stuffed pepper casserole takes all of the classic flavors of stuffed peppers, but decontructs them and puts them into a casserole form. No knife needed!

What is the difference between a hot dish and a casserole?

Sometimes this is called a stuffed pepper hot dish. Some parts of the country use the term “hot dish” for any one-dish meal that is served hot, most likely in a casserole dish or cast iron, like this one.

collage of stuffed pepper casserole for pinterest

More Easy Casserole Recipes

Casseroles are fantastic for potlucks, meal trains and make-ahead, freezer friendly meals.

straight on shot of scoop taken out of breakfast casserole

Hashbrown and Sausage Casserole

4.41 from 161 votes
This Sausage Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole is loaded with delicious breakfast sausage, hash browns, and lots of cheese. One of the best breakfast casserole recipes for holiday breakfasts, Sunday brunch, or any other occasion.
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Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole

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This Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole is quick and easy to prepare.  With diced chicken, egg noodles, bacon and a creamy cheese sauce this dish will have you reaching for more!
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king chicken ranch casserole

Easy King Ranch Recipe

4.34 from 42 votes
This King Ranch Chicken Casserole is packed with incredible Tex-Mex flavors and of course loads of cheesy goodness. This simple recipe is perfect for a family dinner and can be made ahead of time.
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spoonful of stuffed pepper casserole with text overlay for pinterest
wooden spoon digging into casserole

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

5 from 7 votes
If you're craving traditional stuffed peppers but don't want to put in the work, try this quick and EASY Stuffed Pepper Casserole recipe!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion , diced
  • 2 green bell peppers , seeded and diced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup long grain white rice , uncooked
  • 2 cups water or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • In a large skillet or dutch oven, over medium heat, cook the ground beef and diced onion until onion starts to soften and the ground beef is almost cooked through.
  • Stir in the bell peppers, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, cooking for an additional 2 minutes until they start to soften.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and water/broth, bringing to a boil.
  • Stir in the rice, cover and reduce to low heat.
  • Cook for 20 minutes, stirring once, or until the rice is tender.
  • Remove from the heat and top with the cheddar cheese. Recover and allow the steam to melt the cheese for 3-5 minutes. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings!

Nutrition

Calories: 401 kcal, Carbohydrates: 33 g, Protein: 28 g, Fat: 17 g, Saturated Fat: 9 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g, Trans Fat: 0.3 g, Cholesterol: 85 mg, Sodium: 908 mg, Potassium: 574 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 4 g, Vitamin A: 704 IU, Vitamin C: 37 mg, Calcium: 315 mg, Iron: 3 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 401
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: stuffed pepper casserole
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    This is the easiest way to make stuffed peppers that I’ve ever seen AND I love that the leftovers fare better, too!

  2. 5 stars
    All the fabulous flavor of stuffed peppers, but I appreciated the ease of not stuffing the peppers. Plus this was a more friendly version for my kids and they actually ate it! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This is such a fantastic and hearty meal for a cold night. It was so delicious even my picky toddlers wanted more. We are definitely saving this one for a repeat recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    Such a fun way to combine all the flavors into a single casserole! It looks so good and I love how easily it all comes together.