Here’s one of the best ways to make stuffed bell peppers that come out incredibly moist, melt-in-your-mouth tender and finger-licking delicious.
There are many different ways to make stuffed peppers but this one is by far the best that I’ve ever tried. These peppers are so tender that they practically melt in you mouth. They are divine! I’ve received so many compliments for this dish that I won’t be afraid to say that these are probably some of the very best tasting stuffed peppers out there. They take a bit of work to make but trust me on this, they are totally worth it. Once you taste them I am sure you will agree.
What’s the secret to these incredibly good stuffed peppers?
There are several things that make these stuffed peppers so delicious. First, it’s a combination of pork and beef. Pork makes the stuffing taste richer and juicier.
Secondly, it’s the abundance of onions. Onions add sweetness and a lot of flavor. They also make the stuffing incredibly juicy.
Thirdly, the ingredients for the stuffing are pre-cooked in a skillet, which gives them a lot of flavor.
Finally, the stuffed peppers are cooked low and slow for hours. You can’t rush the cooking process. They need time, like good chili. They kind of remind me of chili in pepper bowls.
The ingredients that you will need
This recipe uses very simple ingredients. All that you will need is bell peppers, minced beef and pork, onions, carrots, celery, fresh garlic and white rice. Add some oil for cooking for completeness’s sake.
The seasonings are very basic as well: salt, pepper and sweet paprika.
How to make stuffed peppers?
While these peppers take some time to make, they process is really simple.
To get the best flavor and taste, the meat and the vegetables will be browned on a skillet over a fairly high heat. We will start with the onions as they release a lot of water at first. Once the onions are translucent and start to brown, add the rest of the vegetables and garlic. Cook for another minute or so.
After that, we will add the meat and the seasonings and brown it for 15 minutes, frequently stirring and breaking up clumps. This cooking process will get the most of the flavor from the vegetables and the meat. We will let the meat stuffing cool down and then mix in the cooked rice. The stuffing is done now.
Next, we will stuff bell peppers with the stuffing mixture and cook low and slow in a Crock Pot for several hours, until the peppers and the stuffing simply melt in your mouth.
The longer you cook them the better the peppers will be. Just be careful when cooking them longer – they will be very tender and prone to breaking apart, yet so delicious.
Alternative cooking methods
If you don’t have a slow cooker, you cook the peppers on the stove or in the oven.
To cook on the stove, take a large pot, or a Dutch oven, grease with oil and cover the bottom with a layer of sliced onions or cabbage leaves. Add two cups of water. This will shield the peppers from direct heat. Add the stuffed peppers, cover the pot with a lid and cook on low for 2 – 2 1/2 hours.
To cook in the oven, grease a Dutch oven with some oil. Add the peppers, cover and cook at 350F for 1 hour. Drop the temperature to 325F and cook for another 2 hours.
Recipe substitutions and variations
- You can use beef only in this recipe but the peppers will be less ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ tender.
- Carrots and celery can be skipped or complemented/substituted for other vegetables of your choosing, e.g. leeks, parsnip, etc.
- You can add in chopped cooked smoked bacon, smoked chicken or smoked sausage, Polish kielbasa or andouille, for a smoky flavor.
- White rice can substituted for cooked brown or wild rice, or barley.
How to serve these stuffed peppers?
These pepper are absolutely delicious on their own and don’t need much else added. That said, you can serve them with mashed potatoes and yogurt or sour cream, topped with chopped fresh parsley. This will make a heavenly comfort food feast. If you like sauerkraut, it will be a great addition that brings a nice tang to the peppers.
Be very gentle when moving peppers from a slow cooker or a Dutch oven to serving plates. The longer you cook the peppers the softer they will get. Use a large slotted spoon. Smaller peppers will be much easier to move. I also find that yellow and orange bell peppers get quite soft, as well as the red ones to a slightly lesser degree. Green peppers keep their shape a little better.
Seriously Good Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 4 bell peppers (very large; see notes)
- 1 1/2 lbs ground pork
- 3/4 lb ground beef
- 1 1/4 lbs yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 cups white rice cooked
- 1 carrot medium, diced
- 2 celery ribs diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper plus more to taste
- 4 Tbsp sweet paprika
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onions over medium-high heat, frequently stirring, until they become translucent and begin to brown.
- Add the minced garlic, diced celery and carrot and cook for another minute or so.
- Add the minced meat, salt and pepper and sweet paprika. Stir fry for 15 minutes, breaking up clumps.
- Once the meat stuffing is done cooking, move from the heat and let it cool down. Mix in cooked rice. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust to taste.
- While the stuffing is cooling down, rinse the peppers, cut off the tops with stems, and remove seeds and membranes.
- Fill each pepper generously with the stuffing mixture.
- Transfer peppers to a slow cooker greased with some olive oil. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours, or until the peppers are tender to your liking.
- To serve, very gently remove the peppers with a large slotted spoon and place on serving plates. Serve drizzled with pan juices. You can top the peppers with yogurt or sour cream and chopped parsley. Creamy mashed potatoes will make a great side dish if desired.
I have prepared stuffed pepper but instead of using olive oil, I have used pure cow ghee. Pure ghee is nutritious and pleasantly flavorsome. I love Use grass-fed ghee only. I prefer using Milkio grass-fed ghee for all culinary purposes.
Happy to hear it. Enjoy!
These look delicious! Can they be prepared the day before and then cooked in the crockpot the next day?
Never tried this but it should work. These reheat well and taste as good if not better the next day. Enjoy!
Will adding tomato sauce to the bottom of the crock pot cause the peppers to be to mushy?
Hi Cynthia, it might. I’ve never do this recipe that way so I can’t be sure. Enjoy!
i made these peppers today. A little more time intensive than I realized but well worth the effort! I am wondering what the difference is between sweet paprika and “paprika”. The onions really do add a nice sweetness to the meat and rice. I would probably add a couple extra carrots next time as I had no celery and husband won’t eat celery anyway. Contemplated putting in chopped up fresh green beans for color but had none today.
Thank you for the feedback Kandy. Glad you like the peppers. No difference between paprika or sweet paprika. Both are used interchangeably.
Do I drain the meet?
Depends on how lean the meat is, but whenver there is too much fat, I remove excess.
What is the difference between paprika and sweet paprika? Is there a specific brand to purchase. I have these baking right now and used the paprika I had on hand. I did add a couple of good shakes of chipotle powder.
As I mentioned earlier, no difference between paprika or sweet paprika as both terms refer to the same thing.
Wow, incredibly delicious peppers. So tender that they really melt in your mouth. I made these for dinner yesterday and we had no leftovers whatsoever. My husband now wants me to make them every weekend. I think that’s the highest praise he’d given to any dish. A+++
Good to hear it, Helen. Thank you for your feedback.
Those peppers look so appetizing!
. I’m not rating this particular recipe but having made peppers very similar I’m sure it would rate 5 stars!
I have comment about picture that accompanied recipe. You say, rightly, that green peppers are preferable to other colors, but the picture shows yellow and red peppers. Also, the recipe says to cut off the tops of the peppers, clean them out and stuff. However, the picture shows the peppers cut in half.
When I’m not familiar with a recipe sometimes a picture is helpful. This picture may cause a little confusion, especially on whether to stuff the whole or half pepper.
As you called for large peppers, I think you wanted them halved.
If I’ve misread the recipe I apologize. I’m going to use your recipe the next time I make stuffed peppers. I like the carrot and sweet paprika additions.
Good points but let me clarify. I did not say that green peppers are preferred, just that they hold the shape better. That doesn’t mean I would not use yellow or orange peppers, I love them. Besides, I cook for a family and some members like green peppers more than red or yellow and some don’t like green peppers. It’s good to have a variety.
No, I did not halve the peppers. I cut off about 3/8″ from the tops. Though they may look as if they were cut in half, I used them full. That said, in this recipe it doesn’t matter. You can use small or large, halved or full. Enjoy!
Thanks for the feedback, Carrie. I like your idea of adding leeks to the stuffing, I will try that.