BBQ Beef Stuffed peppers with ground beef, homemade bbq sauce, vegetables, topped with cheese makes the perfect healthy yet kid friendly meal.
Classic Stuffed Peppers are one of the most popular recipes on the site, and for good reason! They’re healthy, delicious, and make the perfect re-heatable meal for your work lunch the next day. This recipe combines stuffed peppers with the flavors of my Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches.
Stuffed Peppers is one of my favorite recipes to make for our family (and for clients) because it is a self contained perfect meal. I also made a BBQ Beef Sloppy Joes and a BBQ Sausage Sloppy Joes which you may want to look at as the weather is warming up because those would both be great for easy summer meals.
Stuffed Peppers are a Balanced, Healthy Meal
You are probably looking at this recipe and seeing cheese and bbq sauce and wondering why I am calling it healthy. It is in fact a very healthy recipe to add to your weekly rotation because stuffed peppers are a well balanced meal on their own (much like people like to refer to a vegetable combination pizza as the perfectly balanced meal).
You have starch in the rice and plenty of vegetable in the bell pepper along with the additional vegetables mixed into the filling. The meat that gets added to the filling is a much smaller amount of meat than a normal meal so even though it feels like you’re getting meat in every bite, the ratio of meat is much lower. With just a small amount of cheese added to the top of the peppers you have a mixture of many parts of your food pyramid.
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If you don’t want to use ground beef in this recipe you can absolutely swap out the ground beef for ground turkey or ground chicken. To give the leaner proteins a good sear I’d recommend just a bit of oil in your skillet first to form a good crust on the meat before breaking it apart.
If you’d like to keep the stuffed peppers vegetarian just add more vegetables to the mixture. I love adding zucchini, sweet potato, carrots, cauliflower or any other well roasted or cooked vegetable. Just be sure not to add the vegetables into the mixture raw as they’ll stay crunchy by the time the bell peppers are done cooking.
If you want to swap out the rice you can use quinoa, couscous or any other small shape pasta in it’s place. If you would like to use brown rice or wild rice in place of the white rice be sure to either cook it ahead of time, cook it 90% of the way (if you’re concerned about it overcooking), or use instant brown rice. Do not use uncooked brown or wild rice, it will be raw when the bell peppers are done cooking.
Sometimes I don’t want to use half raw or instant rice in my bell peppers. If you’d like to use cooked rice in your recipes use some of my cooking tricks below.
HOW DO YOU COOK STUFFED PEPPERS?
- In the Microwave: By microwaving your cleaned and halved peppers on a plate covered with a wet paper towel for five minutes you can bake it in the oven for half the time and use pre-cooked rice in this preparation.
- In the Oven: In this classic method create two forms of heat that are cooking your peppers by including broth and sauce with the peppers and wrapping them tightly with foil. This creates steam as they cook which helps to soften the peppers. Do not cook the bell peppers in the oven uncovered.
- Parboiling: Some people like to boil the bell peppers before stuffing and baking them. Be aware this will cause a loss in vitamins, this method is not recommended.
- On the Stovetop: You’ll need a high quality, heavy bottomed skillet and make sure you never let the skillet go dry. The peppers will have to be covered tightly while they cook, but I would suggest using pre-cooked rice in this cooking method (which will take only 20 minutes).
- In the Slow Cooker: Add all the ingredients as you would below, but I suggest cutting the tops off the peppers and stuffing from the top of the pepper. Cook on low for 4 hours.
Looking for more Stuffed Pepper Recipes?
- Stuffed Peppers
- Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers
- Mexican Stuffed Peppers
- Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
- or make it into a soup! Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup
- 1 pound ground beef 85/15
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion , diced
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1 1/2 cups instant white rice or half cooked plain white rice
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 cup brown sugar , packed
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 cups beef broth
- 6 bell peppers
- 3/4 cup cheddar cheese , shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add in the beef and onions breaking it apart as it cooks (about 4-5 minutes) then remove it from the skillet and drain the fat.
- Add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to pan and bring to a boil before removing 1 cup of it.
- Add in the garlic, rice and water along with the ground beef back into the pan and mix it all together.
- Add 2 cups of beef broth along with the bbq sauce you reserved to the bottom of your baking dish.
- Add the bell pepper halves to a baking dish and fill with the mixture, top with cheese and bake for 45 minutes wrapped tightly with foil.