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Beef/ Cheese/ Hearty Dinners

Unstuffed Peppers

April 25, 2022 (Last Updated: October 3, 2023) by Chris Collins

Stuffed peppers are great, but unstuffed peppers are even better!!

As one of my most loved and most popular recipes, I had to include this in my Debut Cookbook ‘Comfy’!

side shot of black serving spoon scooping unstuffed peppers out of cast iron skillet with cheese dripping down

Stuffed Peppers Filling

Don’t get me wrong, I am partial to a stuffed pepper. However, there’s no getting around the fact that they take a rather long time to make and they’re a little awkward to eat. It’s slightly disheartening when you slice into them and the filling just pours out. So today we’re taking all the same awesome flavours of Mexican style stuffed peppers, and turning them into a super easy and delicious stuffed pepper casserole.

The awesome thing about this dish is it’s all made in one pot. Here I use a large cast iron skillet, but any large/heavy bottom oven safe pan will do the trick. If you don’t have an oven safe pan don’t worry, you can just pour the filling into a dish to melt the cheese (more on this in a sec).

The bulk of this recipe consists of beef, rice and diced peppers.

What kind of peppers to use?

Regular peppers (bell peppers) work great. I usually do different colours, but any you’ve got on hand will do the trick. I also dice them into small bite-sized pieces as opposed to finely dicing them; just to make them pop (they are the star of the show after all).

What kind of beef to use?

You’ll want to use ground beef (beef mince) and preferably fairly lean. Because it’s all made in the same pot you don’t want excess fat turning the filling greasy. If you’ve only got fatty beef, just drain off the fat after it’s fried.

Process shots: add peppers to skillet (photo 1), fry over high heat until lightly charred (photo 2), reduce heat and fry onion (photo 3), fry garlic (photo 4), add beef (photo 5), fry until browned (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make unstuffed peppers

Once you’ve fried off the beef, just stir in tomato paste, then add beef stock, chopped tomatoes and spices/seasoning.

Using uncooked rice

The beauty of this dish is you cook the rice in with everything else. Not only does this fit neatly into the ‘one pot’ theme, but it then also allows the rice to soak in all those gorgeous flavours as it cooks.

Once the rice has cooked, you could serve it up from there, but what’s a stuffed pepper (or unstuffed pepper in this case) without copious amounts of cheese? Here I sprinkle over mozzarella and cheddar, then pop the whole thing under the grill until the cheese has melted.

Process shots: add tomato paste (photo 1), stir to combine (photo 2), add stock, tomatoes and seasoning (photo 3), add rice (photo 4), stir until cooked (photo 5), add cheese and grill (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make unstuffed peppers

Unstuffed Peppers FAQ

Can I prep this ahead of time?

Yep! Just allow to completely cool then tightly store in the fridge and reheat when needed.

Can this be frozen?

It can indeed, just allow to completely cool then tightly store in the freezer. Preferably thaw in the fridge before reheating.

Can I use cooked rice?

You could, but it won’t have the opportunity to soak in all the flavours like uncooked rice does. If you do have leftover rice that needs using up, you’ll need around 1.5 cups (as opposed to 1/2 cup uncooked).

close up shot of black serving spoon digging into skillet of stuffed pepper casserole

Serving Unstuffed Peppers

I love sprinkling over fresh coriander/cilantro once the cheese has melted. I also sometimes serve with avocado (or guacamole) and a dollop of sour cream, but these are both optional.

For another delicious stuffed recipe check out my Italian Sausage Stuffed Tomatoes!

For another delicious beef and rice recipe check out my One Pot Meatballs and Rice!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this stuffed peppers casserole shall we?!

overhead shot of unstuffed peppers in white bowl with silver fork

How to make Unstuffed Peppers (Full Recipe & Video)

side shot of black serving spoon scooping unstuffed peppers out of cast iron skillet with cheese dripping down

Unstuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are great, but unstuffed peppers are even better!!
5 from 2 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 4
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: American / Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Calories per serving: 535kcal
Cost per serving: £2.50 / $3


  • Large Cast Iron Skillet or Large Oven Safe Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Cheese Grater
  • Serving Spoon
  • Jug (for stock)

Ingredients (check list):

Unstuffed Peppers

  • 1lb / 500g Ground Beef (low fat, preferably 5%)
  • 1x 14oz/400g can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 - 1 1/3 cups / 375-400ml Beef Stock
  • 1/2 cup / 100g Long Grain Rice (uncooked)
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Puree (tomato paste in US)
  • 3 Peppers, diced into large chunks (bell peppers)
  • 1 medium Onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1.5 tsp EACH: Smoked Paprika, Cumin
  • 1 tsp EACH: Grounder Coriander, Chilli Powder (hot or mild, work to spice preference)
  • 1/2 tsp EACH: Salt, Black Pepper (or to taste, if stock is salty consider reducing salt)
  • 1 cup / 100g EACH: Mozzarella, Cheddar
  • Olive Oil, as needed

To Serve

  • finely diced Fresh Coriander/Cilantro
  • diced Avocado (optional)
  • Sour Cream (optional)


  • In a large cast iron skillet over high heat, add diced peppers to a drizzle of olive oil and fry until lightly charred. Lower heat to medium and fry the onion until soft, then add in garlic and fry for a couple of minutes longer.
  • Add in beef and fry until fully browned, then stir in tomato paste and fry for a couple of minutes. Pour in stock and chopped tomatoes, then add oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder, salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the uncooked rice, then keep on a gentle simmer until the rice is cooked through, gently stirring now and then (approx 20mins). If you need to add more liquid to cook the rice just gradually add more stock or water as needed.
  • Level out the mixture with your wooden spoon, then sprinkle over mozzarella and cheddar. Place the skillet under the grill and cook on high until the cheese melts.
  • Sprinkle over coriander/cilantro, then serve up and enjoy!

Quick 1 min demo!


a) What can I use instead of a cast iron skillet? - If you don't have a cast iron skillet you can just use a large oven-safe pan. Failing that, you can pour it into a baking dish, sprinkle over the cheese then pop it under the grill. For reference, my skillet is 12"/30cm wide, but there's still a little room, so don't worry if your pan is a little smaller.
b) Can I make this ahead of time? - Yep, just allow to completely cool then tightly store in the fridge or freezer. If eating out of the fridge, just reheat in the microwave until piping hot again. If using from the freezer, thaw in the fridge then reheat in the microwave until piping hot again.
c) Ground Beef - I recommend using lean beef, just so it doesn't all turn greasy with the excess fat. If you've only got fatty beef then drain away most of the fat after you've fried it.
d) Calories - Whole recipe divided by 4 with no sides.

Your Private Notes:


Nutrition Facts
Unstuffed Peppers
Amount Per Serving
Calories 535 Calories from Fat 235
% Daily Value*
Fat 26.09g40%
Saturated Fat 12.275g61%
Trans Fat 0.584g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.656g
Monounsaturated Fat 9.258g
Cholesterol 121mg40%
Sodium 869mg36%
Potassium 1005mg29%
Carbohydrates 34.64g12%
Fiber 5.9g24%
Sugar 8.63g10%
Protein 41.73g83%
Vitamin A 4400IU88%
Vitamin C 130.7mg158%
Calcium 425mg43%
Iron 6.26mg35%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
Tried this recipe?Show me how you got on by tagging @dontgobaconmyheart_ on IG and #dontgobaconmyheart
Looking for more?You'll find plenty more delicious comfort food like this in my Debut Cookbook 'Comfy'

If you loved this Unstuffed Peppers Recipe then be sure to Pin it for later! Already made it or got a question? Give me a shout in the comments and pick up your free ecookbook along the way!





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Recipe Rating


  • Reply
    Jan M
    August 8, 2023 at 9:20 pm

    5 stars
    This is so easy to make and it tastes wonderful! I’ve made stuffed bell peppers for years and it’s always bothered me that there is more pepper than stuffing. This ratio works great. I get a bite of pepper with each bite of stuffing. The added beef broth and seasonings really highlight the dish. I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      August 9, 2023 at 11:14 am

      Thanks so much for the review, Jan! 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Definitely going to try this one this week. Do you cover the pan while the rice is simmering?

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 23, 2023 at 9:51 am

      Hi Jeanne! The pan is left uncovered 🙂 C.

      • Reply
        April 23, 2023 at 4:26 pm

        Thank you, I am making it today!

  • Reply
    Miska Knezevic
    April 19, 2023 at 8:01 pm

    5 stars

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 21, 2023 at 5:23 pm

      Cheers Miska! C.

  • Reply
    Jane Brown
    April 27, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Given that I normally prefer to use brown rice, rather than the quicker-cooking white, I’m concerned about over-cooking the other ingredients in order to avoid “crunchy” rice. Any suggestions, please?

    Thanks very much,

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 28, 2022 at 10:12 am

      Hey Jane! I wouldn’t worry too much about overcooking the other ingredients, in fact the longer simmer will help tenderize the beef and marry all the flavours together. If you’re concerned you could slightly undercook the peppers when frying them, but they hold up pretty well with longer cooking, so I wouldn’t worry too much. The recipe as written isn’t specifically suited for brown rice, but you can just adjust the liquid amounts and timings to adapt. Hope you love the recipe! C.