How to Bake Stuffed Peppers Like a Pro
So you’re a rocket scientist? That doesn’t impress me as much as some stuffed pepper cooking skills. If you’re looking for those mad skills, come get ’em.
While you can slow cook or even grill stuffed peppers, we’ve found that baking them the old-fashioned way is the way to go.
There are two types of fillings (cooked and uncooked) and two ways to cut your peppers (whole and halved, which we show you how to do in Basics of Cutting Peppers). This equals four different filling-to-pepper combinations. Yay math!
All four combinations require different oven temperatures and times. So pick out a recipe and scroll down to find how to cook your perfect stuffed pepper.
For Fully Cooked Fillings in Whole Peppers:
450°F for 20-25 minutes or 350°F for 45 minutes
This is the most traditional style of stuffed pepper. You remove the top of the pepper and then fill it with a fully cooked filling. Stuffed whole bell peppers are a two-step process; cooking the filling then cooking the peppers stuffed with the filling. Once the filling is cooked and stuffed, the only step left is to slide them into the oven. You can bake them at 450°F for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of your pepper, or if you prefer your pepper on the softer side, try dropping your oven temperature down to 350°F and bake for 45 minutes. Alternatively, you can pre-cook the peppers for a few minutes in boiling water to speed things up.
For Fully Cooked Fillings in Halved Peppers:
450°F for 20 minutes or 350°F for 35-40 minutes
A quicker-cooking alternative is to cut the peppers in half to stuff them. These have less filling and therefore take less time to heat through. We found that the perfect temperature for baking these peppers is fast, hot heat. We recommend 450°F for 20 minutes. It cooks the pepper while leaving an al dente feel. If you added oiled bread crumbs on top of your pepper, they will benefit from this high heat, adding a nice brownness to the tops. The stuffing will be fully heated as well with this method. However if you prefer your peppers softer, try baking them at 350°F for 35-40 minutes.
For Uncooked Fillings in Whole Peppers:
350°F for 1 hour
It’s possible to stuff peppers with a raw filling. If you’re stuffing a whole pepper, it takes awhile to cook because the filling needs to reach a safe temperature. Out of all the stuffed peppers, this one takes the longest to cook because of its size. To avoid drying out the stuffing, we suggest skipping the high heat and bringing your temperature down to 350°F for upwards of an hour. As always, use an instant read thermometer for all meat products (160ºF for a stuffing containing ground beef and 165ºF for a stuffing containing ground chicken, ground turkey or pieces of chicken).
This is our least favorite way to do stuffed peppers though. The filling isn’t usually at its best and neither is the pepper. Note, do not put uncooked carbs (pasta or rice) in this pepper. It will not cook because it would require more water than the pepper could possibly contain. You’ve gotta stick with meats and vegetables here.
For Uncooked Fillings in Halved Peppers:
400°F for 20 minutes or 350°F for 35-40 minutes
If you want to go with an uncooked filling (so easy! Just mix and stuff) your best bet is the halved pepper. Make sure that any meat stuffing is either ground or cut up small to ensure even cooking. Also, don’t pack the filling in there. You want a nice loose amount of stuffing that just comes to the top of the pepper, not overflowing.
Cook them quickly at 400°F for 20 minutes, although you should always test your meat with an instant read thermometer (160ºF for a stuffing containing ground beef and 165ºF for a stuffing containing ground chicken, ground turkey or pieces of chicken). For softer peppers you can bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes.
There you have it. Four ways to bake stuffed peppers depending on how you want to cut them and on the rawness of your filling.
This post originally appeared in October, 2015 and was revised and republished in August, 2018.