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Skip the tedious prep work and throw all of the raw ingredients into one dish! This Dump-and-Bake Stuffed Bell Peppers Casserole is a deconstructed version of the classic dinnertime favorite — in about 10 minutes!
Whether we’re enjoying our neighbor’s Amish Sausage Stuffed Green Peppers or my lighter Skinny Taco Stuffed Peppers, our family has always enjoyed hearty and satisfying stuffed bell peppers.
As the home cook, however, I don’t love the prep work involved in making these dinners!
That’s why I decided to take matters into my own hands and do what I do best: simplify!
I’ve used the flavors and ingredients from classic stuffed bell peppers and transformed them into a dump-and-bake casserole.
It’s like the best of both worlds: a healthy, delicious meal that comes together in minutes! I don’t have to spend time browning the meat, cooking the rice, or sautéing the vegetables first.
Now, before we get to the specifics, I thought that it would be helpful to answer a few of the questions that you might have. Here we go…
Can Stuffed Peppers be Made Ahead and Frozen?
Yes! Whether you’re preparing a traditional stuffed peppers recipe or this deconstructed stuffed bell peppers casserole, you can assemble the dish in advance and keep it tightly wrapped in the freezer before baking.
How long do you bake stuffed peppers?
When preparing a traditional stuffed peppers recipe, you typically bake the dish at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes (or until the peppers are tender). You do NOT need to bake the peppers before stuffing them.
For this particular casserole, we eliminate the prep work, but you’ll need to add some baking time to the clock! The meat, rice, and vegetables all cook together in one dish at 375-degrees for about 50-55 minutes. By the end of the baking time, the meat will be perfectly done, the vegetables will be soft, and the rice will be tender!
Do stuffed peppers need to be covered?
Yes! I keep my traditional stuffed peppers covered in order to prevent them from drying out in the oven.
For the casserole, you’ll want to make sure that you use a tight foil cover on the dish in order to keep all of the liquid and moisture in the pan. The rice absorbs the liquid as it bakes in the same way that rice absorbs the cooking liquid when you’re preparing it on the stovetop.
Since the rice is baking in the oven along with the rest of the ingredients, it will soak up much of the liquid in the pan. The rice also releases starches as it cooks, which yields a thick, almost creamy texture to the final casserole. It reminds me a lot of risotto for that reason!
Additional Tips for the perfect Stuffed Bell Peppers Casserole:
- You can use extra lean ground beef, ground turkey breast, or ground chicken breast. I used ground turkey breast here, but any of those options will work! The key is to make sure that you’re using extra lean meat (at least 93% lean), because the meat cooks in the dish. That means that you won’t be able to drain the fat off of the pan (like you would with a skillet), so using the extra lean meat prevents a greasy casserole in the end.
- Use any color sweet bell peppers that you have on hand!
- Readers often wonder if they can substitute with other types of rice in these dump-and-bake casseroles. My answer is maybe. I have only tested this particular recipe using the long grain white rice, so if you try something else, do so at your own risk.???? Let me know how it goes, though! For instance, brown rice requires a much longer cooking time than white rice, so you would need to leave the casserole in the oven for much longer. By contrast, “instant rice” or pre-cooked rice would require much less time in the oven — and you would also need to decrease the amount of liquid in the dish because the parboiled or pre-cooked rice will not absorb as much liquid as the uncooked white rice. Again, I’m not saying that these other rices will not work — you just may need to experiment a little bit!
I hope that this easy and healthy twist on the classic stuffed bell peppers makes your time in the kitchen a little bit faster this summer!
Looking for even more dump-and-bake dinners? Here are a few favorites:
- Dump-and-Bake Summer Pasta
- Dump-and-Bake General Tso Chicken
- Dump-and-Bake Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Dump-and-Bake Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Dump-and-Bake Stuffed Bell Peppers Casserole
- ½ lb. extra-lean ground beef, ground turkey breast, or ground chicken breast (at least 93% lean)
- ½ cup uncooked long grain white rice
- ½ cup frozen diced onion (or about ½ of a small onion, diced)
- 1 medium sweet bell pepper (any color), diced
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 cups beef broth
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
- In the bottom of the prepared dish, arrange uncooked beef, uncooked rice, onion, bell pepper, and diced tomatoes. Break up the meat into small pieces with your fingers as you spread it around so that it cooks evenly throughout. Use your hands to gently combine everything.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together beef broth, tomato sauce, garlic, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Pour over the beef mixture.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove foil, stir everything, and cover with foil again. Return dish (covered) to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until meat, rice and vegetables are fully cooked and tender. If using a glass or ceramic baking dish, you may need to increase the baking time.
- Remove foil. Sprinkle top of casserole with shredded cheese. Place in the oven uncovered for about 3-5 more minutes, or just until the cheese melts.
Can you use brown rice for this recipe instead?
Hey, Karli! Here’s what I wrote earlier in the post to answer that question (because readers often ask):
Readers often wonder if they can substitute with other types of rice in these dump-and-bake casseroles. My answer is maybe. I have only tested this particular recipe using the long grain white rice, so if you try something else, do so at your own risk.???? Let me know how it goes, though! For instance, brown rice requires a much longer cooking time than white rice, so you would need to leave the casserole in the oven for much longer. By contrast, “instant rice” or pre-cooked rice would require much less time in the oven — and you would also need to decrease the amount of liquid in the dish because the parboiled or pre-cooked rice will not absorb as much liquid as the uncooked white rice. Again, I’m not saying that these other rices will not work — you just may need to experiment a little bit!
Hope that helps, and let me know if you have any additional questions! 🙂
Hey i was going to make stuffed peppers with sausage until i stumbled across the dump casserole and i was wondering can i add ricotta cheese to my casserole?? What do you think??
Hi, Rebecca! I think the ricotta would taste fine in the dish, and it shouldn’t change much about the texture if you add dollops throughout or on top, rather than just stirring it into the mix. Enjoy!
We tried your recipe using uncooked brown rice. You are correct in that it would take a lot longer time. Our rice was not completely done. We also added more diced green pepper. The seasonings are perfect. I will make this again using cooked brown rice and lower the amount of bouillon to 1 cup. Thank you for a great recipe.
Sounds good! Thanks, Toni! 🙂
She answered that in the blog ,!yes but May take a little longer
This sounds pretty yummy to me, and also pretty easy. I would double the recipe for us, and make this on a busy day when short on time. We love stuffed peppers, so I hope they’ll like this dish, since when I made Stuffed Cabbage Casserole, I received some pretty negative feedback from my crew. They’re used to good food, but they want the ‘real deal’., so wish me luck with this dish.
Okay, good luck, Angelina! 🙂 Just don’t tell them it’s supposed to be “stuffed peppers.” 🙂 Tell them it’s a casserole, and maybe they’ll not try to compare it to the “real deal.” Hah!
Loved this recipe. Made it for two persons and it was amazing. Hubby really liked it. Keep these ‘dump and Bake recipes’ coming ????. Thanks to you, I learned how to bake / cook.
Yay! So glad that it was a hit, Dorianne! The stamp of approval from a husband is always a huge win in my book!
Made a batch and froze one, brown rice works – just needed a little longer in the oven! Devoured by 3 children who demanded to know why I hadn’t made more…
Yay! That’s high praise when the kids love a healthy veggie-packed dinner, Siobhan! Thanks for letting me know about the brown rice, too! 🙂
When you froze one, did you cook it first? Also, do you let the frozen one defrost before you put it in the oven or can you put the whole frozen casserole in the oven?
Did you bake it before freezing it? I want to make it for a friend to take out of the freezer and cook whenever she needs it.
I used venison burger and it turned out great
Was wondering if I could do this on a crockpot
Hi, Sonnie! I’m glad that you enjoyed it! I have never tried it in the slow cooker, but I bet it would work well. You’d just have to play around with the timing, since I haven’t tested it to be able to give you an exact cooking time.
I made this delicious recipe tonight and what a keeper I will
Make it again. My hubby ate not one but three plates
He has never done that before. I wouldn’t change a thing in this recipe.
That’s awesome! Thanks for letting me know, Debbie! I’m so glad that your husband approved! 🙂
Hubs loved this, but it was way too soupy. i actually cooked it with the last 15 minutes uncovered and then an additional 15 minutes uncovered before I put on the cheese. It was still soupy. I rechecked the recipe and I did everything right. I am not a pepper fan, but it was good. As I said, my husband devoured it and had the leftover for lunch today.
Thanks, Mari! That’s strange that it was soupy. Did you use instant rice or parboiled rice instead of the regular long grain white rice? The rice should absorb the liquid as it cooks so that it’s not soupy in the end, but if you’re using a different type of rice they will not soak up liquid in the same way. That’s the only thing that I could think may have changed your result. I’m glad that your husband still enjoyed it, though!
I tried this for dinner tonight. I doubled the recipe and used raw brown rice and leftover cooked chicken. After 45 minutes it looked just the same as it did when I put it in the oven. I set it for another 45 minutes and it was still like soup. I’m letting it go another 45 minutes because it was very close to boiling so maybe after boiling another 45 minutes it will be somewhat set up. Definitely not going to work for tonight’s dinner. Maybe tomorrow night?
I am wondering if it just doesn’t double well (I have a family of 6). Mine has been in the oven over an hour and looks same as when it went in! 4 cups of liquid to 1 cup of rice seemed excessive, Plus liquid cooking out of onions and peppers. I should have trusted my gut. It still smells amazing so tonight we are having plan B (leftovers and whatever we can find in fridge) and hope to enjoy the casserole tomorrow!
Made this tonight ours was very soupy as well I double checked and we used the long grain rice uncooked. Tasted good but had to eat it in a bowl.
Mine actually did get less soupy as it cooled and sat up
This looks great! Can I prepare it tonight and bake tomorrow night?
Yes, I think that would work, Brittany! 🙂
We followed the recipe exactly with the correct kind of rice and it was way too soupy. We had to eat it like soup. We could probably half the liquid; it was that odd. Flavor was good, though.
That’s definitely odd — I’ve never had that happen. Not sure what was different for you since I wasn’t in your kitchen, but I’m glad that the flavor was okay.
So I made the mistake of reading comments. So I decided to add an extra 1/2 cup of rice to it. And I added a can of black beans to it. The flavor and preparation was awesome! I would’ve made it exactly like this recipe. We had no soupy experience. Only a think mixture from adding more rice. Next time we won’t do that! Thanks for the easy recipe!
Can you make this without meat. Just more pepper?
Hi, Marilynn! Yes, you could probably use more pepper, or toss in a can or two of drained, rinsed beans. 🙂
It sounds like it would be soupy since a cup of rice requires 2 cups of liquid. This recipe has only 1/2 cup of rice but still calls for 2 cups broth?
Hey, Kim! No, I haven’t had a problem with it being soupy at all — but there is a thick “sauce” in the dish. It’s not totally dry rice as if you cooked the rice on the stovetop. I add the broth and the tomato sauce so that you have a sauce in the recipe, just like when you prepare stuffed bell peppers with a sauce. The sauce thickens (thanks to the starch that the rice releases), so it’s not thin and soupy. I recommend allowing the dish to rest on the counter after baking for about 10 minutes before serving. This will allow the casserole to thicken and set up even more. Enjoy! 🙂
I am doubling the recipe and using brown rice. How long should I bake in the oven?
Hi, Maciah! The brown rice requires MUCH longer to cook, so I would plan on baking the dish for at least 90 minutes.
Thanks! Also, for meal logging purposes, do you know approximately how much (cups, ounces, etc) a serving is? Thanks for your help! I’m excited to try this!
Hi, Maciah! I’m sorry, I don’t. I usually just divide the casserole into 4 equal pieces, which gives you 4 separate servings. I’m not sure how much each serving weighs, though.
I didn’t love this one. The consistency is weird and it took a loooong time to cook. Even when the rice was cooked the peppers were still raw. There was also too much liquid, though it did thicken up a little after it cooled.
Fast and friendly service! Thank you!
Thanks, Cynthia! Glad that you enjoyed it! 🙂
Very nice recipe. I also had too much liquid after the baking but I added, at the end before adding cheese, 1/4?cup instant rice0, and put it back in the oven for another 05 minutes.. it worked! It was wonderful!
How long should it be cooked if the recipe is doubled? And how about quadrupled?
Hi, Mindy! I haven’t specifically tested the timing when doubling or quadrupling the recipe. That said, I would try adding about 10 minutes — so in step #4, bake for 45 minutes instead of 35 minutes before removing the foil. Hope that helps, and enjoy!
Delicious! After reading some of the comments, I made this with a little more rice and a little less broth. I then cooked it 10 minutes uncovered before I put on the cheese. It wasn’t soupy. We enjoyed it.
Thanks, Julia! ❤️
This is my new quick and easy favorite! I didn’t use lean meat (83% lean ground turkey) but I baked uncover for 25 more minutes. Amazing result!
Wonderful! Thanks so much for your note, Thao!
This is great, I’ve made it a few times. Question, if I double the recipe, how much cook time should I add? Thanks!
Hi, Rhi! You shouldn’t need to add too much more time — maybe 10-15 minutes? Just keep your eye on it when it gets close. 🙂 Enjoy!
Ok I doubled the recipe and used sausage meat and chopped meat but only added 3 cups of broth since reading the reviews I figured I could always add more after if it looked like it needed it. Not sure if it was my oven or the crowded 9 x 12 pan but the first 30 minutes didn’t seem to do much as far as cooking went so I raised the temp to 425 and did another 30 minutes which then got things moving but actually took another 30 minutes at 400 to finish things up! It tastes great rie is a little mushier than I prefer but would do it again but probably not double the recipe because I have way too much,….does anyone know if I can freeze a portion of it after it been cooked ?
Thanks for sharing this quick to prepare & easy recipe
Hi, Nancy! You can freeze it, but the rice might have a bit of a mushier texture when it’s thawed. 🙂
This recipe was delicious! I doubled it and used two 8×9 casserole dishes and baked one and put the other in the freezer.
I was afraid this would be soupy based on comments I read and how SOUPY it looked when i put it together, BUT it isn’t soupy! It is creamy just like its supposed to be. I used a glass dish so I did have to ad about 15 extra minutes of bake time. I also chose to add some extra cheese to individual plates while dishing it up
Thanks! Even the baby ate some ! 🙂
Wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to leave me a note, Bethany. I’m so glad that you enjoyed it!
I have been reading that people’s dishes have come out soupy, and I am worried about the same. Did you wash your rice before using?
Hi, Rita! No, I don’t rinse the rice. As long as you bake it long enough for the rice to be tender, it should absorb the liquid and you shouldn’t have a soupy dish. 🙂
How do I tell if the meat is done?
Hi, Allison! The meat will no longer be pink when it’s done. Enjoy!
How do I tell if everything is red? It is very hard to tell. I would recommend browning the meat beforehand
You can tell, even with the tomatoes and peppers. Browning beforehand and then putting in the oven may overcook the meat if you aren’t careful. You also want the juice for the casserole. If you cook the dish as per the instructions, you should be fine. Good luck!
Made this today, a bit soupy as I used the wrong rice. Added more rice when taking out the first time, increased heat to 425 and cooked 10 minutes. Took out again, added cheese and let sit once it came out of oven to set. Excellent!
anyone made this with slicing the peppers in 1/2 and lining the casserole and spreading the rest of the mixture over the peppers? Want to make this more like a stuffed pepper dish.
Hi, Linda! If you want to try a similar recipe in the more traditional stuffed peppers dish, here’s a recipe that we really like: https://www.theseasonedmom.com/stuffed-green-peppers/
Hope that helps!
So good! It helped me use up some leftovers in the fridge. I only had Italian sausage and chicken broth, and they worked beautifully. I used one red and one yellow pepper since my family loves them.
Yum ! Once again an amazing Dump n Bake recipe !
I cut 2 Lg red peppers into chunks to be a bit more filling .
Used Uncle Bens Original Conv 20 min LGR & 1 1/2c of broth
Cut out the Seasoning & used fresh herbs
After the 35 mins Broke up Beef & Stirred. Rice was almost done at this point! Left uncovered & baked the additional time to boil off the liquid
Ps As a time saver Use the jarred minced garlic It is delish & full of flavour & aroma
Thanks, Catharine! I’m so glad that you’ve found another winner. I agree — the jarred minced garlic is a huge time saver. It’s always in my fridge. 🙂
Has anyone tried this with quinoa instead of rice? And, what was the cooking time?
Hi, Alyce! I haven’t tried it with quinoa, so I don’t know exactly how it would work. The cooking time for quinoa is about the same as long-grain white rice, so I think it would translate well. I’m just not sure if quinoa absorbs as much liquid as the rice does.
Hi! My bell peppers are all the bagged frozen kind – how would you incorporate that?
Hi, Kat! I’ve never tried this with the frozen peppers, but in my recollection those peppers are just really soft. You should still be able to use them, though. I would use about 1 cup of the frozen peppers, and you shouldn’t even need to thaw them first (unless they’re in very large chunks). Hope you enjoy!
I absolutely love this recipe. Have made it several times. I need to make something for a vegetarian. Do you think I could use soy crumbles as substitute for ground meat? Or should I stick to beans?
Hi, Kathi! I’m not familiar with soy crumbles, so I honestly have no idea how those would work. It’s my understanding that they can serve as a good substitute for ground beef, so I would give them a try!
Could this be a crock pot casserole? If so, low for 8 hours??
Yes, I think that would work! With the slow cooker, it’s harder to make sure that your rice is cooked properly, though. I don’t know what the exact timing would be for long grain rice in the Crock Pot. You might want to check other recipes to get a better gauge, because overdone rice will be mushy and gummy…you definitely want to avoid that.
Hi Blair and Kathi – I made this last night with soy crumbles instead of ground beef as that’s what I had on hand. It worked great! I usually add beef bouillon powder to punch up the beef flavour but as the recipe uses beef stock it was fine.
This was awful. Pure liquid and only used 1.5 cups of beef broth was opposed to the full 8. Why did this turn out so watery for some but not others?
Hi, Bella! I’m not sure why it would have been watery. The recipe just calls for 2 cups of broth, not 8. I know that you only used 1.5. Did you use long grain rice, rather than instant rice or Minute Rice or something else? Was the rice tender (so that it had absorbed a lot of liquid) and finished cooking? Maybe it just needed a bit more time in the oven. It should have some extra liquid in the dish to make a “sauce” for the casserole, but it shouldn’t turn out watery and pure liquid. I’m sorry that it didn’t work for you.
How do you bake once the dish is frozen?
Hi, Ashley! If you freeze the dish before baking it, I recommend baking directly from the freezer (just make sure that it’s in a freezer-to-oven-safe dish). In general, casseroles that start frozen will need about twice as long in the oven. You’ll just need to keep an eye on it, though…it might be a little longer, or it might be a little less.
If you freeze the casserole after it’s baked, I would let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then let the dish come to room temperature on the counter for 30-60 minutes before reheating, covered, in a 350 degree oven until warmed through. Hope that helps, and enjoy!
I wanted this to be good but it was so soupy:(
I left it in past the time but didn’t want my beef to be tough so I removed it.
Hi, Lisa! I’m sorry that it didn’t work correctly for you. The dish shouldn’t be too soupy at the end, so it makes me think that the rice either didn’t cook long enough to release its starches and absorb much of the liquid (was it still a bit too firm?), or maybe you used a different type of rice? Something like minute rice or parboiled rice will not absorb liquid in the same way that uncooked long grain white rice does. That would cause a soupy mixture, too.
I wouldn’t worry about the ground beef becoming too tough with some extra cooking time. We often bake cooked ground beef in chilis and other casseroles for much longer without it becoming tough. Maybe a bit more time was all that the dish needed? Again, it’s hard for me to know for sure, so just some thoughts.
This recipe was a life saver in addition to being delicious! I was looking for an deconstructed stuffed pepper recipe, that didn’t involve standing at the stove and sautéing everything in a skillet. I used a small roasting pan, instead of the 9×9 pan. I forgot to drain the tomatoes so I thought it was going to be too soupy but I removed the cover from the roasting pan half way through the cooking time and it turned out perfectly. My only other addition was to add some hot sauce when I served it but I add hot sauce to EVERYTHING.
Thank you, Marg!! So glad that you enjoyed it!
Have had this twice now. The second time I mixed 1/4 lb. sausage with the 1/4 lb. ground beef. My husband I love this recipe..
YUM! Sounds delicious. Thanks, Toni!
i followed the recipe and it came out all watery?
Hi, Denise! It sounds like maybe the rice didn’t cook through enough to absorb the liquid. You want there to be some “sauce” at the end, but it shouldn’t be watery when the rice absorbs a lot of the liquid and releases starches in the pan. Was it tender and done?
This was very good!! Will be adding it to the rotation. Thank you so much for sharing it! I read the reviews and think I adjusted accordingly. Just sharing in case in helps someone. I doubled the recipe and used parboiled brown rice. I did forget to drain the diced tomatoes. Whoops! I used 1 can of Rotel instead of regular for one of the cans of tomatoes. I only used 2 cups beef broth. I used frozen bell peppers. Probably 2.5 cups. Baked covered at 400 for 45 min. Still very soupy so I stirred lightly and then baked for 15 more minutes uncovered. Then stirred very well and baked for another 15 minutes uncovered .It had thickened up nicely at that point. Then I poured the cheese on and broiled for 5 minutes. Let it set for 10 minutes and it was a great consistency! Thanks again!!!
Thank you for your feedback, Madison! We’re so glad you enjoyed it.