Discover the best way to make dinner with this Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers recipe! With vibrant bell peppers, savory ground beef, and a cheesy twist, this crock pot dinner is easy to make, packed with flavor, and perfect for a busy weeknight!
Stuffed peppers are a tasty dish made by filling bell peppers with a mixture of ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and cheese. They're a popular dinner choice because they offer a perfect combination of flavor and nutrition in a all-wrapped up in a bell pepper package. And while stuffed peppers are often baked in the oven, using the crock pot is the best way to make this dish.
Making stuffed peppers in the crock pot is the ultimate way to go for a low-effort but satisfying meal. You’ll start by browning ground beef with onions and garlic, then mix in cooked rice, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and a generous sprinkle of Colby Jack cheese. Stuff hollowed-out bell peppers with the mixture, pop 'em in the slow cooker with a bit of water, set it, and forget it! In just under 4 hours, you’ll have a healthy meal ready to enjoy.
Whether it's a weeknight family dinner, an office potluck, or even meal prep for the week ahead, these flavorful peppers fit the bill. Pair them with a side salad, some crusty bread, or just a dollop of sour cream for a satisfying well rounded meal!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This recipe is a breeze to make using easy-to-find ingredients and a cooking method that doesn’t require you to babysit any pots or pans.
- With a savory blend of ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and gooey Colby Jack cheese, each bite is packed with a comforting slow-cooked flavor.
- The garden fresh bell peppers not only add a pop of color to your plate but also bring a refreshing crunch that beautifully complements the hearty filling.
- Stuffed peppers are a convenient meal in one pepper package, making them great the next day for leftovers or meal prep throughout the week.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Large Bell Peppers (any color) - These serve as edible, colorful containers for the hearty filling, adding a fresh and crunchy element to the dish.
- Ground Beef - Provides a savory protein base and rich flavor for the filling, making the stuffed peppers satisfying and delicious.
- Yellow Onion and Garlic - These aromatic ingredients add depth and a pleasant kick of flavor to the filling.
- Cooked White Rice - Acts as a filler and binder, creating a balanced texture in the filling while absorbing the delicious tomato and seasoning flavors.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes - Supply a burst of tangy, juicy tomato goodness that infuses the filling with a zesty, savory kick.
- Tomato Sauce - Adds a smooth, consistency and an extra layer of tomato flavor to the filling that complements the ground beef.
- Seasoning (salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika, mustard powder) - These spices and herbs season the filling, providing a great blend of savory and aromatic flavors that make the dish pop.
- Colby Jack Cheese - Melts beautifully on top of each stuffed pepper, creating a gooey, cheesy crown.
How To Make Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers
Prepare the bell peppers: Wash the outsides of the peppers with cold water. Slice of the tops with the stem. Remove the seeds and membranes on the inside, creating a hollow place for the filling.
Cook the meat mixture: To a large skillet, add the ground beef, diced onion, and minced garlic and turn to medium-high. Brown the meat, breaking it up with a spatula until no pink remains. Drain off excess fat and turn off the heat.
Add remaining ingredients: To the skillet with the beef, add cooked rice, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, black pepper, paprika, mustard powder, salt, and ½ cup of Colby Jack cheese. Mix until well combined.
Fill the stuffed peppers: Spoon the cooked beef and rice filling into the bell peppers. Place them in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add ½ cup of water to the bottom of the crock pot.
Cover and cook: Add the lid to the top and cook on HIGH for 2½-3½ hours or LOW for 5-6 hours.
Melt the cheese: Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top of each stuffed pepper. Cover with the lid and allow it to melt. Serve while hot with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
- Opt for large bell peppers that are firm, with smooth skin and vibrant colors; they'll hold the filling better and are less likely to fall apart.
- When cutting the tops off the peppers, try to make a neat, even cut with a sharp knife to create a stable base for stuffing.
- After browning the ground beef, make sure to drain off any excess fat to prevent the final dish from becoming overly greasy.
- If your cooked rice tends to be sticky, rinsing it under cold water before adding it to the filling can help separate the grains.
- When stuffing the peppers, distribute the filling evenly to ensure consistent cooking without overflowing.
- Adding a bit of water to the slow cooker helps create steam, ensuring the peppers cook evenly and stay moist.
- Make sure your slow cooker is the appropriate size for the number of stuffed peppers to prevent overcrowding.
- For bubbly cheese, briefly place the stuffed peppers under the broiler for a golden finish. Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.
- For a meatless version, substitute the ground beef with cooked lentils or black beans.
- If you like a little heat, add diced jalapeños or crushed red pepper flakes to the filling for a spicy twist.
- Swap out the Colby Jack cheese for shredded cheddar or pepper jack, and add a tablespoon of taco seasoning to the filling mix for a Tex-Mex flavor.
- Substitute white rice with brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice for a lighter twist.
Stuffed Pepper Topping Ideas
- Sour Cream
- Fresh Herbs
- Salsa Fresca
- Avocado Slices
- Hot Sauce
- Crispy Bacon
- Chopped Scallions
- Grated Parmesan
- Pico de Gallo
- Greek Yogurt
- Diced Tomatoes
- Chopped Cilantro
- Shredded Lettuce
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Store any leftover stuffed peppers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Avoid stacking them, and place a piece of parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking.
Freezing: To freeze stuffed peppers, individually wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bags. They can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through.
While Colby Jack cheese adds a great creaminess, you can experiment with other cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella, or pepper jack to change the flavor profile.
To keep the peppers from getting overly soggy, drain the diced tomatoes well and avoid overcooking them in the slow cooker. Placing a small amount of water in the crock pot helps create steam without making the filling too wet.
You can assemble the stuffed peppers in advance and refrigerate them, covered, for up to 24 hours before cooking. When you're ready to cook, place them in the slow cooker and follow the instructions.
Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers
- 5 large bell peppers (any color, or a combination of colors)
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ cup yellow onion (finely diced)
- 4 tsp garlic (minced)
- 1½ cups white rice (cooked)
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (drained)
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1½ tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ cups Colby Jack Cheese
- Cut the tops off the bell peppers. Remove and dispose of the seeds and membranes from the inside of the peppers. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, diced onion, and minced garlic. Brown until no pink remains. Drain off excess fat and turn off the heat.
- Add cooked rice, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, black pepper, paprika, mustard powder, salt, and ½ cup of Colby Jack cheese. Mix until well combined.
- Spoon the filling into the bell peppers and place them in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add ½ cup of water to the bottom of the crock pot.
- Cover and cook on high for 2½-3½ hours or low for 5-6 hours.
- Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top of each stuffed pepper. Cover with the lid and allow it to melt.
- Serve while hot with your favorite toppings.
- You can use different types of meat, such as ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground Italian sausage.
Including a small amount of water in the slow cooker aids in generating steam, which promotes even cooking of the peppers and helps maintain their moisture.
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.