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Classic European Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Firm and savoury seasoned meatballs nestled inside tender and juicy peppers make this classic European stuffed peppers recipe the best you will ever make!

Overhead view of rectangular serving dish filled with European stuffed peppers in red tomato-based sauce. A striped blue tea towel rests underneath the dish.

Best Ever Stuffed Peppers Recipe 

Stuffed peppers was one of those delicious dishes I took for granted growing up. Our mom masterfully prepared it for us throughout the year but especially in the Fall when the bell peppers were harvested from her garden. (See how you can grow your own peppers from seeds).

I always assumed everyone was enjoying stuffed bell peppers as much as we were only realizing later that this was a traditional European speciality few people got to relish.

A close-up view of a stuffed pepper on a large serving spoon.

Now I’m pleased to share the recipe here so others can enjoy it as much as we do. Our preference is to use ground pork but you can also use equal parts ground beef and ground pork, which will give the stuffed pepper filling a harder consistency. Additionally, we mostly use green peppers but but yellow, orange and red bell peppers make a beautiful and delicious alternative.

Ingredients for European Stuffed Bell Peppers

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These portions make enough to serve 8-10 lucky people.

  • 1 cup onions, chopped (see how you can grow your own onions)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • bell peppers – green, yellow, red, orange (4-5 large peppers)
  • 2 lbs ground pork 
  • ½ cup white rice
  • ½ cup bread crumbs (see how easy it is to make your own breadcrumbs)
  • 1 cup onions, chopped (see how you can grow your own onions)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup onions, chopped (see how you can grow your own onions)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Vegeta seasoning (or stuffed pepper seasoning mix)
  • 1 tsp sweetened red paprika (optional for color)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil (or butter)
  • 3 tbsp white flour, unbleached
  • 1 litre strained tomatoes
  • 5 cups warm water

How to Make Stuffed Peppers 

Preparing the Bell Peppers

Cut off the tops of the peppers and discard. If peppers are large in size, cut them in half to use both sides. Cut off the stem and discard.

Woman holding green pepper with top sliced off and seeds removed.

Clean out the inside of each bell pepper and remove seeds, wash the peppers and leave them to dry before adding the meat mixture.

Bowl filled with green, yellow and red peppers with the top sliced off and seeds removed,

Preparing the Meat Mixture

In a small frying pan, saute garlic and onion for a few minutes until they begin to turn color and soft.

In a large mixing bowl, combine meat, salt, pepper, vegeta, uncooked white rice, bread crumbs and parsley.

Add the cooked onions and garlic to the meat mixture and mix all ingredients by hand until well combined.

Mixture with cooked rice and meat in a bowl.

If desired, you can add a tsp of sweetened paprika to give the cooked stuffed peppers some added color.

Preparing the Sauce

Begin by preparing the roux: Set the burner to low-medium heat and in a large non-stick cooking pot, combine flour and oil (or butter). Stir until the mixture turns brown and thickens, about 2-3 minutes (don’t let it burn!). 

Stir in 5 cups of warm water. Add the strained tomatoes and stir again.

Assembling the Stuffed Peppers

Fill each prepared pepper to the top with meat, packing the meat inside. For any remaining meat, form large sized meatballs about the size of your palm and cook these alongside the stuffed bell peppers.

Placing a meatball into the pot.

Place all the stuffed peppers and meatballs inside the cooking pot. Ensure there is enough liquid to cover meat and add more water if needed. 

Overhead view of pot filled with peppers, meatballs and sauce.

How Long to Cook Stuffed Peppers?

Cover and cook the pot on low heat for approximately 1 hour. Occasionally mix so the bottom of the pot doesn’t stick. 

As an alternative cooking method, you can place everything into a large roasting pan and cook the stuffed peppers in the oven at 350F for 2 to 2.5 hours.  When in the oven, you won’t need to stir as often.

What to Serve with Stuffed Peppers?

Make your meals unforgettable by serving stuffed peppers with a side of creamy mashed potatoes, simple fried polenta, roasted vegetables, steamed cauliflower, green salad or grandma’s homemade white bread.

More Classic European Main Dishes

For more homestyle, classic European dishes that are good for the soul, check out this hearty beef goulash recipe and crispy chicken strips recipe.

Classic European Stuffed Peppers

Jane and Sonja
Firm and savoury seasoned meatballs nestled inside tender and juicy peppers make this classic European stuffed peppers recipe the best you will ever make!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 8 people
Calories 449 kcal

Equipment

  • large pot

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4-5 peppers bell peppers – green, yellow, red, orange
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parsley fresh, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp Vegeta seasoning or other seasoning
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 litre strained tomatoes
  • 5 cups warm water

Instructions
 

Preparing the Bell Peppers

  • Cut off the tops of the peppers and discard.
  • Clean out the inside of each bell pepper and remove seeds, wash the peppers and leave them to dry before adding the meat mixture.

Preparing the Meat Mixture

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine meat, salt, pepper, vegeta, parsley, uncooked white rice and bread crumbs.
  • In a small frying pan, saute garlic and onion for a few minutes until they begin to turn color and soft.
  • Add the cooked onions and garlic to the meat mixture and mix all ingredients by hand until well combined.

Preparing the Sauce

  • Set the burner to low-medium heat and in a large non-stick cooking pot, combine flour and oil (or butter). Stir until the mixture turns brown and thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add 5 cups of warm water and stir.
  • Add the strained tomatoes and stir again.

Assembling the Stuffed Peppers

  • Fill each prepared pepper to the top with meat, packing the meat inside.
  • For any remaining meat, form large sized meatballs about the size of your palm and cook these alongside the stuffed bell peppers.
  • Place all the stuffed peppers and meatballs inside the cooking pot. Ensure there is enough liquid to cover meat and add more water if needed.
  • Cover and cook the pot on low heat for approximately 1 hour. Occasionally mix so the bottom of the pot doesn't stick.

Nutrition

Calories: 449kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 22gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 461mgPotassium: 396mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 196IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 2mg
Keyword peppers, pork
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Close up image of stuffed peppers in sauce.

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