These hot Italian sausage stuffed peppers are as colorful as they are flavorful. Stuffed bell peppers with rice, hot Italian sausage, aromatics, and topped with melty cheese. This easy stuffed bell pepper recipe is a quick and easy dinner and meal prep recipe.
Why this recipe works
Bell peppers are the perfect vegetable to stuff with ingredients. Stuffing bell peppers are great for meal prepping, low carb eating, and an extra layer of flavor to accompany other ingredients.
How-to cut a bell pepper
First you need to cut and clean the peppers. You can either stuff them vertically or horizontally. I’ve done them both ways. With both, you want to remove the seeds, stem, and the white flesh inside (it can make the pepper bitter). I use a pairing knife to shave the white flesh out or you can use your fingers and pull it out.
Bell pepper color
You can use any combo of bell pepper colors. I typically do not use green bell peppers because they are the least ripe of the bunch, but since you’re putting them in the oven to cook you probably won’t notice that much of a flavor difference.
Cooking the stuffing
Hot Italian sausage: Hot Italian sausage typically comes in a link. Remove the skin prior to cooking and as you cook break it into smaller pieces. For smaller pieces, you can chop on a cutting board after cooking. Use a slotted spoon to remove sausage to leave the juices behind, it will help flavor the rest of the ingredients!
Onion: Put the onion into the sausage juices and you’ll see them immediately take on that color and all the flavor. Sauté until they begin to soften, then add in the minced garlic.
Fire roasted tomatoes: I like to use fire roasted instead of plain diced tomatoes, because it gives an extra layer of flavor to the dish. Herbs: I add in some dry herbs: thyme, basil, and oregano. Then a secret ingredient… Worcestershire sauce! (just a touch).
Rice: Next, I add back in the hot Italian sausage and rice I cooked on the side. I add in a little chicken broth because you don’t want the stuffing to dry out when you put them in the oven to bake.
Bell pepper tip: Since bell peppers are rounded, you want to secure them so they don’t roll and the stuffing falls out. Take your pairing knife and carefully shave a flat spot on the bottom so the pepper sits flat in the baking dish.
Spoon the filling into each pepper and top with some cheese. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until the peppers are easily pierced and tender. Remove the foil at the end to brown the cheese under the low broiler.
Carefully remove the Italian sausage stuffed peppers from the oven and top with fresh parsley.
Storing the bell peppers
You can store the bell peppers in the refrigerator for 3 days to enjoy throughout the week. You can also freeze them individually for meal prepping purposes.
Looking for more recipes with Italian sausage?
- Meatball Pasta Bake
- Stuffed Zucchini Rolls
- Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Hot Italian Sausage White Bean Soup
- Meatballs and Homemade Sauce
- Cornbread Sausage Stuffing
Made this recipe and loved it? Leave a star rating below!
Hot Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage casings removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup white rice cooked to package instruction (do not overcook)
- 14 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ yellow onion chopped (⅓ cup)
- 4 bell peppers cleaned stems and seeds removed
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon reduced sodium Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ cup Italian blend shredded cheese
- Garnish: fresh italian flat leaf parsley roughy chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cook rice according to package instructions, do not overcook, better to be a tad al dente because you’ll be putting into the oven.
- In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil and the hot Italian sausage. Cook the sausage, breaking it up into smaller pieces as you go, until fully cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage, place in a bowl, and set aside. Leave juices in the pan.
- Lower the heat to medium and add in the onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the minced garlic and cook an additional minute. Add in the fire roasted tomatoes, the Worcestershire sauce, and the herbs/spices: basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Add the sausage back in, the cooked rice, and the chicken broth. Stir to combine and allow the flavors to meld for 5 minutes while you prepare the peppers.
- You can cut the peppers either horizontally or just cut a whole in the top and stuff them vertically. Either way you want to remove the stem, the seeds, and the white flesh from the inside using a pairing knife. Place the peppers in a baking dish, if they are having trouble standing shave a flat spot on the back of them with a pairing knife.
- Using a spoon, stuff the peppers with the sausage mixture, top with cheese, and cover with foil. Place in the oven for 30 minutes (peppers should be fork tender). Remove the foil and low broil the cheese for 5 minutes or until lightly browned/melted. Remove from the oven and serve with fresh parsley on top.
- You can use any combo of bell pepper colors. I typically do not use green bell peppers because they are the least ripe of the bunch, but since you’re putting them in the oven to cook you probably won’t notice that much of a flavor difference.
Absolutely love this recipe! The only thing I would change is instead of adding the chicken broth which makes it a little runny, add a bit of marinara instead. Still amazing!
This recipe is terrific! Made for my husband tonight. Did half the hot sausage and used chopped mushrooms to decrease calorie count but still very flavorful. Did not use chicken broth. Used juice from fire roasted tomatoes and still moist and not mushy. Precooked peppers in microwave cut side down in a little water covered for 3-5 min on high. Peppers came out perfect when stuffed.
Delicious! Will make again
I’m so glad you enjoyed it Angela!
This is one of my favorite recipes and it gets better every time I make it. This last time though, I got extra lazy and decided to just skip the stuffing part and chop up the 4 bell peppers into squares and just added them to the complete mix in the skillet. They steamed a bit to get soft and then I added cheese to serve. It was just as delicious and much faster to cook and even easier to eat! Thanks again!
Such a great idea Laura! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe and found a way to make it your own! Cheers
It has been ages since I had stuffed peppers since I never liked them before. I made this recipe with the only changes being that I used brown basmati rice and garlic fire roasted tomatoes. I also only used red peppers because of personal preference. I am sold. Easy peasy and full of flavor!
Our family so enjoyed this meal. All four kids (ages 6-11) were particularly excited to see I had made this meal. I personally appreciated how easy it was to make and that it can be made dairy without changing the recipe a great deal.
We love, love, love this recipe! I use mild Italian sausage and skip the pepper flakes, so that my toddler will eat it. I also add chopped spinach for some greens. Kale or broccoli would work too. You can’t go wrong with this dish!
Could I use sweet Italian sausage or do you think it would not be as good with sweet sausage/
Hi Beth, you can totally use sweet Italian sausage!
Really great! I used canned tomato sauce because I hate the texture of diced tomatoes and about half the rice. I also added bread crumbs to hold the mixture together. Instead of chicken broth I mixed hot water with a Knorr cube. Also added some greens I had to use up ( spinach/chard). Overall, delicious!
Just made these tonight with a few substitutions and they were great. I used a can of tomato soup as I was only making a half recipe and only had a 28 oz. can of tomatoes. I cooked the rice first as I use long grain and I was afraid it wouldn’t be enough time to cook the rice. I will definitely make these again. Thank you.
Gertrude, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Hi! So is the recipe three cups of cooked rice?
Hi Christie, it’s 1 cup rice which will result in 3 cups once cooked
Just made this but subbed quinoa for the rice because I already had it made. It was delicious! Thank you 😊
Such a great idea to use quinoa! Glad you enjoyed it Linda!
This is great! Tons of flavor…so good and easy! Do you think the staffing mixture can be frozen for future stuffing?
Hi Christina, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Yes you can freeze the stuffing, but recommend using fresh bell peppers.
This recipe was easy and tasty. I made it with tri-color quinoa Instead of rice, and put 2% Italian cheese in mix and topped with Parmesan.
These are the best stuffed peppers I have ever eaten! Do you happen to have nutritional info?
I’m so glad you love these stuffed peppers Stephanie! Sorry the nutrition info wasn’t showing, I just fixed it. Each pepper is about 200 calories, keep in mind this is just an estimate and it varies based on different brands and ingredients.
Can you substitute rice for quinoa? If so how much would you need?
Hi Erin, yes you can use quinoa. I would prepare 1 1/2 cups quinoa, according to package instructions.
I made these for the second time tonight. By far the best stuffed peppers I’ve ever made. The only alteration I made the second time was I added a little less rice and added some Italian bread crumbs to hold the stuffing together. Much easier to work with and oh boy! So tasty! This will be my go to stuffed pepper recipe from now on.
I’m so glad you loved them sherrie!
I have a quick question. When you say one cup of rice, do you mean one cup cooked or one cup uncooked (which yields about 3 cups cooked, right?)?
Hi Jennifer! Sorry I wasn’t more specific, 1 cup uncooked