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Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

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The Stuffed Bell Pepper; a classic Russian family dish. The peppers have the same basic stuffing/meat mixture as Golubtsi, except these are easier and quicker to make. One stuffed bell pepper is a meal in itself.

Use both yellow and red bell peppers and arrange them on a platter when finished for are lovely and impressive presentation. As with golubtsi, serve these up with a dollop of sour cream.
Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

Ingredients for Stuffed Bell Peppers:

2 1/2 cups cooked white rice
8 to 10 medium bell peppers (red or yellow)
1 to 1.3 lbs ground pork
1 lb ground turkey
2 eggs
4 medium carrots, grated
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup mushroom marinara
1 Tbsp salt for meat mixture
1 tsp salt for boiling water
2 Tbsp Vinegar

Podliva (Sauce) Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Oil
2 Carrots, grated
1 tsp Vegeta (or Mrs Dash, or similar seasoning)
1 Tbsp sour cream
3/4 cup mushroom marinara
3 cups reserved water from boiling the peppers

How to Make the Best Stuffed Bell Peppers:

Prepping the Peppers (that has a nice ring to it!):
1. Cut off the top of each pepper and clean out the junk  inside.

Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

2. Bring a large soup pot of water to a boil (at least 2/3 full). Add 2 Tbsp vinegar and 1 tsp salt.

3. Place all of the peppers in the pot. They should be mostly covered with water. Add more water if needed.

Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

4. Cover peppers and bring to a boil. After 3 minutes, leave the lid on, turn off the heat and let peppers sit in the hot water while you prepare the rest of the recipe (they should be in there around 45 minutes). They need to sit in order to soften.

5. Be sure to Reserve 3 cups of water from the peppers.

Meat Mixture:

1. In a large skillet, heat 3 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter over medium/high heat.
2. Add 4 grated carrots and saute until soft.
3. Once they soften, add 3/4 cup mushroom marinara and saute 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
4. In a large bowl (I use my kitchenAid with paddle attachment for this) mix: pork, turkey and cooked rice.
5. Stir in 2 eggs, sautéed carrots and 1 tbsp Salt.  Mix well.

Stuffing the Peppers:

1. By now, your peppers should have softened, reserve 3 cups water.
2. Drain the peppers  and move them to a dry surface.
3. Fill each pepper full of meat mixture, don’t press it down, just fill it all the way
4. As you stuff your peppers, arrange them snuggly either in the same pot you used to cook the peppers or in a cast iron dutch oven.

Podliva (Sauce):

1. Heat 2 Tbsp canola oil. Saute 2 grated carrots with 1 tsp vegeta. Stir occassionally until carrots are soft.

2. Add 1 tbsp sour cream and 3/4 cup mushroom marinara. Saute another minute and remove from heat.

3. Pour Podliva over the top of each pepper and add 3 cups of reserved water from peppers.

Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

Two Ways to Cook these:

1. If using the pot, bring to a light boil, then cover and simmer 40 minutes over medium heat.

2. If using a dutch oven (recommended method), cover and bake at 450˚ F for 20-25 minutes. When it bubbles, reduce heat to 350˚ F and bake 1 hour.

Serve with sour cream.

Notes:

These make excellent left-overs. Before re-heating, cut the pepper in half and spoon the podliva (juice) over each half.
You may have some leftover meat depending on the size of your peppers. Use any left-over meat for Katleti.
Also, you will have leftover marinara sauce.

Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe - Фаршированный Перец

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $10
Servings: 8 -10

Ingredients

Ingredients for Stuffed Bell Peppers:

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked white rice
  • 8 to 10 medium bell peppers
  • 1 to 1.3 lbs ground pork
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 medium carrots grated
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup mushroom marinara
  • 1 tbsp salt for meat mixture
  • 1 tsp salt for boiling water
  • 2 tbsp Vinegar

Podliva Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 2 Carrots grated
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mushroom marinara
  • 3 cups reserved water from boiling the peppers

Instructions

  1. Cut off the top of each pepper and clean out the junk inside.
  2. Bring a large soup pot of water to a boil (at least 2/3 full). Add 2 tbsp vinegar and 1 tsp salt.
  3. Place all of the peppers in the pot. They should be mostly covered with water. Add more water if needed.
  4. Cover peppers and bring to a boil. After 3 minutes, leave the lid on, turn off the heat and let peppers sit in the hot water while you prepare the rest of the recipe (they should be in there around 45 minutes). They need to sit in order to soften.
  5. Be sure to Reserve 3 cups of water from the peppers.

Meat Mixture:

  1. In a large skillet, heat 3 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium/high heat.
  2. Add 4 grated carrots and saute until soft. Once they soften, 3/4 cup mushroom marinara and saute 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl (I use my kitchen Aid with paddle attachment for this) mix: pork, turkey and cooked rice.
  4. Stir in 2 eggs, sautéed carrots and 1 tbsp Salt. Mix well.

Stuffing the Peppers:

  1. By now, your peppers should have softened, reserve 3 cups water.
  2. Drain the peppers and move them to a dry surface.
  3. Fill each pepper full of meat mixture, don't press it down, just fill it all the way
  4. As you stuff your peppers, arrange them snuggly either in the same pot you used to cook the peppers or in a cast iron dutch oven.

Podliva (Sauce):

  1. Heat 2 tbsp canola oil. Saute 2 grated carrots with 1 tsp Mrs. Dash. Stir occasionally until carrots are soft.
  2. Add 1 tbsp sour cream and 3/4 cup mushroom marinara. Saute another minute and remove from heat.
  3. Pour Podliva over the top of each pepper and add 3 cups of reserved water from peppers.

Two Ways to Cook these:

  1. If using the pot, bring to a light boil, then cover and simmer 40 minutes over medium heat.
  2. If using a dutch oven (recommended method), cover and bake at 450°F for 20-25 minutes. When it bubbles, reduce heat to 350°F and bake 1 hour.

Serve with sour cream.

Recipe Notes

These make excellent left-overs. Before re-heating, cut the pepper in half and spoon the podliva (juice) over each half. You may have some leftover meat depending on the size of your peppers. Use any left-over meat for Katleti.

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natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Rachel
    March 11, 2019

    I am stuck on the reserved water part. Does the reserved water just go in the bottom of the pot? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 11, 2019

      Hi, Rachel, the reserved water is added in step 3 of the Podliva (Sauce). “3. Pour Podliva over the top of each pepper and add 3 cups of reserved water from peppers.” I hope that helps! Reply

  • Janette
    October 20, 2018

    I have made this receipe a couple of times and everyone loves it. Actually, I substituted the ground beef for Quorn Grounds to make it vegetarian. I served this dish to my father in law, who grew up in Russia. He loved it and said that it tasted just like his mom’s, whom from what I have always heard was a magnificent cook. Thank you for keeping the flavors authentic. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 20, 2018

      I’m so inspired reading your review. Thank you, Janette! Reply

  • Inna
    September 22, 2018

    Hi Natasha 😊
    If I were to use mini bell peppers would bake time be any different?
    Thanks! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 22, 2018

      Hi Inna. Bake time may be slightly less but should take a good amount of it! Reply

  • Elaina Vayntrub
    September 7, 2018

    Hi Natasha!
    You’re recipes are wonderful. I’ve been learning how to be a good Russian mom (like my mom) from your recipes.
    I only have ground veal in the freezer. You think that would work for this recipe? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 7, 2018

      Hi Elaina! Although I have tried this with veal myself, I think it could work! Please let me know how you like it if you experiment! Reply

  • Alena
    June 6, 2018

    Hi. How can I freeze these? Also can I cook them in a slow cooker? (If I cook them in a slow cooker, should I freeze them raw?) Thank you in advance! Reply

    • Natasha
      June 6, 2018

      Hi Alena, these do freeze well after they are cooked. One of my readers reported using a slow cooker, setting it on low and after a days work, it was done. I don’t have any more specific info on that though. If you test it out, let me know how it goes 🙂 Reply

      • Sveta
        February 19, 2019

        Natasha, I made stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours and they were just delicious. Thank you for the recipe and marinara was a good choice instead of tomato sauce. Just fyi.. Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          February 19, 2019

          Thank you for sharing that with us! Reply

  • M
    February 9, 2018

    Can I do a mix of beef and turkey instead of pork? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 9, 2018

      Hi M, that should still work. Beef and turkey are both leaner meats than ground pork, but it should still work well. Reply

  • Olga
    December 16, 2017

    Quick question, I’ve prepped these before ahead of time to bake a few hours later… but I’m wondering do you know if it would make much of a difference to prep them 2-3 days in advance and then just pour over the sauce and bake when ready to serve? Keeping them refrigerated of course. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 17, 2017

      HI Olga, That would work if you wanted to make them ahead. They also keep well after they are baked and reheat well if you wanted to bake them earlier and then reheat before serving. Reply

  • Rebecca
    September 15, 2017

    Hey natasha! I’m trying to figure out if the rice here is already cooked 2 1/2 cups or have uncooked 2 1/2 cups and cook them Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 15, 2017

      Hi Rebecca, the recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of COOKED rice so after it is cooked, it should measure 2 1/2 cups. 🙂 I hope you love the recipe! Reply

  • Mila
    January 18, 2017

    Natasha, I bumped into you recipe and thought I should try it. I have made it before without mashroom marinara and want to try your recipe as it sounds tasty. But I have a question. The last two steps:
    4. In a large bowl mix: pork, turkey and rice.
    5. Stir in 2 eggs, cooked rice, sautéed carrots and 1 tbsp Salt.

    In the 4th step do you mean raw pork and turkey? Rice also uncooked?

    In the 5th step, when you state to add cooked rice, do you mean another cup of rice or do you mean the rice with the meat mixture from step 4?

    I got confused since we add rice in step 4 and 5 too. Pleas clarify?

    Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 18, 2017

      Thank you for asking – that was my mistake! You only add cooked white rice once and yes the meat is raw, but the rice is cooked. I updated the recipe to clarify. Thanks again! Reply

  • Natalya
    November 9, 2016

    I have a question, do you bake them with the lid on?? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 9, 2016

      Yes, sorry that wasn’t clear. Cover whether it is on the stovetop or in the oven. I added a note to clarify. Reply

      • Natalya
        November 9, 2016

        Thank you Reply

  • Alena
    February 25, 2016

    I’ve checked the recipe over and over and the ingredient lists spaghetti sauce, which never gets used in the directions. Spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce are different and the only thing that’s mentioned is the tomato sauce in the directions, am I missing something? Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 25, 2016

      I apologize. This was one of the first recipes I ever posted and it definitely needed a little clarification. Any reference to tomato sauce is referring to marinara sauce. I have fixed that to clarify. Reply

      • Alena
        February 25, 2016

        Thank you for such a prompt answer! I’ll be making this tonight 🙂 Reply

  • Anna
    November 20, 2014

    Just a suggestion for the Podliva; My moms stuffed peppers are the best. She sautes onion & carrots, then adds heavy whipping cream, a little sweet and sour sauce and spices of course. They turn out very juicy and delicious. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 20, 2014

      That DOES sound really good and creamy! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 Reply

  • Victoria
    September 22, 2014

    Thank you for the recipe, I’ll be making it tonight! What kind of vinegar do you use? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 22, 2014

      Just regular white vinegar with 5% acidity. Reply

  • Katie
    January 29, 2013

    These are cooking right now. I’ve made them so many times, I’ve lost count. They are so good and my husband loves them, which is a huge plus. He’s my food critic. 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 29, 2013

      That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Reply

  • Lils
    January 12, 2013

    Any idea why my bell peppers turned out very very soft/mushy after letting them sit in the water for 40 mins? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 13, 2013

      Did you add vinegar to the water in step 2? Reply

  • Vikulya
    January 22, 2012

    What would you advise to substitute the mushroom sause with?
    I am missing this single ingridient( Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 22, 2012

      Any other spaghetti sauce should work. Reply

  • Ana
    January 20, 2012

    I never precook them and they always come out delicious Also for veggie version Trader Joe’s soy chorizzo with white rice is perfect Even better than with meat Reply

  • Sandra
    December 18, 2011

    This is one of our family favorite recipies. I am making them in a crockpot/slowcooker. First I make the stuffing – almost cooked rice and similar to your onion/carrot/meat saute. Then I fill raw peppers. Splace them all in a slow cooker. I prepare everything the night before and stick the slowcooker with peppers in refrigerator. Start slowcooker on “low” in the morning and the whole house smells wonderful when we all come home after work – dinner is served… Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 18, 2011

      That’s brilliant! I love that idea! Reply

  • Tanya
    May 7, 2011

    Is a dutch oven kinda like a kozanok? Reply

    • Natasha
      May 7, 2011

      Hi Tanya – yes, a dutch oven is like a kozanok. It’s a cast iron (very heavy metal) pot Reply

  • ilona
    November 19, 2010

    Natasha,
    the ingridients call for a can of mushroom spaghetti sauce, but do you mix it with the meat? or do you put it in podliva? i am thinking you forgot to mention it in the prep. recipe.. Reply

    • Natasha
      November 19, 2010

      You mix 1/4 of the can into the meat and 3/4 cup into the podliva. It’s in the meat mixture and podliva sections. I am making 1 change, where it says to pack the meat in, it will now say: 3. Fill each pepper full of meat mixture, don’t press it down, just fill it all the way. Reply

    • Natasha
      November 19, 2010

      There is also a new link at the bottom for a printer friendly version. Reply

  • October 28, 2010

    We are seeing these all over Greece (where we’re at now)! Stuffed peppers and stuffed tomatoes. Yum. Reply

    • Natasha
      October 28, 2010

      Stuffed tomatoes? That sounds pretty good. Too bad tomato season is kind of over 🙁 I’ll have to remember that for next year. Reply

  • Irina
    October 22, 2010

    Hi Natasha,

    I really like your photos for this recipe! I also have a question about pre-cooking the peppers before stuffing them. Do you find that the peppers remain too firm if you don’t pre-cook them? I don’t pre-cook my peppers and I actually seem to have the opposite problem – after about 45 minutes of simmering in tomato sauce, the peppers often get so soft that they start to fall apart. Reply

    • Natasha
      October 23, 2010

      I haven’t tried it the other way. I learned to make these from my mom and my husbands mom. Both said the same thing; to pre-cook them so they aren’t too firm. I used the baking method in a dutch oven and they came out just right. My mom made these on the stove this week and they were very good as well. I’m not sure if that helps. How do you cook your peppers? Do you pack your peppers or do you fill them loosely – I find packing them helps to keep their shape. Also, what is in your sauce – do you use reserved water? Reply

      • Irina
        October 23, 2010

        I do pack the filling in pretty tightly… I simmer the peppers on the stove top – have never tried baking them. My sauce is a mixture of tomato paste, water, sauteed onions, sauteed carrots, and seasonings (usually just salt and pepper, sometimes with a bay leaf or two thrown in). When I make vegetarian stuffed peppers, it’s not an issue because the filling is already cooked, so I just simmer them until the pepper is as tender as I want it to be. However, meat-filled peppers have to be cooked longer in order for the meat to cook through, and that’s where I often have a problem. My best bet would probably be to try to find smaller peppers – they hold less filling and as a result don’t need to cook for as long as the large ones. However, most peppers sold in US supermarkets are giant! Reply

        • Natasha
          October 23, 2010

          Sorry, I don’t know what the problem could be?? The only smaller peppers I can think of are the ones sold in costco by the bag. Those would probably be fun to make, but more of a pain to prep so many little peppers. Reply

  • Joe in N. Calif
    October 21, 2010

    (grump, grump – caught in moderation – grump grump) Reply

  • Joe in N. Calif
    October 21, 2010

    Sounds wonderful. And bless you for not using green bell peppers (not that it would stop me from substituting red or yellow for green anyway).

    What would you suggest for a vegetarian version? Maybe a lentil and wild rice mix for the meat? Reply

    • Natasha
      October 21, 2010

      I’ve never made these vegetarian, but it sounds like a good experiment. I might also add sauteed onion and mushrooms to add more flavor. Reply

      • Joe in N. Calif
        October 21, 2010

        Maybe mushroom and wild rice. Or mushroom and rice noodles (I learned from Russians who came through Harbin).

        At church when we cooked a lunch we always had to make about 15 servings for vegetarians. And, during fasting periods, everything was vegetarian. Reply

        • Natasha
          October 21, 2010

          That sounds like the filling for my eggrolls (minus the pork ofcourse) Reply

          • Irina
            October 22, 2010

            I often make a veggie version of stuffed peppers and I use cooked rice mixed with lots of sauteed onions and carrots as the filling. I like to add a bit of spice, too – usually garam masala (not Russian, I know!) or just some cloves.

          • Natasha
            October 23, 2010

            Thank you for sharing!

        • Masha
          September 17, 2011

          Yes I agree my mom makes them vegetarian and uses rice and mushrooms and onions. So delicious! Reply

  • Alenka
    October 20, 2010

    ymmmmm Reply

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