Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers cooked on the grill is an amazing way to add smoky char and flavor. These are prepared like the classic, but kicked up a notch by cooking them on the grill for flavor.
These stuffed peppers are made with ground beef, vegetables, herbs, rice, sauce, and cheese, making them basically a one pot meal! This recipe is super adaptable and easy to tweak.
Stuffed peppers are a great way to feed a small crowd (or trying to get picky kids to eat some vegetables). They’re filling, flavorful, and full of so many different food groups! And they’re so easy to make. After prepping and cooking the beef and rice, it’s really about stuffing the peppers and cooking on the grill.
Grilling stuffed peppers add a slight char and smoky flavor almost like roasted red peppers. Combine that with the natural flavor from grilling and you get an awesome combination.
And because we firmly believe anything you can cook on the stove top or grill you can cook outside on your smoker and grill, and it’s so much more fun and flavorful!
In this example we’re cooking the peppers on our MAK Pellet Grill, but this recipe works on whatever grill you have at home.
What Peppers are best for Grilled Stuffed Peppers
Red, Orange and Yellow peppers are our preference. Green bell peppers are slightly under-ripe and can be slightly bitter. Red, Orange, and Yellow have more natural sweetness. However if you like green pepper flavor, then by all means use them.
When selecting the peppers, pay attention to the bottom so they are even. You’ll be standing these up, so an even base is key so they don’t fall over on the grill. Also make sure they are similar in size so they cook evenly. If one happens to be taller (or wider) you can cut more off the top so that they are more uniform in size.
Did you know that green, orange, yellow, and red bell peppers are all the same variety at various stages of ripeness?
When preparing stuffed peppers, carefully slice off the top of the peppers where the stem is taking care to make it a straight line and even among all the peppers. Carefully remove the seeds and the white membrane inside of the peppers where the stem was so all you have is the pepper remaining. That white membrane is bitter to taste. You can also use the tops (minus the stem) to dice up to add into the mix, or just save them for snacking.
How to Make Stuffed Peppers
Prepare the Filling:
- Make the rice: We use jasmine for its flavor and density. Basmati works well too but has a little more earthy flavor, but avoid using an instant rice. Prepare the rice according to the rice packaging directions. We make the rice while we are browning the beef. This can also be done in advance to save you time.
- Brown the Beef: For the ground beef start with a good fat to lean ratio like 80/20 (80% lean to 20% fat). We use Snake River Farms Ground Beef because we love the ratio and flavor. Next, saute the beef in a cast iron pan on medium heat. To do this, add olive oil to the hot pan and drop in the ground beef. Let the ground beef brown a few minutes before stirring. This browning adds more richness to the filling. Occasionally pour out any liquid that accumulates in the pan due to the fat rendering out.
- Mix in remaining filling ingredients: Finally add the remaining filling ingredients to the cast iron pan, including the cooked rice, additional liquids and binding agents. Stir to incorporate over low heat and then prepare to stuff the peppers.
- Stuff the Peppers: Stuff about 1/4 cup of the filling into each pepper. The exact amount may vary based on the exact size of your peppers. Add equal amounts into each pepper.
- Top with Remaining Cheese: add the remaining cheese to the top of each pepper.
How to Grill Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers
Prepare the grill for two zone cooking or target around 375 degrees Fahrenheit if using a pellet grill. Gently place the peppers onto the grill over indirect heat. You can place them in a cast iron pan to keep them stable, or if they have a nice flat base, just place them directly on the grill.
On a pellet grill cook for 40 minutes at 375 degrees F.
If using a kettle grill, grill the peppers over indirect heat for 20 minutes and then rotate 180 degrees. This will evenly expose both sides of the peppers to the heat source. Cook another 10-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the peppers look tender and slightly roasted. They should not be too soft that they fall apart.
They should cook in 30-40 minutes total. Remember, the meat is already cooked, so we’re just looking to soften and roast the peppers and melt the cheese.
Remove and serve immediately.
Alternatives and Substitutions
- Consider smoking the ground beef for an hour at a low temperature (around 250) to add smoky elements to the ground beef stuffed peppers and then follow the filling instructions.
- Ground turkey in the same ratio is a great alternative to beef.
- Add in a mix of leftover vegetables into your mix.
- Change up the cheeses. We used cheddar, but feel free to use mozzarella, Monterey jack, or other soft cheese that melts easily.
- Swap tomato sauce and paste with a Kansas City style barbecue sauce.
- Make as an appetizer by using small sweet peppers and mix cheese into the stuffing.
- If your peppers don’t feel sturdy standing up on their own pack them all upright in a cast iron dish to help support them standing upright (see photos).
Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef Recipe
Grilled Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers
- 6 whole bell peppers, tops and seeds removed
- 1 cup cooked jasmine rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef Snake River Farms or 80/20 beef
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 15 ounce can Diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 4-oz can of green chilies, liquid removed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (alternatively you can use mozzarella, Monterey jack, or other shredded cheese blend that melts easily)
- Prepare the Grill for indirect cooking, or set the grill to 375 degrees F.
- Prepare the peppers: cut the tops off the peppers, remove seeds and membranes (discard the seeds and membranes).
- Make the rice: Prepare the rice according to the rice packaging directions.
- Cook the Filling: Heat a large cast iron pan to medium heat, add one tablespoon of olive oil and the onions and cook 5 minutes to soften. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the beef with a spatula, until cooked through (about 6-8 minutes). Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Mix in remaining filling ingredients: add the remaining filling ingredients to the cast iron pan, including the cooked rice, tomatoes, Worcestershire, green chilies, salt, pepper, and thyme. Remove from heat and add half of the cheese. Stir to incorporate. Taste and season as needed.
- Stuff the Peppers: Stuff about 1/4 cup of the filling into each pepper. The exact amount may vary based on the exact size of your peppers. Add equal amounts into each pepper. Top the peppers with remaining cheese.
- Grill Peppers: place peppers, cut side up, over indirect heat and cook 30-40 minutes, until the peppers are tender and look slightly roasted and the cheese has melted. (If your peppers don't feel sturdy standing up on their own pack them all upright in a cast iron dish to help support them standing upright.)
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This post was originally published in May 2017, and updated in October 2021 with frequently asked questions and more specific recipe details. The original recipe remains the same.