Sausage Stuffed Peppers

These sausage stuffed peppers are a fun and satisfying twist on the traditional beef version. The filling includes a handful of flavorful savory ingredients like sausage, garlic, fresh parsley, oregano, and basil, plus your favorite cheese such as parmesan, asiago, and/or cheddar. Add cooked rice and spoon into large and cored bell peppers before baking. They’re herbed, hearty, juicy, and conveniently packaged as an edible bowl!

overheard image of sausage stuffed peppers

While we mainly focus on baking and desserts, it’s fun to share dinner recipes every now and then– especially when we make one that REALLY hits the spot like this minestrone soup or this cilantro lime chicken. I’ve made these sausage stuffed peppers a handful of times in the new year, usually mixing up the type of sausage, cheese, herbs, and rice each time. I figured you’d enjoy trying a new dinner recipe, one that’s equally satisfying, flavorful, and comforting. We love this dish!


Tell Me About These Sausage Stuffed Peppers

  • Flavor: Garlic! Herbs! Cheese! Sausage! Lots of flavor in each forkful. You can truly control the flavor by choosing your favorite sausage, herbs, and cheese. For herbs I recommend using fresh parsley, oregano, and basil but you can use dried or add others that you enjoy as well.
  • Texture: If you avoided over-baking the peppers, they’ll be fork tender with a hot and hearty sausage filling.
  • Ease: Though you need to pre-cook the filling, it’s a pretty straightforward process. I’d label this as an easy dinner recipe.
  • Time: Set aside about 1 hour to complete this dish. It usually takes me awhile to perfectly slice off the tops/core out the peppers, but maybe you’re a little faster than I am! Prepping the filling takes at least 10-15 minutes. The peppers cook in about 40. As they cook, you can whip up a quick spring salad to serve alongside the heartier dish.

stuffed peppers with melted cheese on top

Overview of Key Ingredients

If you’re anything like me, your creativity shines in the kitchen. Feel free to make any substitutions that I list below. It’s easy to play around with different types of sausage, flavorful herbs, your favorite cheeses, and whatever rice you love most.

  • Bell Peppers: The best peppers for this recipe are large bell peppers with relatively even bottoms so they can stand up without toppling over. You can use any color.
  • Sausage: We usually use Italian sausage, but you could use your favorite. It can be ground or as links, but be sure to remove the meat from casings so you can break it up as it cooks in step 3. How about chicken or turkey sausage? Those work too, but you’ll need to add them later in the recipe if they’re already cooked. See recipe note.
  • Herbs: I recommend fresh oregano, parsley, and basil. Thyme or sage would be excellent with these flavors, too. You can use fresh or dried herbs as detailed in the written recipe below. Use a little extra for garnish, if desired.
  • Chicken Broth: We need a little liquid to keep the filling moist and bound together. I usually use chicken broth, but the same amount of tomato sauce (just use your favorite) or even pesto works.
  • Cheese: We use shredded cheese both in the filling and as a topping, too. Just use your favorite. Some great options for this recipe are parmesan, asiago, cheddar, mozzarella, and/or pepper jack. You can use a blend of your favorite cheeses, too.
  • Rice: Cook the rice before you get started with step 3 (the filling) below. Make sure that you measure the rice after it has been cooked. The amount of cooked rice that uncooked rice yields depends on the type, but it usually doubles in size. So cook about 3/4 cup of rice to yield the 1 and 1/2 cups needed for this recipe. Any of your favorite rice works such as white rice, brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, wild rice, or even quinoa. We usually use a brown rice/quinoa blend.

Meat-free version? We’ve tested this exact recipe with chick peas and black beans. See recipe note below.

ingredients on cutting board and cut out peppers

cooked sausage, rice, and cheese filling in skillet

sausage stuffed peppers before baking

Bake covered, remove from the oven, then top with cheese before returning to the oven.

Hard to make a lumpy brown filling look pretty, but I did my best!!!

sausage stuffed peppers cut in half

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stuffed peppers with melted cheese on top

Sausage & Herb Stuffed Peppers

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These sausage stuffed peppers combine garlic, sausage, herbs, cheese, and rice to make a hearty, mega flavorful, and conveniently portioned dish. Feel free to use your favorite sausage, cheese, herbs, and rice. Review recipe notes before beginning.


Ingredients

  • 6 large bell peppers (any color)*
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (1/2 of a medium onion)
  • 1 pound uncooked Italian sausage (removed from casings)*
  • 1 cup (120g) chopped mushrooms (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), plus more for garnish if desired
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) chicken broth*
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) shredded cheese, divided
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (about 300g) cooked rice or quinoa (I use a brown rice/quinoa blend)*

Instructions

  1. Prep the peppers: Slice 1/4 inch off the top of the peppers. Remove the core and seeds as best you can. (Pulling it out by hand usually works best.) Line peppers cut side up in a greased baking pan large enough to fit them all. A 9×13 inch dish is a great size for this recipe. A cast iron skillet could work too.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F (191°C).
  3. For the filling: Heat olive oil and onion in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes until onions are soft, then stir in the sausage, mushrooms, garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Cook and break up the sausage with your spoon/spatula as best you can until the sausage is almost fully cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Carefully spoon out most of the grease/fat, if there is any. Stir in the chicken broth. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup of cheese and all of the cooked rice.
  4. Spoon filling into each pepper, filling all the way to the top.
  5. Optional, but helps keep the peppers moist as they bake– pour about 1 inch of warm water into the bottom of the pan around the peppers.
  6. Bake, covered, for 35-38 minutes or until the peppers are nearly fork tender. Remove from the oven, and evenly sprinkle the peppers with the remaining cheese. Return to the oven, uncovered, and bake for 5 more minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with additional parsley or other herb, if desired. Use tongs to carefully remove the peppers from the pan and serve warm.
  8. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave or cover and bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 20 minutes or until warm in the center.

Notes

  1. Peppers: The best peppers for this recipe are large bell peppers with relatively even bottoms so the peppers can stand upright without toppling over.
  2. Sausage: We usually use sweet Italian sausage, but mild or hot Italian sausage works. You could use other types of sausage such as chorizo, bratwurst, or andouille but I haven’t tested the recipe with those options. It can be ground or as links, but be sure to remove the meat from casings so you can break it up as it cooks in step 3. You can use chicken or turkey sausage too, but if it’s already cooked (or if your pork sausage is already cooked), you’ll need to add it later in the filling step. Chop it up fine. To use cooked sausage in this recipe, add the mushrooms and flavorings as instructed in step 3. Cook until mushrooms are soft, then stir in the chicken broth. Cook for 2 minutes as directed, then remove from heat and mix in the finely chopped cooked sausage when you add the cheese and cooked rice.
  3. Meat-free? We enjoy these with beans instead of sausage, too. Stir in 2 cups of cooked beans such as chickpeas or black beans when you add the chicken broth.
  4. Herbs: Feel free to leave out an herb or replace with your favorite. 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme or sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or sage would work wonderfully here too.
  5. Chicken Broth: We usually make the filling with chicken broth, but also love tomato sauce or even pesto. (Same amount.)
  6. Cheese: We usually use a blend of parmesan and asiago, but cheddar, mozzarella, or even pepper jack would be great. Use your favorite.
  7. Rice: Measure the rice after it has been cooked. The amount of rice that uncooked rice yields depends on the type, but it usually doubles in size. (Cook 3/4 cup to yield about 1 and 1/2 cups.) Any of your favorite rice works, just as long as it’s cooked before mixing with the stuffing ingredients in step 3. White rice, brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, wild rice, or even quinoa. I used a brown rice/quinoa blend in these photos.

Keywords: stuffed peppers, sausage

46 Comments

  1. I make my own version of these on a regular basis and they are always a huge hit. I ALWAYS use pesto sauce to bind my meat mixture together and I like to add a pinch of cayenne to give it some heat. I try to use the sage flavored sausage when I can find it, otherwise I like a sweet Italian since it’s mild and you can jazz it up in a million ways. I recommend making the filling a day ahead if you can- the longer the flavors can marry up the better they taste. And one more short cut 🙂 I like to throw my peppers in a crock pot on high for about an hour with some chicken broth. That way you can ensure they’re nice and soft and the broth adds a lot of flavor to the peppers. These are a great Sunday dinner recipe, and the leftovers are perfect for weeknight dinners or lunches!

    1. Thank you for the tips, Angela! I usually make the filling then stuff and bake right away, but I love your suggestion about making it ahead of time for optimal flavor. I will try that next time.

    2. You can also microwave the peppers for a few minutes.

  2. Do you blend your brown rice and quinoa yourself? How do you cook them together to get a cup to cup and a half? Sorry if this is elementary to everyone else, but it’s sadly not to me.

    1. Hi Carol, I found a brown rice and quinoa blend at the store. You can blend uncooked or cooked rices if you’d like. For uncooked, do half brown rice (about 6 Tbsp) and half quinoa (about 6 Tbsp).

  3. These sound delicious, Sally! I can’t wait to try making them. I love when you share savory recipes – thank you so much!!

  4. Karen Markham says:

    I make this recipe with hot Italian sausage since we like food with more spice. Yummy.

  5. It’s like you knew I had been thinking of making stuffed peppers and here is your recipe. I can’t wait to try it. Bought all the ingredients yesterday. . 🙂

  6. Kristine Volmar says:

    These look great! Do you think they could be made without the rice for a keto friendly version?

    1. Hi Kristine, thank you! You know, I haven’t tried the recipe without rice. I’m sure it could work. You could add more mushrooms or sausage if you’d like. I recommend reducing the liquid a bit, maybe down to 1/4 cup.

    2. Kristine- I make these w/o rice all of the time. My filling is just a pound of Italian sausage, onion, garlic, cheese, Italian seasoning and pesto sauce. I prefer them that way- I am not a rice fan! And they always turn out great. I just top mine with marinara sauce and, obvy, more cheese.

    3. Hi Kristine,

      I’m going to try these with cauliflower rice! Trying to make it keto friendly, too.

  7. Lol! I always dice up the parts of the pepper that I cut from the top and toss it in the mixture too! Adds a nice little bit of colour to a brown filling 🙂 these sound delish, I always use ground beef. Tasty has an awesome stuffed pepper recipe that I follow but I definitely wanna try yours, I’ve never thought to make them with sausage but seems so simple. Also what a great idea to use pesto as a binder! I love pesto on any and evvvverything can’t believe I’ve never thought to try that.

    1. Thanks Stephanie! Yes, pesto is wonderful here– great alternative to the chicken broth!

    2. Made these for dinner tonight! So yummy! Even my 4 year old liked them. I like things pretty salty so next time I’ll sprinkle a little salt inside the peppers before stuffing them but I’ll make them again for sure!

  8. Made these last night, Followed the recipe (minus the parsley-didn’t have any) So good. I only got 5 peppers out of my filling, but I think my peppers were on the larger size. Will definitely make them again. Thank you!

  9. Sherry Bennett says:

    SO GOOD….MADE IT WITH JIMMY DEAN’S SAUSAGE AND GREEN TOP ONIONS AND DIFFERENT KINDS CHEESE-WHATEVER KINDS I HAD IN FRIG. ADDED STEWED TOMATOES AND USED THE JUICE OF THOSE TOMATOES INSTEAD OF CHICKEN BROTH! HAD A CUP OF LEFT OVER BOSMATTI RICE TO THE MEAT MIXTURE.
    THESE ALTERED COMBINATIONS WERE AMAZING! Thank you❣️

  10. What a fabulous recipe! So easy and tasty! I’ll definitely be making this one again!

  11. I was excited to see this new recipe and made it right away. It came out great. Very straightforward to pull together and very tasty. I will definitely make this again.

  12. Erika Ishkanian says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! Unfortunately I do not have sausage hand. Could these be made with ground turkey? By the way, your turkey burger recipe is the absolute best! Thank you so much for sharing with the world!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Definitely. Hope you love this recipe, Erika!

      1. Erika Ishkanian says:

        Thank you for the quick reply! Will try tonight!

  13. Sally I made these the other day and they are SO delicious! Highly recommend

  14. Made this recipe and it was delicious! Replaced the sausage with ground turkey to make it healthier and used Israeli couscous as I was out of rice and quinoa. A new favourite!

  15. I always have Stuffed Peppers in my freezer and am anxious to try this recipe. Have you tried freezing them?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Louise, see step 8 for freezing instructions. Hope you love these!

  16. I made these for dinner last night and they were so good! I followed the recipe exactly but reduced the quantity of the ingredients to only make four.

    When I look at recipe reviews I like to see ones where they made the recipe exactly as written. Sometimes the ingredients have been changed so much it is not even the same dish!

    1. I totally agree!! Makes me crazy when they change everything and say it was good

  17. Great stuffed peppers recipe, easy to make, and super delicious!

  18. This was outstanding!!! I used dried herbs, spicy chicken sausage and used the pesto … mine filled 5 large peppers – SOOO GOOD!!! I would definitely recommend making as it as written (even found the rice/quinoa blend) it was perfection! Your recipes are always spot on- thank you!

  19. Jessi Volaric says:

    Hi there! Any freeze instructions for these? 🙂

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessi, see step 8 for freezing instructions. Hope you love these!

  20. chef michelle m says:

    I made these tonight with a few minor changes.
    1) I sliced 2 large red bell peppers lengthwise, keeping the stems intact. This allows you to use any shaped pepper, as they don’t need to set upright.
    2) I microwaved the pepper halves, just until tender, while I prepared the filling (multitasking)
    3) Place the peppers on a foil lined baking sheet
    4) For the filling: I used Italian turkey sausage. I skipped the chicken broth and used crushed canned tomatoes and granulated garlic in place of fresh. I added leftover cooked quinoa in place of rice and added some diced roasted red bell pepper I had on hand.
    5) I layered sliced cheese in the center (cheddar) and provolone on top.
    Since the peppers are already cooked, I only had to heat them up until the cheese on top is melted and golden brown, about 10 min. This speeds up the recipe considerably.
    Be sure you taste your filling and make sure it is well seasoned before stuffing.
    Always a winner! Thanks!

  21. I really didn’t care for this recipe. After following it to the T, the end result was a bit dry and too much cheese. I am used to more of a tomato sauce based recipe that is much thinner and more “italian” flavorings.

    1. Hi Jennifer! Thanks for trying this variation of stuffed peppers and for your feedback.

  22. Diana Stapp says:

    Can orzo or pasta be used instead of rice?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Diana, we can’t see why not — let us know if you try!

  23. 5 STAR Recipe! My husband has asked me to put this on our rotation.
    I am not a fan of stuffed peppers because I don’t like the tomatoes that are usually part of the recipe, but this was delicious. I topped the peppers with Romano cheese and then places slices of pepper jack on top. Next time I will be layering cheese inside the peppers! THANKS FOR SHARING THIS RECIPE. 😉

  24. Excellent

  25. I made these for my family tonight and they are wonderful! I used half sweet and half hot sausage. Instead of using 6 whole peppers, I only used 3. I cut them down the middle and stuffed 6 halves. It was the right size for my family. Will definitely be making these again.

  26. I’ve made a Southern Living recipe version of this for 30+ years. If you boil the prepped bell peppers for 5 minutes before draining and stuffing, you only have to bake for 15 minutes. The peppers are soft to eat but still firm enough to hold the filling.

    1. What a helpful tip! Thanks for sharing, Cindy.

  27. Ronda Eskelson says:

    I wish I could find the recipe for just two people.
    I Like to cook, but hard to find recipes for two.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ronda, this recipe can be easily halved, or see the last step in the recipe for freezing instructions.

  28. These were DELICIOUS! I ended up using pepper jack cheese for the cheese and it turned out Amazing. thanks so much!

  29. Made these tonight for dinner and they were delish. 1.5 cups seems like a bit too much rice for the amount of meat in the filling so I only used about 2/3rds of it. Next time I think I will add some stewed tomatoes instead of broth as another reviewer suggested but otherwise I loved the combination of the fresh herbs, melted cheese and sausage. Will definitely add to my recipe collection.

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