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Easy Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers

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This quick and easy Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers Casserole is a one-skillet meal that takes all the hassle out of traditional stuffed peppers! If you love the delicious flavors of stuffed peppers- and who can say “no” to that meaty and savory center topped with melty cheese- then this simplified version has your name all over it. 

A spoon scooping out a serving of ground beef and rice casserole.

Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers casserole is essentially an “unstuffed pepper skillet,” if you will.

While we’re big fans of these Chicken Stuffed PeppersStuffed Poblano PeppersStuffed Mini Peppers, wouldn’t it be great to get the same tasty flavors and nutrients of a stuffed pepper recipe but in half the amount of time? We say YES. 

Enter this quick and easy dinner option that’s ready in 30 minutes! It’s simple to make and offers easy clean-up since everything cooks in one pan.

Add this dish to your list of quick weeknight dinners, along with Easy Fried SpaghettiBuffalo Chicken Pasta and Shake and Bake Pork Chops

The savory beef filling is cooked with chopped bell peppers in a skillet, then topped with Monterey Jack for a deliciously cheesy topping. Enjoy it on its own or serve it with a side of crusty bread or a simple green salad to round out the meal.

Why This Recipe Works

This simple and healthy recipe boasts great flavors! Since they intensify even more the next day, it is also perfect for meal prep.

This is one of those one-pan meals that might just become one of your new favorite recipes.

It is:

  • an easy recipe that calls for basic ingredients
  • ready in 30 minutes
  • a gluten free recipe the whole family will enjoy!

Ingredients Needed for Stuffed Peppers Skillet

Simple ingredients create this tasty deconstructed peppers recipe, and this easy spin on stuffed peppers is such a breeze to pull together on a busy night!

Here’s a look at the ingredients you will need:

  • Olive oil. ​For cooking all the aromatics in the skillet. 
  • Onion and garlic. ​Diced onion and fresh garlic cloves add delicious, savory flavor to the tomato sauce base!
  • Ground beef. ​You’ll need about 1 pound total. Make sure to use a lean ground beef. 
  • Seasonings. Smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin powder, salt and black pepper season the meat and veggies to perfection. 
  • Tomato paste and diced tomatoes. ​These two ingredients add a lovely flavor and saucy base to the meat mixture. 
  • White rice. ​Make sure you’re using uncooked rice (see recipe notes if have pre-cooked rice you’d like to use instead). 
  • Chicken broth. ​This adds moisture to the skillet dish and allows the rice to cook until tender. 
  • Bell peppers. Two bell peppers is all you need and feel free to use any color- red bell peppers, green bell peppers, yellow or orange bell peppers will all work just fine!
  • Monterey Jack cheese. You’ll stir some of the cheese in with the filling and the rest will be sprinkled on top of the dish. 
Ingredients for a deconstructed stuffed pepper casserole: bell peppers, shredded cheese, rice, spices, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and ground beef.

Our Deconstructed Stuffed Pepper Skillet Recipe

Here’s a look at the process for making deconstructed stuffed peppers. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to view the printable recipe card with all of the ingredient amounts and full instructions. 

Browning ground beef in a skillet with onions and garlic.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat the oil and then cook the onion and garlic. Add the ground meat and break it up as it browns. Add all of the seasonings and tomato paste, stirring well to combine. 

Adding chicken broth to a skillet casserole with ground beef and peppers.

Stir in the diced tomatoes, rice, chicken broth and diced peppers. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cover the skillet. Cook for 18 minutes without lifting the lid. 

Adding shredded cheese to a deconstructed stuffed pepper casserole.

Remove the lid and stir in 1 cup of cheese until it melts. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the casserole and cover it with the lid for a couple of minutes to let the cheesy topping melt.

Recipe Variations

This recipe is very versatile and you can adapt it to your preferences or use what you have on hand in your pantry. Here are a few variations you might want to try:

  • Vegetarian Unstuffed Pepper Casserole: Skip the ground beef and add extra veggies like zucchini, mushrooms, or corn. You can also use a meat substitute such as textured vegetable protein or tempeh.
  • Low Carb stuffed pepper skillet: Substitute white rice with cauliflower rice or use zucchini noodles instead.
  • Use a different protein: Swap the ground beef for turkey, chicken, or lamb. 

If you want to use sprouted brown rice or wild blend rice in this recipe, you will need to cook the rice first then add it to the skillet part way through the cooking time. We don’t recommend using instant rice because it tends to get too soft in this recipe.

A skillet casserole with ground beef, bell peppers, and rice.

Tips for Unstuffed Peppers with Rice

This deconstructed stuffed pepper dinner is easy to make. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of this recipe:

  • If you don’t have a large enough skillet to make this meal, you can cook it in a Dutch oven or large pot. You will need a pot or skillet that has a lid and will hold 3-½ quarts.
  • Substitutes for the white rice include long-grain white rice, Jasmine rice, or Basmati rice. 
  • If you want to use cooked rice, wait until the last 7 minutes of cooking time and add the cooked rice. 
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. 
  • Choose bell peppers based on your taste preference. Green peppers have a stronger flavor than red, yellow or orange peppers which tend to taste a lot sweeter. Personally, I like to use a red and green bell pepper just for added color. 
A serving of deconstructed stuffed bell peppers in a bowl.

What to Serve with Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers

This deconstructed peppers skillet is wonderful on its own but you can certainly add a few simple sides to complete the meal. Here are some tasty recipe suggestions:

? More Recipes You Will Love:

Grilled Italian Sweet Peppers are so easy to make and add a tasty punch of flavor to a steak sandwich  or antipasto dish! This simple recipe works for both bell peppers and Carmen sweet peppers. It’s a great way to elevate a salad, sandwich or wrap!

Corn and Shrimp Chowder is a comforting meal that is filled to the brim with savory, summertime flavors. Creamy and flavorful, it’s packed with juicy shrimp, sweet corn kernels and tender potatoes. This hearty soup is a one-pot meal that’s perfect for family gatherings.

Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes are bursting with Mediterranean flavors! This easy and delicious meal is low-carb, low-fat and makes the perfect light lunch or appetizer.

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Scooping a serving of deconstructed stuffed peppers.

Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

This Deconstructed Stuffed Pepper Casserole is a quick and easy dinner option that offers all the classic flavors of traditional stuffed peppers without the hassle. The savory beef filling gets cooked with peppers in a skillet, making it a healthy and delicious one-pan meal. Serve this unstuffed pepper casserole with a side of crusty bread or a green salad for a complete dinner! This dish is perfect for busy weeknights as it only takes 30 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup white rice (uncooked)
  • 2-¼ cups chicken broth
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet (at least 3-½ quart capacity with a lid). Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft. 
  2. Add the ground beef and break it up as it cooks and browns. Push the ground beef aside and use a spoon or baster to remove any excess grease.
  3. Add the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and tomato paste. Stir well to break up the tomato paste. 
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, rice, chicken broth, and diced peppers. Stir well. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, lower the heat to medium-low, and cover the skillet. Cook for 18 minutes without lifting the lid. 
  5. Remove the lid and stir in 1 cup of cheese until it melts. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the casserole and cover it for 1 to 2 minutes until the cheese melts on top. 

Notes

  • If you don’t have a large enough skillet to make this meal, you can cook it in a Dutch oven or large pot. You need a pot or skillet that has a lid and will hold 3-½ quarts.
  • You can use long-grain white rice, Jasmine rice, or Basmati rice in this recipe. 
  • If you want to use cooked rice, wait until the last 7 minutes of cooking time and add the cooked rice. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 429Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 730mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 33g

Nutrition information is a guideline only. It is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandson or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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DeAnna

Sunday 3rd of September 2023

Can this recipe be cooked in a crockpot?

Dahn Boquist

Sunday 3rd of September 2023

Yes, you can cook it for 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low.

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