Unstuffed Peppers

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Unstuffed Peppers have all of the flavors of our favorite stuffed peppers but this casserole is quick to make in just one pan!

A zesty rice and sausage skillet filled with sweet bell peppers is on the table in no time at all!

unstuffed peppers on a white plate topped with melted cheese and parsley

Unstuffed peppers have all of the flavors of our favorite stuffed peppers recipe but needs just one pot! Top with cheese and serve this easy dish casserole style.

Easy One-Pot Meal

Who doesn’t love an entire entrée that can be prepared in one pan? We love all the healthy ways unstuffed peppers can be made. No meat? No problem! We like unstuffed peppers made with cauliflower rice for a low-carb, keto version, quinoa for a high protein version, or brown rice for a super high-fiber version. Just adjust cooking times as necessary.

Ingredients to make unstuffed peppers on a tray

Ingredients and Variations

Unstuffed peppers are not only super easy to make, but almost anything can be tossed into the skillet along with the original ingredients or subbed out with other ingredients.

VEGGIES: Add mushrooms, diced zucchini or other squash, frozen veggies.

PROTEIN: Sausage adds lots of flavor but you can substitute it for ground beef, or for a lower fat version, switch out the sausage for ground turkey or even leftover shredded chicken.

cooked sausage, rice and tomatoes in a pot with seasonings

How to Make Unstuffed Peppers

This dish is so easy to make, but so tasty and filling everyone will want seconds!

    Brown the sausage, onion, & garlic, drain fat.
    Add tomatoes, rice, water, seasonings, salt, & pepper. Simmer until thickened.
    Add diced bell peppers & continue to cook until rice is tender.

That’s all there is to it. Remove from heat, top with cheese & cover until cheese is melted (or pop it under the broiler if you’d like)!

green and red bell peppers on top of sausage cooked with rice in tomato sauce

Tips and Tricks

  • For extra flavor and texture, place the skillet under the broiler until the cheese topping gets golden brown and bubbly.
  • If subbing the rice out for cauliflower rice, quinoa, or brown rice, adjust the cooking time as necessary.
  • Store unstuffed peppers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • It’s easy to freeze! Scoop into zippered bags, label with the date and store for up to two months in the freezer.

a spoonful of unstuffed peppers with melted cheese and parsley on top

More Bell Pepper Favorites

Did you love these Unstuffed Peppers? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

unstuffed peppers on a white plate topped with melted cheese and parsley
4.96 from 22 votes
Review Recipe

Unstuffed Peppers

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Unstuffed Peppers is a delicious one-pot meal that's full of fresh, simple ingredients!


  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 14 ounces crushed tomatoes canned
  • 14 ounces diced tomatoes with juices
  • ½ cup long-grain white rice uncooked
  • 1 ⅔ cup water or as needed
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 bell peppers any color, diced
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese shredded

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  • In a large pan, brown sausage, onion & garlic over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain fat.
  • Add tomatoes, rice, water, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt & pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook covered 10 minutes.
  • Stir in diced peppers and cook an additional 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender.
  • Stir and add cheese on top. Remove from heat, cover with a lid and rest 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Add water as needed until rice is tender. Rice will absorb liquid as the mixture rests.
Optional: Broil cheese on top if desired.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 621, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 40g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 97mg, Sodium: 1244mg, Potassium: 1127mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 4150IU, Vitamin C: 176mg, Calcium: 191mg, Iron: 5mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Beef, Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
unstuffed peppers ingredients and a finished dish with a title
a plate of unstuffed peppers with parsley with a title on top
a spoonful of unstuffed peppers in a pot shown with a title
unstuffed peppers on a white plate topped with melted cheese and parsley shown with a title
About the author


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I had trouble getting it to thicken up. I only made one change in the tomatoes – didn’t have crushed so used stewed and crushed them up. Should I have not added 1-2/3 c of water right away? Not sure – it was good just soupy..

    1. Hi Laurie, we slowly add 1 ⅔ cup water or as needed. Depending on how juicy your tomatoes are you may not need the entire amount of water.

  2. Can this recipe be made in a crockpot? If so, do you recommend doubling the recipe and how long should it be cooked for in the slow cooker?

    1. Hi Rose, I haven’t tried this recipe in the slow cooker, but think it’d work to cook on low 4-6 hours or just until rice is cooked. Once done, turn slow cooker off, sprinkle cheese on top and let sit 10 minutes to set and melt cheese. Let us know if you try it!

  3. Winner!! I’m a big fan of stuffed bell peppers except for (1) the time involved making them & (2) my favorite peppers to grow now are NOT bells so a little hard to stuff. This was the perfect solution as well as delicious! All the flavors I remember and came together very quickly. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Yvonne. It is all the flavors of stuffed peppers without all the work!

    1. This recipe makes 4 servings. It’ll be approximately 2 cups per serving depending on your exact ingredients. Enjoy Lindsey!

  4. Wow, I loved this!!! I only had three sweet peppers so I added 2 Hungarian peppers to give it some zip. It was excellent!5 stars

  5. I didnt realize the rice was meant to be cooked in the pot and not separately. It still smells yummy. I am hoping to cook the sauce down a little.

  6. Delicious!!! Will be making this again, and this recipe came together very quickly. Thank you so much for sharing Miss Holly!!! 5 stars

    1. A very good recipe. When asked what’s for dinner tonight I told my wife “unstuffed peppers”. She remembered my making it prior and commented that she recalled it was good in that it had the flavors of stuffed pepper having to eat a big honking pepper. I call that a double win.

      When searching for food recipients, there are certain bloggers that I try to go to. SpendWithPennies is one of my go to recipe sites and this one certainly does not disappoint. A simple, very easy, healthy, one dish meal that comes together quickly and easily.

      Feel free to adjust and tweak the seasoning and you’ll still come out with a winner. I accidentally forgot the Worcestershire sauce, but added a dash of red pepper instead which turned out to be a workable substitution.

      I do recommend, making it in a larger flat bottomed skillet or pan with a lid as it helps the rice absorb. Speaking of which, the recipe is very forgiving of the amount of water to rice and can be adjusted on the fly as needed. If the pan has a lid, the cheese will melt on top to delicious effect.

      This is definitely a go to recipe.5 stars

      1. Thank you so much for sharing your tips and for your kind words Matt, you made my weekend. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the recipes.

    1. Sure you can! You might like to add a little bit of extra seasoning (Italian seasoning, salt, a sprinkle of chili flakes if you’d like).

  7. This Unstuffed Pepper was sooooo good. My husband couldn’t get enough. Thank you for another great recipe.5 stars

  8. WOW! We love stuffed peppers here, but this looks SOOOO much easier. With all the produce available this time of year the bell peppers are fresh, sweet and delicious. I’m fixing this for supper tonight. THANKS!!!5 stars