Unstuffed peppers skillet is an easy, one-pan meal filled with ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and peppers. All the flavor of your favorite stuffed peppers meal - without the fuss!
Skillet meals are a fantastic way to get a hot, homemade meal on the table in less than an hour. Even better, they're made in a single pan, making kitchen cleanup a breeze!
A twist on a classic recipe, unstuffed peppers have all the flavors of a classic stuffed peppers recipe. Sautéed ground beef, diced onions and peppers, tomatoes, rice, and Italian spices come together to make this easy and flavor-packed meal.
Top with your favorite melty cheese, like cheddar or mozzarella, and this skillet is ready to serve! Makes an excellent weeknight meal and leftovers reheat beautifully.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil - Can be substituted with any cooking oil you keep on hand.
- Diced onions and peppers - For extra heat, add in a diced jalapeno or two with your bell peppers.
- Garlic cloves - Can be substituted with garlic powder if needed (but garlic cloves provide better flavor).
- Ground beef - I used 85/15, but a leaner 90/10, ground turkey, or ground chicken would also work.
- Petite diced tomatoes - Can be substituted with regular diced tomatoes, which will add a chunkier texture.
- Tomato sauce - Adds savory flavor and creates a sauce with the beef broth.
- Beef broth - can be substituted with vegetable broth or chicken broth - try matching the flavor with the ground meat you're using.
- Long-grain white rice - Pay attention to the type of rice you're using. Some rice takes longer to cook than others, like brown rice. Keep this in mind when cooking your skillet - the rice you're using will determine how long to cook your skillet.
- Seasoning - Italian seasoning, salt, and red pepper flakes add flavor to the dish.
- Sharp cheddar cheese - Substitute with any melty, freshly grated cheese you have on hand, like monterey jack, pepper jack, or mozzarella.
Tips and tricks
- Use a saute pan (with a flat bottom and vertical sides) with a properly fitting lid, so that extra moisture does not escape while cooking.
- Rinse your rice before cooking. Rinsing removes surface starch from your rice, which can cause it to become gummy when cooked.
- Allow your ground beef to brown and caramelize on the bottom before flipping - this adds extra flavor!
- Keep an eye on your skillet once the rice has been added. Some types of rice may need a little extra water or time to cook through. Add a splash of water as needed if your skillet begins to look dry.
- Using instant rice will change the ratio of liquid needed for this recipe. Instant rice needs a 1:1 ratio of water to rice, so you'll want to reduce the beef broth down to 8 ounces.
- Once the lid has been added, turn the heat down to low. Cooking at a higher heat can cause the bottom to burn.
What to serve with unstuffed peppers
Unstuffed peppers can be served alone, topped with a handful of shredded cheese. Or, stretch this skillet further and serve with a vegetable side and bread.
- Kale apple slaw
- Roasted zucchini and squash
- Green beans and onions
- Italian chopped salad
- Buttermilk cornbread muffins
- Freezer garlic bread
- Garlic bread cheese balls
Unstuffed Peppers Skillet
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 14 ounces canned petite diced tomatoes
- 8 ounces canned tomato sauce
- 16 ounces beef broth
- 1 cup long grain white rice, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- In a saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add diced onions and peppers. Cook until onions begin to turn translucent and peppers begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
- Crumble ground beef into pan and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, rice, Italian seasoning, salt, and red pepper flakes to pan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is cooked through. Add a splash of water as needed if skillet begins to look dry. (Cooking time will vary based on the type of rice used. Brown rice takes longer, up to 35 minutes.)
- Remove from heat, sprinkle shredded cheese on top, and allow to melt before serving.
- Rinse your rice before cooking to remove surface starch, which can cause rice to stick together and become gummy when cooked.
- Type of rice used can cause cooking time to vary. Refer to rice package directions and adjust as needed.
- To substitute with instant rice: Instant rice requires less liquid to cook, a 1:1 liquid to rice ratio. Reduce beef broth to 8 ounces for 1 cup of instant rice.
- If skillet begins to look dry before rice is cooked through, add a splash of water and stir to combine. Continually removing the lid will cause some moisture to escape.