Sausage stuffed peppers are a healthy and complete meal, stuffing bell peppers with a mixture of ground sweet Italian sausage, spinach, rice, creamy ricotta cheese, herbs and spices. The peppers are sprinkled with grated parmesan for that cheesy topping we all love in a good stuffed pepper recipe

A close-up of colorful sausage stuffed bell peppers topped with melted cheese and garnished with chopped herbs.
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This recipe recently got a major glow-up in the picture department. The recipe itself has been one I make for years, but the pictures just weren’t doing it justice. There’s something about the combination of sausage, ricotta, cheese and spinach that makes for one of the best stuffed pepper experiences you’ll ever try and the images needed to reflect that. Hopefully they’ll now convince you that this recipe is worth trying.

Bell peppers are the perfect vessel to stuff. Their shape allows them to hold a substantial portion of delicious filling and they cook to fork tender easily in the oven. While I love these vegetarian cheesy mushroom stuffed peppers, these sausage stuffed peppers are a home run for meat-lovers.

Stuffed bell peppers filled with a mixture of rice, vegetables, and ground sausage, topped with melted cheese, and garnished with chopped parsley, served on a white plate with fresh parsley.

Why This Recipe Is a Favorite

  • It’s a wholesome and healthy meal with everything contained inside the pepper — protein, veggies and carbs. There’s no need for a side dish!
  • Stuffing bell peppers is a fun, clever trick to get any picky eaters in your life to enjoy their veggies.
  • It’s an easily adaptable recipe. Use a different ground meat, add your favorite spices or use your preferred cheese to make it your own or use what you have on hand.
Ingredients for a sausage stuffed pepper recipe laid out on a gray surface, including ground Italian sausage, cheese, chopped onions, spinach, bell peppers, rice, various seasonings and oil.

Ingredients For Sausage Stuffed Peppers

  • Bell peppers – Use large bell peppers of any color for this dish. I love using a combination of bell pepper colors for a pretty presentation. Red and green bell peppers offer a lovely contrast.
  • Shallot – Freshly minced shallots offer a more subtle flavor than onions.
  • Garlic – Freshly minced garlic cloves will always provide the best flavor.
  • Ground sweet Italian sausage – Sausage links with the casing removed can be used if you can’t find the ground meat.
  • Spinach – I’ve used frozen spinach that’s been thawed with any excess water squeezed out. Fresh baby spinach could be used instead.
  • Garlic powder – Adds further depth of flavor.
  • Dried herbs – I’ve used dried basil and dried parsley.
  • Red pepper flakes – You’ll only need a pinch of red pepper flakes to add a kick of heat to this dish. Increase the amount used if you want more spicy heat or add in some cayenne pepper.
  • Chicken broth – This helps keep the stuffing mixture moist.
  • Whole milk ricotta – This adds a creaminess to the stuffing mixture and helps bind everything together. You could use cottage cheese instead if you want to increase the protein and reduce the fat content.
  • Parmesan cheese – Always use freshly grated cheese for best flavor and a better melt.
  • Rice – The rice must already be cooked when added to the rest of the ingredients. Make your rice ahead of time or use packaged pre-cooked rice for convenience.
  • Fresh parsley – Great as a sprinkled garnish, although completely optional.

How To Make Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Preheat the oven to 375°F and prepare the bell peppers by slicing off the tops of each pepper and removing the cores and seeds.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the minced garlic and shallot for 1-2 minutes until softened.

Add the sausage and cook it until browned, breaking it up with a spatula as you go along. Add the spinach and spices, and stir to combine.

Pour in the chicken broth and simmer the mixture for 2 minutes. Add the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the grated parmesan, and all of the cooked rice. Stir to combine well and season to taste, adjusting the salt and pepper as needed.

Spoon the cooked filling into each pepper, filling them all the way to the top. Arrange the stuffed peppers on a baking dish and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake for about 35 minutes until the peppers are fork tender.

Remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top of each stuffed pepper and then return them to the oven to bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese topping is melted and bubbly on top.

Garnish each stuffed pepper with freshly chopped parsley and serve warm.

My Pro Tips

Recipe Tips

  • It’s important to squeeze out all the excess water when using frozen and thawed spinach. If you don’t, you run the risk of the stuffing mixture becoming watery.
  • Covering the sausage stuffed peppers with aluminum foil for the majority of the baking time ensures that the peppers soften without burning. It will also help lock in all the meaty juices in the stuffing mixture.
  • Easily double this recipe when catering to a larger crowd. The stuffing could also be made 1-2 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge, ready to be stuffed into freshly prepared bell peppers.
A plate with three Italian sausage stuffed bell peppers in yellow, red, and green. They are topped with melted cheese and herbs. A fork holds a bite taken from the green pepper.


  • Ground meat: Regular ground beef or pork can be used instead of the ground Italian sausage. For a leaner meal, use lean ground beef, ground chicken or even ground turkey.
  • Bell pepper preparation: The bell peppers can be sliced in half and then filled instead of the tops removed to stuff the pepper, much like I’ve done for these bison stuffed peppers.
  • Starch: Instead of rice, consider adding couscous or quinoa to the sausage stuffing mixture as an easy way to add variety to this recipe. Other grains like millet, buckwheat and farro are also options.
  • Topping: Use another type of cheese that melts well. For a crunchy finish, sprinkle some crushed crackers or panko breadcrumbs over the melted cheese topping a few minutes before the end of the baking time.


Store leftover sausage stuffed peppers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Cover the stuffed peppers with foil and reheat them in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350° F.

The peppers can also be wrapped with plastic wrap, covered with foil, and stored in an airtight container or sealable bag in the freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw in the fridge and reheat as directed above.

Close-up of colorful stuffed bell peppers filled with rice, vegetables, and topped with melted cheese and herbs on a white surface.

Other Stuffed Veggie Meals To Try

If you’re looking for a meatless stuffed vegetable dish, this lentil stuffed eggplant is the way to go! It’s a super healthy dish and a great way to incorporate more eggplant into your diet, even if you aren’t such a huge fan.

Stuffed honeynut squash is a fall favorite and showcases the newly created and bred honeynut squash, which looks like a mini butternut squash with a wonderfully sweet and nutty flavor. It’s stuffed with a mixture of ground meat, veggies, chopped apple and topped with chopped pecans.

Chicken stuffed poblano peppers are a welcome addition to your Mexican-inspired meal rotation, stuffing sliced poblano peppers with shredded cooked chicken, black beans, spices and melted cheese. Enjoy them as a low-carb and gluten-free dinner.

4.63 from 8 votes

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour
A close-up of colorful sausage stuffed bell peppers topped with melted cheese and garnished with chopped herbs.
These sausage stuffed peppers are a wholesome meal packed with Italian sausage, spinach, ricotta, and rice, topped with melted parmesan. Perfectly seasoned and baked to fork-tender perfection, they are easy to prepare, adaptable, and a family favorite at the dinner table.


  • 6 large bell peppers, any color
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage, *see note
  • 8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water (**see note)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • Fresh parsley for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Slice the tops off of each pepper and remove the core and seeds.
  • Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add the sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, breaking up with a spatula as it cooks. Add the thawed spinach and spices to the pan, stir to combine.
  • Add the chicken broth, let the mixture simmer for 2 minutes then add the ricotta, 1 cup of the parmesan cheese and the rice. Stir until everything is well combined. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed.
  • Spoon the filling into each pepper filling them all the way to the top and arrange in a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 35 minutes until the peppers are fork tender.
  • Remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top of each pepper then return to the oven to bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly on top.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve warm.


  • If you can’t find ground, use links but remove the casing.
    – Be diligent about squeezing all excess water from the thawed spinach otherwise the
    filling will end up watery. Alternatively, use 10 ounces of fresh baby spinach.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 760kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 36gFat: 55gSaturated Fat: 22gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 1908mgPotassium: 1023mgFiber: 6gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 12703IUVitamin C: 235mgCalcium: 519mgIron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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