Stuffed Peppers / Yεμιστές πιπεριές

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oven charred stuffed peppers

oven charred stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers are such a classic Greek dish and traditionally vegan!  Meat was only added to the rice mixture on special occasions and feast days.  Every day stuffed peppers were meatless and, as you’ll see with this recipe, absolutely magnificent!

One of my all time favorite meals, stuffed peppers are a simple, easy to make ahead, healthy, so yummy dish. Green bell peppers are used most often but feel free to shake things up with yellow, orange or red bell peppers for

slightly different flavors. I love them all!

The aromatics in this dish are just as simple as the rest of the ingredients and they’ll quickly fill your kitchen the most amazing aromas when your peppers are in the oven. Fresh dill and mint are, for me, such Greek herbs and only need a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper to bring them together in the perfect partnership of flavors.

aromatics - fresh dill, mint, onions and garlic

aromatics – fresh dill, mint, onions and garlic

When on hand, or if I have time to make them ahead, I use chopped roasted tomatoes here.  Its fine to use canned plum tomatoes, just remember to drain them and chop roughly with the back of a fork.  Leave them a bit chunky.

chopped tomatoes

chopped tomatoes

The tomato juices and 2 cups of water will help the rice to cook as it absorbs all these delicious flavors.  Use a tight lid to cover the filling as it cooks on the stovetop.  You can also cover the pan with foil if you don’t have the right cover. Just be very carful when removing the foil paper that the steam doesn’t burn you.

Keep the heat on low.  Any more than 10 minutes and your rice filling will begin to stick to the bottom of the pan.  If this happens, all is not lost.  Simply take a wooden spoon and push up any stuck bits up from the bottom and incorporate them into the rest of the filling.  If the rice is noticeably burnt though, a dark brown or heaven forbid black, then leave it behind and just use the rice filling on top.  Hopefully you’ll still have enough for your peppers even if you have to eliminate one, you won’t lose the whole thing.  Just keep an eye on your time and this won’t be an issue.

Let the filling cool for at least 10 minutes before filling your peppers.

stuffed pepper filling

stuffed pepper filling

You can make your filling up to 3 days ahead of time and keep covered in the refrigerator.  Take out and bring to room temperature about 30 minutes before you’re ready to fill peppers.

make filling up to 3 days ahead

make filling up to 3 days ahead

When filling, remember to leave a little room at the top of each pepper – don’t fill right to the tip top.  The rice is going to expand some while in the oven so you want to avoid your peppers exploding or overflowing while in the oven!

filled peppers

filled peppers


  • 6-8 medium bell peppers (8 medium or 6 large) in any combination of green/yellow/red
  • 1 cup onion finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup white rice (uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
  • 1 cup chopped, peeled tomatoes (4-5 canned, peeled plum tomatoes, drained)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup warm water for pan

Cooking Instructions

Sauté finely chopped onions, then garlic in olive oil on low heat until soft and translucent.  Add rice, herbs, spices and tomatoes. Stir to combine completely.  Cook on low for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add water, cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.  Make sure heat is low or rice mixture will stick to pan. Remove from heat, uncover, stir and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before filling. Rice should be almost completely cooked.

At this stage, you can keep filling covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days until you’re ready to stuff your peppers. When ready to use, allow filling to sit out for about 30 minutes and come to room temperature.

Cut off the tops of peppers and set aside. Remove seeds and veins and arrange in a pan which fits them tightly.  For 5 or six medium sized peppers I usually use a 9 inch round cake pan. For anywhere from 9-12 peppers, I use my 9×13″ cake pan.

Fill each pepper with rice mixture, almost to the top.  Add 2 tsp of warm water over the top of each filled pepper. Replace pepper lids and carefully brush tops and sides of filled peppers with olive oil.  Add 1 cup of warm water to bottom of the pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hrs.  Yellow and orange bell peppers can be a bit thicker skinned and may need another 15 minutes or so. Rice will be soft and tops of peppers just slightly charred.

A piece of crusty bread and you’ve got a fantastic meal! 
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29 Responses to Stuffed Peppers / Yεμιστές πιπεριές

  1. Harriette April 1, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

    I love how you’ve veganized the classics on your blog -thanks and keep it up!

    • Kiki April 2, 2014 at 12:36 am #

      Thank you! But I can’t take the credit as all of these dishes are traditionally vegan – meat was only added or used as an ingredient for special or feast days 🙂 So glad you found us, Kiki xx

  2. Tom November 9, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

    I made this dish yesterday and… Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this. I never had the chance to try those when I was on vacation in Greece.

    Do you know what makes the Greek french fries taste the way they do, are they actually handcut and freshly made? Or is it just the olive oil? I am speaking about the ones inside the gyros pita. I ordered one without meat and the fries were so different and so good!

    I tried to make tzatziki with soy yoghurt, used lots of garlic and cucumber. But it tasted… Like soy! And I also could not get the thick texture of Greek yoghurt to work, it was too liquid. It was just not very pleasant. Any idea how to improve that? Thank you, Kiki. Keep up the great work!

  3. Louiza November 23, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    Hi Kiki, can you please explain what kind of rice you’re supposed to use in Stuffed Peppers? I live in the UK right now but would like to find the right ingredients to make it as authentic as possible. There are so many kinds of white rice…can you help me out?

    • Kiki November 24, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

      Hi Louiza! I most often used a medium/long grain white rice. My go to is carolina. I would not use sushi or sticky rice here as it will end up just too mushy. A nice medium/long grain is absorb all the flavors of this dish really well without breaking down in the process. Kiki 🙂

  4. Daisy February 9, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    Hi there,

    I’m going to try this recipe tonight. The recipe calls for 1/3 cup of garlic, is this correct? Seems like a lot of garlic!!


    • Kiki February 9, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

      Its not a small amount but its distributed through quite a bit of filling so it works but feel free to pull back if you’re nervous! There are times when I don’t use garlic at all and its still simply delicious 🙂

  5. Ioanna March 26, 2015 at 4:11 am #

    I grew up with thi dish but my mother would only uses tablespoon of garlic and more importantly she always served these “gem isles” with her whole milk home made yoghurt

    • Kiki March 26, 2015 at 11:32 am #

      Ioanna, I’ve never heard of it with yogurt, sounds like it would be wonderful! We do love our garlic here at The Greek Vegan 🙂

    • Ari Skinner November 16, 2016 at 11:15 pm #

      Yes yoghurt with this dish is amazing!

  6. Erica April 2, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    My Yiayia has always made stuffed tomatoes and stuffed peppers in one pan. She does not cook anymore and cannot remember if I need to do anything different when using tomatoes. Can you please let me know how to prepare the tomatoes? Is there a specific kind I should look for? Thanks!

    • Kiki April 2, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

      Hi Erica! Kisses to your Yiayia xoxo first of all 🙂 And yes, tomatoes and peppers are often cooked together in the same pan. Because the tomatoes are quicker cookers than the peppers, try to find tomatoes that are a bit UNDER ripe. They’ll sweeten right up as they bake and their slightly tougher skins will hold up better in the high heat. If you have time, sprinkle the scooped out inside of the tomatoes with salt and set them aside in their own pan or in the sink as you prepare the peppers. This step will help the tomatoes to drain off some of their moisture and avoid a soggy finished product. Before filling the tomatoes, simply give them a quick rinse out and pat dry. Then just fill, cap and bake as you would your peppers. If you’re sharing with Yiayia, you might want to hold back a bit on the garlic as I remember my own Yiayia was less an less able to digest her beloved garlic as the years went by! Hope this reply will be helpful, Kiki 🙂

  7. Melissa April 5, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

    Hi there, do you bake in the oven with a lid on or off? Thanks


    • Kiki April 5, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

      Hi Meliisa! bake uncovered, Kiki 🙂

  8. Vrinda April 11, 2015 at 8:08 am #

    I have this baking in the oven. My home smells heavenly. Thanks for a great recipe.

  9. Katie December 4, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    Hi Kiki! This was one of my favorite dishes growing up but since I no longer eat meat I haven’t had them in quite some time. I was wondering if it was possible to put in some veggie crumbles to replace the meat? How much would you suggest and I’m assuming I would have to but down on the amount of rice that is added. Thanks!

    • Kiki December 4, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

      Hi Katie 🙂 Not a fan of soy myself so don’t use them often but I think a 12 oz package of crumbles would do fine here. Brown them with the onions/garlic/herbs right before adding the rice. And leave the amount of rice the same, just fill one more pepper! Tell me how it turns out? Kiki xx

  10. Steve November 17, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    Hold the knife Vertically instead of horizontally and the lids won’t slide off.

    Also pierce the bottom of the peppers three or four times with a knife so that the rice can absorb as much water from the bottom of the pan as necessary. Adding water to each pepper is nice, but slow and unnecessarily fussy.

    Start with boiling water in the pan to reduce cooking time.

    They say pites patates and piperies get a hotter oven 425* to 460* F ( 200* + C)

    Kali oreksi!

    • Kiki November 21, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

      Steve, thanks for the tips – I’ve heard of the pierced pepper bottom method before and will def try it next tine!

  11. Linda November 21, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    Hi Kiki, can I use basmati rice inthis recipe? And would i still need to rinse the rice prior to adding to recipe?

    • Kiki November 21, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

      Linda, I really can’t say as I’ve never tried it with basmati rice and don’t use it regularly enough to hazard a guess!

  12. Jill November 30, 2016 at 4:20 am #

    Perfect, I was looking for a good stuffed capsicum recipe for tomorrow’s dinner and this is it. Simple, tasty, classic.

  13. Jess March 14, 2017 at 9:31 am #

    Can vegetable oil be substituted for olive oil? Was thinking of making this for a friends birthday dinner, but it falls during the week during Lent, and no olive oil allowed til the weekend. :/

    • Kiki March 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

      yes 🙂

  14. Pat K. August 5, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

    This is my most favorite, most delicious stuffed pepper recipe. My go-to for fast periods.

    My cooking hack for the peppers — use a bundt pan — can fit up to 6 peppers per pan and they all stand up straight.

    Posting a picture on your FB page.

    • Kiki August 5, 2017 at 7:34 pm #

      Pat, I LOVE that idea! thanks so much for sharing <3

  15. DP August 17, 2017 at 10:17 am #

    Can I use precooked (1/2 way) brown rice? Or do you think that will ruin the taste? I love the stuffed peppers as a local greek deli and have always wanted to make them. They add chickpeas, artichokes, and mushrooms to the mixture. For the chickpeas and artichoke I was going to use canned. Would you suggest precooking the mushrooms?


    • Kiki August 23, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

      those ad-ins sounds amazing! I believe the brown rice would be delicious, only remember to adjust the water slightly to accommodate. I don’t often sue brown rice so not an expert. would love to know how your tweaks work out!

  16. Suze August 21, 2018 at 7:58 am #

    Hi Linda

    I ALWAYS rinse and then soak rice, all varieties, for at least 24 hours. I find it’s more digestible but there are a whole host of reasons why rice should be rinsed and soaked…Google it and see what you think. Xx

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