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Authentic Spicy Italian Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are a favorite dinner at my house and you will usually find them on our dinner menu once a week.  

Having these Spicy Italian Stuffed Peppers all prepared, frozen, and ready for the oven is a time saver for those busy days we all have.

Spicy Italian Stuffed Peppers (A Make-Ahead Meal)

Ground beef, hot sausage and vegetables make the filling for this stuffed pepper.
Spicy Stuffed Peppers
Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers lend themselves to batch prepping. Make a large batch of stuffed peppers for the freezer.  These spicy stuffed peppers with ground beef and Italian sausage are no exception. You'll have an easy and tasty weeknight dinner ready to go. 

Our family's traditional Italian stuffed pepper recipe is one I've written about before.  I love this stuffed pepper recipe because it sneaks squash and eggplant into the filling for all those picky vegetable eaters in the family.  

I also love that the filling is prepared with both ground beef and sausage. This filling is similar to a meatloaf or meatball filling. It's delicious.

Our original stuffed pepper recipe was passed down from Hubby's paternal grandmother, Nani, who made wonderful Italian dishes and taught Hubby how to make this favorite dish.

Nani's stuffed peppers are tasty comfort food for Hubby, but while flavorful, they are not very spicy. Occasionally I like to spice things up with my own version of Nani's recipe.  The spiced-up version of Nani's stuffed peppers is what I'm sharing with you today.

What Ingredients Will You Need for Spicy Italian Stuffed Peppers?

Ingredients used to make Authentic Spicy Italian Stuffed peppers

Italian Sausage packs these stuffed peppers with lots of flavor.  Use both sweet Italian sausage and hot Italian sausage for the most flavor.  Use all sweet Italian sausage if you want to avoid the heat added by hot Italian sausage.

One ingredient you won't need is rice because this recipe does not include rice in the filling. I love that this recipe does not include rice. The filling mixture is more meatball-like because these are stuffed peppers with bread filling.

Vegetables are important in this recipe.  The eggplant and squash in this recipe add flavor and moisture. Veggie hatters in your family won't even notice them.

Cooked squash and eggplant for Italian stuffed peppers

Colorful bell peppers. Red bell peppers are preferred because they look pretty on your plate but yellow or orange peppers can be used. The sweetness of the peppers adds to the overall flavor of the dish.

Red pepper flakes add additional heat and spiciness to these stuffed peppers. I use 1/4 teaspoon.

Italian cheese, either Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, adds creaminess and flavor. Mix the two if you have them.

The Reasons You Will Love This Stuffed Peppers Recipe

This is a make-ahead recipe. This recipe makes enough stuffing for 20 servings. That means you'll have enough to freeze the extras for future meals. 

These stuffed peppers are freezer friendly.  If you are preparing more stuffed peppers than you will need for dinner you can freeze the uncooked peppers. Wrap the peppers individually in plastic wrap and store them in a sealed container or freezer bag.  
A pan of spicy Italian stuffed peppers ready to freeze or bake.

The freezing process helps the pepper to soften and you will have soft, tender pepper cups surrounding your tasty ground beef and sausage filling. You don't need to thaw before cooking. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the peppers are fully cooked before serving.

No rice.  This recipe uses bread as a filling extender.  The bread makes the filling light and tender.

Vegetables are hidden in this recipe. I doubt that the veggie haters in your family will even notice. The eggplant and squash in the recipe seem to disappear.
Italian stuffed peppers filling includes vegetables.

Tips for Making Authentic Italian Stuffed Peppers

Is the Italian sausage cut into chunks?

When using Italian sausage links you'll want to remove the sausage meat from the casings.  You may be able to find loose sausage meat in your grocery store but removing the casing is easy to do.

How should you cut your bell peppers when making stuffed peppers?

Cut the peppers in half from stem to base.  This will give you a longer pepper cup to fill. Be sure to remove the seeds. There is no need to precook or blanch the peppers.

Italian stuffed peppers ready to bake

What kind of peppers work best for Italian stuffed peppers?

Use red, orange, or yellow bell peppers. The sweetness of these peppers adds to the flavor of the dish and colorful peppers look pretty on your plate.  Appetizer-sized stuffed peppers can be made by using the multi-colored mini bell peppers found in most grocery stores.  

Can you substitute ground chicken or turkey in this recipe?  Yes.

More Ground Beef Recipes 

Authentic Italian Stuffed Peppers, American Chop Suey, Taco Pie, Shepherd's PieHere's the link to Nani's Authentic Italian Stuffed Peppers.

This American Chop Suey recipe is a 30-minute meal that both kids and adults like. 

This easy Crustless Taco Pie recipe makes a yummy weeknight dinner.

Everyone loves this simple, homemade Shepherd's Pie recipe

Spicy Stuffed Peppers Recipe

authentic Italian stuffed peppers, Stuffed peppers made with bread
Yield: 20 servings
Author: Donna Urso
Spicy Italian Stuffed Peppers

Spicy Italian Stuffed Peppers

Prep time: 40 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 1 H & 20 M
Spicy Italian stuffed peppers made with ground beef, Italian sausage, and vegetables.



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep-sided pan. Add the squash, eggplant, garlic, and onion. Season with one teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
  2. Saute the vegetables until tender. Remove the vegetables from the pan to cool. Heat the same pan as you cooked the vegetables over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and loose sausage, breaking apart any clumps.
  3. Season with one teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook until the meat is browned and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. Drain the meat mixture and set it aside to cool.
  4. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat slightly to break apart. Mix the squash and meat mixture together. Use the pan you cooked them in for mixing so you can incorporate the brown, flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan into the mixture.
  5. Add the eggs, tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, and crushed red pepper, stirring to combine well. Add the bread crumbs and stir to combine. If the mixture seems dry, add water to moisten.
  6. Generously fill each pepper cup with the stuffing mixture. If making the stuffed peppers ahead for the freezer wrap each stuffed pepper individually in plastic wrap and then package the peppers together in a large zip-closure plastic bag for long-term storage.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Drizzle the peppers with a little olive oil and bake until browned and cooked through, about 40 minutes.
  8. For frozen stuffed peppers, place the frozen stuffed peppers on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops of the peppers generously with extra virgin olive oil. Bake until the tops are browned and the peppers are soft when pierced with a fork, about 45-60 minutes.

Nutrition Facts



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Nutritional information is approximate.

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Make spicy Italian stuffed peppers without rice in the filling

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