Jack-o'-Lantern Stuffed Peppers


Turn orange bell peppers into a satisfying, Halloween-themed dinner with this easy, fun, and kid-friendly stuffed pepper recipe.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins
4 stuffed peppers

This Jack-o'-lantern stuffed pepper will look just as cool no matter how great your filling is. But while the kids might be impressed enough with the appearance to forgive a less than stellar inside, we discerning adults are going to want the full package. What I'm trying to say is that I didn't love this stuffing, and hope you use your favorite recipe instead, whether that's one of ours or not.

I think a lot of it had to do with the extra-lean ground beef I used, but it was also not sautéing the onions and garlic, or adding herbs, or any number of other things I could've done if I hadn't been trying to make the easiest stuffing possible. All things considered, it was still pretty good, but I guess I'm feeling like it wasn't worthy of the hand-carved delivery system.

Speaking of which, be sure to pick out some nice big bell peppers to make the knife work easier. And if you wanted to Halloween things up a bit, you could do some bucatini "worms" coming out of the eyes or mouth or serve these (to adults) with a steak knife plunged into the pepper menacingly. Anyway, if you're looking for a fun and not that frightening way to serve stuffed peppers, I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

four orange bell peppers in a baking dish, carved to look like little jack o' lanterns
Chef John


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 4 large orange bell peppers

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 3 pinches cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • cup thinly sliced green onions

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup cooked rice

  • 2 cups seasoned tomato sauce, warmed


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Oil a baking dish with olive oil.

  2. Use a small knife to cut eyes, nose, and mouth into the flattest side of each pepper, just like a jack-o'-lantern. Cut around the seedpods and remove the tops, trimming and discarding any seeds from under the stems. Trim the white membrane from the inside of each pepper and shake out any seeds. Place in the prepared baking dish.

  3. Mix together ground beef, salt, pepper, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, green onions, melted butter, ketchup, Cheddar cheese, and rice in a bowl until well combined.

  4. Stuff mixture evenly into peppers and cover with the pepper tops. Wrap the baking dish loosely with foil and place on a sheet pan.

  5. Bake in the upper center of the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil and continue baking until peppers are tender and ground beef is cooked through, 10 to 15 more minutes.

  6. Place stuffed peppers on a few tablespoons of warm tomato sauce. Serve immediately with more sauce on the side.

    an orange bell pepper cut to look like a jack o' lantern face in a pool of tomato sauce on a white plate
    Chef John's Jack o' Lantern Stuffed Peppers. Chef John

Chef's Note:

You can use your favorite stuffed pepper filling for this recipe, or even a meatloaf recipe.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

613 Calories
46g Fat
22g Carbs
29g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 613
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 46g 59%
Saturated Fat 22g 110%
Cholesterol 141mg 47%
Sodium 1035mg 45%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 29g
Potassium 787mg 17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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