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Kids and adults alike will love these Halloween stuffed peppers! With funny faces and a savory filling, these come together as easily as my stuffed tomatoes and chicken stuffed peppers, but make a delicious dinner to eat before a night of trick or treating. Plus, jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers use simple ingredients that you can easily customize!
Why You’ll Love These Halloween Stuffed Peppers
- Savory, meaty taste
- Hearty ground meat with tender rice and beans
- Easy-to-find ingredients
- 15 minutes of hands-on time
- Naturally gluten-free
- The best fun and healthy dinner for Halloween!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for stuffed Halloween peppers, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Orange Bell Peppers – Since these are jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers, the orange color helps them look more like pumpkins. However, any color will still work with the recipe!
- Olive Oil – I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil, but use any neutral cooking oil you like.
- Aromatics – Yellow onion and minced garlic. Any color onion can work. Although fresh minced garlic improves the flavor, you can also use jarred minced garlic to save time.
- Ground Turkey – Like my ground turkey soup, this recipe uses ground turkey, but if you prefer, you can easily substitute lean ground beef or ground chicken in your Halloween stuffed peppers.
- Cooked Rice – You can use conventional rice, brown rice, or even cooked cauliflower rice for a lower carb option.
- Black Beans – The flavor in black beans tastes great here, but you can easily swap in pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, or even chickpeas (use the extra for my roasted chickpeas recipe!).
- Tomato Sauce – Not to be confused with marinara sauce! This is the plain canned sauce made from tomatoes only.
- Seasonings – Dried oregano, dried basil, sea salt, and black pepper.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese – For added flavor and locking in moisture, so the filling doesn’t get too dry in the oven. You can use any shredded cheese you prefer, as long as it melts easily. You could also omit the cheese for a dairy-free option, but you may need a bit more tomato sauce or other liquid to avoid a dry filling.
How To Make Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers
This section shows how to make stuffed jack-o-lantern peppers, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Prep peppers. Slice tops off the peppers with a sharp paring knife, remove ribs and seeds, and cut a jack o’lantern face into one side of each pepper. Place peppers upright in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Saute aromatics. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent.
- Brown meat. Add ground meat and garlic. Cook until browned.
- Finish filling. Add cooked rice, beans, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Cook until the rice absorbs the sauce. Remove the stuffing from heat.
TIP: Cook time will vary depending on the rice.
If using cauliflower rice, it will absorb the sauce faster.
- Assemble. Scoop rice into each pepper. Top with cheese.
- Bake. Pour water in the bottom of the baking dish. Bake Halloween stuffed peppers until cheese melts and exterior begins to soften.
TIP: Why add water?
The water added to the baking dish helps the peppers steam and soften.
- Get creative with carving – Carve these “pumpkins” however you like! Be sure to leave enough room at the bottom to keep water from seeping in, and carve faces small enough to keep filling from spilling out.
- Add other veggies – Zucchini, carrots, peas, or any finely chopped vegetables would work well in the filling mixture. Use your favorites, just be sure they are cooked first.
- Re-purpose the filling – Got more filling left? Use it to stuff other vegetables and make stuffed zucchini, tomatoes, or mushrooms… or simply serve it as a side dish!
- Make Halloween stuffed peppers vegetarian – Replace meat with two 15-oz cans of beans (using a total of 3 cans, or 45 ounces, in the recipe). If preferred, substitute the meat for an equivalent amount of a meatless ground protein substitute.
- Store: Keep leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Meal prep: You can prepare filling ahead of time for Halloween stuffed bell peppers and store until ready to use, or make filling and assemble peppers ahead of time. When ready, simply bake!
- Reheat: Heat in a microwave or 350 degree F oven, until hot.
- Freeze: Cool, cover, and store peppers in the freezer for 2-3 months. While you can bake them from frozen, it’s better to thaw them overnight in the fridge before reheating, which will prevent overcooking.
What To Serve With Halloween Stuffed Peppers
If you make stuffed peppers for Halloween, you can easily enjoy them on their own without anything. (I’m all about simplicity on Halloween night!) But if you want to add something, try them alongside these easy dishes:
- Appetizers – Make easy Halloween deviled eggs or a simple Halloween charcuterie board to round out the spooky theme.
- Seasonal Salads – Brussels sprout salad, sweet kale salad, or creamy broccoli cranberry salad would make perfect fall pairings with these peppers.
- Stovetop Vegetables – While peppers bake, use the stovetop to make a batch of sauteed mushrooms, sauteed cabbage, or sauteed zucchini.
- Easy Air Fryer Sides – Air fry cauliflower, make air fryer brussels sprouts, or air fryer broccoli while you have the Halloween stuffed peppers in the oven, so your meal is ready all at the same time.
- Healthy Halloween Treats – Sugar-free peanut butter cups or sugar-free gummy bears are both so fun, minus the sugar crash! (I only use natural sweeteners for them.)
More Healthy Stuffed Pepper Recipes
Stuffed peppers make one of the best easy and healthy dinners. You can turn any of these into Halloween stuffed peppers by cutting jack-o-lantern faces in them:
Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers
Halloween Stuffed Peppers (Jack-O-Lantern)
Halloween stuffed peppers (a.k.a. jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers) make a cute, festive, and healthy holiday dinner, with simple ingredients!
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent.
Stir in rice, black beans, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until the rice starts to absorb the sauce. (This will happen faster with cauliflower rice.) Remove from heat.
Scoop a heaping amount of the rice filling into each pepper. Top each with an equal amount of shredded cheese.
Pour 1 1/2 cups of water in the bottom of the baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the peppers begin to soften.
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Serving size: 1 stuffed pepper
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