These Halloween Jack-o-Lantern Stuffed Peppers are a fun treat during the Halloween season, with ground beef, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cauliflower rice stuffed into a bell pepper with a spooky face.
When Halloween rolls around, creativity isn’t just for costumes and decorations; your dinner plate deserves some attention too. Jack-o-Lantern Stuffed Peppers are a brilliant way to get into the spooky spirit without adding extra carbs or calories.
They’re easy to make, and you get to carve a face into a bell pepper—how fun is that? Plus, these stuffed peppers are a balanced meal, filled with a tasty concoction of ground meat, veggies, and spices. You can change it up however you like to suit your preferences.
- Bell peppers – Use whatever color pepper you like. I like orange to make it look like a pumpkin.
- Lean ground beef – You can also use ground turkey or chicken.
- Onion – Yellow, white, or sweet onions are fine.
- Mushrooms – Any type of mushrooms you like can be used. I used button mushrooms.
- Frozen (or fresh) cauliflower rice – In place of the rice that’s often in stuffed peppers, I use cauliflower rice. If you don’t want to add this element, you can make the filling without it.
- Rotel or canned tomatoes with green peppers – Rotel is a nice blend of flavors so I prefer to use it.
- Tomato sauce – You can use tomato passata or even tomato paste, if you don’t have sauce.
- Seasonings: salt, ground black pepper, chili powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes.
- Mozzarella cheese – My favorite cheese for this is Mozzarella, but you can use any shredded cheese you prefer.
- 8×8 or 9×13″ baking dish
- Sharp knife
- Medium skillet
What Peppers to Use
You want orange bell peppers for this recipe to emulate the traditional Halloween pumpkin. They offer a sweet, mild flavor that pairs excellently with the savory stuffing. If you want to mix it up, add in some red peppers too, for more color.
I don’t like to use green bell peppers for this dish. Not only because it’s not very Halloween-like, but because they are more bitter and less sweet than other peppers.
How to Make Halloween Jack-o-Lantern Stuffed Peppers
Kick things off by preheating your oven to 400°F.
Step One: Prep the Peppers
Use a sharp knife to chop off the tops of your peppers. Save those tops; you’ll need ’em later. Get rid of the seeds and membranes. Use a paring knife to cut out faces on one side of each pepper. Don’t toss those cut-out pieces; chop ’em up to use later.
Place the prepared peppers in a baking dish, put their tops back on, and bake for 25 minutes. If you peppers are large or have thick walls you might consider cooking them for 30-35 minutes. It comes down to personal preference. If you like your stuffed peppers to be soft then cook longer. If your peppers don’t stand upright, slice a small part off the bottom to even it out.
Step Two: Cook the Filling
Meanwhile, on your stovetop, set a skillet on medium-high heat. Toss in the ground beef, onions, and the chopped bell pepper pieces. Sauté until the meat is almost cooked. Add mushrooms and frozen cauliflower rice. Cook for 5 minutes.
Mix in the Rotel, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, chili powder, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir until it’s one big happy family.
Step Three: Stuff ’em
Remove the peppers from the oven, fill ’em up with your meat mixture, and sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on top.
Step Four: Bake
Back into the oven they go, without the tops this time, for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melty and the peppers are thoroughly heated.
How to Store Leftovers
To store these peppers, wait until they are completely cooled, then place any leftover stuffed peppers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. After this, they might start to get soggy and lose their texture, so try to eat them within 3 days of storing.
How to Reheat
For reheating, you can use either a microwave, an oven, or an air fryer. If you’re using the oven, preheat it to 350°F and bake the peppers for about 15 minutes. If you’re opting for the microwave, heat them for about 2–3 minutes on high. In the air fryer, you can heat them on 350°F for about 6 minutes, without the need for preheating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use other meats for this recipe?
Absolutely. Feel free to swap out the beef for ground turkey, sweet Italian sausage, or chicken. They’ll work just as well.
What if I don’t have frozen cauliflower rice?
No big deal. You can use regular rice, quinoa, or even couscous. Just make sure to cook it before adding it to the meat mixture.
Is the cheese necessary?
While the cheese adds a nice gooey finish, if you’re dairy-free, you can skip it or use a dairy-free alternative.
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Halloween Jack-o-Lantern Stuffed Peppers
- 4 orange bell peppers
- 1/2 pound (454 g) lean ground beef or turkey or chicken
- 1/2 medium yellow onion diced
- 8 ounces (227 g) mushrooms chopped
- 6 ounce (340 g) bag frozen cauliflower rice
- 10 ounce (284 g) can Rotel or canned tomatoes with green peppers
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) ground black pepper
- 8 ounce (227 ml) can tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) chili powder
- 1/2 tablespoon (3 g) Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup (56 g) mozzarella cheese shredded
- Preheat the oven to 400° F (204° C).
- Using a sharp knife, cut the top off of each bell pepper. Set tops aside. Remove seeds and membranes.
- Use a paring knife to cut a jack-o-lantern face into each pepper. Save the pieces you cut off and chop them to use later.
- Place the peppers in a baking dish with their tops on. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven.
- In a skillet, over medium high heat, add the ground beef, onions, and leftover chopped bell pepper. Saute until the meat is almost cooked through. Add the mushrooms and frozen cauliflower. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the Rotel, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, chili powder, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir well to combine.
- Fill the cooked peppers with the filling. Top with mozzarella cheese.
- Place the stuffed peppers back in the oven without the tops until the cheese is melted and the peppers are warm through, about 10 minutes.
- If peppers don’t stand upright, use the knife to slice a small amount from the bottom to flatten the surface.
- If you peppers are large or have thick sides you might consider cooking them for 30-35 minutes. It comes down to personal preference. If you like your stuffed peppers to be soft then cook a little longer.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Laura is dedicated to a low-carb lifestyle after losing 52 pounds on the keto diet. As many of us do, she struggles with her weight and has found that one of the only diet lifestyles that allows her to maintain a healthy weight is a low-carb diet. She shares her favorite low-carb recipes here that are both easy to make and full of flavor, so you don’t even miss the carbs.