Italian stuffed cubanelle peppers are a favorite all-in-one dish that's full of flavor and EASY. Cubanelle peppers are stuffed with a garlicky mixture of mild sausage, Arborio rice, Pecorino, and mozzarella cheese, and parsley, topped with marinara and more mozzarella and baked until tender and bubbly.
Stuffed peppers, and other stuffed veggies like sausage stuffed zucchini boats, are always a hit in our home. Rich in flavor and texture, simple to make, and filling enough to count as a complete meal.
We make some variation of stuffed peppers pretty regularly and this version uses cubanelles, also known as Italian frying peppers and sausage.
We also use Arborio rice, however, any white rice will work for this recipe. Stuffed cubanelles are the perfect opportunity to use leftover rice, whether it's homemade rice or even takeout rice, harkening back to the "waste not, want not" idea.
Both my grandmother and mother bestowed that mentality on me at an early age. The pepper and egg sandwich is probably the best example dish of this lifestyle.
Stuffed cubanelle peppers step by step process
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Begin by mincing a ¼ cup of flat-leaf Italian parsley and 6 cloves of garlic. Also, dice 1 medium onion. Preheat your oven to 350f and set the rack to the middle level.
- Slice the tops off of 8 cubanelle peppers. Reach in with your finger or a spoon to remove all of the seeds.
- In a large pan over medium heat, saute 1 pound of bulk Italian sausage. Break it up with a wooden spoon. Once it browns (about 7-10 minutes) place the sausage into a dish and set aside.
- Return the pan to the burner and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the diced onion. Saute for about 5 minutes over medium-low heat then add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes more. If you like a bit of spice, add a pinch of hot red pepper flakes at this time.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add in the sausage, 1 ½ cups of cooked Arborio rice, ¾ cup shredded mozzarella, ½ cup Pecorino Romano, ½ cup marinara sauce, and a ¼ cup of minced parsley. Mix well.
- Pour marinara sauce a ½-inch high into a baking dish. Also, add 1 cup of water into the sauce and mix together. Season the inside of each pepper with a sprinkle of salt and pepper - this is very important! Then, stuff the peppers with the sausage filling and place them down into the dish. Add a bit more sauce over each pepper and distribute the remaining mozzarella. Note: A large 10 by 15 baking dish will fit all of the peppers. I used a smaller dish in the pic above so I had to fit the last one in another dish.
- Puncture a hole into the bottom of each pepper with a toothpick or a sharp knife - this will allow steam to escape while baking. Cover the dish tightly with parchment paper, then foil. Really cover tightly so that the peppers steam and soften while baking. Note: The purpose of the parchment paper is to prevent the cheese from sticking.
- Bake the sausage stuffed cubanelles for 60 minutes covered. Remove the foil and check the peppers. If they are sufficiently tender you can remove them from the oven or continue cooking for 10-15 minutes longer if you want them even softer. If you like, you can broil the top for 30-60 seconds before serving, but watch carefully. Enjoy!
Top tips for stuffed Italian frying peppers
- The sausage. We used bulk sausage for this recipe because it cuts down on time, however, you can definitely make stuffed cubanelles using sausage links. Simply make an incision in the outer casing of the link and remove the filling. Use whatever type of sausage you prefer; spicy pork, fennel, or sweet without fennel would all work well.
- Pepper prep. It's so important to season the inside of the peppers prior to stuffing them. It's a simple quick step, but don't skip it. Your stuffed peppers will taste vastly better if you season them first with salt and pepper.
- Seal in the steam. Make sure you get a good seal when prepping the stuffed cubanelles to go into the oven. We used parchment paper first to prevent the cheese from sticking, and then foil. The tight seal on the foil will help the peppers steam and soften. Additionally, cutting a tiny hole in the bottom of each pepper will allow the steam inside the pepper to release and prevent them from bursting. These may seem like small steps but they do make a difference!
More Italian recipes with peppers
If you love peppers, here are a few of our favorites, some featuring cubanelles also known as Italian frying peppers:
- Sausage and peppers - The classic with just peppers, onions, oregano, and lots of olive oil.
- Calabrian potatoes and peppers - Long hot peppers, onions, and potatoes in this spicy side dish that is full of flavor!
- Stuffed bell peppers - Sweet bell peppers stuffed with sausage, beef, and rice.
- Peperonata - Peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and basil make for a super flavorful spread or side dish!
- Ciambotta - Summer vegetable stew of peppers, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes.
- Spicy pepper bucatini - Tomatoes, Pecorino Romano, bell peppers, long hot and cubanelle peppers make a spicy satisfying sauce.
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- 8 large cubanelle peppers tops cut off and seeds removed
- 5 cups marinara use this recipe or store-bought sauce, divided
- 1 cup water
- 1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese shredded, divided
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice cooked, can sub plain white rice
- ½ cup Pecorino Romano grated
- ¼ cup parsley minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350f and set the rack to the middle level. In a large pan saute the sausage over medium heat until browned (about 7-10 minutes), then remove and set aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add in the olive oil and onions and sautee for 3-5 minutes until softened, then add in the garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes longer. If desired, add the optional hot red pepper flakes at this time and cook for 30 seconds.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sausage, rice, parsley, Pecorino Romano, half the mozzarella cheese, and a ½ cup of marinara sauce. Mix together well and set stuffing aside.
- Pour the marinara sauce a ½-inch high into a large baking dish and add the water. Mix together.
- Season the interior of each pepper with salt and pepper. Stuff the peppers and place them lying flat in the baking dish. Add a thin layer of sauce to the top of the peppers and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.
- Puncture a hole with a knife or toothpick into the bottom of each pepper. This will prevent the peppers from bursting. Cover the baking dish with parchment paper then aluminum foil tightly and bake the peppers for 60 minutes.
- Remove the foil and check the peppers. If they are sufficiently tender you can remove them from the oven or continue cooking for 10-15 minutes longer if necessary. If you like you can broil the top for 30-60 seconds before serving, but watch carefully. Enjoy!
- Use this 15-minute marinara sauce or make your own.
- Seasoning the interior of the peppers is very important so that they come out flavorful and not bland.
- The stuffed pepper's cooking time will vary. If they are not soft enough just let them cook for another 10 minutes or so depending on how tender you like them.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave.
Are you adding the sausage back into the mix during step 3 or...?
Hi there, thank you for pointing this out. I updated the instructions to reflect that in step 5 you'd add the cooked sausage back into the mix. Step 3 is just cooking the sausage.
Amazing! Just made this tonight. It’s a keeper recipe!
Hi Abby, thank you for the comment and so happy you liked this recipe!
These were awesome. The only thing I did different was to grate the cheeses myself. Good job on this. I will try more of your recipes.
Hi Larry, thanks for the comment and so happy you liked this recipe!
DELICH….I like this recipe. I always make them with ground beef (how I make meatballs) and fry them…..
My family enjoyed your recipe. Thank you
Hi Andrea, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed this recipe!
Do you cook the rice first or put it in raw
Hi Laurie, you would use cooked rice for this recipe.
A very good recipe. Never disappoints.
Sometimes steam the pepper for a moment or two to make them pliable for stuffing.
Hi Linda, I'm so happy you like the recipe and thanks for the comment!
Just made these today. Super delicious my mom loved them. Only little thing was a couple spots on the peppers maybe like 2 of them the whole pepper or most of it was still a little tough. Not sure what else I could have done. Baked them for 75 mins on 350 pulled the cover off for the last 25 mins. Maybe put more sauce over them like completely covered in it?
Hey Mike. The time is definitely a rough estimate. If the sauce was drying out for you, you just need to add some more water. That's why in the YouTube video, (not sure if you watched it?), I thinned the sauce with water. An alternative and quicker way to make these or any stuffed peppers is to just par-boil the peppers for a few minutes, then shock them with cold water so that they can be handled and stuffed. I hope this helps.
Hi Jim thanks for the reply! I did watch yes. The sauce was great I added the water no issues there. Just couple peppers were tough in spots is all. Maybe I’ll par boil them next time! Thanks again
Thank you and happy you enjoyed!
This is my third recipe I have made of yours and it was delicious. I’ve never made stuffed peppers with sausage I usually use beef with the rice and I loved it. I like everything I’m the mix. I can’t recommend this enough. I also love using the cubanelle peppers instead of bell peppers too. I made your garlic bread on the side it was also delicious. Thanks.
Hi Sandy, thanks for the comment and I'm so happy you liked the stuffed cubanelles and the garlic bread too!
It was delicious! Will definitely make again - I used hot sausage instead of sweet and red pepper flakes (that’s what I had) and instead of splitting the cheese I added all and sprinkled extra after - thanks!
Hi Michele, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed the recipe!
Can they be frozen?
Hi Darlene, yes, you can freeze these.
Mary jean mullins
Can you use regular green peppers too? Thank you.
Hi Mary Jean, yes you can use green bell peppers.
Hi Jim. I love your videos. I’m 80 and cook every meal for myself everyday. My passion in life. I make one of your recipes every weekend and have never come across one I wouldn’t give a “10”. OMG!! These peppers were amazing!! I parboiled them for 2 minutes, then shocked them in cold water. There was a lot of sauce in the pan when cooked, so I lifted the peppers out and stirred hot cooked penne into the sauce. Then spooned it into dishes and served the peppers on top. My guests were blown away!! You are the best!!
Hi Barbara, thank you for the comment! I'm so happy you enjoy the videos and recipes and that you all enjoyed the stuffed cubanelles! Thanks for watching.
These look Amazing !!! I was looking for a stuffed cubanelle pepper recipe, and this is perfect. I'm making these tonight.
Hi Kristy, thank you for the comment and hope you enjoyed the stuffed peppers!
I made this tonight, it was excellent. I topped with some breadcrumbs at the end rather than mozzarella. Foot note: I picked the peppers out of my garden 🙂 there are still some left even though it is almost Nov.
Hi Tim, I'm so happy you liked the stuffed peppers and that you used your own home-grown peppers! Thanks for the comment!
Love watching your videos on Facebook too 🙂
Thanks, Tim. I appreciate that!
I just made the stuffed cubanelles. They’re in the oven and I’ve a good feeling that they’ll be just as excellent as every other Sip and Feast recipe I’ve tried. I’m a bit concerned, though, because I ended up with enough stuffing for several more peppers. I just added the excess to the baking dish. I’m wondering, though what I did wrong.
Hi Denise, thanks for the comment. Since cubanelles can vary in size it's possible that yours were just a bit smaller than mine leaving you with more stuffing. A little extra stuffing is just fine!
You, of course, were right. The extra stuffing just added to the overall quality. Absolutely delicious.
So happy you liked it, Denise!
Made this tonight. Great recipe this is a keeper
Hi Julie, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed the recipe!
My Sicilian aunt made these peppers with a olive oil packed tuna. I wish I had recipe & knew how to make them. They were out of this world she would call me when she made them for a treat for me unfortunately I never saw them prepared. Help me if you can.
Hi Donna, thanks for the comment. I don't have a recipe for these peppers stuffed with tuna but I'm sure a combination of tuna, capers, olives, and rice would be a great combination to start with.
Omg Jim. Another incredible recipe. Followed to a tee except that I parboiled the peppers for a couple mins based on the comments, but honestly, I don’t think it would have been necessary. (Should have known). I made your marinara sauce too. Don’t think it made 5 cups but it was plenty to cover ten (10) cubanelles. Yum!! Sone of the filling oozes out and mixes with the incredible sauce, which paired with the cubanelle flavor is amazing. Served with radiatore pasta and was so glad I did. A Bastone would have been incredible too.
PS. I’ve tried a pre-grated good pecorino in the past from a local Italian market that makes their own cheese, and I felt it was too strong and that I must not be a pecorino fan, but I wanted to try again, especially since so many of your recipes suggest it over Parmesan. My local Shoprite had an Ambriola brand pecorino romano (Never even heard of it from NJ!) on sale which I grated myself. It was terrific (was snacking on it out of hand) and truly believe it was what made your filling so delish. I am a pecorino convert now.
PPS use your clean hands to easily fill the peppers.
Thanks again for another KEEPER!
Hi Brenda, so happy to hear you enjoyed this one as well! Thanks so much for the comment and kind words!
Just discovered you Jim. Made these Cubanelles today and they came out terrific! I can't stop watching your videos. The are so informative and "regular guy". Thank you so much.
Hi Pete, really appreciate the comment and happy to hear you're enjoying the videos!
I love watching you prepare these delicious dishes
Hi Fayette, I'm so happy you enjoy the recipes, thanks!
Again another great recipe
Hi Adrienne, so happy you enjoyed this one and appreciate the comment!
Amazingly delicious and so very easy to put together. Hubby and I have called this recipe “our new favorite”. My grocery store only had 6 peppers, so I made the 6. The next day I heated the stuffing and put 2 fried eggs on top. Oh boy!! That was so special, too!
Hi Linda, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed these! Great idea to add eggs to the leftover stuffing!
Nice take on stuffed peppers. I never thought of doing it with cubanelles and sausage.
Thanks for the comment, Frank and so happy you enjoyed!