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. 

White baking dish with cooked stuffed cubanelle peppers.


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.

Ingredients shown: cubanelle peppers, onion, garlic, mozzarella, Pecorino, rice, sausage, and toamto sauce.

Stuffed cubanelle peppers step-by-step process

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Begin by mincing a 1/4 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.
Stuffed cubanelle recipe process shot collage group number one.
  1. Slice the tops off of 8 cubanelle peppers.  Reach in with your finger or a spoon to remove all of the seeds.
  2. 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.
Recipe process shot collage group number two.
  1. 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.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the sausage, 1 1/2 cups of cooked Arborio rice, 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, and a 1/4 cup of minced parsley.  Mix well.
Recipe process shot collage group number three.
  1. Pour marinara sauce a 1/2-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.  
  2. 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. 
Recipe process shot collage group number four.
  1. 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

  • 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!
Cooked stuffed cubanelle peppers in baking dish.

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!
  • Italian fried peppers – charred cubanelles and long peppers topped with olive oil and flaky sea salt.
  • Spicy pepper bucatini – Tomatoes, Pecorino Romano, bell peppers, long hot and cubanelle peppers make a spicy satisfying sauce.

If you’ve enjoyed this Italian stuffed cubanelle recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.

We strive to satisfy a number of learning styles.  If you are someone who prefers to learn by watching, you can find most of our recipes on YouTube and our Facebook Page.

Stuffed Cubanelle peppers

5 from 36 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 peppers
Cubanelles stuffed with a garlicky mixture of Arborio rice, sausage, mozzarella, parsley, and Pecorino Romano cheese, topped with marinara and more mozzarella, and baked until bubbly.

Ingredients 

  • 8 large cubanelle peppers tops cut off and seeds removed
  • 5 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice cooked, can sub plain white rice
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano grated
  • 1/4 cup parsley minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • 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 1/2 cup of marinara sauce. Mix together well and set stuffing aside.
  • Pour the marinara sauce a 1/2-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!

Notes

  • Use this easy 15-minute marinara sauce, make your own, or a use store-bought version.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 43.3g | Protein: 19.7g | Fat: 24.9g | Saturated Fat: 7.5g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 836mg | Potassium: 457mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7.9g | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!Check us out on Instagram at @sipandfeast or tag #sipandfeast!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

93 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Excellent instructions and the dish was delicious! I picked up some cubanelles because they looked so good but had no idea what I would do with them. Thank you!

  2. Jim do you think this would work in a crockpot ? Just wondering on a busy day if I could get them ready to bake and then put in the crockpot and let it go til dinner. I could still brown the top before serving but just wanted to know if this would work also. Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Mary Jean, this would probably work in a crockpot. I can’t advise you on timing because I haven’t tested it with a crockpot. Let us know how it turns out!

  3. 5 stars
    Could the rice be substituted with breadcrumbs? I’ve made the recipe as written before and it was excellent, but I don’t have any rice. If substituted with breadcrumbs would it be the same amount as the rice?

    1. Hi there, I’m sure these would be great with breadcrumbs but since I haven’t tested it I can’t say for certain the exact amount. I’d start with about 1 cup of breadcrumbs and see how that works, adding more if needed. Breadcrumbs tend to soak up more liquid and may expand.

  4. Don’t know if there available here, but I will look. I use the yellow-orange-red bell peppers. Don’t care for the green. These are sweeter. Your ingredients about the same as mine. Use ground beef and sweet Italian sausage.My family requests them a lot for the holidays.

  5. I cannot find any Cubanelle peppers anywhere not even by the name of Italian frying peppers. I live in Mn. and have looked in so many different grocery stores (Trader Joe’s, Cub, HyVee, Thyme, Walmart, Target, etc) and nobody has them. They have different Mexican peppers that look just like them however nothing by those 2 names. Am I missing something here? I just don’t understand and don’t want to buy something that’s way hot in taste either.

    1. Hi Laura, these are sometimes called Italian frying peppers, but I lived in MN for 3 years and don’t recall seeing them often while I was there. You could use banana peppers as an alternative, or poblano peppers which are just a touch hotter than cubanelles. Also, you can use bell peppers and I do have a separate recipe for stuffed peppers using bell peppers on the site.

  6. 5 stars
    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!

  7. 5 stars
    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.