Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers is a set it and forget it dinner that pressure cooks in only 10 minutes. Bell peppers are stuffed with beef and uncooked rice, then pressure cooked in a tomato, pomegranate and garlic sauce. This one pot dinner is easy to make and can be eaten as a full meal.
This Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers recipe has been passed down and perfected over many generations. Traditionally it was slow simmered on the stove and served as a one pot, full course dinner. It is similar and just as delicious as pressure cooked stuffed cabbage rolls.
But with modern times comes modern kitchen gadgets. I've converted the original recipe that takes nearly 2 hours to it's Instant Pot version that takes just 45 minutes!
In this recipe, peppers are stuffed with rice, ground beef or lamb, crushed tomatoes and allspice. Then they are pressure cooked in an incredibly delicious and simple tomato-mint-garlic-pomegranate broth.
This recipe is likely different than any other stuffed bell peppers you've made, and you won't be disappointed!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It uses uncooked rice— it's the best part about it! Unlike other stuffed pepper recipes that require you to cook the rice first or already have extra in your fridge. With this pressure cooker stuffed pepper recipe, you can pull rice right out of your cabinet and add it to the meat stuffing.
- Make it in 6 quart, 8 quart, and 10 quart pressure cookers. Depending on the size of your peppers, you may fit less peppers in a 6 quart pot. 10 quart pots may fit more peppers.
What To Serve With Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make this Instant Pot stuffed pepper recipe you need:
- Ground beef or lamb: this recipe is traditionally made with lamb, but since it can be more expensive and harder to find than beef, beef works just as good.
- Green bell peppers: you can use other colored peppers if you desire, but the recipe will turn out a bit sweeter.
- White rice: it should be long grain and uncooked, specifically parboiled rice for the best results. It will cook better than regular white rice. It also has a better nutritional profile. If you have parboiled rice, I recommend using it! Do not substitute with brown rice as the cook time is longer.
- Tomato sauce: plain tomato sauce, not seasoned or specialty sauce.
- Crushed tomatoes: plain and unseasoned. Diced tomatoes are an acceptable substitution but you may want to mash them up a little bit.
- Mint: dried or fresh both work but I like fresh mint better here. You should triple the amount of fresh mint, to 9 tablespoons.
- Allspice: a popular ingredient in many Middle Eastern dishes- don't skip it!
- Pomegranate molasses: this is also used in many Middle Eastern recipes. It thickens and slightly sweetens sauces and broths. It can be found at global food markets or ethnic sections of your local grocery store depending on your location. It can be found on Amazon or you can make your own. It's easy and lasts indefinitely!
- Garlic: fresh mashed garlic tastes the best.
There are 2 methods to making it: pot-in-pot and using a trivet or silicone sling.
The method you use is a personal preference, but I'll give you my tips for each.
With the pot-in-pot method, the peppers are stuffed and placed into cake pans which are put on top of trivets. The broth is poured into the cake pans (with extra falling to the bottom of the inner pot).
You can make more peppers with PIP, as it allows you to stack them. Two cake pans can make 8-10 stuffed peppers.
PIP makes it a little easier to remove the peppers, which become very fragile once cooked. Simply lift the trivets with the cake pans out of the inner pot. Another option is to remove the peppers from the cake pans with tongs.
Trivet or Sling Method
In this method, the peppers are stuffed and placed directly onto a trivet or silicone sling in the bottom of the pressure cooker. The broth is poured on top and pressure cooked as instructed. In an 8 quart pot, you can fit 5-6 peppers with this method.
I don't recommend stacking the peppers on top of each other, as they become soft when cooked. If stacked you risk the second layer of peppers falling and spilling into the broth.
If you're worried the peppers will fall off when removing the trivet, use tongs or 2 wooden spoons placed under each pepper. They will be heavy and need bottom support when lifted. Using a sling is a better option than a trivet, as you'll be able to lift it out of the inner pot without the peppers sliding off.
STEP 1: Cut the tops off of the peppers, wash, and remove seeds from inside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef or lamb, uncooked rice, allspice, crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix well.
STEP 2: In another bowl combine the water, tomato sauce, pomegranate molasses, crushed garlic, mint, and remaining salt and pepper. Stir well.
STEP 3: Fill peppers with the meat mixture, leaving about ½ inch of space at the top. Follow the steps below for the method you are using.
STEP 4 (TRIVET/SLING): Put a trivet or silicone sling into the inner pot and arrange stuffed peppers tightly against each other in a single layer. Pour the broth on top of the peppers, letting the extra fall to the bottom of the pot. Pour in additional water so that the broth just about covers the peppers.
STEP 4 (POT-IN-POT): Arrange the peppers in 2 cake pans. Place a trivet on the bottom of the inner pot along with 1 cup of water. Put 1 cake pan on top of the trivet and pour half of the broth into the cake pan and on top of the peppers. Add extra water so that the sauce just about covers the peppers. Place another trivet on top and put the second cake pan of peppers on it. Pour the remaining broth into the top cake pan and on to the peppers, adding extra water so the broth almost covers the peppers.
STEP 5: Close and seal the lid. Set to pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. Naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes, then complete a quick release of the remaining pressure.
STEP 6: Remove the stuffed peppers immediately by lifting out the sling or tivet, using tongs, or using 2 wooden spoons. Be careful to support the bottom of the peppers so they do not rip.
To serve, pour extra broth on top of peppers and enjoy with your favorite side salad or bread.
You do not need to decrease or increase the ingredient amounts for the broth, regardless of your Instant Pot size, only the amount of peppers and stuffing. Once the concentrated broth is made, you'll just add enough water to almost cover the peppers so only the amount of water used will vary.
How To Store
Instant Pot stuffed peppers are fridge and freezer-friendly.
Fridge: cover and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezer: wrap tightly in plastic and store in freezer bags for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge. The peppers will retain moisture and lose it as they defrost. Squeeze them gently between a paper towel before reheating.
Reheating: to reheat evenly, slice them in half and reheat in the microwave, toaster, or air fryer.
Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers
- 6 green bell peppers
- 1 ½ lbs ground lamb or beef
- 1 cup uncooked white rice parboiled preferred
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 3 teaspoon allspice
- 2 ½ teaspoon salt divided
- 1 teaspoon pepper divided
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 2 cups water
- 6 garlic cloves crushed
- 9 tablespoon fresh mint chopped, or 3 tablespoon dried mint
- Cut the tops off of the peppers, wash, and remove seeds from inside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef or lamb, uncooked rice, allspice, crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix well.
- Make the broth by combining the water, tomato sauce, pomegranate molasses, garlic, mint and remaining salt and pepper. Stir well.
- Fill peppers with the meat mixture, leaving about ½ inch of space at the top. Follow the steps below for the method you are using.
- Pour 2 cups of water into the inner pot. Follow the steps below for the method you are using.
- Trivet/Sling Method: Put a trivet or silicone sling into the inner pot and arrange stuffed peppers tightly against each other in a single layer. Pour the broth on top of the peppers, letting the extra fall to the bottom of the pot. Pour in additional water so that the broth just about covers the peppers.
- Pot-In-Pot Method: Arrange the peppers in 2 cake pans. Pour 1 cup of water into the inner pot and place a trivet on the bottom. Put 1 cake pan on top of the trivet and pour half of the broth into the cake pan and on top of the peppers. Add extra water so that the sauce just about covers the peppers. Place another trivet on top and put the second cake pan of peppers on it. Pour the remaining broth into the top cake pan and on to the peppers, adding extra water so the broth almost covers the peppers.
- Close and seal the lid. Set to pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. Naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes, then quickly release remaining pressure.
- Remove the stuffed peppers immediately by lifting the sling/trivet, using tongs or 2 wooden spoons. Be careful to support the bottom of the peppers so they do not rip.
- To serve, pour extra broth on top of peppers and enjoy with your favorite side salad or bread.
Can you use a 3 quart instant pot for the stuffed peppers
Yes, just make sure to adjust the ingredients accordingly so you don't fill the pot above the "max fill" line.
I'm not a big fan of stuffed peppers but this recipe definitely changed my mind! Don't skip on the pomegranate molasses as it definitely adds to the flavor.
Thank you for this really easy, tasty recipe. It’s a hit with my whole family. I follow the exact recipe but I like to fry the outside of the pepper so it’s a bit burnt. slice potatoes and shallow fry them till outside golden. I put on the bottom of the pan the potatoes, the tops of the pepper (stalk removed) and the inside of an onion. As I love to have stuffed onions. If any filling left over I just stuff it around the pepper, onion and today a stuffed aubergine. Thank you again
That sounds incredible, Nicky! I am glad you're enjoying these stuffed peppers. They are one of my favorites too!
Where do you find pomegranate molasses? I cannot find it in my grocery store. Is there anything I can substitute?
Hi Hillary- there isn't a direct substitute, or anything that will really give you that comparable flavor. You should be able to find it on Amazon if you can't find it locally. In a pinch, use lemon juice and honey. The lemon juice will give some flavor and acidity, and the honey will balance it out with sweetness. I'd say to substitute equal parts honey and lemon juice for the same amount of pomegranate molasses. For instance, 3 tablespoons honey and 3 tablespoons lemon juice per 3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses. But again, you won't get the full flavor of the recipe without the pomegranate molasses so if you can order it online and wait a few days, I think it would be worth it 🙂 -Kristina
This is so much easier and faster than cooking in the oven!
I love that its a quick recipe and filling!
Thanks for all of the helpful tips! Cannot wait to make this in my instant pot!