Can I Use Uncooked Rice In Stuffed Peppers? Why Cooked Rice Is Better

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Stuffed peppers in a plate with a text "uncooked rice in stuffed peppers"

The internet contains many recipes for stuffed peppers that call for uncooked rice. But stuffing peppers with uncooked rice often creates mushy peppers or crispy rice. Using cooked rice in stuffed peppers is a much better choice.

Uncooked rice in stuffed peppers typically doesn’t have enough time or enough moisture to cook thoroughly. Partially or fully cooking rice before making stuffed peppers creates a tasty dish with a great texture. Cook the rice by boiling or toasting so the grains begin to soften. Or, soak the rice for 30 minutes before adding it to the recipe.

Can I Use Uncooked Rice In My Stuffed Peppers?

Uncooked rice isn’t the best choice when it comes to stuffed peppers. It can be challenging to cook the rice thoroughly without overcooking the peppers. Cooked or partially cooked rice makes a better addition to stuffed peppers.

White rice takes 20-30 minutes to cook, while brown rice takes at least 40 minutes. Pairing peppers with brown rice will almost always yield mushy peppers and crunchy rice. Pairing them with white rice is a better choice. But, white rice still needs adequate moisture to cook through. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Didn’t My Rice Cook In My Stuffed Peppers?

If you find your rice didn’t cook in your stuffed peppers, it’s likely one of two reasons:

  1. It didn’t have enough time to cook through.
  2. There wasn’t enough moisture for the grains to absorb.

I prefer to avoid risking undercooked rice, so I use either fully cooked or mostly cooked rice in my stuffed peppers. 

Do I Have To Use Fully-Cooked Rice In My Stuffed Peppers?

No, you don’t have to use fully cooked rice. Stuffed peppers are a great way to use up leftover rice. But you can help your rice begin to cook with the suggestions below. 

Toast Your Rice In A Skillet 

Add two tablespoons of oil or butter to a small skillet. Add the amount of rice your recipe calls for. Lightly toast the rice for 5 minutes, stirring often. Once the rice is golden brown, it’s ready to add to your peppers.

Soak Your Rice

Add rice to a bowl and fill with water. Let the rice soak for 30 minutes or as long as you can. The rice grains will absorb the liquid and soften, making them cook faster. 

Boil On The Stove

Rinse and drain the rice. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice and cook until just tender. For white rice, this takes about 15 minutes. Drain the rice and add to your recipe.

What Can I Do If My Rice Didn’t Cook?

If your rice didn’t cook through, follow these steps:

  1. Scoop out the filling and add it to a skillet. 
  2. Add ½ cup to 1 cup of liquid, depending on how crunchy your rice is. 
  3. Simmer gently until the rice is cooked. This will take between five and fifteen minutes, depending on the rice. 
  4. Add the filling back to the peppers. No one needs to know!

Delicious Crockpot Mexican Stuffed Peppers

These peppers come together quickly and will be waiting for you when it’s time to eat! I like the spiciness of pepper jack cheese, but cheddar cheese also makes a tasty stuffed pepper and isn’t as spicy.

Ingredients of delicious crockpot mexican stuffed peppers.

Serves 4


  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 7 oz can of tomato sauce (or half of a 15 oz can) 
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional, if you like heat)
  • 4 slices of pepper jack or cheddar cheese, plus a bit more for topping
  • 4-6 medium bell peppers, any color


  1. Cut the tops off of the peppers and scrape out the insides. Chop the tops into small pieces and set aside.

Trim the tops of the peppers and remove their inner contents with knife.
Bell peppers and it's tops chopped into small pieces.
  1. Cook the ground beef or turkey in a medium skillet. 
Ground beef in a medium skillet.
  1. Once mostly cooked, add the rest of the ingredients except for the cheese and peppers. Add the reserved chopped pepper tops.
Ground beef cooked in a pan.
  1. Mix well, and bring the mixture to a simmer. 
Other ingredients added to the ground beef in a pan.
  1. Place the peppers in a crockpot and fill with the skillet mixture. I like to fill so each pepper is heaping. 
Pepper filled with the skillet mixture.
  1. Sprinkle cheese on top of each pepper and pour ⅓ cup of water into the bottom of the crockpot–just enough to cover the bottom.
Cheese added on the top.
  1. Turn the crockpot on high and cook for 3-4 hours or until the peppers are tender. 
  2. Remove the lid and sprinkle with more cheese, if desired. 
Stuffed peppers in a bowl.
  1. Serve.

Don’t have a crockpot? Cook in a 9X13 pan covered with foil for 30 minutes at 350° F. Remove the foil and sprinkle the peppers with more cheese. Let the peppers cook for an additional 10 minutes. 

Note: if your peppers are small and you have filling left over, store it in the fridge. It makes a great me by itself, topped with some cheese! 

Final Thoughts

Uncooked rice isn’t the best addition to cooked peppers. Use mostly or fully cooked rice for better texture. 

Sarah Pearce Avatar


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