Romanian Stuffed Peppers (Ardei Umpluti): Full Deliciousness!

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Stuffed peppers are enjoyed all over the world, they are prepared in many ways with different ingredients.

Romanian stuffed peppers
Romanian stuffed peppers

These tasteful Romanian stuffed peppers in tomato sauce (ardei umpluti) are absolutely delish, a staple recipe in Romanian homes, a summer recipe loved by everyone.

If you didn’t cooked them before, I tell you: it’s a must try. I hope the pictures in this post will convince you. Mind you: they taste even better than they look!

stuffed peppers recipe

This recipe uses sweet yellow Hungarian peppers. They’re stuffed with a combination of ground pork, onion, rice and herbs.

Slowly cooked in a delicious tomato sauce and served with sour cream for even more deliciousness (optional).

Sounds tasty, yet?… Let’s see the ingredients list.


🍅 Ingredients For Romanian Stuffed Peppers

  • Hungarian sweet yellow peppers – but you can use any sweet peppers you have at hand
  • Ground pork (with enough fat, for better taste) – can be substituted with ground beef or use a mix of pork and beef
  • Rice for the filling mixture – I like to use Arborio short-grain rice, but any rice will do
  • Yellow onions – or whatever onions available
  • Fresh herbs – thyme, parsley and dill
  • Ripe tomatoes for a delicious sauce -substitute with canned, puree or passata
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Some bay leaves
  • Sour cream for serving (optional)
  • Cooking oil


🍲 Directions

Well, this recipe require some work and time, but it’s definitely worth it! Cook it in the week-end and make a large batch as I usually do with many meals, to have you covered for at least 2-3 days.

1. Prepare the filling mixture

  • Wash and drain the rice. Let it dry for 5 minutes. Chop 2 onions, 2/3 of the fresh herbs and add them to the ground pork. I put some fresh thyme but also dry thyme for a stronger flavor.
  • Add the rice, salt and black pepper to taste. Mix everything well, cover with cling film and let it rest in the fridge until you prepare the peppers.
peppers being stuffed
how to make stuffed peppers
  • Wash and peel the tomatoes. Cut them in small cubes and set aside.

2. Prep the peppers

  • Wash the peppers and remove their tops. I don’t cut the tops, because I want to make just a small hole.
  • Grab the stem and push it into the pepper with one firm move. Then pull it out slowly and discard the seeds and any membranes that you can. Do this with all the peppers.
  • Get the meat mixture out of the fridge and stuff every pepper as well as you can. To cap them back, use slices of tomatoes. Set aside until you prepare the sauce.

3. Make the sauce

  • Finely chop the remaining onion and saute it on medium heat in 4-5 tbs neutral cooking oil.
  • When it turns golden, add the tomatoes and let them simmer for a little while to reduce their acidity and water. Add salt to your taste and the bay leaves.
prepare tomato sauce

Now it’s time to add the peppers.

4. Cook the peppers

  • Add the stuffed peppers gently into this sauce. Add some hot water so the liquid level goes above half way up the peppers.
  • Lower the heat at minimum and cover the pot with a lid, leaving some space to release the steam. Cook them about 1 – 1 1/2 hours depending on the meat.
cooking stuffed peppers in tomato sauce
  • They are done when the fork goes easily through the meat and the rice is done. Watch them closely and add more hot water from time to time if necessary.
  • Stir occasionally and turn the peppers on all sides, so they can cook evenly.
  • You can cook them in the oven also, covered with aluminum foil for one hour, remove the foil and let them cook another half hour without cover.
stuffed peppers in tomato sauce
stuffed peppers in tomato sauce


🍽️ Serving Romanian Stuffed Peppers

When done, turn off the heat and sprinkle with freshly chopped dill and parsley.

Serve them hot with lots of delicious sauce, sprinkled with more fresh herbs and a dollop of sour cream on top.

And that’s a real delish right here. Enjoy!

Romanian stuffed peppers served with sour cream


Leftovers & Storage

Keep any leftovers in the fridge well covered for about 3-4 days. Reheat as much as you need per serving in the preheated oven for abut 10-12 minutes until warmed through. Add a little water if necessary.



Do you put eggs in stuffed peppers?

Some recipes may call for eggs in stuffed peppers, but this recipe doesn’t use eggs.

What goes well with stuffed peppers?

We eat this stuffed peppers recipe as it is, but if you feel the need for some freshness because of that heavy, meaty filling, you can serve any green salad aside. Pickles are another great choice.

How do I reheat stuffed peppers?

Best method to reheat these Romanian stuffed peppers is in the oven. Add a little water if necessary.

Can you freeze stuffed peppers?

Ultimately you can place cooked peppers in a plastic container and freeze up to 3 months. But I don’t necessarily recommend freezing, they tend to lose their flavor and deliciousness and what will be the point?…


Update 8/18/22: I just cooked them the other day, again. The more tomatoes you can use, the better it tastes. Look at that delicious sauce!

stuffed peppers tomato sauceThey say 1 picture is worth more than 1000 words. I agree.

So, If you cooked and liked this stuffed peppers recipe – rate it, share it with your FB friends or save it on Pinterest for later.

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Romanian Stuffed Peppers (Ardei Umpluti): Full Deliciousness!

Tasty, delicious sweet peppers filled with flavored ground pork and cooked in tomato sauce. A feast for your eyes and all your senses.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Romanian
Keyword: ground meat, stuffed peppers, summer, tomato sauce
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6 people


  • 12 sweet yellow Hungarian peppers
  • 2.2 lbs (1kg) ground pork (preferably with lots of fat)
  • ¾ cup (150g) rice (washed and drained)
  • 3 medium sized onions
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped dill & parsley
  • 4.4 lbs (2kg) fresh ripe tomatoes (can be substitute with passata)
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 4-5 tbsp neutral cooking oil
  • sour cream to serve (optional)


  • Put together the ground meat, the rice, 2 chopped onions, 1 tsp dried thyme and 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley and dill. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well until everything combines together. Cover with some cling film and let it rest in the fridge.
  • Prepare the Hungarian peppers. Wash them and get rid of their tops, seeds and membranes. Wash and peel the tomatoes, chop them in small cubes.
  • Stuff the peppers with the pork mixture and cup them with tomato slices. Set aside and prepare the sauce.
  • Put a large enough pot on the medium heat with 4-5 tbsp cooking oil. Chop the remaining onion and saute until golden. Add the chopped tomatoes and let them reduce their acidity and volume about 10 minutes.
  • Add the bay leaves and salt. Put the stuffed peppers into the sauce. Add some hot water just enough to rise the liquid level above half way up the peppers. Cover partially and let them cook on low heat about 1 to 1 1/2 hour, depending on the meat.
  • Keep an eye on them, stir occasionally and add more hot water if necessary. They are done when a fork goes easily trough the meat and the rice is cooked. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with some fresh herbs.
  • Serve immediately topped with sour cream for more deliciousness.


They can last in the fridge up to 4 days. Add some water when reheating.
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