These Delicious Hungarian Stuffed Peppers Make The Perfect Dinner!
Searching for a great stuffed pepper recipe? Try these Hungarian stuffed peppers!
More commonly known as töltött paprika in Hungarian (literally stuffed peppers), these green Cubanelle peppers are loaded with a delicious rice and pork blend.
The stuffed peppers are then cooked and served in a simple yet well-spiced tomato sauce. The peppers and sauce pair really nicely with potatoes and/or bread!
We’ve got a number of Hungarian recipes on this site – courtesy of Eric’s grandmother. However, this stuffed paprika recipe was something he didn’t grow up enjoying.
In fact, this Hungarian stuffed peppers recipe was graciously shared with us by a good friend with Hungarian heritage.
Word has it this recipe for stuffed peppers was his Nagymama’s (grandma’s) recipe and it’s been passed down through the generations. We’re so grateful we get to share these stuffed Hungarian peppers with others!
When making these traditional stuffed peppers, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Firstly, there are many different types of European stuffed peppers, so don’t be surprised if this recipe is quite similar or quite different from one that you may know!
You can use green bell peppers but we used green Cubanelle peppers. You can also use another color of pepper but green isn’t too sweet so you really taste the tomato and filling.
The biggest point of debate for most stuffed pepper recipes is what ratio the filling should be rice to meat.
This recipe below used more rice than meat but you can absolutely change this to suit your needs.
As we will point out when we make cabbage rolls (as made differently by two sides of Eric’s family), there’s a reason there’s more rice in the pepper stuffing.
Back in the old days, meat was expensive. So, to make the filling more “filling”, rice was substituted.
Of course, every family recipe is going to be different – and there will of course be differences by region or by country. Let us know in the comments below what ratio you used!
Remember to make some meatballs with any leftover filling you have so that none goes to waste. The meatballs cook up wonderfully in the tomato sauce, too!
How to Make Hungarian Stuffed Peppers – Step-by-Step
If you’re want to make Hungarian stuffed peppers, you can check out the stuffed peppers recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact measurements.
For those wanting a little more step by step instructions, you can follow the recipe process photos below.
This way, you’ll have an idea of how your stuffed peppers look compared to our recipe!
First, wash the green peppers and cut the tops off. Then remove the middle section including the seeds.
Give the peppers a second rinse to remove all of the seeds. Then set the peppers aside.
This is what our peppers looked liked after we cleaned them.
You can definitely also use green bell peppers if you can’t find cubanelle peppers. Those will be easier to stuff, too.
Wash the rice and cook it according to package directions until it is half cooked. Remove it from the pot and let it cool.
Add the ground meat, half cooked rice, and medium-sized egg into a medium sized mixing bowl.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Using your clean hands, mix everything together until well combined.
Then stuff the green peppers with the meat-rice-mixture.
It’s easiest if you take a little bit at a time and push it in with two fingers.
If you have any mixture left, you can form meatballs with it.
Of course depending on the size of your peppers, you might use more or less stuffing.
As you can see in the photo above, some of our cubanelle peppers were quite small so we had some meat-rice-mixture left over. So we just made some meatballs with it.
Wash the celery stick and hot banana peppers (optional). Also peel your onion.
You can cut your celery stick into halves or thirds if it is too big, but don’t chop any of the vegetables into small pieces!
Place the celery stick, onion, banana peppers and crushed tomatoes in a large pot with a lid. Also add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Add the stuffed peppers – and meatballs if you made any – into the pot.
Now add enough water to the pot to almost fully cover the contents. In our case that’s usually around 4 cups, but it might me more or less for you.
Bring everything to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low.
Place the lid on top of the pot and let the mixture simmer for around 1.5 hours.
You can turn the peppers and meatballs a couple of times during this time.
Once the 1.5 hours are up and the peppers are soft, remove them and the meatballs from the tomato sauce.
Also remove the celery stick, onion, and banana peppers (optional). Squeeze out the juice.
If you can’t touch the vegetables with your hands, place them in a strainer and use a fork or spoon to squeeze out the juice into the pot.
Then discard the sequeezed celery, onion, and banana peppers.
In a small pot, make a light roux by melting one tablespoon of butter.
Then add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until there are no flour lumps.
Sauté the mixture until lightly golden brown. Watch carefully since it can get very dark quite quickly.
Then add approx. 2 tablespoons of water to the roux and mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps.
Add the roux to the tomato sauce and mix well. Bring the sauce to a low boil and whisk regularly so that there are no lumps.
Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened. Then add a pinch of sugar (to bring out the tomato flavor) and salt to taste.
If you don’t want to make a roux, you can also dissolve a little bit of cornstarch in some water and add that to the tomato sauce. Just make sure to mix well so that there are no lumps.
Once the sauce has thickened, place the peppers and meatballs back in the pot and let them simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
You can serve these Hungarian stuffed peppers with potatoes and/or bread.
Enjoy this Hungarian stuffed pepper recipe – and remember, you can always adjust the meat-rice-ratio if you want more meat!
If you don’t eat all the stuffed peppers at once, you can store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They last for around 2 days.
For more great Hungarian recipes, check out these dinners, snack, and dessert recipes:
- Chicken Paprikash – An authentic take chicken paprika with Nokedli dumplings
- Lángos – Deep-fried dough covered in cheese and garlic spread!
- Hungarian Apple Pie – Mama’s “apple squares” make the perfect dessert
- Hungarian Goulash – A recipe for the soup that is the national dish of Hungary!
Hungarian Stuffed Peppers (Töltött Paprika)
- 6 cubanelle peppers or green bell peppers
- 2/3 cup white rice
- 1/2 pound ground pork, more if preferred
- 1 medium-sized egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 celery stick
- 1 small onion or 1/2 large onion
- 1-2 hot banana peppers, optional
- 14 ounces crushed tomatoes, 1/2 can
- 4 cups water, approximately
- a pinch of sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons water
- Wash the peppers, cut the top off, and remove the middle section including seeds. Give the peppers a second rinse to remove the rest of the seeds.
- Wash the rice and add it to a small pot. Add water according to package directions and cook the rice until it is half cooked. Let it cool.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ground meat, rice, egg, salt to taste, and black pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Stuff the green peppers with the meat-rice-mixture. If there is any left, you can form meatballs.
- Wash the celery stick and the banana peppers (optional). Also, peel the onion.
- Place the celery stick (you can cut it in half or thirds if it is too big), whole onion, and banana peppers (optional) into a large pot. Add the crushed tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Add the stuffed peppers – and meatballs if any – into the pot. Add sufficient water to almost fully cover the contents. In our case, that’s approx. 4 cups of water. Depending on the size of your pot and the size of the peppers, it might be more or less for you.
- Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Place a lid on the pot and let it simmer for around 1.5 hours. You can turn the peppers a couple of times during this time.
- Once the stuffed peppers are soft, remove them from the pot. Also remove the celery stick, onion, and hot peppers and squeeze out the juice. If it’s too hot to touch them with your hands, you can place the vegetables in a strainer and then press down with a fork or spoon to squeeze the juice out. Discard the squeezed celery, onion, and banana peppers.
- In a small pot, make a light roux by melting one tablespoon of butter and adding the flour to it. Mix well with a wooden spoon until there are no flour lumps left and sauté the mixture until lightly brown. Add approx. two tablespoons of water to the roux and mix thoroughly.
- Add the roux to the pot of tomato sauce and whisk well. Bring the tomato sauce to a low boil and whisk regularly until there are no lumps left. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes until it has thickened. Add a pinch of sugar and salt to taste.
- Placed the stuffed peppers (and meatballs) back in the pot of tomato sauce. Let them simmer for 2-3 minutes. You can serve the stuffed peppers with potatoes and/or bread.
- The rice to meat ratio is often going to be different between recipes. This is sometimes dependent on the family recipe and how much money they had in the past (meat was expensive so more rice was used to make it filling). You can always modify the ratio to include more meat to suit your tastes.
- To help ensure the peppers are as full as can be, take a little bit of meat-rice mixture at a time and push it down into the pepper as far as it will go with two fingers.
- If you don’t feel comfortable making a roux, you can also just dissolve some cornstarch in a little bit of water and add that to the tomato sauce. This will also thicken the tomato sauce. Just remember to whisk well to avoid lumps.
This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.
2 thoughts on “Hungarian Stuffed Peppers (Töltött Paprika)”
I would think it’s possible to make the stuffed peppers in a crockpot but I haven’t tried it yet and can’t give any recommendations as for how long it would take. If you try it out, let me know how it goes! /Lisa
I learned this the hard: make sure you stuff right to the bottom of the pepper or it balloons to the top!!