Hungarian Stuffed Peppers (Töltött Paprika)

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!

hungarian stuffed peppers in white bowl with parsley
Our Hungarian stuffed peppers – and one meatball of yummy filling!

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!

hungarian stuffed peppers and meatball in bowl with parsley
There should be no lack of sauce with these Hungarian stuffed peppers…

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.

hungarian stuffed peppers in red tomato sauce in white bowl
Two Hungarian stuffed peppers and a delicious meatball – ready to be enjoyed!

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!

green pepper held in hand with seeds being cut out
Start by preparing the peppers.

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.

green peppers without seeds on cutting board
We used cubanelle peppers.

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.

rice being rinsed in silver strainer in sink
Rinse your rice before cooking it.

Wash the rice and cook it according to package directions until it is half cooked. Remove it from the pot and let it cool.

bowl of rice egg and mince beside green peppers on cutting board
Prepare the meat-rice-mixture.

Add the ground meat, half cooked rice, and medium-sized egg into a medium sized mixing bowl.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

rice and pork mince blend in clear glass bowl
Mix everything together.

Using your clean hands, mix everything together until well combined.

green pepper held in hand stuffed with pork and rice mixture
Time to stuff the peppers.

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.

raw green hungarian stuffed peppers on plate
Stuffed peppers waiting for cooking.

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.

tomato sauce in pan with onion and celery sticks
Add the ingredients to a large pot with a lid.

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.

hungarian stuffed peppers in pan with tomato sauce and meatballs
Place the stuffed peppers in the pot.

Add the stuffed peppers – and meatballs if you made any – into the pot.

hungarian stuffed green peppers in sauce pan of red tomato broth
Add water to 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.

hungarian stuffed green peppers in pot with tomato sauce
Let everything simmer.

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.

cooked stuffed peppers on plate with meatballs beside
Remove the peppers from the pot.

Once the 1.5 hours are up and the peppers are soft, remove them and the meatballs from the tomato sauce.

fork squeezing juice out of cooked onion over metal strainer
Squeeze out the juice of the celery, onion, and banana peppers.

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.

flour in melted butter stirred by wooden spoon in pot
Make a roux.

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.

roux mixture in metal cooking pot
Wait until it is lightly golden brown.

Sauté the mixture until lightly golden brown. Watch carefully since it can get very dark quite quickly.

sticky roux mixture in bottom of silver pot with wooden spoon beside
Add water.

Then add approx. 2 tablespoons of water to the roux and mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps.

roux in tomato sauce in sauce pan with wooden spoon
Add the roux to the tomato sauce.

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.

hungarian stuffed peppers in red tomato sauce in pan on stove
Add the peppers back to the pot.

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!

Storage Tips

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.

Related Recipes

For more great Hungarian recipes, check out these dinners, snack, and dessert recipes:

hungarian stuffed peppers in white bowl with parsley

Hungarian Stuffed Peppers (Töltött Paprika)

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Hungarian Stuffed Peppers - or Töltött Paprika - are the perfect hearty meal. Made from fresh green peppers stuffed with a seasoned rice and pork blend, these peppers cook in a delicious homemade tomato sauce and can be served with bread or potatoes!

Ingredients

  • 6 cubanelle peppers or green bell peppers
  • 2/3 cup white rice
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 medium-sized egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of 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 oz crushed tomatoes (1/2 can)
  • 4 cups water (approx.)
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ground meat, rice, egg, salt to taste, and black pepper to taste. Mix well.
  4. Stuff the green peppers with the meat-rice-mixture. If there is any left, you can form meatballs.
  5. Wash the celery stick and the banana peppers (optional). Also, peel the onion.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 375Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 560mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 7gSugar: 13gProtein: 22g

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. The exact values can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

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