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Romanian Stuffed Peppers (Ardei Umpluti)

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Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) recipe is a favorite in many parts of the world. The peppers are easy to make and delicious. Perfect for lunch, or for a great family dinner, stuffed peppers can be served by themselves or right next to mashed potatoes or other vegetables.

Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) are a favorite meal in many parts of the world. They are easy to make and delicious. This is a Romanian recipe.

The recipe that I am going to share with you today is coming from Romania and it is a recipe I grew up with.

I like this recipe with ground pork, but this is not written in stone as you can use ground beef, if you prefer, or a mixture of both.

In my opinion, just like the stuffed cabbage rolls or meatballs the peppers taste better with pork, because of the amount of fat in the meat. If you are a vegetarian, you can definitely still make them only with rice and herbs, but you can also add chopped mushrooms for a protein bonus.

Romanian Stuffed Peppers Ardei Umpluti11

I use either sweet red bell peppers(any color works fine) or Cubanelle, if it is available. I like the red bell peppers because they are sweeter than the dark green ones and less acidic.

The original recipe is made with a type of pepper that resembles the Cubanelle Italian pepper. These peppers are sweet, light green and longer in size than the regular bell pepper we know in the US.

These are the Romanian peppers we use most of the time in our cooking.

They can be also found in the Hungarian  cuisine where they are very popular.

These beauties are filled with ground pork, beef or a mixture of them, rice and herbs, and swim in a delicious tomato sauce.

The dish is baked in the oven, so your house will smell awesome too. You can definitely make them on the stove, but in my humble opinion, baked are much better.

Here is a picture of the Cubanelle peppers I was talking about. I tried to take some pictures on different occasions, so you can see how the stuffed peppers look like when you use different type of peppers :

Cubanelle peppers prepared for stuffing

HOW to MAke THE Romanian STUFFED PEPPERS (ARDEI UMPLUTI):

First, gather the ingredients.

Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) -ingredients

Cut the top of the peppers, remove the seeds and set them aside.

red peppers

Mix the meat with onion, rice, spices and a little bit of water to obtain a paste.

ground meat and rice mixture for Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti)

Finally,  fill the peppers with the meat mixture.

The stuffed peppers already look delicious, don’t you think?

Stuffed peppers

Accommodate the peppers in a baking dish and make a sauce out of tomato paste, water, salt and pepper. Pour that sauce over the peppers.

Stuffed peppers sitting in a baking pan

Cover the pot with a lid, but you can use aluminum foil instead. Place the peppers in the oven and let them cook for about an hour.

When you cook them like that, the peppers take the flavors of the rest of ingredients and end up tasting delicious.

Tip: I took them out of the oven and flipped them on the other side, then placed them back in the oven without a cover. I wanted them to get a nice golden brown color and the sauce to reduce a little bit.

Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti)

This is a picture I took on a different occasion when I used the Cubanelle peppers, much smaller than the bell peppers you saw previously.

Romanian Stuffed Peppers Ardei Umpluti

Here is another time when I also used the left over meat to make few stuffed grape leaves and cook them together with the peppers.

Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) and stuffed grape leaves

They are ready when a fork goes easy through the skin of the pepper and when the meat and rice are cooked inside. Serve them warm with sour cream on top.

Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) with stuffed grape leaves cooking in a pan

Yes, the traditional Romanian stuffed peppers are served with sour cream. Sour cream is used in a lot of Romanian dishes, soups, stuffed cabbage rolls, stuffed grape leaves etc. 

You can also serve some mashed potatoes to this scrumptious dish. My paternal grandmother who lived in Transylvania used to serve them like that. The tomato sauce was also sweet, a traditional way to cook this recipe in that part of the country.

Romanian Stuffed Peppers Ardei Umpluti- close up

You can skip the sour cream, but believe me, you have to try the peppers with it! So much better!

If you noticed, we also don’t add cheese to the top of the peppers. We like them simple, as we really believe that less is better!

Enjoy and drop a note to tell me if you made the recipe and what you thought.

Stuffed peppers (Ardei Umpluti) on the table

Recently, I finally stopped resisting and bought an Instant Pot. I made this recipe in my new kitchen gadget, so I am sharing with you the way I made them:

How To Make Romanian Stuffed Peppers In Instant Pot:

  1. Follow the same steps on filling up the peppers.
  2. Place them in the Instant Pot.
  3. Mix together: 1 cup of water with 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon marjoram or thyme.
  4. Pour this sauce over the peppers.
  5. Close the lid, turn release vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking for 20 minutes on High.
  6. The pot will take about 10-15 minutes for the pressure to build up, which is not included in the 20 minutes cooking.
  7. After peppers are cooked, turn the valve to Quick Release and release the pressure.(it might take about 2 minutes)

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 37 minutes( 15 minutes for the pressure to build up+ 20 minutes Cooking+ 2 minutes Quick Release)

If you have an Instant Pot, I encourage you to try the recipe, especially if you are in a hurry but still want to eat a good meal.

Enjoy!

Suggestions for more Romanian Recipes:

Roasted Pork In Tomato Sauce

Romanian Sauerkraut Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Apple Pie Bars- Romanian Style

Yield: 6 servings

Romanian Stuffed Peppers (Ardei Umpluti)

Stuffed Peppers Ardei Umpluti 2

Stuffed peppers(Ardei Umpluti) are a favorite meal in many parts of the world. They are easy to make and delicious. I like to use any ground meat available, but pork is my favorite. You can use a mixture of beef and pork, or just beef. Rice is also added to the mixture. Perfect for lunch or a great dinner.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1lb/500 g ground pork, beef or a mixture of both
  • 6-7 medium red bell peppers
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4-5 tablespoons white or brown rice
  • 1 bunch of chopped fresh dill
  • 1 bunch of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • To make the sauce:
  • 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups water or enough to cover 3/4 of the peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • sour cream to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the ground meat, rice, onion, dill, parsley, salt and pepper and 4 tablespoons water.
  3. Clean the peppers and cut a hole around the stem removing the seeds.
  4. Fill up the peppers with the ground meat mixture and put them in a baking dish.
  5. Mix the rest of the water, tomato paste, salt, pepper and spices and pour it over the peppers.
  6. Cover the baking dish with a lid or aluminum foil and put the pan in the oven to simmer.
  7. After an hour, take the pan out of the oven and flip the peppers on their other side. Place the pan back in the oven but without a cover.
  8. Let the peppers bake for another 30-45 minutes or until they get golden brown on top and the sauce is reduced a little bit. Taste for salt and pepper again.
  9. The peppers are ready when the fork goes easy through the skin of the pepper and when the meat and rice is cooked inside.
  10. Serve them hot with sour cream on top.

Notes

How To Make Romanian Stuffed Peppers In Instant Pot:

  1. Follow the steps on filling up the peppers.
  2. Place them in the Instant Pot.
  3. Mix together: 1 cup of water with 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon marjoram or thyme.
  4. Pour this sauce over the peppers.
  5. Close the lid, turn release vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking for 20 minutes on High.
  6. The pot will take about 10-15 minutes for the pressure to build up, which is not included in the 20 minutes cooking.
  7. After peppers are cooked, turn the valve to Quick Release and release the pressure.(it might take about 2 minutes)

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 37 minutes( 15 minutes for the pressure to build up+ 20 minutes Cooking+ 2 minutes Quick Release)

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 118Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 376mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 6g

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