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Stuffed Italian Frying Peppers - A Family Feast

Say the words “stuffed peppers” and I would guess that most people think of the version with ground beef and rice stuffed into green bell peppers. Today’s recipe – these Stuffed Italian Frying Peppers – are something totally different and totally delicious!

These Stuffed Italian Frying Peppers are a traditional recipe made using Marconi peppers – long, narrow, sweet Italian frying peppers with a distinctive smoky flavor. (Cubanelle peppers will also work in this recipe.)

Stuffed Italian Frying Peppers - A Family Feast

The Stuffed Italian Frying Peppers are filled with a savory and super flavorful mixture of Italian bread, tomato sauce, black olives, anchovy paste, Romano cheese, garlic, basil and parsley. Next, the stuffed peppers are fried briefly in oil, then baked in the oven smothered in tomato sauce until cooked through.

One bite of these delicious Stuffed Italian Frying Peppers – and you’ll think you’ve been transported to a kitchen in Italy!

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Stuffed Italian Frying Peppers - A Family Feast

Stuffed Italian Frying Peppers

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 810 Italian frying peppers such as Marconi or Cubanelle (about ½ pound)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces in weight of Italian bread, crusts removed and cut into cubes
  • 3 cups Italian tomato sauce, divided (see here) or purchased
  • 25 pitted oil cured black olives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste or 6 anchovy filets mashed fine
  • ½ cup Romano cheese grated, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil for frying


  1. Wash peppers, trim off tops and using a teaspoon, dig out seeds and ribs. Rinse and let dry.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, over medium heat, place the two tablespoons of olive oil and once hot, place cubed bread into oil and toss and cook to brown, about 5-10 minutes. Remove toasted bread and any oil to a large bowl. The skillet will be used later in this recipe.
  3. Pour one cup of tomato sauce over the cooked bread and squish it into the bread with your hands or use a heavy whip. The mixture should be completely mixed to a mushy finish.
  4. Add olives, anchovy paste, Romano, garlic, basil, parsley and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Divide filling between the peppers, pressing the stuffing in to the end. OK if a little hangs out.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (Note: most Italian pepper recipes don’t finish in the oven and are cooked entirely on the stove top. I think they get too dark doing it that way so I cook half on the stove to brown and finish in the oven to cook through.)
  7. Using the same cast iron skillet as before, heat the ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat.
  8. Dry the outside of the peppers of any water so they don’t splatter when cooking.
  9. Once the oil is hot, cook the peppers in the hot oil in two batches. Turn and cook until each batch is browned, about 15 minutes each. You may still need a splatter screen.
  10. Pour one cup of sauce into a casserole dish large enough to fit all of the peppers.
  11. As each batch is cooked, transfer to the prepared casserole dish and once the dish is full, cover with the remaining cup of sauce.
  12. Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes or until heated through.
  13. Serve with additional grated Romano cheese.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Stuffed Italian Frying Peppers - A Family Feast

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  • VICKI STOVER wrote:

    LOVED this recipe and I made the homemade sauce mentioned too! I’ve made it twice now.
    The difference that I did was I broiled the peppers and then put in a bag to steam off the skins. Takes no time at all
    and gives a little bit smokier flavor (?) Much easier to eat, but harder to stuff! Worth it!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the suggestion Vicki!

  • Dawn S wrote:

    This was absolutely delicious! Love that it is vegetarian too! My garden produced a ton of cubanelle peppers and this was the perfect recipe for them.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Dawn!

  • MaryLou Pepe wrote:

    This is the first time that I have ever seen a recipe this close to my own family recipe of “Bread filled Italian Frying Peppers”. Did this recipe come down in your family? And from where in Italy did your family come? My mother came from a little town in the mountains near Benevento., Compania. Except for anchovies which I do not use , all the ingredients are the same as the ones that I make.

    • Jack wrote:

      Hi MaryLou

      Holy smokes, just got a chill. My great grandfather was a blacksmith in Avellinno which is a town in the Campania region of Southern Italy. There must be a correlation between the recipe and the region. My grandmother taught my mother to make it for my dad and it was a staple for us kids growing up.

      Thanks for the memories,

  • Nancy wrote:

    I made this by splitting the peppers, frying, adding the stuffing and put in the oven. I also used our own home grown organic tomatoes instead of sauce. Just chopped and squashed, juicy! Less stove top time and came out great!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for sharing Nancy!

  • Pattie Gomez wrote:

    Your recipe for these Italian Stuffed Peppers are just like my Grandma DeFalco made years ago. I still make this recipe and your recipe is the first that I have seen to come close to Grandmas’s. I like to use anchovies instead of the paste. I am going to check out your site to see if you have other recipes like my grandma’s.
    Thank you

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Pattie – We’re glad you found us and we hope you find more recipes to try!

  • Cindy wrote:

    Received some peppers from my dad’s garden and came across this recipe via a Google search. Easy to prepare and simple ingredients. The flavor was amazing – we loved them! Haven’t made stuffed peppers in years as the traditional recipe doesn’t thrill me. Your recipe is a true keeper!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Cindy! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! (Garden peppers are the best!)

  • Ana wrote:

    My husband’s uncle gave us a ton of peppers from his garden and I stumbled on this recipe looking for an alternative to just frying them.

    This was absolutely delicious and a nice change from the usual rice and ground meat stuffing. The flavors were complex and deeply satisfying, my husband loved it!

    The only feedback I have is that it took me much longer than 15 mins to prep. Granted I had to pit my olives but in total I probably took 30-40 mins to prep everything.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you all enjoyed the recipe Ana! And thanks for your feedback about the timing…my husband Jack is very speedy in the kitchen 🙂 so we’ll keep that in mind when we list the prep time on our recipes. Thank you again!

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