Stuffed Shells – Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with the perfect blend of creamy, gooey cheeses and topped with marinara or meat sauce!  This pasta is perfect for an easy weeknight or special occasion!

stuffed shells in pan

Any kind of pasta dish is a favorite on the dinner table at my house!  These easy stuffed shells are always one that hits the spot.  The cheeses are so melty, and rich and the pasta is cooked perfectly. You can use a good marinara or even make a hearty meat sauce if you prefer.  If you’re looking for more easy pasta recipes try our Alfredo Sauce and our simple Ravioli Lasagna.

What is the Best Way To Stuff Shells?

Let’s talk about how to make these stuffed shells so they come together super fast with minimal effort on your part!

  • Get your pasta shells cooking, then mix up the cheese.  All of the cheeses and seasonings are mixed up together in one bowl to go right into the shells.  When the shells are ready, use a small spoon or your hands to fill them!  I personally find it easiest to wash my hands and then use them to do the stuffing.  It’s messy but worth it.
  • Next, add some of whatever sauce you want to the bottom of the pan, then line the stuffed shells right on top of the sauce.
  • Pour the remaining sauce on top.  You can use more or less sauce depending on your personal taste.
  • Now, top with the remaining cheese!  Also, if you have any extra cheese mixture used for stuffing left just scatter it on top across the stuffed shells and sauce.  It will melt down and be delish.

how to stuff shells photo collage

Stuffed Shells Recipe Notes and Tips:

  • I use a combination of Ricotta, Cream Cheese, Mozzarella, Provolone, and Parmesan.  The mixture of the ricotta and cream cheese in my opinion is what makes these the BEST. The mixture is so smooth!  If you don’t like ricotta you can use cottage cheese instead.  You can also sub the provolone for extra mozzarella if you prefer.
  • This is one of those recipes where you can use pre-shredded cheese if that’s easier.  However remember that freshly shredded cheese off the block will always melt down better.
  • If you want to make this meaty, just brown up 1/2-1 pound of either ground beef or ground Italian sausage and stir into your marinara sauce of choice before layering the ingredients.  Use 1/2-1 pound just depending on how meaty you want it.
  • Make sure to cook your jumbo shells according to package directions for al dente pasta.  This will usually be about 9-10 minutes.  You don’t want to overcook the pasta, because it will continue cooking in the oven.  The pasta shells are also easier to fill when they’re still a little firm.
  • Once the pasta is done cooking I usually let it sit for 5-7 minutes and it’s ok for me to handle to fill.  If it’s still to hot for you, run the shells very gently under running cold water for a minute.

stuffed shells on a plate

Enjoy!

~Nichole

5 from 5 votes

Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells - Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with the perfect blend of creamy, gooey cheeses and topped with marinara or meat sauce!  This pasta is perfect for an easy weeknight or special occasion!
 
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 45 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients 

  • 21 Jumbo Shell Pasta
  • 1 Cup Ricotta or Cottage Cheese
  • 6 Ounces Cream Cheese Softened
  • 1 1/2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 Cups Shredded Provolone
  • 1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
  • 2-3 teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Basil
  • 3 teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Red Pepper Flakes
  • 24 Ounces Marinara Sauce

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cook the jumbo shell pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water to package directions. Drain and set aside for 5 minutes, until cool enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the ricotta or cottage cheese and cream cheese along with 1 Cup of the mozzarella, 1 Cup Provolone, 1/2 Cup of the parmesan and all of the seasonings.
  • Pour about 1 1/2 Cups of marinara sauce into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  • Fill each shell with some of the cheese mixture and place in even rows in the baking dish.
  • Top the shells with the remaining marinara and remaining cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Video

Notes

  • I use a combination of Ricotta, Cream Cheese, Mozzarella, Provolone, and Parmesan Cheeses.  The mixture of the ricotta and cream cheese in my opinion is what makes these the BEST. The mixture is so smooth!  If you don't like ricotta you can use cottage cheese instead.  You can also sub the provolone for extra mozzarella if you prefer.

Nutrition

Serving: 4Shells, Calories: 540kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Like this? Rate & review this recipe below!

 

 

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Hey! Nice to meet you! I'm Nichole!

Welcome to The Salty Marshmallow! I'm a mom, animal lover, photographer, & kitchen mess-maker. Here you will find the result of my decades-long passion for chasing the best flavors in the kitchen, all meant to be cooked by regular people with busy lives just like you and me.

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6 Comments

      1. Yes, you can make ahead and bake later. Make as directed but don’t bake, then you can refrigerate for up to 2 days before baking or you can cover very tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. If freezing them, thaw in the fridge for aaa good 10-12 hours before baking. 🙂