Easy Stuffed Shells (+Video)
These Stuffed Shells are a classic family-favorite meal! A creamy filling topped with a homemade meat sauce and lots of gooey cheese!
AN EASY BAKED STUFFED SHELLS RECIPE
I have been making this recipe for stuffed shells for over 25 years. It is my go-to meal that I know everyone will love. It’s easy to make. The only time-consuming part is stuffing the individual shells. But I promise it’s worth it!
TIPS FOR MAKING STUFFED SHELLS:
- You can use cottage cheese or ricotta cheese. I like the creaminess of cottage cheese but I know a lot of people are averse to it.
- Instead of making the sauce with tomato paste, hot water, oregano and beef bouillon – you can substitute with a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce.
- Serve with a delicious Italian Salad and some Warm Garlic Bread!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- jumbo pasta shells – a few are bound to tear when you stuff them – it’s ok
- ground beef – or ground Italian sausage works great with this
- onion – if you don’t like onion just leave it out, this also goes delicious with green peppers if you want to add those in
- garlic – you can use fresh or the jarred stuff but I love to use fresh where I can
- tomato paste – instead of tomato paste (along with the hot water and bouillon cubes), you can use a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
- hot water
- bouillon cubes
- dried oregano – fresh oregano can be used – about a Tablespoon or so
- small curd cottage cheese – ricotta or mascarpone cheese can be substituted, what I love about cottage cheese is it isn’t as dry as ricotta and keeps this super creamy
- shredded mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- large egg – the egg is a binder, it helps hold the filling together as it cooks
HOW TO MAKE STUFFED SHELLS:
Prepare jumbo shells per package directions. Drain thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Cook beef, onion and garlic in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook until beef is brown and crumbled. Drain excess grease.
Stir in water, tomato paste, beef bouillon cubes and oregano. Stir and allow to simmer while preparing the shells.
In a medium bowl, stir together cottage cheese, one cup mozzarella, parmesan cheese and egg.
Now begin stuffing the cooked shells. About a tablespoon of the cheese mixture will fit into each one.
You should be able to fit about 24 into your 9×13 baking dish. You may have to put some in there horizontally.
Pour sauce mixture on top of shells.
Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle remaining cup of mozzarella cheese over the top.
Bake for an additional 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve with garlic bread and your favorite salad!
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Originally published: October 2011
Updated & republished: September 2020
Easy Stuffed Shells (+Video)
- 1 package of jumbo pasta shells
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- 12 ounce can tomato paste
- 2 cups hot water
- 3 beef bouillon cubes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 16 ounce container small curd cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese divided use
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- dried parsley, optional
- Prepare jumbo shells per package directions. Drain thoroughly.
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Cook beef, onion and garlic in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Cook until beef is brown and crumbled. Drain excess grease.
- Stir in water, tomato paste, beef bouillon cubes and oregano.
- Stir and allow to simmer while preparing the shells.
- In a medium bowl, stir together cottage or ricotta cheese, one cup mozzarella, parmesan cheese and egg.
- Begin stuffing cooked shells. About a tablespoon of the cheese mixture will fit into each one.
- Place shells into a 9×13-inch baking dish You should be able to fit about 24 into the dish.
- Pour sauce mixture on top of shells. Cover with aluminum foil
- Bake for about 40-45.
- Uncover and sprinkle remaining cup of mozzarella cheese over the top. Sprinkle with dried parsley.
- Bake for an additional 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Instead of tomato paste and hot water, you can use your favorite spaghetti sauce and skip the use of the beef bouillon.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
I will try to make this weekend
I made these last night for supper and my family loved them. Thanks for sharing all your Delicious recipes. My husband has made me a binder full of your recipes.
This makes me so happy to hear Denise – thank you SO very much!!
Made this Sunday, soooo easy and very delicious….. Will definitely make this again…. Thanks Brandie
Amazing. Great flavor and easy to make! Will definitely make this again!
Most excellent! I hate when individuals mess around with a recipe, but I fudged a little. Made double the recipe and used Italian sweet sausage (1lb.) and hamburger (1lb) Also added a couple Tbsp of Italian seasoning.. Handing out dishes to two neighbors and, boy, am I going to be the popular kid on the block! Thank you sooo much.
Wow, I made this for my brother & his wife while they were in the hospital with their baby. My husband heard their rave reviews, so batch #2 is in the oven right now! Thank you…excellent, easy recipe
So awesome – thank you Leslie!! Made my day to read your comment!! Glad you got to enjoy some of it too. And you are so sweet to think of friends!!
Ran across this recipe today, my family loves pasta dishes and I do not so I had to give this a try!
I must say it’s Delicious and for me it is the sauce that got me! I love cheese but the sauce is just really good, I made it exactly as your recipe even with cottage cheese which I have Never used in any dishes it’s really good GREAT JOB!
Hi April! Woo hoo! I know folks sometimes sneer at cottage cheese instead of ricotta but I personally just think it makes pasta dishes SO much creamier (especially in lasagna!) Thanks for letting me know how it turned out for you!
Used Ricatta cheese instead of cottage. Delicious family loved it and it was so easy.
Since there is only me – I will be freezing 3/4 of this dish, after its cooked in freezer bags, to reheat later. Oh – and I made two changes. Changed the Bullion cubes to 3 tablespoons of Better than Bouillon Beef Base as it has no MSG in it and will not put me in the hospital. Also had Ricotta cheese on hand and used that in place of the cottage cheese – which worked fine. I also used Prego Spaghetti sauce. Thanks for posting. This is a keeper. and I can’t wait to try it and of course serve with a green salad and garlic bread – Yum!!
I would give this ten stars if I could!! So great!! We made this with half ricotta and cottage cheese in the filling and it was good. I was unsure of the bouillon in the sauce but my son came and tasted it then announced it was amazing!! We all loved this! We used a box of Kroger shells, filled a 9×13 pan with stuffed shells and did have some shells leftover. This is probably my favorite so far. We had this with salad and bread and had leftovers with my family of six.
You are so sweet Ann! I sure do appreciate you taking the time to come back and let me (and others) know what you thought about it. It’s definitely one of my favorite recipes on the blog too! Hope you enjoy any other recipes you might try!
I love your website and recipes! I made the stuffed shells the other night and they were delicious and very easy to make. I am going to make the Strawberry Shortcake Cake soon as it is a family favorite. Everything I make of yours is delicious. And YES, I am a REAL Italian and I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta and I have to be honest and say I think the cottage cheese was much better. Sorry Mama! 😉
I am fairly new to this website but this is what I've made so far. I've made the maple glaze carrots, stuffed shells, and baked penne. All of these recipes were great. I am positive that this will be good because the other items I have made from your website has been good. Thank you so much for the ideas. 🙂
I made this recipe (exactly to your instructions) and it was great. Thanks!