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Taco Stuffed Shells

These Taco Stuffed Shells are like your favorite classic stuffed shells but with a taco twist. They’re easy to put together and ready in under an hour!

A NEW TAKE ON A CLASSIC DISH

Taco Stuffed Shells are a delicious dish bursting with flavor. Between the enchilada sauce, the tender pasta shells, and the taco flavored ground beef, these are sure to be a hit. Not only are they easy to make, but they also use ingredients you likely already have on hand. Whether it’s a family dinner or casual gathering of friends, these Taco Stuffed Shells will have people coming back for seconds! Plus, if you’re pressed for time or just want something quick and fuss-free, this recipe will do the trick!

Close up looking at a few taco stuffed shells.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Can I add in veggies?

You bet! Adding in spinach, mushrooms and zucchini would be lovely. You could even use those in place of the ground beef if you wanted to make this a meatless meal.

Can I trade out ground beef?

Instead of ground beef, you can use ground chicken or ground turkey.

What other cheese can I use?

If you want to change things up, you can use other cheeses. Try mozzarella, pepper jack, or your favorite blend of cheeses.

Can I make my own enchilada sauce?

Yes. Instead of using storebought enchilada sauce, you can make your own using tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. You can also use whatever other recipe you prefer.

Can I make this gluten free?

Yes, you can make this with gluten free pasta shells.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the Taco Stuffed Shells ahead of time and freeze them for later. After assembling the shells, cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, and place it in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When ready to bake, remove the dish from the freezer the night before you plan to cook them and place the dish in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap and foil from the dish. Pour some enchilada sauce over the stuffed shells and sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese over the top of the sauce. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and follow the baking instructions below.

How to store leftovers:

If you have leftovers, you can store the Taco Stuffed Shells in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, place the shells in the oven at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.

A dollop of sour cream sitting on top of some taco stuffed shells on a plate.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • ground beef – ground chicken or turkey can be substituted
  • taco seasoning – store-bought or make your own
  • jumbo pasta shells – some will tear as you stuff them – that is normal so make a few extra
  • enchilada sauce – store-bought or homemade
  • shredded cheddar cheese – use your favorite cheese here, pepper jack is good if you want a kick of spice
Ground beef, cilantro, enchilada sauce, shredded cheese, taco seasoning, sour cream, and jumbo shells.

HOW TO MAKE TACO STUFFED SHELLS

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cook the jumbo pasta shells according to the package instructions (until al dente.) Drain and rinse with cold water.

Skillet with jumbo shells cooking and ground beef and taco seasoning surrounding it.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown and crumble the ground beef until cooked through. Drain any excess grease and place back into the skillet. 

A skillet of cooked ground beef.

Add the taco seasoning and 1/2 the can of enchilada sauce to the skillet. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the sauce thickens.

A skillet with cooked ground beef, taco seasoning and enchilada sauce.

Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese into the taco meat mixture and combine.

Taco skillet with shredded cheese.

Spoon the beef mixture into each of the cooked pasta shells. Place the stuffed shells into prepared baking dish.

Taco stuffed shells in a baking dish.

Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce over the top of the stuffed shells.

Shells that are stuffed with taco meat and enchilada sauce on top.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese over the top of the enchilada sauce.

Baking dish with taco stuffed shells.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.

Looking down on a baking dish full of Taco Stuffed Shells.

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and serve with sour cream and pic de gallo (optional). 

A handful of Taco Stuffed Shells.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Stuffed shells with taco flavors with sour cream on top.

Taco Stuffed Shells

These taco stuffed shells are literally oozing with the best taco flavors and are ready in under an hour!
5 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 20-24 jumbo pasta shells (I used 20 but cooked 24 because some end up broken)
  • 10 ounce can enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used Kraft creamy melt triple cheddar)

Toppings:

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Cook the jumbo pasta shells according to the package instructions (until al dente.) Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown and crumble the ground beef until cooked through. Drain any excess grease and place back into the skillet.
  • Add the taco seasoning and 1/2 the can of enchilada sauce to the skillet. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese into the taco meat mixture and combine.
  • Spoon the beef mixture into each of the cooked pasta shells.
  • Place the stuffed shells into prepared baking dish.
  • Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce over the top of the stuffed shells.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese over the top of the enchilada sauce.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and serve with sour cream and pic de gallo (optional)

Notes

  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To reheat, place the shells in the oven at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. You may want to cover the baking dish with foil to prevent burning it while reheating.
  • You can use ground chicken or turkey instead of ground beef.
  • If you don’t like cheddar cheese or prefer a different type of cheese, you can use mozzarella, pepper jack, or a blend of your favorite cheeses.
  • If you don’t have sour cream you can use Greek yogurt instead.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 512kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 32g | Sodium: 1137mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“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 and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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8 Comments

  1. Absolutely love stuffed pasta shells, but only thing is; the jumbo shells are getting harder and harder to find. When making stuffed shells with beef; at times I will use 1/2 hamburger along with 1/2 pork sausage and then again I have used all Italian sausage. I use mostly my homemade Taco Sauce in place of the enchilada sauce.
    Thank You 4 sharing your recipe.
    Enjoy the rest of the week.