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The Best Stuffed Shells Recipe

If you have been looking for the best stuffed shells recipe, look no further. This incredible recipe for stuffed shells is authentic, delicious and an easy to make recipe that your whole family will adore.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

If you have been looking for the best stuffed shells recipe, look no further. This incredible recipe for stuffed shells is authentic, delicious and an easy to make recipe that your whole family will adore.

Stuffed shells are a classic Italian dish that everyone should know how to make. They are the perfect meal for serving a crowd or for putting on the Sunday dinner table. Stuffed shells are a comfort food that will make everyone in the family come running to the dinner table.

ricotta stuffed shells

Easy Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe

These delicious shells are filled with three different types of cheese. They are slathered with a tasty marinara sauce then topped with even more cheese (you can never have enough cheese!). Then, the entire dish is baked to perfection, giving you a warm, hearty meal.

Not only are these stuffed shells easy to make, but they are also perfect for making in advance. You can assemble a whole tray of stuffed shells and then bake it right before you are ready to eat. Meal prep dinners like this are the best! Especially when they are as flawless as this stuffed shells recipe.

stuffed shells with spring onion on top

Ingredients for Italian Stuffed Shells

Here is a quick look at the ingredients you will need to make this delicious stuffed shells recipe. The full quantities are listed in the recipe below but this will help you get a good idea about what you will need to make stuffed shells.

  • Pasta Shells – Any brand of dry pasta shells will work. Just make sure you grab jumbo shells which are nice and big and will hold a lot of the delicious cheese filling.

  • Ricotta cheese – whole milk ricotta cheese has the best taste and texture.

  • Mozzarella – Buy pre shredded cheese to save a little bit of time in the kitchen.

  • Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated parmesan cheeses are best! Parmesan can get a little dry when pre-grated.

  • Eggs

  • Salt and Pepper

  • Garlic powder – A little bit of garlic power makes this delicious recipe really pop.

  • Dried oregano, parsley and basil – These dried herbs will give you plenty of authentic Italian flavor.

  • Marinara sauce – You can use your own homemade tomato sauce or buy your favorite zesty marinara sauce in the grocery store. Homemade sauce is great but you can save time with store bough. Either option works!

    baked stuffed shells


These ricotta stuffed shells recipe is perfect exactly as it is written, but if you are looking for a few recipe substitutions or variations, here are some great ways to easily tweak the recipe.

  • Make the cheese mixture a little bit lighter by replacing 2 cups of the ricotta with 2 cups of large curd cottage cheese. Cottage cheese has tons of bold flavor but with less calories.

  • Add 1 cup of smooth cream cheese to the cheese mixture, making it even thicker and creamier.

  • Add some cooked ground beef, Italian sausage or ground turkey to the marinara sauce. Meat-stuffed shells are a tasty and hearty meal and one of the best pasta recipes ever.

  • Add 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach to the ricotta mixture. Let the frozen spinach thaw before mixing it into the cheese. This is a great way to add a healthy veggie to your ricotta stuffed shells. Fresh spinach will also work.

  • Sprinkle some fresh parsley or fresh basil over the top of the stuffed shells before serving. Fresh herbs add a little pop of flavor and color to the baking dish.

  • Or you can also check out our recipe of chicken stuffing stuffed shells.

stuffed shells with ragù

How to Make Stuffed Shells Recipe

Stuffed shells are seriously easy to make. You will be amazed by your cooking abilities after making this easy recipe just once! Here is a quick look at how to make Italian stuffed shells.

  1. Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Cook the pasta: Boil the shells according to the directions on the box. Most shells cook for about 8-9 minutes. Make sure to cook them just to al dente as the are best when a little firm. They will get more tender as they bake in the oven in the sauce.

  3. Make the filling: Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, spices, herbs and eggs together in a bowl.

  4. Prep the pan: Spread a little bit of the sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. This will prevent the unbaked stuffed shells from sticking to the pan

  5. Stuff the shells: Fill each al dente shell with the cheese filling. Place them in the prepared pan.

  6. Top: Top the shells in the pan with the rest of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese.

  7. Bake: Bake the shells until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.

    stuffed shells into baking dish ready to be cooked

How to Store Stuffed Shells

If you have leftover stuffed shells, wrap the entire baking dish in plastic wrap then store in the fridge for up to one week. You can reheat the shells in the oven for about 10 minutes or scoop the classic stuffed shells into a microwave safe dish and reheat the leftover shells in the microwave.


Can I Freeze Stuff Shells?

Yes! Stuffed classic stuffed shells freeze wonderfully. Make the whole recipe exactly as directed by do not bake the shells. Wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap and freeze stuffed shells for up to three months. When you’re ready to eat the shells, unwrap the tray and bake as directed. You will need to bake the cheesy comfort food for about 10 minutes longer.

Making frozen shells is a great way to meal prep. Having a delicious recipes in your freezer, already made, is always a good idea! Make our shells recipe ahead of time and you will have an easy meal ready to go.

Adding sause on the stuffed shells

Try this fantastic stuffed shells recipe and you will not be disappointed. These authentic shells are seriously the best comfort food ever. Give this recipe a try and you will feel like you are in the kitchen of an Italian grandma!

If you want to learn how to cook more delicious Italian recipes, try a cooking class near you. There are plenty of incredible classes you can take that will help you cook like a pro. Cooking is a fun activity to do together or solo and there are classes for all!

stuffed shells Recipe Feature Image - 1390x600

Stuffed Shells

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Pasta, Primo
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 people
Calories 105 kcal


  • 1 pound dry Jumbo pasta shells
  • 4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 12 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspooon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 30 ounces marinara sauce


  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shredded


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the jumbo pasta shells according to the package instructions. Drain the shells and toss with a little olive oil. Set the cooked shells aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, parsley and basil.
  • Spread about 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
  • Stuff the cheese filling into each cooked pasta shell. You should be able to fill each jumbo pasta shell with about 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture. You want them to be nice and full!
  • Place the stuffed shells in the sauce coated baking dish as you fill them, lining them up in the casserole dish.
  • Spread the remaining marinara sauce on the top of the stuffed shells.
  • Sprinkle the stuffed shells with the parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese for the topping.
  • Bake the stuffed shells in the preheated oven for about 25 to 35 minutes. The cheese should be completely melting and starting to turn golden brown. The sauce should be bubbling around the edges of the pan.
  • Let the baked stuffed shells cool for about 10 minutes then serve.
Keyword Pasta, Stuffed Shells

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the food images displayed on this website are for illustrative purposes only. They do not represent the actual dishes or presentations you might achieve when following our recipes. While we strive to inspire your culinary journey, the appearance of your dishes may vary.

Frequent Asked Questions

If you have a tray of premade shells, you can simply pop it into the oven to reheat. Heat them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. The cheese should be bubbling and completely melted and the center of the tray of pasta should be warm.

Dried shells need to be boiled for about 9-10 minutes to be al dente. Check the package directions which will typically tell you exactly how long to cook the dried pasta.

Large shells take about 10 minutes to boil. The noodles should be soft and tender but still firm enough to hold their shape. Be sure to read the directions on your pasta box which will also tell you how long to boil the shells.

If your stuffed shells are hard, they may not have been boiled long enough. Pre-cooking the noodles is important! You need to boil the shells to al dente before stuffing them with the cheesy filling.

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