These easy Stuffed Shells are the perfect dinner and a family favorite. Filled with three kinds of cheese and baked in Marinara Sauce, it’s quick to prepare and leftovers keep and reheat beautifully. Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is to make ricotta-stuffed pasta shells.

Stuffed pasta shells in casserole garnished with parsley

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We love Pasta recipes from Creamy Shrimp Pasta to Shrimp Scampi Pasta and of course our Homemade Pasta from scratch. If you are a fan of pasta, this Stuffed Shells Recipe is a must-try!

Stuffed Shells Video Tutorial

My kids love these stuffed jumbo shells filled with ricotta and melty mozzarella cheese over a bed of Marinara Sauce. They always disappear fast and reheat well so I put them into their lunchboxes and those lunchboxes always come home empty which feels great.

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Cheesy stuffed shell on spoon

What are Stuffed Shells?

Stuffed shells are similar to Italian Manicotti or Cannelloni. Stuffed shells are jumbo pasta shells (sold in most grocery stores usually in the pasta isle), stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese filling. Pasta shells are perfect pockets for easy stuffing.

Recipe ingredients with jumbo shells, cheese, marinara, onion and garlic

How to Make Stuffed Shells

There are 3 main elements to stuffed pasta shells; the pasta, sauce and cheese filling, but the process is easy.

  • Cook Pasta Shells – according to package instructions in salted water.
  • Make the Red Sauce – Sautee onions in oil, add garlic, salt pepper, and oregano. Stir in 3 cups of your favorite Marinara Sauce. Pour sauce into a 13×9 casserole dish.
  • Combine Cheese Sauce – In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, 2 cups shredded mozzarella, parmesan, 1 egg, salt, pepper, and oregano.
  • Stuff Shells – The easiest way to portion is to fill a trigger ice cream scoop halfway with cheese filling then transfer it into the shell. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup mozzarella over the pasta shells
  • Bake – Cover with foil, and bake at 375˚F for 30 minutes then broil uncovered for 2-4 minutes.

Common Questions

How to keep pasta shells from sticking together?

Once shells are cooked to al dente, drain the hot water then fill with cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the pasta from sticking.

What is Al dente?

Al dente means firm to the bite. Most package instructions will give you timings for perfectly cooked al dente pasta. Do not overcook shells or they will be flimsy and hard to stuff.

Can I use a glass casserole?

Yes, this will work great in a glass casserole dish. Broiling is not recommended with glass bakeware so once you remove the foil, increase the heat to about 475˚F and bake for 3-5 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Can I substitute ricotta?

The best substitute for ricotta in stuffed shells is drained and mashed plain cottage cheese.

Baked Stuffed Shells with ricotta in casserole

Serve With

Stuffed shells are the perfect vegetarian main course paired with Garlic Bread and a simple side salad or veggies

Make-Ahead

  • To Refrigerate: Assemble, cover with foil and refrigerate unbaked stuffed shells for 1-2 days then bake as directed, adding 5 minutes to the bake time if baking a chilled casserole. You can also refrigerate a fully cooked and cooled lasagna.
  • Freezing: Fully assemble shells in a casserole dish (without baking), cover tightly with foil, and freeze up to 3 months. Bake from frozen (covered with foil) at 375˚F for about 45 minutes.
  • Reheating: Warm portions in the microwave or oven until shells are heated through and cheese is melted.

Microwaving Tip:

Pasta tends to get dry when reheated, but here’s a simple trick that could be used to retain moisture: Add a drizzle of water over your food before reheating. Also, to prevent splatter, we highly recommend using a plate cover.

Leftover baked stuffed pasta shells ready to be stored

Stuffed shells truly are easy to make. The prep time is minimal and the oven does the rest. It’s sure to end up on your list of go-to dinners.

More Pasta Casseroles

Pasta bakes are the best kind of family-friendly dinner. Each of these recipes makes a big batch and each reheats really well which is perfect for meal prep. 

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Stuffed Shells Recipe

5 from 342 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Stuffed pasta shells in a casserole dish
Stuffed Shells filled with ricotta, parmesan, and melty mozzarella cheese. Stuffed Pasta Shells always disappear fast and reheat well.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients 

Servings: 6 people

Instructions

  • Cook Pasta: Preheat oven to 375˚F. Cook shells in salted water according to package instructions (stirring several times to keep the pasta from sticking to the pot), then drain and fill pot with cold water to stop the cooking process and keep shells from sticking to each other.
  • Make Sauce: In a deep pan over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and sauté chopped onion until softened and golden (3-5 min). Add minced garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp oregano. Sauté another 1 minute stirring constantly until garlic is fragrant. Add 3 cups marinara and bring to a uniform boil then simmer for 2 minutes and pour the sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish.
  • Cheese Filling: In a large bowl, add 15 oz ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella, 1/3 cup parmesan, 1 egg, 1/4 cup parsley, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Stir until well combined.
  • Stuff Shells: Use about 1/2 ice cream scoop or just until filled (do not overstuff). Place them in the casserole over the marinara sauce in a single layer. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese over the top.
  • Bake: Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. The sauce should be bubbling at the edges. Remove foil and broil for 2-4 minutes to lightly brown the cheese. Remove from the oven and garnish with parsley to serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

435kcal Calories32g Carbs30g Protein21g Fat13g Saturated Fat1g Trans Fat103mg Cholesterol1542mg Sodium639mg Potassium3g Fiber7g Sugar1414IU Vitamin A13mg Vitamin C691mg Calcium2mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Stuffed Shells Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
435
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
21
g
32
%
Saturated Fat
 
13
g
81
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
103
mg
34
%
Sodium
 
1542
mg
67
%
Potassium
 
639
mg
18
%
Carbohydrates
 
32
g
11
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
7
g
8
%
Protein
 
30
g
60
%
Vitamin A
 
1414
IU
28
%
Vitamin C
 
13
mg
16
%
Calcium
 
691
mg
69
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: ricotta stuffed shells, stuffed pasta shells, stuffed shells
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 435

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Judith
    April 11, 2024

    I love this recipe for both stuffed shells and manicotti. I’ve made it twice and each time it was fantastIc!

    Reply

  • Maureen Sloan
    April 8, 2024

    Love this recipe! Family favorite I always make a double batch as family has a tendency to show up on shells day!!

    Reply

  • Ellen
    March 30, 2024

    Question: I just made your marinara sauce exactly the way you said. Then I was making your stuffed shell recipe which said to sauté the onion, the garlic, the spices and add marinara sauce again. If the original recipe has the onions and garlic and spices do you still have to add them for the marinara sauce that’s under the stuffed shells?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 30, 2024

      Hi Ellen! Yes, I still do even when using my homemade marinara.

      Reply

  • Linda Hernandez
    March 24, 2024

    Loved ❤️ loved ❤️ loved it… superb taste and it was so easy to make…. thank you very much… 😍

    Reply

  • Traci Hicks
    March 24, 2024

    Have made this and many of your recipes including chicken pot pie, fancy chicken salad and chicken tetrazzini to name only a few. Thank you for all these!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 24, 2024

      You’re welcome! I hope you’ll love all the recipes that you will try.

      Reply

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