Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells is simple, cheesy and bakes in only 30 minutes. It’s a perfect busy weeknight meal the entire family will love!

Cheesy Garlic Bread or Olive Garden Breadsticks would be a great side to this tray of Stuffed Shells. Make up a salad to add some greens and complete the meal!!

Baked stuffed shells layered in a white baking dish.

Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I like to throw in a meatless dish or two for dinner during the week.

Today’s Stuffed Shells recipe is definitely a family fav, and you will not miss the absence of meat! The ricotta cheese alone is perfectly flavorful and filling.

I love that it’s simple and whips up in only 30 minutes. It’s great for those busy weeknights when you need to get dinner on the table FAST!

Make it even easier with jarred marinara, or take the time for our homemade sauce. No matter how you make it, we think your kids will love this pasta dish!

Cooked shells for stuffed shells recipe

How to make stuffed shells

PREP. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

PASTA. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

CHEESE. In a large bowl, mix egg, ricotta, half the mozzarella, half the Parmesan, basil, salt and pepper until well combined.

STUFF + LAYER. Add half the sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Stuff cooked shells with ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish over the pasta sauce. (you should have 18-20 shells). In a medium bowl, stir together pasta sauce and reserved mozzarella and Parmesan. Pour over stuffed shells.

BAKE. Bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until edges are bubbly and shells are slightly set.

Additions:

  • Mix sauted spinach in with the ricotta.
  • Add mushrooms or olives.
  • Brown spicy sausage and mix it in with the ricotta.
  • Add finely chopped veggies to the marinara sauce.
  • Add some heat by sprinkling on red chili flakes
Ricotta stuffed shells layered in a white baking dish.

Recipe Tips

  • Use Homemade Marinara Sauce or your favorite brand from the grocery store.
  • I cooked a few extra shells that way if any broke I would have enough.
  • Be sure to undercook the pasta. Remember they’ll be baking in the oven which will finish cooking them all the way through.
  • When you place the shells into the pan, be sure that the opening of the shell is facing up otherwise the filling will leak right out.
Cheese stuffed shells covered with sauce in a baking dish

Storing Info

Individual portions: Another great thing about this recipe is that you can make the portions as large or as small as you wish. Disposable mini bread pans are the perfect size for individual portions when making them ahead of time to bake later. Leftovers can also be divided into individual portions.

STORE leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Make ahead: Like other pasta dishes, this one can be made ahead of time to be baked later. Assemble the dish as instructed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 days.

To FREEZE, cover the dish with plastic and again with foil. Freeze for 3-4 months. Thaw before baking. When baking add 5-10 more minutes to account for the chilled ingredients. 

FREEZE just the stuffed shells without the sauce you will need to flash freeze them. Fill the shells and line them up on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid, then transfer them to a freezer safe container. Thaw and add the marinara sauce before baking.

Marinara topped stuffed shells in a white baking dish.

More dishes that can be made ahead of time:

Stuffed Shells Recipe

4.84 from 6 votes
Stuffed Shells is simple, cheesy and bakes in only 30 minutes. It's a perfect busy weeknight meal the entire family will love!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 563 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 oz) package jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese divided
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp round black pepper
  • 2 1/2-3 cups pasta sauce spaghetti, pizza or tomato/basil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  • In a large bowl, mix egg, ricotta, half the mozzarella, half the Parmesan, basil, salt and pepper until well combined.
  • Add half the sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Stuff cooked shells with ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish over the pasta sauce. (you should have 18-20 shells).
  • In a medium bowl, stir together pasta sauce and reserved mozzarella and Parmesan. Pour over stuffed shells.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until edges are bubbly and shells are slightly set.

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 4 stars
    My adult son prefers Alfredo Sauce so I substitute that for the marinara. I also add 1-2 cups of cottage cheese, 4 Tblsp to 1/8 cup of dried Italian seasoning to the filling and a total of 2 eggs to the filling and stir well to combine. If you love a lot of cheese, add 1 cup more here to the filling and use another 2 cups for topping.

  2. 5 stars
    Kids loved it which is always a bonus.
    I doubled the recipe and froze half. It turned out just as good as the freshly made shells.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe! Will surely have this again! It’s really easy to make and it tasted so delicious! Highly recommended!