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Cheese Stuffed Shells are super easy to make and will become a family favorite! This recipe will have everyone cleaning their plate, and clamoring for seconds.
Step by step photos and instructions below!
Update: This recipe was originally published in January of 2009 (not a typo!) It was republished with updated photos in November of 2021.
I love a good pasta dish, and especially love that these are the easiest things in the WORLD to make. These get so many compliments and begging for seconds, leftovers, and to make it again soon!
It’s really easy to make, of course. Just boil water and cook the jumbo pasta shells while making the filling, then scoop the filling into the shells, top with marinara, and some cheese. Then bake, and devour. How easy is that?
You can even make these ahead and keep them in the freezer for another day. Just freeze, thaw, and bake as per the instructions. Dinner is done.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Super easy to make. No culinary degree required!
- Delicious. My whole family loves these. Trust me.
- Freezable and easy to make ahead.
Frequently Asked Questions
It Italy, they are called Conchiglie Ripiene al Forno.
The shape of the pasta is the only difference. Manicotti are pasta tubes, and shells are just large pasta shells. Both are meant to be stuffed with fillings, and are cooked similarly.
I use a dessert spoon, but when stuffing manicotti or I’m trying to be fancy, I use a pasty bag or zip lock bag (cut the corner off and squeeze the filling into shells).
What to serve with Stuffed Shells
A green salad like my favorite Arugula Salad or Kale Salad goes great with any pasta dish. You also can’t go wrong with garlic knots or homemade garlic bread.
I have included step by step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
How to make this recipe
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The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Cook the jumbo shells according to package directions.
Once cooked (not all the way through, they’ll cook more in the oven), drain and set aside to cool a little. Rinse the shells with cold water after cooking to help the cooling process go faster.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the filling
Add the ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, parsley and garlic to a large bowl, and mix well.
Add the egg, and salt and pepper to taste (I suggest a good pinch of each) then mix until well blended.
Stuff the shells
Add a little marinara sauce to the bottom of your baking dish, just enough to coat the surface.
Stuff the cooked shells with the cheese mixture, and line them up in the baking dish.
Pour remaining marinara sauce over the top, and sprinkle with remaining cheeses.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes, and devour.
When cooking the shells, don’t cook them until they are super soft. They’ll cook more in the oven, and you want them to be intact for stuffing, not floppy and easy to tear.
What to do with leftovers
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat until it is piping hot!
You could add a little Italian seasoning to the cheese filling, I suggest 1 teaspoon to start with.
You may use cottage cheese in place of the ricotta if you that is what you have on hand. I like to blend it a little with a fork to make the curds smaller.
This recipe can be frozen before baking. Cover tightly with foil and wrap with plastic wrap. Freeze. On cooking day just remove from the freezer and bake, adding 20 minutes onto the cooking time if baking from frozen.
More delicious Stuffed Shells Recipes:
- Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells. Large pasta shells, stuffed with ricotta, spinach, Italian sausage, and more cheese, these stuffed shells are a make-ahead/freezer cooking DREAM.
- Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells (with Broccoli). A great make-ahead dinner, (or make it on the fly) this delicious recipe is super easy to prepare.
- Mexican Stuffed Shells. Mexican Italian fusion at its best! These delicious Mexican stuffed shells are packed with flavor and please the whole family.
If you have tried this recipe or any other recipe on Kylee Cooks, leave a comment and rating – I truly love to hear from you!
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Classic Cheese Stuffed Shells Recipe
- 24 large pasta shells
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, (shredded (divided))
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, (shredded (divided))
- 1 Tbs fresh parsley ((or 2 tsp dried))
- 2 garlic cloves ((minced) can sub 2 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- 24 oz marinara sauce
- Cook the jumbo shells according to package directions.Once cooked (not all the way through, they’ll cook more in the oven), drain and set aside to cool a little. Rinse the shells with cold water after cooking to help the cooling process go faster.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the filling
- Add the ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, parsley and garlic to a large bowl, and mix well. Add the egg, and salt and pepper to taste (I suggest a good pinch of each) then mix until well blended.
Stuff the shells
- Add a little marinara sauce to the bottom of your baking dish, just enough to coat the surface.Stuff the cooked shells with the cheese mixture, and line them up in the baking dish.Pour remaining marinara sauce over the top, and sprinkle with remaining cheeses.
- Bake for 30 minutes.Allow to cool for 5 minutes, and serve.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
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