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Italian Stuffed Shells

These Italian Stuffed Shells are like something you might order at your favorite Italian restaurant and no one has to know they took less than 30 minutes to put together!

three italian stuffed shells in a white bowl

I love easy meals that look like they took a lot more time and effort to put together than they really did. Like most pasta dishes, this recipe reheats well. We serve it for dinner with a simple salad and french bread or breadsticks. And then we fight for the leftovers the next day like any good loving family would do.

What’s in Italian Stuffed Shells? 

These are classic Italian stuffed shells with meat and ricotta cheese. The ingredients list for this recipe is simple: 

  • Ground beef
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce 
  • Onion powder and garlic powder
  • Large pasta shells
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Eggs
  • Shredded Parmesan
  • Italian seasoning 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mozzarella cheese

photo collage showing how to make italian stuffed shells

How to Make Italian Stuffed Shells

  1. Brown the ground beef, then drain off any excess fat. 
  2. Season with garlic powder and onion powder, then mix in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. 
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta shells according to package instructions. 
  4. Mix together the ricotta, egg, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon some meat sauce into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. 
  6. Spoon the cheese mixture into the cooked shells, then place in the baking dish. 
  7. Top ground beef stuffed shells with remaining sauce. 
  8. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. 
  9. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 

three stuffed pasta shells with ground beef in a white bowl

Can I Freeze Italian Stuffed Shells? 

Yes, you can freeze the stuffed pasta shells with ground beef once they’ve been cooked through. Reheat the ground beef stuffed shells from frozen in a 350 degree F oven. 

How to Reheat Italian Meat Stuffed Shells 

You can reheat individual portions in the microwave at 30-second intervals, or you can reheat multiple servings in the oven. 

overhead view of italian meat stuffed shells in a white bowl

Tips for Making Baked Stuffed Shells

Before you turn your nose up at the ricotta cheese, just give it a try!  I’m not a huge fan of it either — I don’t use it in my favorite lasagna recipe — but it is perfect in this dish! The secret is to make sure it is well seasoned; use a good quality Parmesan and a healthy heaping of Italian seasoning.  

Be sure to salt the water you use to boil the noodles as well. You want the shells themselves to have flavor too. 

I always make these Italian stuffed shells with ground beef, but a few readers have reported success using ground Italian sausage as well. If you try out this version, leave me a comment! 

More Easy Pasta Dinners: 

Italian Stuffed Shells

4.06 from 34 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 654kcal
Author: Emily Grace


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 20 large shells
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 4 oz shredded Parmesan
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese


  • Cook ground beef in a large skillet until fully cooked. Drain.
  • Season with onion and garlic powder.
  • Add in cans of tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes, continue to simmer while noodles finish cooking.
  • Cook noodles as directed on the box. Drain gently, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, egg, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  • Add a layer of meat sauce to a large casserole dish, set aside.
  • Use a spoon to fill each noodle with cheese mixture. Continue until all of the shells are filled.
  • Top the noodles with the remaining meat sauce.
  • Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.


Calories: 654kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 159mg | Sodium: 1318mg | Potassium: 842mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1215IU | Vitamin C: 11.5mg | Calcium: 620mg | Iron: 4.3mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @GraceGoodEats or tag #graceandgoodeats!



Recipe Rating


Wednesday 15th of May 2019

I use Italian Sausage instead of hamburger. Pound for pound the sausage is cheaper and better flavor.


Wednesday 26th of July 2017

Would this be good to freeze before you bake it? Look so delicious!

Emily Grace

Friday 4th of August 2017

Yes- I freeze pasta dishes often. Just make sure the meat is fully cooked prior to freezing.

Isabella Grace

Thursday 8th of June 2017


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