Easy Stuffed Shells

These classic stuffed shells are an easy and delicious pasta dinner! The jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with three different kinds of cheese, baked in marinara sauce, and topped with even more melty mozzarella. Serve it with a crisp green salad and garlic bread on the side!

a pan of stuffed shells.

Cheesy stuffed shells baked in marinara sauce and topped with even more cheese is my idea of dinner therapy. It’s comforting, it’s cozy, and it’s easy enough for weeknights – especially if you take advantage of a shortcut and a couple of do-ahead prep steps.

Or, if you’re hosting dinner for friends and family, make the whole thing ahead, store it in the fridge, and pop it in the oven the next day. Add a simple salad and garlic bread on the side, and I’m pretty sure you’ll get rave reviews from your guests. These easy stuffed shells are a classic comfort food dinner that gives all the good feels.

ingredients for the recipe.

Ingredients

  • Jumbo pasta shells
  • Marinara sauce – I like to use Rao’s marinara sauce. It’s always one of my favorite shortcuts! Or use your favorite homemade marinara sauce to make it extra-special.
  • Ricotta cheese – Now is not the time for low-fat ricotta cheese. Use the whole milk kind, and you will not regret it.
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Large egg
  • Chopped fresh parsley – Or use fresh basil or a combination of both.
  • Dried Italian seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes – You can omit this if you’re not into a kick of heat. Or reduce the amount by half if you only want a little kick.
  • Kosher salt 

How to Make Stuffed Pasta Shells

Preheat the oven to 350°F and spread half of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13″ baking pan.

Boil the pasta shells for about 10 minutes and then drain them. I like to place them in a single layer on a baking sheet to cool – if you leave them in the colander, they’ll stick together and end up tearing when you go to fill them with the cheese.

While the pasta cools, mix up the cheese filling. Combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper, and salt in a mixing bowl.

the ricotta cheese mixture stirred up.

Scoop two tablespoons of the cheese filling and stuff it into each jumbo shell. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish.

the stuffed shells placed in a baking dish.

Top the shells with the remaining marinara sauce and the rest of the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.

the shells topped with shredded cheese.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the shells for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake them for about five minutes more or until the cheese is melted on top. Sprinkle some chopped parsley over the top for garnish.

baked cheese stuffed shells.

Recipe Tips

  • Make it easy for weeknights: You can mix up the cheese filling ahead of time (either the night before or the morning of) so it’s ready to go when you’re ready to make dinner. Just boil the pasta, stuff, and bake!
  • Make-ahead: Or, you can prepare it all a day in advance. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time – once the stuffed shells are bubbling hot and melty, it’s ready.
  • Leftover stuffed shells will keep in the refrigerator for two to three days.

I hope you treat yourself to these easy stuffed shells! Save them for a night when only a serious comfort food dinner will do – you won’t regret it.

Happy cooking,

April
a stuffed shell being scooped out of a baking pan.

📣 Do you love this recipe? I would love to know! Leave a comment below the recipe, along with your recipe star rating.

Print

Easy Stuffed Shells

a pan of stuffed shells.

Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with three different kinds of cheese, baked in marinara sauce, and topped with even more melty mozzarella. It’s a classic comfort food dinner that’s easy to make.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian-American

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 box (16 ounces) jumbo shells
  • 1 (24-oz) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 (15-oz) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread half of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13″ baking pan.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the shells until al dente according to the time on the package directions– about 10 minutes. Drain the shells and spread them on a baking sheet or plate to cool.
  3. Mix the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, ¾ cup parmesan, egg, parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Fill each shell with the cheese mixture (about 2 tablespoons each)) and place them open-side up in the baking dish.
  5. Top the shells with the remaining marinara sauce and sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the top.
  6. Cover the pan loosely with foil and bake the stuffed shells for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake them for about five minutes more or until the cheese is melted on top. Sprinkle some chopped parsley over the top for garnish.

Notes

You can use your favorite homemade marinara or use store-bought marinara. My favorite brand is Rao’s.

You can make this recipe a day ahead, store it in the fridge, and then bake it. You may need to add a few minutes of baking time.

You can also mix up the cheese filling ahead to have it ready when it’s time to make dinner. Mix it up the night before or day ahead – this makes it easy for weeknight dinners.

Leftover stuffed shells will keep for two to three days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 643
  • Sugar: 8.2g
  • Sodium: 1121.4mg
  • Fat: 25g
  • Saturated Fat: 13.8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 69.1g
  • Fiber: 4.7g
  • Protein: 34g
  • Cholesterol: 108.4mg

Keywords: classic stuffed shells, cheese stuffed shells, stuffed jumbo shells

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.

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