Ground Beef Stuffed Pasta Shells is the ultimate comfort food. This is a great dish to make when company is coming because it will feed quite a few people. Plus everyone loves pasta.
I chose to use jar sauce for this recipe to make it as easy as possible. Okay, so I have never actually made homemade marinara sauce. I feel like the companies that make it and sell it at the grocery store have pretty much perfected it. We like many brands and choose a different brand and variety of sauce for different dishes.
There is one brand in particular that the whole family loves and we use it for spaghetti. Then I use a different brand if I am making manicotti or chicken parmesan. I use the store brand for dishes like this stuffed shell recipe because I am adding other ingredients to it.
What about you? Do you use store bought sauce, or make your own? If you buy it, what is your favorite brand?
Table of contents
What you will love about this recipe
- Pasta dishes are a crowd pleaser.
- It is an easy recipe because we use jar sauce, plus you don’t need a long list of ingredients.
- There are three types of cheese in this dish!
- It heats up well in the microwave.
See recipe card for exact amounts.
Ground Beef – I use 93/7 ground beef, if using fattier ground beef the excess grease will need to be drained off. Ground chicken, ground turkey or Italian sausage can be used for all or a portion of the beef. You would just brown it the same way you do the ground beef.
Spaghetti Sauce – we like inexpensive marinara sauce for this recipe. You can use homemade or your favorite brand and variety.
Jumbo Shells – we use a much shorter cooking time than the package directions so they are very al dente. This makes them easier to fill and more importantly, they don’t get mushy. They will cook the rest of the way in the oven.
Ricotta Cheese – either full fat or skim milk ricotta will work just great. I have not tried this specific recipe with cottage cheese, it will probably work but would be watery.
Mozzarella Cheese – full fat or skim milk cheese will work here too. You can use an Italian cheese blend if you prefer.
Parmesan Cheese – I buy the block and shred it myself, pre-shredded will work good too. You could also top the whole dish with the grated parmesan cheese that comes in the can for added cheesy goodness.
Italian Seasoning – this usually has oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram.
Garlic – fresh garlic or the kind in the jar (that’s what I use almost all the time).
How to make this easy stuffed shells recipe
- Cook pasta in a large pot of water for 10 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water.
- While the pasta cooks brown the beef over medium heat in a skillet, about 7-10 minutes. When the meat is almost finished add the garlic and cook a minute or two.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a 9″ X 13″ casserole dish with cooking spray and put enough pasta sauce in the bottom of the baking dish so that it covers the surface.
- Combine the meat, egg, ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
- Fill shells with cheese mixture and place them into the prepared baking dish in a single layer, spoon remaining sauce over shells.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35-40 minutes, uncover and add remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese; cook until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving.
- Spread cooked shell pasta out on a rimmed baking sheet so the shells don’t stick together.
- I use a table spoon to stuff the shells with the ricotta filling, not a measuring spoon, just a regular spoon. You can fill a piping bag and pipe it in if you have one.
- Serve with a side salad and garlic bread for a complete meal.
Storage & Reheating
We store our leftovers in the same casserole dish that we bake it in. The one you see in the pictures in this post doesn’t have a lid so I cover it with plastic wrap and it is airtight. You can transfer your leftovers to a different airtight container or portion them out into individual servings.
I like to heat the leftovers up in the microwave.
There is a great article over at Southern Living that tells you how to freeze, defrost, and reheat a casserole, so check that out if you want to make this dish as part of your meal prep.
Follow us on social media!
Bookmark this page so you can find it easily when you are ready to make this recipe!
Cheesy Stuffed Shells Recipe ↓
The Best Ground Beef Stuffed Pasta Shells
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 egg
- 1 container ricotta cheese 15 ounces
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 24 jumbo pasta shells
- 1 jar pasta sauce 24 ounces
- Cooking spray
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
I earn a small commission from Instacart for qualifying purchases.
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot, add pasta and cook 10 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water.24 jumbo pasta shells
- Meanwhile cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until brown, about 7- 10 minutes. When the meat is almost finished add the garlic.1 pound lean ground beef, 1 clove garlic
- Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 9" X 13" baking dish with cooking spray and put enough pasta sauce in the bottom of the dish so that it covers the surface, probably about a cup, depending on the size of your dish.1 jar pasta sauce, Cooking spray
- In a large bowl combine the meat, egg, ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.1 egg, 1 container ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Use a table spoon to fill the shells and place them into the prepared baking dish in a single layer, spoon remaining sauce over shells. Cover with foil.1 jar pasta sauce
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly, uncover and add remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese; cook until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- Let stand about 5 minutes before serving.