Enjoy stuffed shells recipe with just a little prep work and the results are delicious. There is so much cheesy goodness and the recipe is super easy.

A pan full of stuffed shells and a spatula lifting 2 of the shells out of the pan.

Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe

This recipe is so amazing that no one will even miss the meat. The cheese stuffed shells scream comfort food and your entire family will ask you to make this all the time!

It looks gorgeous but is very simple to make. Do not be intimidated by stuffed shells. I promise it is so easy to make!

Plus, this meal is very budget friendly and inexpensive to make. We love to serve this when company is coming to dinner but it’s quick enough for busy weeknights.

We even have this Crock Pot Stuffed Shells version if you want to use the slow cooker.

Equipment Needed:

You’ll need a 9×13 baking dish to make this recipe. You can also use the disposable pans for when I am taking this dish to a potluck or gathering or if you’re making an extra batch to freeze for another quick dinner.

You will also need a large sauce pan to cook the jumbo pasta shells in before stuffing them with the cheese mixture.

Ingredients to make homemade stuffed shells

Ricotta Stuff Shells Ingredients:

  • Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Egg
  • Minced Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley, chopped (learn How to Dry Parsley in the Oven)
  • Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Stuffed Shells in a 9X13 baking dish topped with cheese and fresh parsley

How to make stuffed shells with ricotta:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Place the shells in the water and cook 3 minutes less than the cook time listed on the package (to al dente).  Drain the shells and rinse with cold water.

Spray a 9X13 pan with non-stick spray and then spread ½ of the marinara sauce at the bottom of the pan. If you’re concerned that you don’t have enough sauce, you can spread olive oil on the bottom of the pan instead.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, minced garlic, parsley, basil leaves, salt and pepper.  Stir to thoroughly combine.

2 photos - the 1st one showing the cheese, egg and seasonings being mixed together.  The 2nd photos shows the shells stuffed with the cheese mixture in the 9X13 baking pan.

How To Stuff Shells:

It is very simple. Just spoon the ricotta filling into the cooked shells and place the shells in the 9X13 pan on top of the sauce.

Pour the remaining marinara sauce on top of the shells and top with the mozzarella cheese.

Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until hot and the cheese is fully melted.

Stuffed Shells in a 9X13 baking dish topped with cheese and fresh parsley

Serve immediately while warm and enjoy!

Tips to make the Best Stuffed Shells:

  • Make sure to cook the pasta for 3 minutes less than the cook time listed on the pasta. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven and you don’t want it to be over cooked.
  • I recommend using full fat ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese for this recipe. It’s add the best flavor to this pasta recipe.
  • Shred the mozzarella cheese by hand instead of buying the pre-shredded option. The pre-shredded ones are coated in a starch and do not melt as smoothly.
  • Use a good quality marinara sauce for this recipe. I love Rao’s or Newman’s Own marinara sauces in this recipe.
  • You can assemble these shells up to 8 hours before baking them. If you pre-assemble the shells, store them in the refrigerate, covered until you are ready to bake. Plus add 5-10 more minutes to the bake time to account for the cold ingredients.
A pan full of stuffed shells and a spatula lifting 2 of the shells out of the pan.

What to serve with stuffed pasta shells?

I love serving this stuffed with a large salad to make a complete meal. Bread is also delicious served with these stuffed shells.

I love this easy homemade garlic bread recipe or this Garlic Bread Cheese Sticks Recipe. The bread is optional but it is perfect to get every last drop of that amazing tomato sauce.

Stuffed Shells in a 9X13 baking dish topped with cheese and fresh parsley

How to Store:

Store any leftovers in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. You can reheat them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until they are heated through.

Can you freeze Stuffed Shells:

Yes, stuffed shells freeze great. I love making a 2nd batch and freezing it so I have another dinner ready to go in the freezer.

To freeze, assemble the shells as directed in the recipe but do not bake them. Them cover the shells with foil and freeze them for up to 2-3 months.

Then you can easily bake them from frozen. Add 30 minutes to the cook time to make sure that they get baked all the way through and allow them time to defrost as well.

You can also freeze the leftovers as well. Store them in a covered freezer container or bag and freeze for 2-3 months. Then defrost them at room temperature and reheat them in the microwave or oven.

A pan full of stuffed shells and a spatula lifting 2 of the shells out of the pan.

Variation Ideas:

Now, we absolutely love this recipe as is. However, the ideas are endless for changing things up. Here are a few ideas:

  • Add Protein – You can add sausage or ground beef if you want to add meat. Ground turkey is also tasty as well. I would mix the protein (pre-browned) into the cheese mixture before stuffing the shells.
  • Change up the Cheese – You can use cottage cheese instead of ricotta if you prefer. Plus instead of topping it with mozzarella cheese, you can top it with asiago or Romano cheese for a different flavor.
  • Add in More Veggies – You can mix in your favorite type of veggies in the ricotta cheese mixture. I love adding in ½ cups spinach or kale to the cheese mixture. This is an easy way to add in more vegetables into this simple recipe.
  • Change up the Sauce – Just changing up the type of sauce will easily switch up the recipe. You can use different types of marinara sauces or use an Alfredo sauce for a completely different flavor.
  • Add Some Spice – If you love spicy foods, you can stir in 1 tsp of red pepper flakes into your marinara sauce before topping the shells with it to give these shells some spice.

Print this recipe for easy stuffed shells:

Stuffed Shells recipe

5 from 5 votes
Enjoy stuffed shells recipe with just a little prep work and the results are tasty. There is so much cheesy goodness and the recipe is easy.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 6
Cuisine Italian
Course Main Course
Calories 424
Author Eating on a Dime

Ingredients

  • 24-30 Jumbo Pasta Shells depending on how many will fit in your pan
  • 15 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 3/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley chopped
  • 9 Fresh Basil Leaves chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 28 oz Marinara Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Place the shells in the water and cook 3 minutes less than the cook time listed on the package.  Drain the shells and rinse with cool water.
  • Spray a 9X13 pan with non-stick spray and then spread ½ of the marinara sauce at the bottom of the pan.
  • In a medium size bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, minced garlic, parsley, basil leaves, salt and pepper.  Stir to thoroughly combine.
  • Then spoon the cheese mixture into the shells and place the shells in the 9X13 pan on top of the sauce.
  • Pour the remaining marinara sauce on top of the shells and top with the mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until hot and the cheese is fully melted.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Calories 424kcal, Carbohydrates 35g, Protein 26g, Fat 20g, Saturated Fat 12g, Cholesterol 97mg, Sodium 1327mg, Potassium 631mg, Fiber 3g, Sugar 7g, Vitamin A 1310IU, Vitamin C 10mg, Calcium 455mg, Iron 2mg

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Enjoy this classic stuffed shells recipe with just a little prep work and the results are delicious. There is so much cheesy goodness and the recipe is easy. Learn how to make homemade baked stuffed shells with the best ricotta cheese mixture. #eatingonadime #stuffedshells #RecipeRicotta #recipeeasy #Howlongto #stuffedshellsrecipe #jumbo #Italian #oven #baked #howto
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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families.

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