These stuffed shells have all the classic Italian flavors you love and are made in a unique way that makes preparing this dish so much easier! This is Italian comfort food at its finest. It’s perfect for large gatherings, church potlucks, and Sunday suppers with the whole extended family.
We love these super cheesy shells, filled with 3 kinds of cheese flavored and with herbs and garlic then topped with a homemade marinara sauce, then more cheese all baked to ooey gooey perfection! It’s perfect for Sunday supper!
What’s The Difference Between Manicotti And Stuffed Shells
Manicotti is a large tubular pasta. The name translates to “little sleeves.” They’re generally stuffed with cheese and often meat mixture covered in a marinara sauce and then baked.
Stuffed Shells are made with large shell-shaped pasta. In Italy, the pasta is referred to as conchiglioni, but in the US, it’s generally marketed as “jumbo shells.” They’re stuffed with ricotta and Mozzarella cheese mixture, topped with a marinara sauce then baked.
What’s The Best Way To Stuff Shells
You can go for the old-fashioned method of using a spoon. I prefer to pipe the filling into the shells. I load the filling into a resealable plastic bag, cut off a 1/4-inch diagonal corner, spoon the filling into the bag, then pipe the filling into the shell. I think this method is the easiest.
Storing + Freezing + Make-Ahead
- How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge? Leftovers will last 3-4 days in the fridge. The stuffed shells reheat nicely for a next-day lunch or leftover night!
- Can You Freeze This? Stuffed shells will freeze best before baking. Leftovers can be frozen but the pasta will get significantly softer.
- To reheat, let it thaw for a day in the fridge if you are able. Bake as directed and don’t forget to add the cheese!
- Make-Ahead Tips: Stuffed shells are a great make-ahead meal. Assemble the shells as directed but hold the taco sauce and cheese. Store it in the baking dish for up to a couple of days in the fridge. Top with taco sauce and cheese as directed. It will come out as bubbly and delicious as if you made it that day!
How to Make Stuffed Shells
- Saute the onions, pepper, and salt. Add garlic.
- Add the rest of the sauce ingredients.
- In a mixing bowl, mix all the filling ingredients.
- Fill the bag with the filling mixture, and cut the edge.
- Fill the shells with the filling mixture.
- Spread a cup of the sauce at the bottom of the baking dish.
- Place the stuffed shells, open side up in the baking dish.
- Pour the remaining sauce over the shells.
- Place aluminum foil on top. Bake.
- Take off the foil.
- Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella evenly over the top of the shells. Bake
See full instructions below.
More Yummy Pasta Casserole Recipes
- Baked Spaghetti with Cream Cheese
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
- Chicken Noodle Casserole
- Million Dollar Spaghetti
- Chicken Spaghetti
For The Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
For The Filling:
- 1¼ cups (10 ounces) whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup whole-milk mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan grated
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For The Shells:
- 25 to 30 (from a 12 oz box) jumbo pasta shells, use only open, unbroken shells
- 2 cups whole-milk mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil or parsley, chopped
Make The Sauce:
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil (2 tablespoons) over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onion (1 ½ cups), salt (¾ teaspoon), and pepper (½ teaspoon) and sauté until the onion is translucent about 10-12 minutes. Add garlic (1 tablespoon) and continue to sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the crushed tomatoes (1 can), water (2 cups), rosemary (1 teaspoon), Italian seasoning (2 teaspoons), and sugar (1 teaspoon) to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately lower heat to low and cook uncovered until flavors have melded about 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
Make The Filling:
- In a mixing bowl, stir together all the filling ingredients until smooth and well combined.
- Place the uncooked jumbo shells (25 to 30) on your workspace, open side up. Use a spoon or a pastry bag to fill the shells.
- Add 1 cup of the sauce evenly over the bottom of the 9x13-inch baking dish.
- Place the stuffed shells, open side up, in the baking dish.
- Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the shells. They will be completely covered.
- Place aluminum foil, tightly over the baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until shells are tender and the sauce is boiling rapidly about 45-55 minutes. Remove dish from oven. Take off the foil and discard.
- Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella evenly over the top of the shells, return uncovered to the oven, and continue to bake until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the dish to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle top with parsley of basil and serve.
Fans Also Made:
- Best way to stuff shells: You can go for the old-fashioned method of using a spoon. I prefer to pipe the filling into the shells. I load the filling into a resealable plastic bag, cut off a 1/4-inch diagonal corner, spoon the filling into the bag, then pipe the filling into the shell. I think this method is the easiest.