Love the flavors of lasagna but don’t want to deal with all the layering? This lasagna stuffed shells with meat sauce recipe is for you! These ricotta stuffed shells have a flavorful Italian cheese filling and are topped with meat sauce and another layer of cheese. YUM. It’s similar process and flavors to my baked ravioli lasagna.
If you love pasta-based comfort food, give my creamy tortellini soup, chicken broccoli ziti, lasagna soup, vegetarian ramen soup, and sausage and broccoli pasta next time.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Table of Contents
- What are stuffed shells?
- What You’ll Love About Lasagna Stuffed Shells
- Ricotta Stuffed Shells Ingredients
- How to Make Stuffed Shells
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Storage Instructions
- How to Serve Easy Stuffed Shells to the Whole Family
- What to Serve with Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce
- More Pasta Recipes
- It’s 5pm. Are you still wondering what’s for dinner?
- Helpful Tools to Make Lasagna Stuffed Shells
What are stuffed shells?
Stuffed shells are pasta shells (jumbo ones!) that are stuffed with some sort of filling and baked. These lasagna stuffed shells have traditional lasagna flavors, without the layering. It’s delicious!
What You’ll Love About Lasagna Stuffed Shells
- Cozy comfort food meal
- Made with simple ingredients
- Easy to prep-ahead
- Family-friendly flavors
Ricotta Stuffed Shells Ingredients
These easy stuffed shells with ricotta are made with just 6 simple ingredients plus a few seasonings:
- Pasta shells – Look for jumbo pasta shells.
- Onion – I’ve used white onion, but yellow onion will also work.
- Olive oil – Use a high quality olive oil for best flavor.
- Ground beef – Use grass-fed beef for best flavor, or whatever type you typically buy. You could also make this with ground turkey or ground chicken.
- Marinara sauce – Use your favorite marinara sauce, or make your own.
- Ricotta cheese – I recommend full-fat for best flavor.
- Italian cheese – Look for a shredded Italian blend, they usually include Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, and sometimes mozzarella and provolone. Shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese will also work.
- Spices – Italian seasoning, garlic salt, sea salt
How to Make Stuffed Shells
This stuffed shells recipe with meat takes a bit more prep than most of my recipes, but it’s all pretty simple:
- Cook pasta shells. Boil pasta according to package directions, but take out 2-3 minutes before al dente) and let cool.
- Make meat sauce. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Turn up to medium-high heat and add ground beef to pan. Break up with spatula and season with sea salt. Cook until browned and drain off some of the fat if necessary. Stir in marinara sauce and remove from heat.
- Mix ricotta filling for stuffed shells. In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, Italian cheese, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt.
- Prep baking dish. Spread a layer of meat sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish.
- Stuff shells. Stuff shells with ricotta cheese mixture into shells with a spoon and place into baking dish in a single layer. Repeat with remaining shells and cheese mixture.
- Finish shells. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for in a preheated oven 20-25 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can stuffed shells be made ahead of time?
Yes, there is a lot you can prep ahead to make these stuffed shells super simple when you’re ready to cook them:
- Prep components – Make meat sauce; mix Italian ricotta cheese.
- Prep completely – Make and assemble stuffed shells with ricotta cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake, remove baking dish while oven is preheating and cook until cheese is melty.
Are stuffed shells gluten free?
They are not gluten-free, but you can easily make them gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free pasta.
Are stuffed shells vegetarian?
This stuffed shells with meat recipe is not vegetarian, but it’s easy to make it vegetarian-friendly. Simply swap the ground beef for your favorite plant-based meat alternative.
Store leftover ricotta stuffed pasta shells in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
How to reheat stuffed shells
Reheat shells in a 350 degree F oven or heat in the microwave until hot.
Can ricotta stuffed shells be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze ricotta stuffed shells for 2-3 months.
How to Serve Easy Stuffed Shells to the Whole Family
I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in. 😉
If your kids are hesitant about trying new foods or foods that are mixed together, you’ll want to serve these stuffed shells with ground beef with a few sides you know your kids will eat – like milk, fruit, bread, etc.
All of my articles on feeding kids can be found here and if you want a FULL list of all of the videos I have with hacks, tips, scripts, and ideas for feeding kids, check out my instagram or tiktok page.
What to Serve with Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce
Wondering what to serve with the best stuffed shells recipe? Try one of these easy side dishes:
More Pasta Recipes
If you like these stuffed shells with ricotta and meat, you might also like some of these other pasta recipes:
It’s 5pm. Are you still wondering what’s for dinner?
Menu Plans by My Everyday Table can help you out.
The plan addresses three major issues when it comes to weeknight dinners: having a plan, time, and one family meal.
You’ll save time, save money, waste less food, and feel calm when 5pm hits because your dinner is already planned.
Helpful Tools to Make Lasagna Stuffed Shells
- Ceramic Baking Dish – Assemble and bake the stuffed shells recipe with meat in this baking dish then take it right to the table for serving.
- Glass Storage Containers – Store leftover stuffed shells with meat sauce in these glass storage containers.
Lasagna Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
EASY lasagna stuffed shells with meat sauce and ricotta are easy to prep and made with basic ingredients. Simple flavors, satisfying meal!
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Boil shells according to package instructions (taking out 2-3 minutes before al dente), drain, and let cool.
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Turn up heat to medium-high and add ground beef to pan. Break up with spatula and season with sea salt. Cook until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in marinara sauce and remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, half (1 cup) of shredded Italian cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic salt.
- Stuff cheese mixture into shells.
- Spread a layer of beef sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish. Top with a single layer of stuffed shells, beef sauce, and remaining shredded cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
Keywords: lasagna stuffed shells, stuffed shells with meat, stuffed shells with meat sauce, ricotta stuffed shells
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Photo Credit: All photos in this post were take by Loren at Sweet Rustic Bakes
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