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how to make stuffed shells Classic

A classic recipe for stuffed crusts


The shell is filled with three types of cheese, topped with marinara sauce and cheese, and baked until golden brown. A classic home-cooked meal, perfect for feeding a crowd.

When I’m looking for an easy meal that both kids and adults will enjoy, I choose baked spaghetti, lasagna rolls, and shell cheese.
There’s a good reason why stuffed shells are a popular dish. It’s delicious and elegant, yet easy to make. Who can resist that cheese? This version uses ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella cheese and a delicious marinara sauce to create a completely satisfying dish.

How to make a stuffed seashell toy?

This dish starts by boiling the pasta. While the shells are cooking, prepare the filling by mixing together the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, seasonings, and eggs. Using a spoon or piping bag, fill each prepared shell with cheese mixture. Pour the marinara sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and arrange the shells on top of the sauce. Pour more sauce over the shells and top with mozzarella cheese. Cook the pasta with a lid on, then cook uncovered until cooked through. Add fresh parsley and enjoy.


  • Be sure to undercook your shells by 1-2 minutes because they will continue to cook when they go into the oven.
  • I prefer to use whole milk ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, but if you’re looking to save a few calories, you can use part skim.
  • Skip the pre-shredded bags of cheese and grate your own instead. I find that the pre-grated cheeses at the store tend to be coated with anti-caking agents and preservatives, and do not melt as smoothly.
  • You can assemble this dish up to 8 hours before you plan to bake it. Cover the dish with foil and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. You may need to add another 10 minutes to the baking time to compensate for starting with chilled pasta.
  • Choose a high quality jarred marinara sauce. I typically use Newman’s Own or Classico brands.


This is a classic version of baked shells with a cheese filling, but you can add a variety of ingredients to this dish to customize it to your tastes.

  • Protein: Stir 8 ounces of cooked crumbled ground beef, Italian sausage or ground turkey into the cheese mixture. You can also try using shredded cooked chicken.
  • Vegetables: Add up to 1 cup of veggies to the cheese filling such as spinach, mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini or kale. Make sure to finely chop the vegetables and cook them before they go into the mix.
  • Sauce: Swap out the marinara sauce for creamy Alfredo sauce, or use a hearty bolognese style meat sauce instead.
  • Cheese: You can use other types of cheese instead of the three I’ve listed, such as cream cheese, small curd cottage cheese, provolone, fontina, asiago or romano.

Can you freeze canned shells?

This dish will stay fresh for up to 3 months in the refrigerator. Collect the shells, close tightly and refrigerate. When ready to eat, bake the frozen shells and be sure to add an extra 30 minutes to the cooking time. You can freeze already cooked shells in individual portions. Microwave pre-baked crusts in 90 second increments until heated through.

What is the shelf life of canned shells?

Canned crusts stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, making them a great candidate for meal prep. You can store the baked crusts in a pan, cover them with aluminum foil or transfer them to an airtight container.

Classic Stuffed Shells

These stuffed shells are filled with three types of cheese, then covered in marinara sauce and more cheese and baked to golden brown perfection. A comfort food classic that's great for feeding a crowd!
Prep Time 25 days
Cook Time 30 days
Total Time 55 days
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Holiday
Cuisine American, French, Italian, Mexican
Servings 6


  • 24 jumbo pasta shells cooked according to package directions
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided use
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups marinara sauce divided use
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
  • cooking spray


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9"x13" baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Spread 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce in an even layer in the bottom of the pan.
  • Place the ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning, egg, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Fill each shell with the ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish.
  • Spoon the remaining marinara sauce over the shells, then sprinkle the other 1 1/2 cups of cheese over the top.
  • Cover the dish with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover the pan, then bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  • Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.
Keyword Shells, Stuffed, Stuffed Shells

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