Stuffed shells topped with tomato sauce and cheese in a white baking dish.

Beefy Stuffed Shells Recipe

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


The best beefy stuffed shells are cheesy with plenty of marinara sauce. You’ll love this amazing comfort food recipe.


  • 20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 (15 oz.) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 (24 oz.) jar prepared marinara sauce, divided
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella


  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Salt water and then boil pasta shells according to package directions until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta.
  2. While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, prepare your beef filling as follows.
  3. In a medium skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Add ground beef and salt to skillet. Cook until well browned and caramelized, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, drain off any fat or liquid, and then transfer the beef to a large plate so it can cool down a little bit.
  5. In a large bowl combine ricotta, egg, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder until well mixed. Add the ground beef to the ricotta mixture and stir. Taste the mixture and season with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder, if desired.
  6. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  7. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and one side of a large piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray or oil. Set foil aside. Add 2 cups of marinara to the baking dish and spread it out evenly.
  8. Fill each cooked shell with about 1 heaping tablespoon of the ricotta filling. Nestle stuffed shells in the sauce that’s in the baking dish, arranging shells in side-by-side in rows. If you have filling remaining, sprinkle it in the sauce around the shells.
  9. Top each stuffed shell with a spoonful of the remaining marinara sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over stuffed shells.
  10. Cover baking dish tightly with prepared aluminum foil, oiled-side-down.
  11. Bake until sauce is bubbling, 20-25 minutes.
  12. Remove foil, bake 6 to 8 minutes more or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  13. Remove from oven, serve immediately.

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