Taco Stuffed Shells topped with cheese, green onion, and tomato.

Taco Stuffed Shells Recipe

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


Taco Stuffed Shells combine taco night with delicious pasta for a satisfying meal that the whole family is sure to enjoy. I love the tomatoes and green onion on top, but feel free to switch out or add extra toppings to yours!


  • 1 and 1/3 lb. lean ground beef
  • 20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 (1 oz.) packet taco seasoning (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1 cup prepared salsa
  • 1 and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 (24 oz.) jar prepared tomato sauce (about 3 cups)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and one side of a large piece of aluminum foil with oil or cooking spray. Set both aside.
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta shells until al dente (or to preferred tenderness*) according to package instructions. Drain shells.
  3. While water comes to a boil and pasta cooks, prepare the filing by heating a medium skillet over high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 5-8 minutes. Stir in taco seasoning, salsa, and ½ cup of the cheese. Taste and add salt if needed.**
  4. Pour the tomato sauce into the prepared 9×13 baking dish, spreading it evenly across the bottom.
  5. Fill each cooked shell with a heaping tablespoon of the beef filling. Nestle stuffed shells into the tomato sauce as you fill them. If there is beef filling remaining after stuffing all shells, scatter it into the sauce around the shells.
  6. Sprinkle top of shells with remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  7. Cover the  baking dish tightly with the prepared foil, greased-side-down.
  8. Bake until cheese is melted, sauce is bubbling, and ground beef is heated through, 20-25 minutes. Optional: Remove foil and broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the cheese a bit.
  9. Remove dish from oven. Top with tomato and green onion. Serve.

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*You want the shells to be the softness that you like pasta to be for eating. Don’t undercook the shells since they’re not going to be baking for very long and they’re not going to get much softer. 

**Since not all taco seasonings and salsa have the same amount of salt, you will taste it here and add more salt if needed. If you find the mixture too salty at this point, don’t worry too much. We’re not adding salt to the tomato sauce so it will balance out.