Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ricotta Stuffed Shells with an easy homemade marinara sauce and garlicky three cheese ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan filling in 30 minutes.

Stuffed shells are a family favorite, and these are popular because they’re like 30 minute cheesy lasagna without all the extra effort! You can mix up different flavors, too, like Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed ShellsCheesy Taco Stuffed Shells, and Chicken Bacon Ranch Stuffed Shells.

Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ricotta Stuffed Shells are a comforting, baked pasta dish with all your favorite classic Italian flavors like garlic, cheese, and marinara sauce. Because the shells naturally create individual servings, it’s perfect for a large group or party, too!

Why stuffed shells? They’re a total breeze to make and freeze into individual servings, or to take for lunch or to serve to kids. Little ones eat 1 shell usually while the adults do 2-3 shells each and you can just serve it up with an easy Italian salad made with Olive Garden Italian Salad Dressing (Copycat).

The trick to making the stuffed shells is in not overcooking the pasta. When you boil it at first you can cook it for 1-2 minutes shy of the instructions because you are going to be baking it for almost 30 minutes in the oven. If you are worried about the pasta drying out, you can even add a ½ cup of water to the marinara sauce to give the pasta more moisture to soak up.

Ricotta Stuffed Shells collage of stuffing steps

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the name of Stuffed Pasta?

The classic name for stuffed shells is conchiglie which is comes from conchiglia which is the Italian word for shells. You might even hear a kid call them “conch noodles” which is a fun nickname!

Can you make Ricotta Stuffed Shells ahead of time?

The stuffed shells can be made 1-2 days ahead of baking in the refrigerator, but do not cover it with the pasta sauce until just before baking as the noodles will soak up excess moisture and the texture of the pasta will be different.

Can you freeze these stuffed shells ahead of time?

Yes, you can freeze the stuffed shells at the step before baking. When you’re ready to bake them, you can place the frozen pieces onto a baking pan, cover with the tomato sauce and bake for 5-10 more minutes than directed in the instructions.

What else can be added to Ricotta Stuffed Shells?

To make Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells, add one 10oz package of frozen spinach, well drained, to the cheese mixture before stuffing. You can also add sautéed mushrooms, crumbled cooked Italian sausage, or red pepper flakes for a kick. Try garnishing with fresh chopped basil.

Ricotta Stuffed Shells collage of baking steps

How to Store Ricotta Stuffed Shells

  • Serve: Ricotta Stuffed Shells can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours before they should be refrigerated.
  • Store: Sealed in an airtight container, Stuffed Shells will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees, adding a little marinara sauce if needed.
  • Freeze: Freeze Ricotta Stuffed Shells in an airtight container, or a tightly covered baking dish, for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven.
Ricotta Stuffed Shells

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Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ricotta Stuffed Shells with an easy homemade marinara sauce and garlicky three cheese ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan filling in 30 minutes.
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells , dried
  • 2 large eggs , beaten
  • 32 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded parmesan cheese , divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 3 cups marinara sauce , about 28 ounces

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring a pot of water to a boil.
  • Add the shells and cook for 1 minute shy of the directions on the box.
  • To a large bowl add the eggs, ricotta, garlic the mozzarella and half the parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
  • Mix the ingredients well.
  • Spoon the mixture into the shells and put them in a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Top with marinara sauce and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Garnish with parmesan cheese if desired.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 615kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 1394mg | Potassium: 719mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1455IU | Vitamin C: 8.6mg | Calcium: 531mg | Iron: 2.8mg
Keyword: baked pasta, pasta, ricotta, Ricotta Stuffed Shells, stuffed shells
Ricotta Stuffed Shells Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Ricotta Stuffed Shells

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. Definitely a solid recipe, this is my second time making it. My reason for the 4 star rating is that the suggested cook time is not appropriate. I found 50 minutes at 350F to be appropriate. Overall, solid recipe. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Dear Miss Sabrina,
    I see the recipe calls for 3 cups marinara, However I am having a slight issue, this makes 40 shells approximately from a 12oz box for me stuffing fits well about 2Tbsp per shell. But a 24 oz jar of Marinara does not cover them well and I have to split them between 2 9 by 1e glass casseroles. So this time I used a 1/8c per shell to sauce the tops then mixed em up to cover all the shells throughly bu hand when I realized they would probably get crunchy, do you recommend covering them with foil? Ir just adding some more sauce? Thankyou very much for your time and effort!!

  3. Almost followed recipe, added one more quart of sauce, I like it cooked down and thick. Love the stuffing, being a man tryin gto make stuffed shells must look comical to my wife. I am Irish, she is the Italian…love the recipe, it’s cooking now…

  4. Followed recipe completely! It turned out beautifully, My casserole dish was smaller than a 9×13 so I had extra filling which I just re I poured the Mariana sauce over it. No leftovers, Great recipe!

    1. Love the recipe, a family favorite. We make the sauce with a couple of italian sausage links and then put them in the pan during baking.

      You mentioned that the shells can be frozen right before the baking step. Can I add the marinara sauce before freezing; or, will it be soaked up by the shells making them to soft?

      1. I’d wouldn’t freeze the sauce with it. I like pouring fresh sauce over the frozen shells before getting it into the oven.

  5. It made plenty for my big family. Ended up filling two 9×9 pans and a small casserole dish. I had to run to dg and grab another marinara sauce and used the whole thing. I had about a fourth of the cheese left over after stuffing but after reading some comments learned it would have been great on my toast.

  6. I really enjoyed making the stuffed riccato shells.and so easy and delicious. The 2nd time I made it I added browned ground beef, it was also fabulous.

  7. Homemade ricotta solves the “watery” situation. And not hard to make. Just hard to not use it up before making the shells by slathering it on bread! Great recipe.

  8. Just tried this last night — it was the first time I made stuffed shells. I was generous with the garlic and mixed in some extra mozz to tone down the texture of the ricotta which my fiance dislikes and he ended up loving it!

    One additional thing I did that my family loved was I took the shells out after 25 mins, turned my oven to a low broil and put some mozzarella on top for browning — made it look extra scrumptious!

  9. This link was E-mailed to me by a coworker, so I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks good. My wife is allergic to gluten and eggs, so I’ll try to find gluten-free shells. Any suggestion on egg substitution? What happens if I just omit them? My daughter doesn’t like gluten-free pasta, so I’ll have to cook two dishes, one regular and one gluten-free.

    1. You can just leave the eggs out and add another cup of mozzarella cheese. The egg just acts as a binder but you should be fine leaving it out. Good luck!

  10. Absolutely delicious!!! Easy to find ingredients and clear instructions. I found I had to gently keep shells moving so they wouldn’t stick to pan bottom while boiling. Don’t skimp on sauce-I did as jar was 24 oz. Also, read somewhere recently to simmer garlic briefly to remove bitterness. Worked well. Great recipe for sure fire results!!!

  11. It was not only easy, it looks great served and is delicious. An additional bonus is that it can be prepared a day or two ahead.

  12. This recipe rocks! The only change I make is that I add sausage to the sauce! This is a crowd pleaser!!

      1. So my daughter and I just made this. So delicious. It is nice to share the cooking experience with her and this recipe was the perfect dish for us to cook together.

  13. I cooked this per recipe direction but the cheese was unmelted and, even with an extra 5 minutes, the dish was not warm. I was worried about overcooking the dish, so I didn’t second guess the recipe, but with the raw egg issue, I’m now nervous we could feel sick. I have seen other recipes that recommend cooking for AN HOUR. in retrospect, I would cook it for an hour as it was hardly warm and contains raw egg.

    1. oh no! Sounds like maybe your oven was not reaching the right temp to cook it? I’m sorry that happened but yes, if you make it again feel free to cook longer. You can also always add sauce to keep it from drying out if you do. Hope this helps!

    2. Mine was not hust warm at 350 F I do not live at a high altitude, I’m told that makes a difference. However if u let them sit like 10min they cool down very quickly!! I also put my cheese mix in the fridge while I let the shells cool to be able to handle them better. So 15min maybe. Seeing the date I’m sure you got it figured out by now, much love

  14. Going to try this recipe today! When I made stuffed shells in the past, I think I either under or over cooked the shells.

  15. Made this dish for dinner and it was great! I used manicotti instead of regular shells but came out great – the cheese stuffing has a nice flavor.

  16. This is awesome recipe!!! Thanks for sharing. Only issue i had was seemed like a lot of liquid when i took it out of the oven. There was no extra water used, only thing i can figure was the marinara i used seperated. But even a lil watery everyone loved it

  17. Just made these. My family thought they were awesome! Will use this recipe again! I’m one to change a recipe to my taste. I didn’t change a thing in this recipe. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  18. I didn’t use quite as much garlic as the recipe called for and added a cup of cottage cheese to the mixture. I shredded fresh parmesan on top prior to baking and the rest of mozzarella 5 minutes before taking it out of the oven. Letting it rest for about 5 minutes prior to serving.

    1. Thanks for catching that! I just edited to read correctly now. Should ready 2 cloves garlic, minced.

  19. I haven’t had stuffed shells with cheese in a long time. Your recipe sounds perfect and your shells look incredible!

    1. Sorry about that. I’ve edited to read correctly. I decided last minute not to add any to the top. Thanks for catching that!