Taco Stuffed Shells made with jumbo pasta shells, salsa, cheese and taco meat are the perfect EASY meal that you can prepare ahead of time!
This recipe takes a classic Mexican Food recipe and reimagines it as a pasta favorite. This is the XL take on this super popular Cheesy Taco Pasta! If you want something a bit different you can also make Mexican Stuffed Peppers with all the taco flavors but none of the pasta!
Taco Stuffed Shells are an easy dinner of stuffed jumbo pasta shells with ground beef. With just the addition of taco seasoning, salsa and cheese your family will be asking for this dish to go in your regular rotation.
I love using either Guapo’s Famous Fresh Pico de Gallo in this recipe or incredibly easy, store bought jarred salsa. You can also swap out the salsa in this recipe in a 1 to 1 ratio with my favorite Homemade QUICK Enchilada Sauce to make them taco stuffed shells with enchilada sauce.
If you’re looking for an alternate to the shredded cheese or to mix things up a little you can absolutely make the taco stuffed shells with velveeta or nacho cheese as well. Even better, you could just double the shredded cheddar cheese and have the ultimate cheesy taco stuffed shells.
Serve Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells with your favorite taco toppings like sour cream, olives, and chopped green onions. Add a fresh Avocado Tomato Corn Salad and a delicious Mexican Caramel Flan for dessert and you’ll think you went to a fancy fusion restaurant for dinner.
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More Great Cheesy Pasta Dinners
- Cheesy Taco Pasta
- Bacon Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper
- Pepperoni Pizza Hamburger Helper
- Philly Cheesesteak Hamburger Helper
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Lasagna Roll Ups
Frequently Asked Questions
Pepperoni Pizza stuffed shells can be made with a similar recipe, just swap out the salsa for marinara sauce, and add pepperoni and mozzarella.
Make Chicken Bacon Ranch Stuffed Shells with the Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pinwheels filling and baked with alfredo sauce.
Make Philly Cheesesteak stuffed shells with the Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes filling but with double the cheese!
Make Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells with chicken nuggets, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Tools Used in the Making of Taco Stuffed Shells
- Jumbo Pasta Shells: Make sure you buy these and not the large ones.
- Jarred Salsa: Cuts the prep time down to just a couple of minutes and the flavors are still outstanding.
- Taco Seasoning: You can use Homemade Taco Seasoning if you’d prefer not to use a packet. This is the packet I’d recommend if not using homemade.
How to Store Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells
- Serve: Do not leave stuffed shells at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
- Store: In an airtight container, store Taco Stuffed Shells in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
- Freeze: Sealed tightly, Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. Reheat in the oven covered with foil at 350 until hot and bubbly, adding more salsa and cheese if needed.
- 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups jarred salsa , divided
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese , divided
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook the pasta shells in a pot according to the directions on the box and drain.
- Add the ground beef to the pot and brown well.
- Drain the fat.
- Add the taco seasoning and water, stir and cook until water is gone.
- Stir in 1 cup salsa and ¾ cup cheese.
- Scoop into the jumbo pasta shells and top with the remaining salsa and cheese.
- Bake in a covered pan for 15 minutes.
Photos used in a previous version of this post.
Excellent! I should have made extra sauce and could have used another 1/2 pound of meat (I used ground turkey) as I had leftover shells. I did add chopped onions and green peppers to the meat and some Better Than Bouillon Smoky Chipotle for a little more kick. It’s a keeper for me!
I used spaghetti sauce instead of salsa because of the spice. It is awesome. I am making it again for my aunt and uncle. Can’t wait to see how they like it.
Will Definitely be making this again. Next time with medium shells tossed together. Quick and easy dinner or reuse for leftover tacos.
This dish was delicious. My sons and I love pasta very much & I’m trying different dishes. Thanks for sharing.
Used what I had in the house. Large shells are considerably smaller than the jumbo shells, and nearly impossible to stuff. So I used them instead like macaroni, followed the recipe and instead of stuffing, just combined the pasta, salsa, seasoning, etc. Topped it with cheese and baked it. It was easy and so delicious with a tossed salad and garlic bread sticks. Thanx again Sabrina for a great recipe. Just ordered your cookbook and cannot wait to dive in!
Yummy!! Will be making this again.
I made this tonight and it was a hit. I used 1 pound of ground turkey as it was what I had on hand and it was perfect. I was quite frustrated that my grocery store did not have jumbo shells so I used manicotti instead and it worked well. The amount of meat filled all 14 tubes with no leftover. I will make these again and may do like others and add corn and beans. Thank you.
I actually used 2lbs of hamburger is what I had frozen and thawed out a day ahead of time the in the fridge and was perfect! I think you need at least 2lbs. I threw the extra unused shells away. I mad the recipe exactly except used a full jar of salsa about 20oz jar mixing half into the meat mixture along with about a cup of the Mexican style cheese blend shredded cheese and after arranging in the pan sprayed with Pam cooking spray, I poured the last of the salsa over the top and sprinkled about another cup worth of cheese across the top over the salsa and covered and baked with foil about 30mins lost track of time but it came out perfect. Served with a side of corn. My 10yr daughter loved it and so did I!
I don’t think just a pound of hamburger is adequate and I recommend 2lbs.
Will be making this super easy recipe often from now on.
What’s amazing is it’s just a few ingredients and a super easy weeknight meal.
Serve with a salad or a favorite vegetable or some sliced avocados or a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!!!
What size pan do you recommend using?
This tasted delicious! But you’re gonna need twice the ground beef to fill all the shells and be able to feed 6. I only needed to feed 3 so this worked out for me, and I’ll save the leftover shells I have for another recipe. Very quick and easy recipe, and a great way to use the jar of salsa wasting space in the back of my fridge!
These shells are so yummy. Just wondering if you can refrigerate until you are ready to cook them ?? Or freeze ahead of time
Yes you can!
Adding cream cheese to the meat mixture went SOOO perfectly. 10/10 recommend
Made this the other night and it was a HUGE hit. Definitely making this again
Can’t wait to try! Looks yummie.
I added corn and kidney beans and it turne out really good
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