Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells

6 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

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!

Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells made with jumbo pasta shells, salsa, cheese and taco meat are the perfect EASY weeknight meal that you can prepare ahead of time too!

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.

Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells Collage of cooking steps

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.

More Great Cheesy Pasta Dinners

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Shells?

Pepperoni Pizza stuffed shells can be made with a similar recipe, just swap out the salsa for marinara sauce, and add pepperoni and mozzarella.

How do I make Chicken Bacon Ranch Stuffed Shells?

Make Chicken Bacon Ranch Stuffed Shells with the Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pinwheels filling and baked with alfredo sauce.

How do I make Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Shells?

Make Philly Cheesesteak stuffed shells with the Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes filling but with double the cheese!

How do I make Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells?

Make Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells with chicken nuggets, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells on dinner plate with sour cream, olives and green onion toppings

Tools Used in the Making of Taco Stuffed Shells

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. 
Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells on dinner plate with sour cream, olives and green onion toppings

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Taco Stuffed Shells

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!
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Author Sabrina Snyder



  • 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.



Calories: 497kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 644mg | Potassium: 534mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 515IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 2.6mg
Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

5 Ingredient Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells are an easy weeknight meal!
Done in just 30 minutes and with five ingredients, you'll love these Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells!
Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells made with jumbo pasta shells, salsa, cheese and taco meat are the perfect EASY weeknight meal that you can prepare ahead of time too!
5 Ingredient Cheesy Taco Stuffed Shells are an easy weeknight meal!

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 cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, 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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  1. This recipe is awesome just the way it is written. I have made it many times. If I am in a rush I par cook the smaller shells and mix everything together in a casserole dish- top it with cheese and bake it. It can easier become different by adding other ingredients such as corn, black olives, beans but we love it just the way this recipe is written- better than 5 stars!

    1. Aww, you made my day Teresa! Thanks so much for the high praise and the 5 stars!

  2. This recipe was so simple and so delicious! Definitely a new favorite in my house! I will be adding more items to the mixture like chopped jalapeños and maybe some black beans and corn for a more southwestern vibe. But no additions are necessary! Making it just as the recipe shows was perfect! Like other reviews, I’d also suggest at least 2lbs of hamburger. I’m going to triple this recipe for the game this weekend! Thanks for this!

  3. This recipe is one of my family’s favorites we make it quite a few times over the course of a month. It’s such a simple dish to make but it is really filling and so good. I always have to make a double batch so we have left overs for the next day.

    1. I love to hear comments like yours. Cooking for a family can be tricky so finding a recipe that pleases everyone is a win! Thank you Paulette for your kind review.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. Will Definitely be making this again. Next time with medium shells tossed together. Quick and easy dinner or reuse for leftover tacos.

  7. This dish was delicious. My sons and I love pasta very much & I’m trying different dishes. Thanks for sharing.

  8. 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!

    1. 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.

  9. 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!!!

  10. 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!

  11. These shells are so yummy. Just wondering if you can refrigerate until you are ready to cook them ?? Or freeze ahead of time