With this easy Ricotta Stuffed Shells recipe, dinner is on the table in no time. A garlicky cheese filling combined with tangy marinara sauce makes these stuffed pasta shells a hit every time. You can even prep them ahead of time for a deliciously simple freezer meal!
Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe
Love baked pasta recipes? We do too. Like my Ravioli Lasagna this stuffed shells recipe is a quicker, easier version of a traditional cheesy lasagna.
Have you ever tried ricotta cheese with your pasta? This soft Italian cheese is creamy, mild and just slightly sweet. It’s extra delicious stuffed into pasta shells and baked with marinara sauce and mozzarella.
Stuffed Shells are the perfect family meal for any night of the week! With just a few minutes of prep time, you’ll have a delicious homemade dinner on the table that everyone will rave over.
Using jumbo shells makes it easy for everyone to get their fill. Young kids will eat 1 -2 shells while adults are satisfied with 3 (or 4 if you’re really hungry!). Serve these with a tossed side salad and you have a complete dinner!
How To Make Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Just like Olive Garden Stuffed Shells, but better!
Ingredients at a glance, full printable recipe found below.
- Jumbo pasta shells: Make sure not to overcook the pasta! Once it’s overcooked, it will be very difficult to fill and will take on a mushy texture.
- Ricotta cheese: There aren’t any perfect substitutes for ricotta cheese, but you can use cottage cheese or goat cheese. The textures and taste will be somewhat different, but still delicious.
- Egg: make sure to use a large egg.
- Lemon juice: You can use lime juice instead of lemon juice. It also doesn’t matter if it’s fresh or from concentrate.
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
- Marinara sauce: Choose your favorite type of pasta sauce to use for this. I love this with my Easy Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce, my all time favorite!
- Mozzarella cheese: You can use other cheeses too, like cheddar cheese, Colby jack, pepper jack, Monterey, etc.
- Minced parsley (optional garnish): Replace this with cilantro or scallions.
- 9×13 baking dish
- Mixing bowl and tools
Steps To Take
Steps at a glance, full printable recipe is available below.
- Cook pasta shells according to package directions.
- Combine ricotta, egg, lemon juice, garlic & onion powders, salt, herbs and pepper.
- Prepare baking pan by spreading marinara sauce over the bottom of the pan.
- Fill pasta shells with cheese mixture, then place in baking pan.
- Cover with remaining marinara sauce and cheese, then bake.
Freezer Meal Stuffed Shells
Another reason to love cheese stuffed shells recipes? They can be prepped in advance and stashed in the freezer.
To make this a freezer-ready meal, follow all recipe steps up until baking. Wrap the pan in foil then plastic wrap or a freezer bag. Keep frozen until ready to bake (up to 2 months). When ready to eat, bake and enjoy. Add an extra 5 minutes of baking time for frozen stuffed shells.
You can also freeze the stuffed shells as individual portions for easy lunches!
Tips & Tricks
- The key to making the best stuffed shells is not overcooking the pasta shells. I recommend reducing the initial boiling time by 1 -2 minutes. The pasta will continue cooking as the Ricotta Stuffed Shells bake in the oven nestled in sauce.
- Shred the mozzarella cheese at home for best results. Store bought shredded cheese does not melt as well due to the presence of anti-caking agents.
- Serve with Garlic Knots.
Questions & Answers
Can I prep stuff shells ahead of time?
Yes, Stuffed Pasta Shells are a great make-ahead option. Prep in the morning and cover the pan with foil. Store in the fridge until dinner time and bake!
How do I store my stuffed shells?
Cover your baking dish and store these shells in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also make them about 24 hours ahead of time.
Can I freeze cheese stuffed shells after baking?
Freeze these shells in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven until cheese is bubbly.
What else can I add to the stuffing?
Your stuffing for these shells can include a lot of other items as well. I would recommend ground sausage, beef, turkey, chicken or any other small bits of meat.
Also, include other types of cheese, like parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, or cottage cheese in the stuffing. Then you can add in some vegetables, like minced spinach, onion, pepper, broccoli, etc. There are a lot of great options for making these shells extra special.
More Easy Recipes
Easy Dinner Recipes
Ricotta Stuffed Shells prove that you don’t have to sacrifice great taste when you’re cooking in a hurry. Here are even more recipes that are perfect for busy nights.
- Chicken Alfredo Lasagna
- Pizza Casserole
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta
- Enchilada Pasta
- Easy Sausage Pasta
Delicious Dessert Recipes
We always leave room for dessert! Here are some of my favorite dessert recipes to enjoy after dinner!
Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells
- 2 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- minced parsley optional garnish
- Cook pasta shells according to directions until they are al dente. Do not overcook. Run under cold water as soon as they are removed from the boiling water. Set aside for now.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.
- Mix the ricotta cheese, egg, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried oregano, and black pepper in a small bowl.
- Pour and spread 1 ¾ cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of the dish.
- Fill each pasta shell with the ricotta cheese mixture and place them evenly throughout the baking pan.
- Once all pasta shells are filled and nestled into the sauce, drizzle the remaining marinara over all the shells and top off with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
- Broil for 2 minutes to get your cheese nice and toasty (if you prefer). Serve garnished with minced fresh parsley, if desired.
Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.