Italian Baked Stuffed Shells


stuffed-shells-recipeBaked jumbo stuffed shells are a great alternative to serving baked lasagna. You can determine how many servings you will need for your dinner party and not have the worry of baking a huge casserole and having to serve leftovers for days.

With this recipe you can make as many as you want and you can even freeze the unbaked stuffed shells individually for use at a later date and again determine how many you want to bake.

The filling is the same as that used for lasagna, ravioli, and manicotti. I particularly like this dish when preparing a meal for just two. Served with a tossed salad, garlic bread, and a special bottle of red wine it can’t be beat for a romantic dinner for two.


Serves: 12

  • Jumbo pasta shells
  • 15-oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbs chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Marinara sauce (homemade or store bought) – try my homemade marinara sauce recipe


  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Cook shells in boiling salted water until tender. Do not overcook.
  3. Drain shells and place on cookie sheet on a layer of wax paper to keep shells from sticking together.
  4. Mix ricotta cheese, egg, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
  5. Fill shell by tablespoon until it fills shape of shell.
  6. Coat the bottom of casserole dish with marinara sauce. Use casserole pan that will hold the amount of shells you plan to bake. (9×13 holds 12 or more, 8×8 holds 6 – 8 shells).
  7. Lay shells in bottom of casserole dish and do not have them touching.
  8. Cover shells with marinara sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  9. Cover dish with foil and bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  10. Let casserole sit several minutes before serving.

Directions for freezing shells for baking later:

  1. Fill cooked shells and place on a foil lined tray.
  2. Do not have shells touching.
  3. Cover shells with wax paper and place tray in freezer.
  4. When shells are thoroughly frozen place in zip-lock freezer bag and freeze up to 2 months.

Baking frozen shells:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Place frozen shells in casserole dish coated with sauce.
  3. Cover shells with marinara sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover casserole with tin foil. Bake 45-50 minutes.

8 Responses to “Italian Baked Stuffed Shells”

  1. Lynn Miner says:

    12/8/10 You are a Saint…your moist meatballs are a big hit and can’t wait to try your baked stuffed shells !!

    Lynn from Maine

  2. Emily says:

    Thank you so much for your stuffed shells recipe! I needed something quick and easy and this was just that. My co-worker’s wife is having health issues and they have two young boys. I made these for him and froze them so he could fix them up several times. It really helped the family out in a time of need and it was reported back to me that they were delicious! :) Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Emily:
      How thoughtful of you to help a family out when in need. So happy to know they enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for the comment and bless you for your thoughtfulness.

  3. Susana says:

    Hi Mary,

    I will be making this for my boyfriend tomorrow night. We love italian food but I have never attempted to make it. I don’t do much cooking and much of what I cook is Mexican since it is my heritage. I searched online and have to say your recipe looks the most delicious and friendly as far as the steps and ingredients, you make it easy to understand instead of using tough lingo.

    Thanks for posting!

  4. Naomi says:

    Delicious and great timing! I made a big batch of shells and froze them, figuring I’d share with a friend in need. Instead I broke my shoulder and it’s been great to have some home-made no stress food ready to go!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Naomi:
      Please take care and get better soon. So glad this recipe worked out for you while recuperating. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday and get better soon.

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