Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

Hey everybody! It’s Liz from Love Grows Wild, and I’m back to share a fantastic new dinner idea with you today! My family loves when I make Italian dishes, but they get tired of the same old spaghetti or lasagna. These Three Cheese Stuffed Shells are a great way to shake up your dinner routine with a meal the whole family will go crazy over!
You really can’t go wrong with a good lasagna. Rich red sauce, creamy white sauce, and lots of cheese all layered between pasta noodles… It’s heavenly! But when I feel like something EXTRA cheesy, I make these stuffed shells! They have the same basic principle as lasagna, but with a triple dose of cheese and stuffed inside a cute pasta shell. I like my food cute… and cheesy : )
And this recipe really couldn’t be any simpler to make: Boil the pasta shells until just shy of al dente (I did 9 minutes). Mix together all the yummy cheeses along with some seasoning, fresh basil for color and extra flavor, and an egg to bind it all together. Then spread your favorite red sauce in the bottom of a baking dish, stuff your shells with the cheese mixture, and add them to the dish. I usually take a shortcut and use a good pasta sauce from the grocery store, but feel free to use your favorite homemade recipe too! I have a spaghetti sauce recipe with Italian sausage that is out of this world!
Before you bake the shells, add more red sauce on top and extra cheese. You can never have enough cheese! After about 40 minutes in the oven, you will have an incredible Italian dinner that is sure to be a big hit! I like to serve these with a nice salad and garlic bread, and they make a beautiful presentation for guests too!
The best part about this recipe is you can prep them ahead of time! Stuffing the shells does take a bit of time, so I get that out of the way when I have company coming over or I need quick weeknight freezer meals. Make the recipe as directed (but don’t bake them yet) and store in the refrigerator overnight. Then take them out about a half hour before baking, and you have an easy meal ready to go! If you’re looking to prep some freezer meals, do the same thing but put them in disposable foil pans so you can easily store the shells in the freezer until you need them.
Just look at all that cheesy goodness stuffed inside! This is one recipe you’ll want to make again and again!
4.5 from 8 reviews
Three Cheese Stuffed Shells
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These Three Cheese Stuffed Shells are a great way to shake up your dinner routine with a meal the whole family will go crazy over!
Serves: 8
  • Three Cheese Stuffed Shells
  • 20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) grated mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 egg
  • 1 - 26 ounce jar spaghetti sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta shells according to package directions for al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, 1½ cups of the mozzarella, egg, salt, pepper, and basil. Spread ¾ of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish.
  3. Spoon the cheese mixture into the pasta shells and place in the baking dish. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5-10 minutes more.
I’ll see you again here in a few weeks, but until then I hope you’ll visit me at Love Grows Wild and check out my latest projects and recipes!
Liz Fourez of
You can also connect with me here:


I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. I adore stuffed shells, it is the perfect family-centered meal!

    • Owen Cabrera says:

      I think that the recipe is great except for the basil being mixed in with the ricotta cheese. Typically, fresh herbs are not cooked as the tend to turn an unappetizing dark green/black when heat is put to them. As you can tell from the picture of the finished product, the basil pieces in the cheese mixture are no where near as bright as the ones sprinkled on top after the dish was served. This advice goes for any fresh herb such as parsley and cilantro. The brighter your herbs the better the presentation will be!

  2. Love stuffed shells! The more cheese the better!

  3. Pasta stuffed with cheese … it doesn’t get much better than that! I love the photos too!

  4. I made these the other night and they were DELICIOUS! We had some left overs because I made WAY too much, and those were eaten the next day! Sooooo tasty and easy! 🙂

  5. Heather Fletcher says:

    I had pinned a cheesy chicken stuffed shell recipe and bought everything to make it. Then it just didn’t look as appetizing to me, so I didn’t make it and I was stuck with a container of ricotta cheese. I was trying to figure out what I could use it for so it doesn’t go to waste. I’m so glad I found this because it calls for ricotta cheese. I’ll post a comment after I make it. Thanks!

  6. This has got me craving pasta. I’ve got all the ingredients on hand except the ricotta. Gonna use goats cheese instead and add sausages. Thanks for the idea

  7. George Rivera says:

    This recipe is lacking MEAT, you must add ground beef for this to be a REAL dinner meal.
    rid the egg, cut the ricotta by half, add ground beef and this will be superb.

  8. Amazing! I made it for my house and it’s delicious. Thank you!!

  9. I make these every so often. On occasion I add ground Beef and sausage(finely ground) to the cheese mix.. It is usually 25% meat to 75% cheese. It is a more substantial meal that the men in my family really like..

  10. Two words: Yee. Um. (Or is that hyphenated?) I had to use manicotti because I couldn’t find the large pasta shells (and heck if I was going to more than one store), but my family loved these. There are three of us total (one aged six), I made a dozen, and they’re gone (the kid ate the same amount I did, despite declaring during the preparation process that the cheese mix looked “icky”). Unfortunately, my husband won’t stop calling it lasagna, which for some reason is cheesing me off . . . Thanks for this recipe!

  11. These are so good. I make them with some spinach mixed in with the ricotta mixture to add more veggie goodness in them. Whole family loves this one! Thank for sharing.

  12. I add hamburger in the spaghetti sauce and it’s perfectly Devine!

  13. I added spinach and it was delicious! Great vegetarian meal that my toddler loves. Even my meat loving husband loves this meal.

  14. Love these. I always do Italian Meatballs with these. I just layer it. Sauce,Stuffed shells, meatballs, & then more sauce. Top with shredded mozarella. Bake. EXCELLANT!!!!

  15. Great meal. Made enough to freeze for another meal.

  16. Pat Shannon says:

    I tried to sign up to receive emails but a user name similar to mine pop up and ask for my password which I don’t have

  17. andy silva says:

    I like this recipe a lot. I may cook my pasta a little longer because I don’t want to taste the noodles over the cheese. I also mix and cook my own sauce.from scratch and so it will taste wonderfully different every time, yet the same. I learned this from my mom and three little old Italian ladys from little Iataly

  18. Paula Coxwell says:

    If you make any additions, I see only two things that could make it more substantial. Add spinach to cheese and a little mixture of ground beef/ground turkey to spaghetti sauce. I made large portions and was able to get 15 shells out of the cheese mixture. A keeper!

  19. Just wanted to say thank you! I found this on a Google search for stuffed shells and it really made my night. So comforting and good; definitely the best stuffed shell recipe I’ve tried. I used dried basil instead of fresh since it’s expensive in winter, and I also chopped some mushrooms to lay on top of the shells as they baked. Yum!

  20. Easy and delicious, my favorite kind of recipe!

  21. Annalyse Kitzberger says:

    Used this recipe for a family dinner and it was fabulous! The adjustments I made to it were to add more basil and used a thirty ounce container of ricotta with a little parmesan instead of what the recipe called for. Had to bake it a little longer but it was totally worth it.

  22. Tried this out on my friends last night. We all loved it 🙂 Simple to make.
    I used Barilla’s Traditional spaghetti sauce. And for the meat lovers, I served Aidell’s Italian Sausage on the side.
    Definitely a keeper!

  23. I am making this for dinner tonight as we love this recipe exactly as is. I do make the homemade spaghetti sauce from the recipe provided in the link. I use 1 Pound turkey Italian sausage and 1 Pound regular sweet Italian sausage so that provides plenty of protein and meat. The recipe is perfect as is but may consider adding spinach on a future batch to switch it up a little. We love this recipe and have made it several times for company who loved it as well and always get asked for the recipe.


  1. […] Italian main dish…Three Cheese Stuffed Shells…the hint of cooler weather is making me crave more hearty dishes like […]

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