This recipe for Lasagna Stuffed Shells is simply the best. Large pasta shells that are filled with a cheesy ricotta and spinach filling. Top everything off with your favorite pasta sauce and you’re good to go! Perfect for busy weeknights or as a go-to freezer meal!
Serve this pasta with an Italian Chopped Salad, Homemade Garlic Bread or Garlic Knots for a filling meal everyone will love!
- Minimal Ingredients: Less than 10 ingredients! That means you can have this recipe made in a jiff.
- Freezer Friendly: This recipe can be made in advance and frozen for up to three months.
- Big Flavor: Italian stuffed shells with meat and ricotta cheese – you cannot get more flavorful.
This recipe for lasagna stuffed shells is my FAVORITE. It has everything you could ever want in a comfort food dish and checks all of the boxes. And did I mention it is easy.
Easy recipes are coveted in my household. The last thing I want to do after a long day of work is come home and spend hours in the kitchen. This one takes a whopping 30 minutes to whip up. I always make a double batch so we can have an extra pan in the freezer. Perfect to pull out on nights when I don’t want to cook!
Stuffed Shell Ingredients
- Jumbo pasta shells: You can find these for around $1 in the pasta aisle. Large shells give you the perfect holder for the delicious filling.
- Ricotta: Not a fan of ricotta? You can substitute cottage cheese. Although you won’t get the same texture.
- Cheese: Use fresh mozzarella. When you fresh grate cheese it melts beautifully and has a wonderful soft texture. Pre-shredded cheese does not tend to melt quite as well. With the fresh version you get that ooey gooey melted cheese that you always see in restaurants.
- Egg: The binding agent for the filling. An egg will help to hold everything together.
- Spinach: Optional, but delicious. I always have a bag of frozen spinach in the freezer. It’s around $1 and the perfect way to add some veggies to many meals.
- Meat: Ground beef or Italian sausage work for this recipe. We’ve even, in a pinch, substituted spicy breakfast sausage.
- Spaghetti Sauce: Pick your favorite sauce. If I’m using store bought, I like Rao’s. That being said, you can always opt for this easy homemade version.
How To Make Lasagna Stuffed Shells
- PREP: Add water to a large pot with a sprinkle of salt. Bring to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package directions and strain. While the water is boiling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 9×9 inch dish and set aside for later.
- BROWN: Place the uncooked sausage into a medium skillet that has been preheated over medium heat. Cook and crumble until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce. for later.
- FILLING: Stir the ricotta, 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella, parmesan, egg and spinach in with the meat mixture.
- FILL: Spoon a heaping tablespoon or two of the filling into each cooked shell, placing each into the sauce lined baking dish. Continue until all of the shells are filled. It’s ok to squish them together.
- BAKE: Once filled, spread the remaining 1/2 cup of sauce over the shells and generously sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for an additional ten minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
More Must Try Pasta Recipes
Yes. You can prep this dish all the way through adding the cheese and covering with foil. Before you bake, place in the refrigerator and keep chilled until ready to serve. Bake as directed.
For this method, I do suggest adding more sauce.
Yes! This recipe is so convenient to have on hand. Pull it out on a busy weeknight and you have a filling delicious dinner ready to go.
1. Follow the instructions above until just before baking. Cover securely with heavy duty foil or a freezer container.
2. Take your stuffed shells out of the freezer the day before you plan on cooking them. Let them slightly thaw in the refrigerator.
3. Bake at 350 degrees, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.
Of course! Skip the meat and use my veggie packed pasta sauce, minus the beef! If you want to hide the veggies, simply use an immersion blender before adding to the shells.
Lasagna Stuffed Shells
- 20 jumbo pasta shells
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup frozen spinach thawed and drained
- 2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce
- 1 lb sausage or hamburger
- Bring a large bottle of water to a boil. Add your pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain the noodles and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup of your tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×9 dish.
- Add the uncooked sausage to a hot pan and cook until browned. Stir in 1 cup of your tomato sauce and set aside.
- In a small bowl stir together the ricotta, 1/2 a cup of mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and spinach. Stir the mixture in with your sausage.
- Spoon a hearty amount of the filling into each shell. Place into your prepared baking dish and continue until all are filled. Smother with the remaining 1/2 cup of sauce and generously sprinkle with mozzarella.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for an additional ten minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Follow the instructions above until just before baking. Cover securely with heavy duty foil or a freezer container.
- Take your stuffed shells out of the freezer the day before you plan on cooking them. Let them slightly thaw in the refrigerator.
- Bake at 350 degrees, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.
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Comments & Reviews
Just curious as I have never used egg in my stuffed shells and was looking around to see what i could add to mine to switch it up a bit…what is the purpose of the egg?
That’s a great question, Celeste. The egg in this recipe is used as a binder to keep the filling together.
Willy Robertson says
Just made this using ground venison!! Turned out awesome!!
What an interesting idea! We will have to give it a try.
Do you use plain canned tomato sauce? Not a marinara sauce?
Good question. I use my favorite canned spaghetti sauce. I will update that in the recipe.
Thanks so much! Making it today. 😊
Excited for you to try it! We actually had it last night!
Make this recipe probably once a month. Figured I should leave a review.
It is SO EASY. We add chopped veggies like zucchini and sometimes broccoli. super good. thanks for sharing!
Holy cow these are yummy! Made them for a dinner party and everyone was asking for the recipe! I did substitute ground hamburger for the sausage because it was what I had on hand.
I made this using a mix of beef and Italian sausage and no spinach. I also double the cheese filling. This is my go to stuffed shell recipe! Absolutely delicious every time!
Thank you so much for sharing, Jaqueline! My husband agrees with you on eliminating the spinach. I love the combination of both the beef and Italian sausage! Great idea.
Hey if I use one pound of ground beef should I use one egg or two eggs?
Hi Stephanie, If you are using all ground beef the eggs will remain the same. Just one. :0)
Delicious!!! What’s the best way to cook them from the freezer?
We pull them out of the freezer and leave them in the fridge overnight. Bake them as normal.
Or add an additional 20-30 minutes if cooking from frozen.
Great! Thanks so much!
Silly question.. what kind of parmesan? Grated or shredded?
Not silly at all! I use shredded.
Hi, I was wondering how long would you add to the baking time if doing it from frozen?
I like to pull it out of the freezer the day before and keep it in the refrigerator so it can thaw a bit but if you forget I would add 20 minutes to the baking time or cook until heated through.
Jenn Ross says
These were delicious! I added half an onion, fresh spinach, and italian seasoning! I will be making these again! Thanks for the recipe!
I never thought to add onion! Great idea and love that you used fresh spinach!
How many people will this serve?
It really depends on how many shells each person is going to eat. We typically do 3 per person so this recipe would feed 6-7 people. If you planned a few sides and cut it down to 2 shells per person it would feed 10
I can’t wait to try these but is there something I can substitute the spinach for or can I just leave it out? I have a very picky husband and kids and they won’t eat these with the spinach but will gobble them up without. These look absolutely divine.
You can leave it out. We have in the past without any complaints. A lot of the flavor will come from the sausage and sauce.
Thank you, Jesseca!!!
Made these last night and they were GREAT! I subbed cottage cheese for ricotta (because that’s just what I had). Next time I make these (oh yes, there WILL be a next time!) I will mix the meat and cheese mixture simply to save a round of filling. Oh, and I had to use a 9×13 pan to make them fit.
Thanks for posting such a tasty recipe – can’t wait to heat up the leftovers 🙂
We’ve substituted cottage cheese a few times as well! So happy you liked the recipe.
Made this tonight for my boyfriend and I and it was so yummy!! Definitely making this again!
How many people does this feed?
Instead of using sausage I used beef. Flavored w Italian seasoning & mrs dash.
And used a whole box of gluten free shells
Used one pound meat
Which required me to use a whole container of ricotta cheese, one can lead spinach, Italian and American cheese. Two eggs
When I stuffed them I had the meat at the bottom and cheese filling on top 🙂
It turned out well! Thanks for the easy recipe.
Dana K says
I came across these on Pinterest. They were absolutely DEVINE! My Husband and I both went back for seconds, not that we needed them. Thank you for a great recipe!
So glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Made this tonight and it was amazing!
So glad you loved it. It’s still one of our family favorites.
Bake covered? Meaning tin foil will work?
Yes, tin foil will work.
It was DELICIOUS!! Thank you!!!
I’m so excited to make this! Did you grind up the sausage or just chop it finely? I’m kinda new to cooking lol 🙂
Hi Deidre! I ground the sausage while cooking it in a skillet. Good luck!
i am making this now but used hamburger instead and added Lipton onion soup mix to it. Can’t wait to try it.
Hey there! This recipe looks delicious, and I can’t wait to try it!!
I was just wondering if it’s okay to freeze it before baking? I’m trying to find good freezer recipes, and I would love to add this to my collection!
Could anyone help me? Thanks so much!!:)
These are delish!!
Lolly Jane says
Looks so good!
I can’t wait to try these for dinner tonight. I was just wondering what type of Tomato sauce do you suggest to use? There are so many options out there and I find it a daunting task trying to pick one 😉
We’ve tried several different store brands. I like Giada’s. You can find it in target and it comes in different flavors.
anne hurst says
Gathered my stuff to make and reread the recipe….after you put the meat mix in the shell I assume you then put the cheese mixture on top of it. But it doesn’t say that. About how much cheese mix goes in the shell. I think I can figure this out….making it for a birthday dinner…..looks good.
I made these again last night and realized the directions aren’t the best. I will go through and update them today, but for now…
Spread 1-2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture into your cooked shells. Top with a heaping scoop of the meat. Place in your pan and follow the remaining directions from there.
Rebecca Christilaw says
We are making this tonight for the missionaries in our area! So far so good! We are baking them now!
You’ll have to let me know how they turn out!
Do you think you could make this and freeze it?
Of course! We normally freeze half before baking and pull it out on another day. It’s the perfect freezer meal!
Just made these. Subbed in ground turkey with italian seasoning and left out the mozza (because I didn’t have any on hand). So good.. so easy… so my work lunch tomorrow! Love how versatile this recipe can be and look forward to adding other goodies to the mix. Thx!!
Oh and also left out the egg because, wouldn’t you know it, I’m all out! Still came out great. Did some research and apparently lots of people make their lasagna without any eggs. =)
These are the types of comments I live for! Love that you enjoyed the meal and your changes keep things simple and delicious!
Yum! Made this for lunch today. This recipe is a definite keeper! Thanks.
I just made this using beef instead of sausage and it was absolutely delicious! 🙂
I Love to hear that people enjoy my recipes!!
Jen Nikolaus says
Yummm! This sounds so delicious! Pinning to try soon!
~Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy
Mmmm! Yum! I’ll have to find some gluten free shells to try this. It looks delicious!
This looks delicious. It would be a great recipe to take to a new mom too. I’ll definitely have to store this in the “must try” pinterest board, because we always need new meals to add to our rotation. So glad you participated in Point of View!