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These easy cheesy beef stuffed shells use everyday ingredients and make a comforting family-friendly recipe. Beef and cream cheese stuffed shells are topped with cheddar and then baked in marinara sauce for an easy dinner.

close-up of a beef stuffed shell being lifted out the baking dish

This recipe is delicious for weeknights… or any night. It comes together without much effort, and it’s also fairly inexpensive, so that’s a bonus. I gotta say… ground beef is a dinner saver. And you can’t beat the comfort of baked pasta with ground beef and melty cheese, right?

You may also like my Taco Stuffed ShellsSpinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells, or these Lemon Chicken Stuffed Shells Recipe.

close-up of cheesy beef stuffed shells in a baking dish

collage of ground beef stuffed shells (uncooked in the baking dish with and without cheese)

Recipe notes & tips:

  • This recipe makes about 24 stuffed shells. I say “about” because it really depends on your baking dish and how many you’re able to arrange in there. 😉 I used a 9×13 size one.
  • When you’re cooking the shells, it’s a good idea to leave them a little undercooked since they will spend some time in the oven and you don’t want them to get soggy. 
  • I prefer to grate my own cheddar – it melts better. I think 1.5 cups is enough, but you could definitely add a little more if you want it extra cheesy. 
  • I recommend boiling a couple extra shells in case some break when you’re stuffing them.
  • Use your favorite jarred marinara sauce or homemade marinara (or even a different kind of tomato-based pasta sauce).
  • To reheat these, the microwave will work, but if you keep the leftovers in the original baking dish, you can just cover it with foil and reheat in the oven (try 375F). You could quickly broil it again at the end if you wish. 

What to serve with these stuffed shells?

Try Caesar salad (my Caesar dressing is quick and easy) or garlic bread.

beef stuffed shells in a white bowl with a sprig of fresh basil

There’s just something special about baked pasta shells. It feels different from the everyday to me!

More delicious ground beef recipes to try:

ground beef stuffed shells in a white baking dish with a few stuffed shells missing

Questions about these beef stuffed jumbo shells? Let me know in the comments below and tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you’ve made one of my recipes. 

close-up of a beef stuffed shell being lifted out the baking dish
5 from 3 votes

Cheesy Beef Stuffed Shells

These easy cheesy beef stuffed shells use everyday ingredients and make a comforting family-friendly recipe. Beef and cream cheese stuffed shells are topped with cheddar and then baked in marinara sauce for an easy dinner.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 2 dozen jumbo shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (I used a block of Philly) softened
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • Garnish (optional): fresh basil and/or chopped parsley


  • Take the cream cheese out of the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to using or microwave it for 20-30 seconds to soften it up. Boil a large, salted pot of water for the shells. Cook them for 1 minute less than package directions indicate.
  • Add the olive oil and onion to a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, Preheat the oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven. Spread the marinara sauce in an even layer on the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish.
  • Stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning, and ground beef to the skillet. Cook until the beef is browned and cooked through, breaking up the beef with your spoon as you go along (about 8 minutes). You shouldn't have to drain the fat if using lean ground beef, but if there is some, spoon out most of the excess fat.
  • Once the beef is cooked, reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream cheese until it's incorporated. Give it a taste and season with salt & pepper as needed.
  • Drain the shells and let them cool for a few minutes. Once they're cool enough to handle, use a small spoon (I used a teaspoon) to stuff the shells with the beef mixture. Add them to the baking dish as you go along.
  • Once all the shells are stuffed, evenly sprinkle the cheddar over them. Bake uncovered for about 15-20 minutes or until they're hot and the cheese has melted. I then broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese. Note: you can cover the baking dish with foil prior to baking if you wish. I like to have some crispy bits, but if you want it all to be softer, do that (take the foil off to broil, though).


  • Serves 4-6 depending on how much people eat/what else you serve it with.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.


Calories: 590kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 43g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Cholesterol: 177mg, Sodium: 1163mg, Potassium: 938mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1716IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 393mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

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  1. Jenny Squire says:

    Hi Natasha, I want to make ahead for dinner. How long can I keep in fridge before I bake it?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi Jenny! I wouldn’t do any longer than overnight. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  2. Annette Weber says:

    Can these be frozen? I would like to take them to a friend who is having surgery. I was wondering if she could freeze them if she doesn’t need them right away.

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi Annette!! I personally find the texture of cooked pasta to be a bit funny when frozen/reheated, but I know some people are fine with it. I would say if you do want to attempt it, have her add the cheese just before baking.

  3. Tanya Ingle says:

    5 stars
    This was so good. My husband and I both said it was a keeper. I added fresh chopped basil with the hamburger, garlic & onion.

    1. Natasha says:

      So glad it was a hit!

  4. Janet Hemann says:

    This dish was delicious!!!!

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you!! 🙂

  5. Carlos Malave says:

    As soon as I saw “microwave” I knew this wasn’t the recipe for me.

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      This recipe is made in the oven, but thank you for that announcement, Carlos.

  6. Ck says:

    5 stars
    Unbelievable…. So creamy and the flavour amazing. I used Paul Newman marinara… perfect!!!!

    1. Natasha says:

      Fantastic!! Thank you!! 🙂

  7. Allie says:

    5 stars
    Made these for dinner tonight and they turned out great! I reduced the amount of shredded cheese to a 1/2 cup, but they still out cheesy and delicious. I will def be making this again 🙂

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m really glad that you enjoyed them, Allie! Thanks for taking the time to write me a review. 🙂

  8. Anecia says:

    This was delicious and easy to make!! Thank you!

    1. Natasha says:

      You’re very welcome!! 🥰

  9. Aisha says:

    Hey! This looks delish! Would it be freezer friendly? I like to meal prep weekly and am always looking for an emergency in the freezer meal when I don’t have time to cook on a weeknight.

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi Aisha! I have never tried freezing a meal like this before, but I did a quick Google and it seems like a good method is to do all the prep (like right up until the point you bake it), but cover it in foil and freeze it. Then bake it until hot & bubbly when you’re ready. Let me know if you try!