Stuffed Shells

prep time: 30 MINUTES ,cook time: 30 MINUTES ,total time: 1 HOUR .

These classic stuffed shells are filled with a creamy 4-cheese blend with Italian seasonings, sautéed garlic, and the optional addition of spinach. This meal is also make-ahead and freezer friendly!



  • 18-20 jumbo pasta shells, boil extra in case some break
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 15 oz. Ricotta
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • Fresh parsley, to garnish


  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Boil shells in salted water for 1 minute less than al dente, set a timer to avoid overcooking them. Drain once cooked and gently rinse with cold water until the water on the bottom comes out cool. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. (Optional: Slice the spinach into strips before cooking it if smaller pieces are preferred.)Add the spinach and toss to coat. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Set aside and let cool.

  • Place the ricotta in a large bowl and add the seasonings. Use a silicone spatula to stir to combine. Add half of the mozzarella cheese and most of the Parmesan, but reserve a little Parmesan to sprinkle over the top before baking. Add the cream cheese and the egg and stir to combine. Fold in the cooled spinach and garlic.

  • Add half of the marinara sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish (or a round 12-inch oven-safe skillet) Use a spoon to fill each pasta shell with the cheese mixture and place it in the baking dish.

  • Add the remaining marinara sauce, then top with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.
  • Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 10 more minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with Garlic Bread with Cheese!


Pro Tips:

  • Boil extra shells in case some break during the boiling or draining process.
  • The spinach is optional but adds a nice touch! Frozen spinach may also be used, be sure to let it thaw and pat it dry. 
  • To incorporate meat into the mix, make this with my meat sauce recipe instead of regular marinara.
  • Shred the cheese from a block instead of using packaged shredded cheese. It will melt and taste much  better.
  • Low moisture whole milk mozzarella melts the best in this recipe.
  • I love to use Dragone for the mozzarella, BelGioioso for the Parmesan, and Philadelphia for the cream cheese. 
  • Rao’s is my go-to brand for marinara sauce, (it’s really good)!
  • This recipe makes about 18 shells and has 6 servings. Nutritional facts are based on 3 shells per person.

Make Ahead Method:

  • Assemble and refrigerate up to 1 day ahead of time. Add 10 minutes to covered baking time.
  • Assemble and freeze for up to 3 months. Let it fully thaw in the fridge and add 10 minutes to covered baking time.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Calories: 496kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 119mg, Sodium: 1376mg, Potassium: 694mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 3234IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 584mg, Iron: 3mg

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