Classic Stuffed Shells

Classic Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells is one of my favorite dinners because it combines everything I love: pasta with spinach, cheese, and sauce.

For as long as I can remember, my family has been making stuffed shells. We’ve only ever made them one way, so imagine my shock when I learned that there were other recipes! (See my recipe for Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Shells here) From what I gather, our recipe is the “classic” way of preparing stuffed shells.

When I was little, I would scoff at the spinach in the shells, but ate most of it anyway. The only time I pulled it out was if the piece was really long and wasn’t still mixed in with the cheese. Yes, I was a picky eater. I can be picky still, but have gotten much better about trying new things as I’ve gotten older.

Stuffed shells was always my cousin’s favorite, too. I remember any time I was with them for his birthday we would always have stuffed shells. It was also a common food during our annual family reunion beach week vacation. My mom would prep them the day before we left for the beach and keep them refrigerated. Then, the first night, she wouldn’t have to worry too much about dinner, just pop the shells in the oven and let them back while we got settled in to our condo.

I have always been a fan of cheese. I love cheese. Especially mozzarella cheese. And add some red sauce and I am in heaven! My best friend and I used to buy mozzarella stick cheese and a bottle of marinara and just have a snack of cheese dipped in sauce.

So, naturally, stuffed shells is one of my favorite meals, too. When I was younger I always thought they were hard to make, but they aren’t too bad. Although, my hands always get messy. And, if I want to talk to my grandma, I just need to make a batch of stuffed shells…. Almost every single time I am in the middle of stuffing them (with dirty hands) she calls me!

Step by Step

Boil the shells according to the package directions. I have found that the Barilla brand works the best. The off-brand tends to tear which doesn’t work well for stuffing. Also, cook the spinach according to the directions. Creamed spinach works the best, but chopped spinach would work if needed.

Stuffed Shells

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, pepper, and cooked spinach. Add about 1/4 cup of the spaghetti sauce and stir to combine.

Stuffed Shells
Stuffed Shells

Preheat the oven to 350F. Add a small layer of sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish so the shells don’t stick when they bake.

Stuffed Shells

Once the shells are cool enough to handle, stuff a spoonful of mixture into the shells. Continue until you run out of shells or filling, placing them in a single layer in your baking dish. If you have to do a second layer, spread some sauce between the layers.

Stuffed Shells

Cover the shells with the remaining sauce then cover the pan with foil or an oven-safe lid.

Stuffed Shells

Bake for 30-40 minutes, then let cool for about 5 minutes before serving warm.


Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells is one of my favorite dinners because it combines everything I love: pasta with spinach, cheese, and sauce.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheese, pasta, sauce, spinach
Servings: 8
5 from 1 vote


  • 1 box jumbo shells
  • 1 pkg creamed spinach
  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 24 oz spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • Boil the shells according to package
  • Cook the spinach according to package
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and pepper with the cooked spinach
  • Add 1/4 cup of spaghetti sauce and stir
  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Add a small layer of sauce to the bottom of 9×13 baking dish
  • Stuff shells with a scoop or two of the cheese mixture and place in the baking dish in a single layer
  • If you need more than one layer of shells, put some sauce in between layers
  • Cover the shells with the remaining sauce
  • Cover the baking dish with foil or an oven-safe lid
  • Bake 30-40 minutes then let cool for about 5 minutes before serving warm
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Nutrition Facts
Stuffed Shells
Amount Per Serving
Calories 455 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 873mg36%
Potassium 601mg17%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 5160IU103%
Vitamin C 7.9mg10%
Calcium 466mg47%
Iron 2.6mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Classic Stuffed Shells

28 thoughts on “Classic Stuffed Shells”

  1. Yes, stuffed shells can be made with all sorts of combos. I used to enjoy them in my college days because they were popular in the dining room.

  2. Oh Stephanie! You’ve done it again. Yum, I totally love your recipes and how gorgeous the pictures look. Would love to try this, because like you I love mozzarella…but currently not doing any pasta, is there an option you can recommend for the shells?

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