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Easy Stuffed Shells Recipe

Easy Stuffed Shells Recipe

I put this recipe together one day when we had unexpected guests. It was an immediate hit and is now a family favorite. Get the kids involved when putting together this simple, savory dish. —Dolores Betchner, Cudahy, Wisconsin
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min. YIELD:12 servings


  • 36 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 36 frozen fully cooked Italian meatballs (1/2 ounce each), thawed
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta shells according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water.
  • 2. Spread 1/2 cup sauce into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Fill each shell with a meatball; place over sauce. Top with remaining sauce and the cheese.
  • 3. Bake, covered, 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 3-5 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Yield: 12 servings.

Nutritional Facts

3 stuffed shells: 334 calories, 17g fat (8g saturated fat), 45mg cholesterol, 711mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 3g fiber), 16g protein.

Reviews for Easy Stuffed Shells

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Alaska11vy User ID: 8691699 261758
Reviewed Feb. 24, 2017

"Super easy recipe and my family loved it . This recipe is definitely a keeper !"

ebohuch User ID: 8820941 253550
Reviewed Sep. 2, 2016

"Made this a couple times with the latest being with my homemade marinara and homemade meatballs for my mother's birthday and it was a hit! I also put a bit of ricotta cheese in the shell before I stuffed it."

jinlorenza User ID: 6641107 252397
Reviewed Aug. 9, 2016

"This was bland and plain-tasting to me and my family. It needs more flavor. Would probably be much better with a homemade spaghetti sauce and homemade meatballs."

coconutpatty User ID: 3240781 246919
Reviewed Apr. 11, 2016

"This is a fun and tasty dish! My husband loved it and our company thought it was so clever to have meatballs in the shells. I took another person's suggestion and put a heaping teaspoonful of ricotta in each shell first. I also used my own meatball recipe and used almost two jars of sauce instead of one. Leftovers are great! This is a keeper."

lepleyracing User ID: 1497870 230349
Reviewed Jul. 29, 2015

"This was good and easy to make. I would definitely make this again. I did add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper and oregano to the sauce and used cheddar and moz cheese as that is what I had on hand. We all enjoyed this but some did think it could have used a bit more sauce. I also put some shredded zucchini in the sauce too."

NH-rescue User ID: 4255840 113779
Reviewed Nov. 30, 2014

"easy to make, but not very spicy. Add seasonings or flavorful cheese for a different taste. Great way to use up extra spaghetti/pizza sauce. Can use homemade meatballs, made ahead of time or just for the recipe."

Remenec User ID: 6059530 167473
Reviewed Oct. 1, 2014

"This is an easy recipe that tastes delicious! My kids love lasagna, but since it's so time consuming I rarely make it. This dish tastes like lasagna but it's a third of the work! I added some sharp cheese along with the mozzarella and would add a little more sauce next time."

toolbarsco User ID: 6725667 210655
Reviewed Sep. 7, 2014

"This was so easy especially since I had some homemade spaghetti sauce in the freezer. The other really great thing is how you can play with the recipe (I suppose kids could play with the food itself) like adding ricotta cheese and spinach to each shell under the meatball. Easier than making lasagna!!"

[email protected] User ID: 77962 163119
Reviewed Sep. 2, 2014

"My 4-yr-old chose this recipe and proudly helped assemble it (he tired of it before we finished). Then he declared it "the best dinner ever!" The rest of us enjoyed it too. It was quick and easy and didn't leave many dirty dishes."

Beema User ID: 446601 210654
Reviewed Sep. 2, 2014

"Very clever idea... I used a vodka tomato sauce, added some slice mushrooms, and some capers. As a field editor, I am happy to rate this recipe 5 stars."

annrms User ID: 2649709 210653
Reviewed Sep. 2, 2014

"This is a delicious and easy dish. I had some homemade roasted vegetable pasta sauce left so I used this. I placed a meatball into each shell and placed the shell upside down into the sauce spread onto the bottom of a casserole. I topped each shell with more sauce and the cheese. Thank you for submitting this great recipe!"

gld2bmom User ID: 7191733 167471
Reviewed Aug. 21, 2014

"An easy and quick recipe that my family really enjoyed. I added more cheese to make sure all of the pasta was covered prior to baking. We will definitely make this dish again - especially on busy weeknights!"

katecrid47 User ID: 7098019 167467
Reviewed Aug. 19, 2014

"I loved this recipe and so did my family. It was quick and easy. I used turkey meatballs and also sprinkled some thawed frozen spinach on it. Will definitely make again. Having school start up and needing quick weekday meals, this recipe is a keeper. Thanks for sharing!"

princessducky1 User ID: 7554663 167465
Reviewed Dec. 23, 2013

"My husband and I absolutely love this recipe. It has been a go-to dish in our house for two years now . I slightly brown the meatballs before stuffing the shells. I believe it helps keep the meatballs from getting 'soggy'. I've also tried putting some of the cheese under the meatball in the shell. Overall, I love, love, love this dish!"

cwbuff2 User ID: 5946195 179806
Reviewed Aug. 3, 2013

"Well, I love 5 ingredient recipes like this, and my family liked it. Just two suggestions to improve it: next time I will put about a tablespoon of Ricotta in each shell and nestle the meatballs in it. Also, the parts of my shells which were not covered by sauce got overcooked - I don't think you need to cook it as long as the recipe calls for, and I won't uncover it next time. Definitely, using your own best meatball recipe will elevate the quality of the dish. But for sheer convenience, I plan to keep shells, sauce + frozen meatballs on hand to make this on busy nights."

angela32 User ID: 3084463 143754
Reviewed Jun. 10, 2013

"This recipe is simple and fast. I wasn't a huge fan of the frozen meatballs though, my personal taste preference I guess. I might try the exact same recipe but with homemade meatballs though."

Joscy User ID: 2694585 163118
Reviewed Nov. 21, 2012

"My lucky day ~~ just found this recipe, now in RB. Look forward to making this soon!!"

bjsilve0 User ID: 172187 98698
Reviewed Jun. 17, 2012

"SO easy and SO good. This is a recipe I will be making again with my granddaughter and also one to take to the cabin."

tylskisj User ID: 5579649 181009
Reviewed Feb. 20, 2012

"My family really liked these and they are really easy to put together!! I will be making these again."

shecooksalot User ID: 5888460 183374
Reviewed Oct. 19, 2011

"Agree with some of the other reviewers, good but not great. I really liked how easy it was to put together on one of our busy days, so I will definately make this again. Because it is so simple, I will tinker with sauce flavor, meat filling, and cheese for next time."

sam52687 User ID: 5814580 97899
Reviewed Sep. 21, 2011

"Made this for "italian night" with friends, we all brought a dish, and this is what I made. Veryyy easy-- and a huge hit! I will definately make this again!"

ChristineBn30 User ID: 6114807 167463
Reviewed Jul. 23, 2011

"I just made these for dinner tonight and they were quick to make and very good, I substituted the beef meatballs with Italian sausage instead. I will make it again"

4Huskers User ID: 5191012 165141
Reviewed Jul. 15, 2011

"I made these today and they were so easy and very good. I used Ragu Roasted Garlic sauce and it was so yummy. Only problem was that I didn't cook the shells quite long enough, that was my problem. Overall these are simple to make and with all ingredients on hand it makes a quick dinner. I know we will make this again."

5hungrykids User ID: 1062637 179422
Reviewed Feb. 10, 2011

"These are okay. Not great but not bad. I don't think they are worth making again, though."

scrambledwithcheese User ID: 1233902 179800
Reviewed Nov. 30, 2010

"Not bad, but not GREAT. Agree with the other reviewer that if some of these ingredients were made from scratch it might taste better. But overall not bad- quick and easy."

swtlissdrmwvr User ID: 4026485 179421
Reviewed Oct. 4, 2010

"This recipe was good, but it wasn't GREAT! I had a great time with my daughter in the kitchen helping me put this easy dish together. I could do much better making some of these ingredients from scratch, but this is good if you don't have alot of time. And fun for the children!"

keagmom User ID: 3367503 167461
Reviewed Jul. 31, 2010

"My 8 year old LOVED these and said I need to make them again!"

bckandc User ID: 2705863 210652
Reviewed Jul. 2, 2010

"Never have leftovers when I make this. It's my kids favorite (4 & 5) I use white sauce instead of the tomatoe sauce. One kid and husband won't eat tomatoes."

Jimann17 User ID: 2407112 122285
Reviewed Dec. 25, 2009

"I made this for my son and I Christmas Day, it was very good and simple to make,we loved it."

Morningdove_Wa User ID: 137969 183373
Reviewed Aug. 11, 2009

"Not allowing us that no longer and I mean no longer subscribe to TOH to see the recipe is not going to make me subscribe again.  I have a whole shelf of TOH just sitting there.  Why not just post it for all to see?"

marciedarciestuff User ID: 3221145 165140
Reviewed Aug. 11, 2009

"Made them again tonight EXACTLY the same but we were starving so we only cooked them for about 25 minutes instead of the 40-45. They were not the same at all. We did not like them so moral of the story... FOLLOW the directions (unlike me) and it will make a WORLD of difference! YUM!"

lalasnow User ID: 4238844 113778
Reviewed Jul. 22, 2009

"Made this tonight for dinner. My husband loved them! Although, you can't fit 36 of these in a single layer into a 13x9 dish. Trust me, I tried. I was able to fit 30. No big deal - will still make again. Also, I might use more sauce. Even though I covered the shells pretty good with sauce - some of the noodles were still a little crunchy, but still delish."

marciedarciestuff User ID: 3221145 113777
Reviewed Jun. 10, 2009

"Husband and kids, 3 and 5, loved them. easy and husband is eating leftovers for breakfast."

Carrie_J85 User ID: 4127241 179401
Reviewed May. 12, 2009

" These shells were a hit with my children (ages 3 & 4).  The recipe is easy enough that they were able to help with almost every step.  We will definitely be making these shells again."

heidiwalbourn User ID: 3389925 104759
Reviewed Apr. 6, 2009

"These were a hit!"

coo_kie User ID: 1663259 163116
Reviewed Mar. 29, 2009

"Generally speaking 8 oz by weight of cheese equals 2 cups by volume. Preshredded cheese will be labels both according to volume and weight."

sallyqaz User ID: 4041149 165137
Reviewed Mar. 29, 2009

"Is it 2 cups (16 oz)of mozzerella cheese or 1 cup (8 oz)?"

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