Back to Meaty Manicotti

Print Options


Card Sizes

Meaty Manicotti Recipe

Meaty Manicotti Recipe

This simple dish has been very popular at family gatherings and potlucks. You can assemble it ahead of time. —Lori Thompson, New London, Texas
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + cooling Bake: 45 min. YIELD:7 servings


  • 14 uncooked manicotti shells
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups meatless spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • 1. Cook manicotti shells according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage and beef over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Remove from the heat. Cool for 10 minutes.
  • 2. Drain shells and rinse in cold water. Stir the mozzarella cheese, cream cheese and salt into meat mixture. Spread 2 cups spaghetti sauce in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish.
  • 3. Stuff each shell with about 1/4 cup meat mixture; arrange over sauce. Pour remaining sauce over top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • 4. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly and heated through.
    Freeze option: Cover and freeze unbaked casserole. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake casserole as directed, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°. Yield: 7 servings.

Nutritional Facts

2 each: 507 calories, 26g fat (13g saturated fat), 90mg cholesterol, 1265mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (11g sugars, 3g fiber), 30g protein.

Reviews for Meaty Manicotti

Sort By :

Average Rating
mmaron User ID: 7971641 247672
Reviewed Apr. 30, 2016

"Very good! My husband liked this a lot too. Great for 2 people. I divided into three small pans. We enjoyed one pan for dinner and I have two meals ready to go in the freezer!"

homecookcharity User ID: 7810209 237825
Reviewed Nov. 22, 2015

"easy and delicious."

yumyum02 User ID: 2107360 234865
Reviewed Oct. 13, 2015

"One big step saver, I do not boil the noodles. Follow the directions, add 1 cup of water to dish, cover and bake."

DawnLockhart User ID: 3466471 226923
Reviewed May. 25, 2015

"This is a good crowd-pleasing recipe. It is very cheesy and the cream cheese in the mixture is a nice touch. I made the recipe exactly as written as I am a true believer in not being critical of a recipe until you try it as written. However, since I'm not a huge fan of prepared spaghetti sauce I think a homemade tomato sauce would send this recipe over the top (if you have time to prepare it). Having said that - the recipe is very nice the way it is."

Queenlalisa User ID: 15400 226592
Reviewed May. 19, 2015

"This recipe was fantastic. I will make this again soon. easy and delicious!"

tribefan064 User ID: 4078355 225876
Reviewed May. 4, 2015

"I made this last night and it was incredible!! I did exactly per the recipe and had some extra meat left over after stuffing the 14 manicotti shells, so I just put it over the manicotti in the pan before baking since I didn't have any shells left. I will definitely make this again and again! Thanks for sharing the recipe!"

dfeltis User ID: 8109110 219860
Reviewed Feb. 6, 2015

"This is magnificent!!!!! I will definitely make it again. I have already been asked to share the recipe with 3 other people and I just made it two days ago! :) I did make one adjustment...I don't care for sausage so I just used hamburger. Awesome!!!"

Kucharczyk User ID: 4521343 216931
Reviewed Jan. 4, 2015

"Very good and a keeper. First, be prepared to have at least 20 manicotti noodles ready to fill with this recipe. Also with more filled manicotti I suggest 6 cups of sauce. (I like to completely cover the manicotti before putting in oven to keep noodles from being too hard). I use a baby spoon to stuff and this is a perfect size and keeps from splitting. Also, parboil your manicotti (about 5 mins). (This helps to keep from tearing while filing, trust me.) I divided my 20 filled manicotti into to 2 casserole dishes. One cooked and one I froze. I went to my butcher and bought their store made sweet Italian sausage and removed them from their casings before frying. Also, you really don't need any salt since it's in the sausage and spaghetti sauce. I doubled the garlic and added black pepper on top before baking."

kathrynsummers User ID: 1276979 216918
Reviewed Jan. 4, 2015

"A favorite at our home! I prefer cooking and

stuffing jumbo shells instead of the manicotti. Shells are so much easier."

jessann16 User ID: 8103610 155934
Reviewed Nov. 16, 2014

"This was excellent!! I added a few extra seasonings. For those that commented on how hard it was to stuff, I always split the manicotti down the middle, put the filling in and fold back together. Then just place seem side down. Been doing this for years and always turns out great!"

dschultz01 User ID: 1076910 69535
Reviewed Nov. 15, 2014

"Very tasty! Took a little time to stuff them all, but it was well worth it. I only used one 24 oz jar of spaghetti sauce, and it came out a little dry, so be sure to use the full 4 cups."

ladyslipper9 User ID: 7404641 137099
Reviewed Oct. 25, 2014 Edited Mar. 6, 2015

"Loved this recipe.

I used Italian sausage and added onion and Italian seasoning. Added mozzarella to parmesan, also used large shells instead of manicotti."

CynthiaDL User ID: 8033458 109538
Reviewed Oct. 12, 2014

"My family just loved this recipe. To make filling the shells easier I used a potato masher to mix the meat and cubed cream cheese after the meat had cooled. It worked great!"

xlsalbums User ID: 5254917 84273
Reviewed Sep. 26, 2014

"It always takes extra time to stuff manicotti....that's the long part of it. But, otherwise, it tasted pretty good."

falknermimi User ID: 3056172 89268
Reviewed Sep. 1, 2014

"I didn't use sausage, I used all ground beef and it turned out delicious. Will make again."

Seminoles User ID: 1412865 158291
Reviewed May. 30, 2014


ktype User ID: 4188985 77873
Reviewed May. 20, 2014


Goettler User ID: 2696565 207863
Reviewed May. 18, 2014

"I really enjoyed this but I used regular loose sausage instead of the Italian and for the sauce I used Classico Tomato Basil Spicy spaghetti sauce, and already minced garlic and it turned out very good! Would definitely recommend this recipe."

royswife56 User ID: 6884606 77871
Reviewed May. 11, 2014

"I just made this for our Mother's Day dinner and everybody raved about how good it was! I have to admit, though, that I made it into a casserole because I didn't want to stuff the manicotti shells! I will be making this again!"

gemjamgirl User ID: 7732541 63448
Reviewed May. 9, 2014

"My husband and I both thought this was delicious. Would definitely make again. Gemjamgirl"

sherbert209 User ID: 4839703 84272
Reviewed May. 8, 2014

"for those who don't like ricotta or cream cheese- cottage cheese works just as good. made these with jumbo shells as well and both are super"

thomsmom User ID: 2041371 84270
Reviewed May. 7, 2014

"Having this tonight.To the editors can you remove reviews that say ," I have not made this and won't because... " and then give the recipe less than 5 stars? The food police, particularly, the " this isn't how we make it at home" folks are so-o-o-o annoying."

Nonna2U User ID: 6678289 89267
Reviewed May. 7, 2014

"I'm Italian, too.The element that sets the two apart is the actual construction of the dish. The stuffing/filling, or "ripieno", can often be the same for both, but not always. I would choose cannelloni (pasta sheet) for this dish, "Meaty Manicotti" because it is so "meaty". Sauces: Tomato and/or Bechamel, can be used for both.Cannelloni is a stuffed pasta dish. In making cannelloni, you start with a pasta sheet (thickness/thinness, depends on the chef) on which you place the filling and roll into a tube. The word "cannelloni" loosely translates to "big reeds" or "big tubes". It does need to be par-boiled.Manicotti, which roughly means "sleeves", is a super-thin filled crepe rather than an actual pasta. In Italy, one would be hard pressed to find "manicotti", on a menu as anything made from a crepe is likely to be called a "crespelle". It is more fragile. Again, place the filling on the crepe and roll into a tube.In America, premade (dried pasta) manicotti tubes have ridges and cannelloni tubes are smooth. They are both "heavier" to the digestive system. Heaven hits your mouth with taste and texture by making homemade pasta (cannelloni) or making crepes/crespelle (manicotti). Melts in your mouth - light - no "heaviness". Plus you can season the pasta dough or crespelle batter, such as with spinach and/or herbs, to name just two. The recipe itself, is very good. I would just sauté onion, garlic and spinach, maybe add fennel, definitely add pinch or 2 of nutmeg, and Parmigiano-Reggiano to the filling and bind with an egg or 2. I think the addition of the cream cheese is nice, makes the meat mixture creamier. Of course, mascarpone cheese would be a nice substitute. Compliments and thank you to Lori for submitting."

syrajoan User ID: 3427373 69518
Reviewed May. 7, 2014

"I have not tried this recipe and probably won't. As full blooded Italians, my sister and I make them like our mother use to and have always used a ricotta cheese filling for manicotti. And we serve meatballs and sausage with it. I have also used uncooked shells as mafltransplant suggests in my lasagna and will try it with the manicotti. Makes stuffing them so much easier !"

ruthrod User ID: 7651457 137097
Reviewed May. 7, 2014

"Cannelloni is made only with ricotta cheese, the manicotti is made with meat, veal beef, pork. This recipe is ok, don't like the cream cheese init you really don't need it, makes them to heavy."

mafltransplant User ID: 2663455 140704
Reviewed May. 6, 2014

"Let me begin by saying I have not tried THIS recipe, however, I have been doing something similar for several years. I use UNCOOKED manicotti shells, then stuff them w/either chicken (tenders or breasts cut into pieces), hamburg or sausage. (I have also used the plastic bag technique suggested by Checo to fill the shells.) Fill your shells w/your desired filling. Add a cup of water to your sauce - this is important, as you are using uncooked shells & the extra water helps to cook the uncooked pasta! I then place a bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan, then place the filled shells on top. Cover shells w/remaining sauce. Cover pan tightly w/aluminum foil & place in 350 degree oven. It does take longer to cook the shells - I generally plan on 11/4-1 1/2 hours, testing them for doneness at approx. 75 minutes. (I make my lasagna the same way - using uncooked noodles. My sister did a "test" w/a group of people at work, serving cooked noodles once & uncooked noodles another time. The people could not tell the difference (& some even guessed that the uncooked noodles were the cooked noodles!) I use regular uncooked noodles/shells - I do not use the no-bake ones.)"

silverfox2951 User ID: 6536833 138665
Reviewed May. 6, 2014

"The cream cheese was an excellent addition! I see someone commented they softened lasagna noodles, filled and rolled them.. Would that be the regular kind or the no-bake? Thank you!"

Checo User ID: 7108100 137081
Reviewed May. 6, 2014

"Shells are easy to fill if you fill a zip lock bag and cut one corner out and squeeze it in. Be sure to close bag"

grammyjane67 User ID: 7289576 85090
Reviewed May. 6, 2014

"Shouldn't this be called cannelloni? Regardless, it's great! If you soften lasagna sheets in hot water and drain well, you can roll the filling inside of them. It is easier than filling the tubes."

katlaydee3 User ID: 3741999 157939
Reviewed Mar. 20, 2014

"Delicious! We loved this exactly as written. I served it with homemade yeast rolls and a spinach salad."

Stephsupermom User ID: 6752834 109536
Reviewed Jun. 26, 2012

"This manicotti is one of my husbands favorites. It is so easy and so delicious. Everyone loves it!"

1275 User ID: 6324211 137068
Reviewed Nov. 4, 2011

"This is a keeper. The cream cheese went great with it. I am only 13 years old though- the manicotti shells were pretty hard to stuff. Next time I might just mix everything together and use penne pasta and put it all in a casserole dish. Other than that, it was great!"

Roxie60277 User ID: 6173028 207862
Reviewed Aug. 25, 2011

"I have made this several times and it is fabulous...I added onions, seasonings and instead of the tubular shells I used large shells which are easier to stuff...very good recipe and easy to make."

Michele R User ID: 5948281 89251
Reviewed Jun. 19, 2011

"The filling was great! For the sauce I used Ragu 6 cheese."

jafisher User ID: 4863587 140703
Reviewed Aug. 20, 2010

"I changed this recipe a bit to suit my family's personal tastes, but we LOVE to have this and it's always a hit with company too. I use 2 pounds of ground sirloin leaving out the Italian sausage. I cook 1/2 of a finely diced onion with the sirloin before adding garlic. I also add 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning to the meat and cheese mixture. I recently tried it without cooking the noodles and it worked fine, just increased oven to 400 and added 1/2 cup or so of water. This is a wonderful recipe for special occasions!"

sworkman User ID: 3597585 138659
Reviewed Apr. 1, 2010

"I have made this recipe over and over for many years, however instead of using manicotti, I use jumbo shells, much easier to stuff and delicious."

netkadets User ID: 1132872 84226
Reviewed Mar. 19, 2010

"When I make my manicotti I cook the shells 3 or 4 minutes less than the box instructions. That keeps the shells from breaking. You have to remember they will continue to cook for another 30 min. Hope this helps"

menlo User ID: 407561 155933
Reviewed Mar. 15, 2010

"Very tasty, but the manicotti noodles got big and floppy and too soft. How do you keep them more firm and looking nice?"

julyprincesspatricia User ID: 2374473 137066
Reviewed Feb. 8, 2010

"To hulagirlfriend: I can't imagine any macaroni crumbling while cooking; however, if it's too limp to handle, once cooked, I would try for al dente or even more firm. Especially if you refrigerate before baking, the macs will continue to soften further - it will also continue to soften while baking."

hulagirlfriend User ID: 462264 155932
Reviewed Jan. 2, 2010

"The filling is excellent, surprisingly simple. Made this twice, problems with the shells breaking/disintegrating while cooking. I used top brand name pasta, and followed directions exactly. Is there a tip for keeping these shells intact?"

trina_h User ID: 2089767 154926
Reviewed Dec. 13, 2009

"Made it several times!Very yummy!"

rc56 User ID: 1241183 138657
Reviewed Dec. 5, 2009

"Very Yummy!"

ldkennard User ID: 2126634 69516
Reviewed Oct. 21, 2009

"This was excellent! My husband and I both loved it. Plus it tasted great leftover, too. Thank you for the recipe."

fystldy User ID: 2957018 155931
Reviewed Sep. 7, 2008

"Excellent change from lasagna. Kids love it!!"

Loading Image