Cheese Stuffed Shells with Ground Beef Recipe

Cheese Stuffed Shells with Ground Beef Recipe

If you love lasagna, but need MORE melty cheese then this recipe for Cheese Stuffed Shells with Ground Beef is for you. Makes a perfect potluck meal, or a tasty weeknight dinner.






INGREDIENTS FOR Cheese Stuffed Shells with Ground Beef Recipe:

  • 12 oz jumbo shells (about 35 shells)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil (to coat)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 3 cups 24 oz cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella (divided)
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • About 10 basil leaves (sliced, divided)

INSTRUCTIONS FOR Cheese Stuffed Shells with Ground Beef Recipe:


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shells and cook for 12-14 minutes, or according to package directions. When the shells are al dente, drain well, then gently separate and toss with oil. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the beef, breaking it up into large chunks spread across the pan. Cook, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes, then flip. Continue to cook until all sides are browned, then add the garlic, sauteeing another 30 seconds. Turn off the heat, then drain off any excess fat.
  3. Season the beef to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the spaghetti sauce.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the cottage cheese, egg, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, parsley, garlic powder, oregano, basil, Kosher salt, pepper, and half the basil.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and grease a 9 x 13 inch pan or large casserole dish.
  2. Spread half of the tomato beef mixture on the bottom of the pan. Working with one shell at a time, scoop rounded tablespoons of filling into the shell and arrange them tightly together in the pan.
  3. Top the shells with the remaining tomato sauce mixture, followed by the rest of the cheese.


  1. Cover the top loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional ten minutes. Top with remaining basil and serve.


  • Stock Pot
  • Slotted Spoon
  • large nonstick skillet
  • wooden spoon
  • garlic press
  • Grater or Microplane
  • measuring spoons
  • large mixing bowl
  • 9 x 13 inch baking dish

How to Stuff Shells:

You can use a spoon or cookie scoop to stuff the shells, which takes 10-15 minutes. Or, you can put the filling in a large ziplock baggie or piping bag, snip the tip, and pipe the filing. I find this usually speeds up the process and is less messy!

Leftover Pasta Shells?

You might have more cooked pasta shells than can fit in a 9 x 13 pan. Place any extras in a smaller dish, and either freeze it, gift it, or save it for lunch leftovers!


Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 900mg | Potassium: 449mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 584IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 241mg | Iron: 2mg

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