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Taco Stuffed Shells

These Taco Stuffed Shells have a cheesy beef filling with diced tomatoes, salsa, and your favorite taco toppings. It’s make-ahead friendly and leftovers freeze well!

Taco Stuffed Shells on a white plate with cheese, black beans, and avocado.

Taco Stuffed Shells

As much as I love to make my Classic Stuffed Shells recipe, nothing tastes better on Taco Tuesday than these Taco Stuffed Shells!

This is a true mashup between two classics, my recipe incorporates ricotta cheese into that delicious beef filling, which really ties in the stuffed shells theme. I use a similar combination in my Taco Lasagna recipe, and people absolutely love it. If you try it, you will so be glad you did!

The topping options here are endless and fun to get creative with. I usually go for cilantro, diced avocado, black beans, and diced tomatoes. Other options include crunchy Fritos or Doritos, shredded lettuce, black olives, and sour cream!

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Boil the shells in salted water for 1 minute less than al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop them from cooking further.

While the shells boil, prepare meat filling. Add 1/2 of the salsa to the bottom of a baking dish. Fill each shell with the prepared meat filling and add it to the baking dish. Top with remaining salsa.

Taco Stuffed Shells in a baking dish before and after adding salsa.

Top with cheese. Cover and bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes. Garnish with your favorite taco toppings and serve!

Taco Stuffed Shells in a baking dish before and after beking.

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.

Pro Tips

  • Boil extra shells in case some break during the boiling or draining process.
  • Shred the cheese from a block instead of using packaged shredded cheese. It will melt and taste much  better. I use Cracker Barrel Yellow Cheddar and Cabot Monterey Jack Cheese for this recipe.
  • Any kind of salsa works great for this recipe, I actually like this super affordable and easy to find Pace salsa. You can also make my homemade salsa recipe.
  • 1 cup of enchilada sauce can be used along with 1 cup of salsa if desired. (Instead of 2 cups of salsa.)
  • Refried beans can be spread on the bottom of the baking dish as well, before the salsa.

Storage

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

A baking dish filled with Taco Stuffed Shells with a spoon in it.

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon affiliate links)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

  • This is the Le Creuset skillet I used in this recipe, (and in 90% of my recipes). It’s pricey, but it conducts heat really well and is oven safe. The size is perfect and the quality is great.
  • Box Cheese Grater– Lets you finely shred the cheese. (Always shred from a block instead of using packaged shredded cheese.)
  • Pasta Strainer– This is the one I use, it’s the perfect size.

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A Taco Stuffed Pepper filled with meat and topped with cheese and taco toppings.

Taco Stuffed Shells

5 from 1 rating
These Taco Stuffed Shells have a cheesy beef filling with diced tomatoes, salsa, and your favorite taco toppings.

Ingredients

  • 18-20 jumbo pasta shells, boil extra in case some break
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup beef broth, can sub chicken broth or water
  • 1 oz. packet taco seasoning
  • 10 oz. diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 ½ cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded and divided
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 16 oz. salsa

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • 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.
  • Cook and crumble the ground beef over medium-high heat until softened and nearly cooked through, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes, or until the beef is cooked. Drain grease well.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add the beef broth, undrained diced tomatoes, and taco seasoning. Stir until well combined and thickened slightly. Set aside and let cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, sour cream, half of the cheddar, half of the Monterey jack, salt, pepper, and oregano. Add the meat mixture and stir to combine.
  • Add half of the salsa 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 filling mixture and place it in the baking dish.
  • Add the remaining salsa, then top with remaining cheddar and Monterey jack cheese.
  • Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 10 more minutes. Top with your favorite taco toppings (see notes for suggestions), and serve!

Notes

Optional Toppings: Cilantro, diced avocado, black beans, diced tomatoes, Fritos or Doritos, shredded lettuce, black olives, and sour cream!

Pro Tips
  • Boil extra shells in case some break during the boiling or draining process.
  • Shred the cheese from a block instead of using packaged shredded cheese. It will melt and taste much  better. I use Cracker Barrel Yellow Cheddar and Cabot Monterey Jack Cheese for this recipe.
  • Any kind of salsa works great for this recipe, I actually like this super affordable and easy to find Pace salsa. You can also make my homemade salsa recipe.
  • 1 cup of enchilada sauce can be used along with 1 cup of salsa if desired. (Instead of 2 cups of salsa.)
  • Refried beans can be spread on the bottom of the baking dish as well, before the salsa.

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

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.

Nutritional facts are based on 3 shells per person and is an estimate. This recipe makes about 18 shells total, or 6 servings.

Nutrition

Calories: 546kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 39g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 127mg, Sodium: 1556mg, Potassium: 715mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1610IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 562mg, Iron: 4mg

 

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2 comments on “Taco Stuffed Shells”

  1. I made these last night for Cinco de Mayo even though it was the 4th because my husband isn’t home tonight. They were absolutely delicious. I made them according to your directions and I topped them with the works: avocados, cheese, black beans, green onion, sour cream…YUM!!!! Everyone loved them and ate the whole pot. This one is a keeper…next I’m going to try your regular stuffed shells…can’t wait! Thank you so much!

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