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Cheesy Ricotta Stuffed Shells

These ricotta stuffed shells are made with three different cheeses and marinara sauce! Stuffed pasta shells are a hearty recipe that is a comforting family favorite for weeknights or holidays!

Other favorite pasta recipes include lasagna, three cheese manicotti and baked mostaccioli!

Ricotta stuffed shells in pan.
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Classic Stuffed Shells Recipe

Ricotta stuffed shells are a huge winner in our house. The whole family loves them and always goes back for seconds. We even make fun other variations like cheesy Mexican stuffed shells. So delicious!

This dish is a classic and seriously pure comfort just like my easy baked ziti recipe! Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with creamy ricotta and covered with marinara sauce and more cheese. Easy to prepare and ready in less than 45 minutes!

How to Make Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ricotta stuffed shells.
  • Cook noodles. Add the shells to a pot of boiling water and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and run under cold water.
  • Assemble. Pour a cup of marinara in the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish. Combine the ricotta, parmesan, egg, parsley, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Using a small cookie scoop, fill the shells with the ricotta mixture. Place the shells in the pan, then top with remaining sauce and cheese.
  • Bake. Cover with foil and bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the cheese is bubbly, about 5 more minutes.
Stuffing ricotta stuffed shells.


  • If you want to add some protein, feel free to top with your favorite meat sauce or bolognese sauce.
  • Want to make spinach ricotta stuffed shells? Add 1/2 cup frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed dry) to the cheese mixture.
  • Add red pepper flakes to the ricotta mix for a little heat.
  • Instead of jumbo shells, use manicotti noodles to turn this recipe into an easy stuffed manicotti.
Ricotta stuffed shells in white pan.
What to serve with stuffed shells?

This is a hearty comforting meal on it’s own, so a light side dish like roasted parmesan broccoli, a chopped salad or green beans always goes great!

Garlic bread is always a welcome side, too!

Can I add a meat to the shells?

Classic stuffed shells usually are made without meat, but you can add Italian sausage or ground beef to the ricotta mixture or even to the sauce.

Can I substitute the ricotta?

The best substitute for ricotta is mashed plain cottage cheese, the taste may be slightly different.

Make Ahead and Freezing

  • To make in advance: Boil the noodles and assemble the dish according to directions. Cover with foil and place in the fridge for up to 1 day. When ready to bake, remove from fridge and let sit at room temperature while the oven warms up. Then bake according to directions.
  • Freezing: Using a freezer safe pan, prepare the dish as directed. Do not bake and instead wrap with foil. Then store in freezer. Bake from frozen for about 50 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.
Ricotta stuffed shells in white dish.

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ricotta stuffed shells in pan

Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe

5 from 2 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
These ricotta stuffed shells are made with three different cheeses and marinara sauce! Stuffed pasta shells are a hearty recipe that is a comforting family favorite for weeknights or holidays!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 5


  • 20 jumbo pasta shells
  • 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  • Boil a large pot of water. Add the noodles and boil for 8 minutes or until cooked al dente. The drain and run through cool water.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13" pan with non-stick spray. Then pour 1 cup of the marinara onto the bottom of the pan.
  • In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Use a small cookie scoop or place the mixture in a zip top bag and snip the top off. Then fill the shells with about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the cheese mixture.
  • Place shells in pan. Then top with the remaining sauce and cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes covered. Then uncover and back for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.


Freezer instructions:
Prepare noodles in a foil (or freezer safe) pan. Do not bake and instead wrap with foil. Bake from frozen for 50 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. 


Serving: 4shells | Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 1392mg | Potassium: 662mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1426IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 402mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian

Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Stuffed shells on spoon.

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