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Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe

Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 53 mins
Servings 6 servings

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This Ricotta Stuffed Shells recipe is creamy, comforting, easy to make ahead and freezer friendly! Perfect for freezer meal prep and busy weeknights.

ricotta stuffed shells in white baking dish on dark wooden background with fresh parsley garnish

Recipe first shared on Spend With Pennies.

Pasta and cheese and sauce is the way to my heart.

I mean, I’m pretty sure that these Ricotta Stuffed Shells are the way to anyone’s heart, but maybe there are actually people out there who don’t like cheese-stuffed pasta.

Are there?!?

I’ve got my share of cheesy pasta dishes around her: from Instant Pot Baked Ziti to Slow Cooker Baked Ziti, Chicken Spaghetti Bake to Instant Pot Mac and Cheese.

ricotta stuffed shells unbaked filled with ricotta and spinach mixture on wooden background

These Ricotta Stuffed Shells are something that doesn’t happen all that often around here — it’s a dish we tend to think of only on special occasions. But why is that?

These stuffed shells are so easy to make ahead and store in the refrigerator or freezer for later, that they are perfect for your weekend meal prep or freezer meal prep before a baby or busy time in your life.

Since we have lots of “busy times” in our lives, I should probably be taking more time to stock the freezer with comfort food essentials like this. Because when things get crazy (let’s say, week 10 of single momming or something like that 😉 ), just give me all the melty cheese.

I swear it makes it easier to get to bed time.

ricotta stuffed shells sitting in metal spoon in white baking dish with fresh parsley in the background

How do you make Stuffed Shells?

Stuffed shells are relatively easy to make if you have a few tricks up your sleeve! Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Make sure your shells are cooked only to al dente (or a little less). If you cook them until they’re tender, they will fall apart when you try to fill them. A little firmer is perfect, since they will be baked again later.
  • Use a large Ziploc bag or even a piping bag with the tip cut off to stuff the cheese into your shells — it will be done in record time and with less mess!
  • Choose ingredients you like the taste of. If you don’t like basil, don’t add basil in. If you don’t like Ricotta, try cream cheese! Select a bottle of marinara with great taste and simple ingredients (or feel free to make your own!) because it’s going to add significant flavor to this recipe.
ricotta stuffed shells on grey and white plate with extra sauce and fresh parsley on the side

How to freeze stuffed shells and bake later:

To freeze, simply assemble up to the point of baking. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and again with foil.

Label the foil and include baking directions: “Ricotta Stuffed Shells: remove plastic, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until bubbly.” It’s a good idea to spray the foil before recovering as the cheese may stick if it touches.

Stuffed shells can be frozen up to 3 months.

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Ricotta Stuffed Shells

5 from 10 votes
This Ricotta Stuffed Shells recipe is creamy, comforting, easy to make ahead and freezer friendly! Perfect for freezer meal prep and busy weeknights.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 38 mins
Total Time 53 mins
Cuisine Italian
Course Main Course
Servings 6 servings
Calories 429kcal

Ingredients

  • 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 475 grams extra smooth Ricotta cheese about 2 cups
  • 225 grams frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta shells, reduce to a low boil, and cook just until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain, and cool immediately by running under cold water.
  • Stir together the Ricotta, spinach, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, egg, salt, parsley, basil, oregano and pepper. Place in a piping bag or large ziploc bag and snip the end off.
  • Lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish with non-stick spray and spread 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Divide Ricotta mixture evenly between shells and place in prepared pan. You might have to squish a little to fit, that’s okay.
  • Top with remaining marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly at the edges and cheese is melted. Serve.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 429kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1435mg | Potassium: 663mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 5500IU | Vitamin C: 9.2mg | Calcium: 545mg | Iron: 2.9mg
Keywords easy stuffed shells, italian stuffed shells, spinach stuffed shells

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Dana says

    Amazing, amazing recipe. I found this a while ago and keep coming back to it. When I make this for others, they love it!! Other than changing a few things up over time, I always reference this recipe. Highly recommend to anyone!

  2. Brianna says

    It is March 30th 2020, and right now in the world we are facing diseases that no one has had to deal with b4…I can only speak for myself in saying that I feel like we’re living in a movie-!!! Basically all there is to do is eat, & comfort food, oh hell yeah!! I bought some of these ingredients the other day, and tonight,I wil be teaching my daughter how to cook stuffed shells!!! I will post pics on Facebook?

  3. Bridgette G says

    Hi, do you know how well this would work if trying to make in small batches? I’m the only one in my household who can have cheese.. so I’d rather not have to make a whole 9×13 baking pan if I can prepare and place into smaller batches so that I can heat up a serving or two at a time.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Yes, you can definitely prepare them in smaller batches! You will probably want to reduce the cook time, but that is all. You could even flash freeze them and store in a large freezer bag, then add sauce and heat just as many as you need.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      You definitely can! I would probably freeze them with, just because it makes things super simple when you go to reheat but either way works great! You could even flash freeze them (individually) and then throw them in a large freezer bag.

      • Maggie Bonner says

        I’ve frozen mine individually and they are in a freezer bag. When I want to cook a few, how do I do it? Do I have to thaw them out, or cook frozen? Either way, can you tell me for how long and at what temperature? Thanks so much!

        • Ashley Fehr says

          It is probably easiest to thaw them and reheat, as they’ll cook more evenly that way. I would thaw in the refrigerator through the day, then add some sauce in pan, add the shells and add some additional sauce, then bake at 350 F for 15 minutes or until they are heated through.

  4. Stef says

    Oooh… we’ve been on a baked ziti kick and this looks like a nice change, but the same flavors so my son will approve. I’m so hungry just looking at.

  5. Danielle Wolter says

    Are there people who don’t like things stuffed with cheese? I can’t believe it. This is the best recipe – I love that you can make it ahead. Freezer meals are awesome, especially when they have such great flavors!!

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