A Spicy Perspective

Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Comfort in a baking dish… our Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe is the perfect back to school dinner, and also great for cozy holiday meals! Plus, crockpot instructions.

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Jumbo Stuffed Shells

Are you looking for a pasta dish that always brings a smile to the faces of children and grownups alike? Something that is classic and comforting, the perfect meal to end any sort of day??

Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe with Marinara. BOOM.

Stuffed Shells are simple. Completely void of elegance. Yet this humble dish delivers big impact on the dinner table!

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Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe

This Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe is creamy, cheesy, savory, and offers a touch of spice.

I’d bet money even your pickiest eaters will ask for seconds.

Plus, our Easy Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe is quick to make. My kids love to chip in and fill the pasta shells for me as I whip up fresh marinara sauce.

But don’t worry… In a pinch you can definitely use your favorite jarred marinara sauce.

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Easy Ricotta Stuffed Shells Ingredients

  • Jumbo pasta shells 
  • Homemade marinara – Or store-bought!
  • Ricotta cheese 
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Egg
  • Italian parsley
  • Fresh rosemary – In a pinch, you can use dried rosemary.
  • Nutmeg
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper

How To Make Stuffed Shells

Making Ricotta Stuffed Shells is so easy. Even your non-cooking spouse could do it!

  1. Simply boil (or soak) the dried pasta shells.
  2. Mix the ricotta filling in a bowl.
  3. Scoop the ricotta filling into the shells.
  4. Place the shells in a baking dish.
  5. Smother the shells with marinara sauce and shredded cheese.
  6. Bake!

Get The Full (Printable) Easy Stuffed Shells Recipe Below

No-Boil Stuffed Shells Recipe

Do you have to boil the pasta before baking it?

Not exactly… Boiling the pasta is the quickest method to ensure the pasta, filling, and sauce come out perfectly.

However, if your oven takes a bit of time to preheat, you can soak the pasta in very hot tap water, instead of boiling it. Fill a bowl with hot salted tap water and let the pasta soak for 20-25 mintues while the oven preheats and you make the cheese filling. Then drain the pasta shells before filling.

Baked Dried? Some old lasagna and baked pasta recipes suggest you can skip boiling (or soaking) the pasta altogether, by adding 1 cup of water to the baking dish with dried pasta.

I don’t recommend trying this with stuffed shells. The water will cause the filling to leak out and turn runny before it is fully absorbed.

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Easy Stuffed Shells In The Crockpot

Believe it or not, you can make this amazing Stuffed Shells Recipe in a Slow Cooker!

To make Crockpot Stuffed Shells, you do need to boil or soak the pasta as directed. Then stuff the shells, place them in a large slow cooker, and cover with marinara and cheese.

Set the slow cooker on low, and cook for 5-7 hours.

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Can You Freeze Stuffed Shells?

This Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe is easy to freeze. Try making a double or triple batch. Then wrap and freeze them (unbaked) for another night. You’ll be so glad you did.

When your ready to use them, you can thaw and bake each dish for 25-30 minutes, or place the frozen dish in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.

Ricotta Stuffed Shells for the win!

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More Comforting Stuffed Shells Recipes

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5 from 17 votes
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Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe - Rich and cheesy EASY stuffed shells. A comforting dish you'll serve again and again!
Servings: 5



  • Lightly oil or spray a 9 X 13 inch baking pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Partially cook the pasta shells in water, 4-6 minutes. Strain the shells and lay in the pan. (See no-boil instructions in notes.)
  • Mix the ricotta, parmesan, egg, parsley, rosemary, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and crushed red pepper together in a medium bowl. Fill each shell with 1-2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture.
  • Spoon the sauce on and around the shells. Top with mozzarella cheese. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake until bubbly and golden, about 25 minutes. If you want the cheesy top golden, take the foil off the last 3-5 minutes.


  • No-Boil Pasta Shells: Don't want the extra step of boiling the pasta? Soak the shells in a large boil of hot salted tap water while you preheat the oven and make the ricotta filling. They need to soak for at least 20-25 minutes. Then drain off the water and stuff! When you add the marinara to the baking dish, pour it directly over the top of the shells. Cover and bake as directed.
  • Homemade Marinara: Want to make your own tomato sauce? Use this recipe!
  • Crockpot Stuffed Shells: To make this recipe in the slow cooker, boil (or soak) the shells. Then stuff the shells and place them in a slow cooker. Cover with marinara and cheese. Cook on low for 5-7 hours.
  • Freezing: Stuffed shells are easy to freeze. Make a double batch and wrap some up for next week! Baked from frozen for 50+ minutes.


Serving: 4shells, Calories: 445kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 115mg, Sodium: 1554mg, Potassium: 705mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1478IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 471mg, Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Sommer Collier

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21 comments on “Ricotta Stuffed Shells”

  1. Hi! Newbie here – when you say boil (or soak) boil meaning cook the pasta shells all the way? The soak part had me a bit confused since soaking in my mind wouldn’t be cooking the shells. Thanks!

    • Hi June!

      A long soak in hot water gives dried pasta a jump-start when you plan to bake it in sauce… Or you can partially boil it, so it is still firm, but halfway cooked. The pasta doesn’t have to be cooked all the way before baking, since it will soak up the liquid in the sauce and continue to cook fully as it bakes. Does that help?

  2. ABSOLUTELY DELICIIOUS!!! I made Vodka Sauce instead of Marinara with this recipe and it was terrific.

  3. This was easy, very easy but more importantly it’s really good. My husband, who grew up in Baltimore, said it tasted just like what you get in little Italy.

  4. Cheesy stuffed shells are the best!!! All that gooey cheese. Such a great dinner idea too.

  5. Delicious and easy! Love the fresh rosemary!

  6. So cheesy! I love it.

  7. This was delicious! Thank you!

  8. These were amazing! So easy to make and there were no leftovers. Definitely going to be making these again!

  9. Great recipe and easy to do! I did however cut the parsley to one tablespoon and added one tablespoon of fresh chopped Greek oregano. I increased the mozzarella to a cup and a half also. I did use my own homemade sauce and my own fresh herbs, so of course, I’m a bit biased, LOL.  As in everything Italian; it’s all about the sauce when flavor is what your pallet is going for.

  10. Loved the simplicity of your recipe. They came out just right!

  11. Love this recipe, Easy and everyone loved it!

  12. close to 200omg sodium per serving! yikes!

    • Not everyone needs to watch their sodium every second of every day. Those that do, such as myself, are usually smart enough to make lower-sodium choices when picking ingredients, or making a different recipe altogether. Perhaps you’d be happier looking for recipes that actually claim to be low sodium. If you read it again, you’ll notice that this one makes no such claim.

  13. I love simple dishes like this! I especially love anything that I can make ahead of time and just pop in the oven when I need it.
    I love your photos also! Very pleasing to the eye.

  14. In need of some classic comfort food like this!! Looks yummy!

  15. Ooh this looks delicious! I must try it! :)

  16. Stuffed shells are so good – Brian could eat a whole baking dish full. I haven't made them in so long…I will have to correct this and try your recipe!

  17. Yum these look and sound great, thanks for the recipe.

  18. I just made stuffed shells a week ago, but with jarred sauce. I'm going to try this home made sauce next time – it sounds great!

  19. I love stuffed shells! They remind me of good home cookin'. :)