Mom's Italian Stuffed Baked Shells

Monday, January 4, 2021
Mom's Italian Baked Stuffed Shells are an amazing stuffed pasta filled with ricotta cheese with melted mozzarella and loaded with freshly made Traditional Sunday Sauce.

Mom saved this recipe for special holiday times either for Easter, Christmas, or even for a family house wedding party, and considered these her specialty back in the 1950s.

These jumbo pasta shells are perfect for entertaining and for any occasion, they are simple to make with a few basic ingredients.

Through the years we have added spinach in the ricotta or even made them stuffed with meatballs and sausage from noncheese lovers, so the stuffing can be very versatile and adapted.

If you're a cheese lover then you are going to love these stuffed shells because they are loaded with ricotta, Pecorino Romano, and melted mozzarella for that homerun cheese lover all in one pan.

We love all kinds of baked pasta and you may also like to try Mom's Baked Lasagna recipe, it's a family favorite also.

Scroll down to the bottom for this fantastic version of Mom's recipe for baked stuffed shells.

these are an authentic baked stuffed jumbo pasta shell with ricotta filling

stuffed baked jumbo pasta shells filled with ricotta cheese on a white plate

Easy Recipe

Baked stuffed shells are an easy wonderful pasta dish to serve.

Even though mom made them for just a special occasion they really are perfect to make ahead of time and freeze for any weeknight meal.

Check out below and read through the tricks and easy assortment of fillings you can choose from to make all different kinds of stuffed shells.

Just fill them, place them on parchment paper with no tomato sauce, freeze and then put them in freezer containers for another time, super simple and ready for you anytime.

I try to make at least 36 at a time for unexpected guests or when I need to make a birthday dinner, they're right there ready to be baked.

Frozen shells can be baked still frozen just add the tomato sauce and cheese and last around 6 months in the freezer.

this is a casserole of stuffed shells with ricotta cheese mozzarella and tomato sauce in a large casserole pan by Revol

Ingredients You Will Need to Make This Recipe

Scroll down to the recipe card for exact measurements and print them off

  • Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • extra large eggs
  • ricotta cheese
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese grated
  • minced fresh garlic
  • fresh chopped parsley and basil
  • extra large eggs
  • Italian Tomato Meat Sauce
  • salt, pepper 
  • see optional side dish suggestions for serving below:
  • Serving suggestions: garlic bread and antipasto

these are jumbo shells boiling in water with salt


  • make the filling while the pasta is cooking 
  • never rinse pasta the sauce won't stick to the pasta
  • always add salt to the water when boiling the pasta
  • only use fresh herbs not dried
  • you can use low-fat ricotta but will require and extra egg being it's much more watery
  • for a little heat add some red pepper flakes when serviing 
  • add more grated cheese on top and serve with garlic bread to dip in the delicious sauce

this is the filling to make stuffed pasta shells

Other Fillings To Try

  • mushrooms cooked added to the ricotta 8 ounces
  • spinach cooked and water squeezed out added to the ricotta 10 ounces
  • mashed meatballs and sausage instead of ricotta cheese topping with mozzarella
  • for an American Mexican version make a taco seasoned beef and top with cheddar cheese using salsa instead of tomato sauce
  • For a Southwestern version used black beans, corn, and taco meat with cheddar cheese using salsa instead of tomato sauce
  • sliced pepper hot or sweet, mushrooms and Italian sausage chopped fresh tomatoes also using the ricotta filling first then topped with meat
  • add shredded zucchini or shredded eggplant, mixed with mashed meatballs and mozzarella for a filling
  • for seafood filled add shrimp to the ricotta filling and use an Alfredo Sauce or Scampi sauce, instead of tomato sauce
  • for pizza stuffed shells used chopped pepperoni, Italian sausage adding tomato sauce to the filling and mozzarella then topped with pizza sauce and more cheese

Pin for later

this is a pin for later for baked stuffed shells

Other Recipes To Try

Grandma's Spaghetti and Meatballs

Pasta Fazool

Authentic Fettucine Alfredo not the American version

Homemade Orecchiette Pasta

these are jumbo pasta filled with ricotta

A Few Tips and Suggestions

If you're a pasta lover you will love Mom's Italian Stuffed Baked Shells, they're easy to make and will impress your family and friends.

Stuffing shells is not only easy, but they're also so versatile in fillings, so don't forget to check my American suggestions above if you missed reading them.

Adapt the recipe to however you like your filling with more or fewer ingredients, there is no such thing as too much cheese right?

One last tip, you can use a good grade store-bought sauce and disposable pan for a quicker meal and easy cleanup.

Mom's Italian  Baked Stuffed Shells

Mom's Italian Baked Stuffed Shells

Yield: 36
Author: Claudia Lamascolo
Prep time: 25 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 45 Min
These are jumbo pasta shells with ricotta cheese filling in each one. Then baked topped with homemade Italian tomato sauce and lots of melted mozzarella cheese.


  • 2 boxes of Jumbo Shell Pasta (around 36) cooked al dente to package instructions
  • Filling:
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2  - 15 ounce containers of Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella and (2 cups for the top for baking)
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano grated cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian basil
  • 4 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste ( I usually add around 1 teaspoon each)
  • 4 -  CupsHomemade Traditional Sunday Meat Sauce  (or use your favorite store-bought)


  1. Bring an 8 to an 11-quart pot of water to a boil adding  2 teaspoons of salt.
  2. Add the shells, cook al dente to package instructions.
  3. Drain do not rinse.
  4. In the meantime mix all the ingredients for just the filling and set aside.
  5. Cool shells long enough to handle them or wear gently life each one with a large spoon then open to fill.
  6. Fill each shell with ricotta filling.
  7. In a large deep baking casserole dish, add some tomato sauce to cover the bottom of the dish,
  8. Place the filled shells on the sauce, add more sauce to the top of each shell.
  9. Cover the tops of the shells generously with whole milk mozzarella (the 2 cups of more remaining in the ingredients section).
  10. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven until the cheese is just melted around 20 minutes.
  11. Serve with garlic bread and antipasto if desired.



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)

baked jumbo ricotta shells, stuffed shells with ricotta, ricotta cheese baked stuffed shells, Italian baked stuffed shells
Italian pasta recipes, ricotta cheese pasta recipes, stuffed pasta recipes, Italian baked pasta recipes

Pin for later

stuffed shells pin for later and how to make them

More Recipes To Try

Seafood and Crab Lemon Scampi Pasta

15 Favorite Easy Pasta Recipes

this is stuffed shells with ricotta filling

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2009. It was edited and re-published in 2021.


  1. I am so hungry right now! Had pasta last night, and always feel like a repeat performance. They look seriously tasty.

    This is what I had for dinner:

    But now I want these shells!

  2. For me, this is a main course, not side dish! yummm.

  3. I love stuffed baked shells. This looks amazing.

  4. oh I love stuffed shell pastas, it's one of my favorite italian dishes there is, this looks really good!

  5. I'd forgotten about stuffed shells. I would make them years ago for company. Thanks for the reminder and recipe!

  6. I agree with Trix, this could be my meal...good recipe keeper

  7. Looks and sounds delicious! And I love the tip that the dish freezes well.

  8. Yum! I haven't had stuffed shells in such a long time! These look super delicious!

  9. What a perfect make-ahead meal! For some reason, I never think to make stuffed shells. I will have to start.

  10. I just had breakfast and this has me hungry again! Love how filling and comforting this is!

  11. I love baked shells! I haven't had them in forever, but I need to make these.

  12. Stuffed Shells are a family favorite and these sound like a recipe for success! Also so easy to reheat the next day. They get even better

  13. I cannot tell you how good these stuffed shells look! I will definitely be saving this for later!

  14. These Italian stuffed baked shells are delicious! So filling and full of flavor! I might be making these weekly since they turned out so good!

  15. So cheesy, so good! Ricotta filling is a favourite.

  16. Those look incredible. I'm drooling here and I haven't even had breakfast yet!

  17. This is the perfect kind of Sunday meal. Comforting, hearty and so delicious! I added tons of fresh basil from the garden and it brightens things up wonderfully.

  18. What a delicious recipe! Can't wait to make it for my Italian friends next week!

  19. This stuffed baked shell looks gorgeous. Can't wait to make one.

  20. This is such a classic recipe! It reminds me of my moms stuffed shells too - just delicious!


Remember to use the search option for a recipe you're looking for and thanks for all your kind words and support. We love our readers all the best Claudia