Mexican Stuffed Shells

These Mexican Stuffed Shells are so easy and loved by the whole family! These Mexican Stuffed Shells freeze well as a casserole and can be made ahead of time. This is a great stuffed shell recipe stuffed with seasoned taco beef and topped with taco sauce and cheese.

Mexican Stuffed Shells - Pasta Shells stuffed with taco meat and cheese.

These Mexican Stuffed Shells are stuffed with beef and covered with taco shells and lots of cheese.

We’ve been eating a whole lot of chicken, fish, and veggies at our house lately. When my 7 year old son asked what was for dinner last night and I told him grilled chicken and broccoli, he about started crying.

I wanted to join him. I realized we needed a little break from the same old and started browsing the Internet.

Last time I was in a major dinner rut I stumbled upon this Taco Pasta and heard nothing but praises at the dinner table.

Mexican Stuffed Shells on a spoon


It was then that I decided the marriage of Mexican and Italian needed to happen again. Stuffed shells with a Mexican twist? Bingo.

I love these Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells…but these Mexican Stuffed Shells are WAY easier and better for a busy day.

These were just what I was hoping they would be.

After you cook your pasta shells place them on a baking sheet so that don’t stick in one big glob at the bottom of your colander. Ahem…guilty here.
Beef in shells covered in taco sauce
After you stuff your shells with the meat mixture, pour some taco sauce on top. I used both mild salsa and taco sauce in this recipe because my kids were eating and they allergic to spicy…so they say.
Mexican Stuffed Shells on a plate
If you do freeze these the next question is how to cook frozen stuffed shells? Just thaw the casserole in the fridge overnight or I’ve even just baked them from frozen.
Mexican Stuffed Shells
Prep Time
22 hrs 14 mins
Cook Time
22 hrs 14 mins
Servings: 16 shells
Author: Christy Denney
  • 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 1 package low-sodium taco seasoning
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 16 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 1 cup taco sauce
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Monterrey jack cheese
For toppings:
  • 3 green onions
  • Sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a pan brown the ground beef; add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Stir together and mix well. Set aside and cool completely.
  3. While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to package directions; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board or baking sheet so that they don’t stick together.
  4. Pour salsa on bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Stuff each shell with 1-2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Place shells in 9×13 pan open side up. Evenly cover shells with taco sauce. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes with the foil removed. Top with green onions or olives if desired. Serve with sour cream and/or more salsa.
Recipe Notes

Source: The Way to His Heart

Mexican Stuffed Shells - so easy and such a good Mexican meal!

Speak Your Mind



  1. Oh my gosh this sounds delicious. I absolutely love Mexican food and this has a nice spin to it. I might just have to try these 🙂

  2. Oooo, if you like this recipe, you MUST try enchilada stuffed shells. I found this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens about a year ago and it is easily my top 3 favorite recipes. I puree the peppers and onions…just an FYI.

  3. I love the Chicken and Spinach stuffed shells. They are a repeat meal in our home.

    I’m going to have to try these too.
    Mommy Sauri~

  4. OH. MY! I absolutely cannot wait to make this!! YUUUUM!

  5. Ohhh Yum-town!! This looks perfectly fabulous!

  6. Holy amazingness! I am totally making this TONIGHT!!! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  7. I just showed this to my nearly 10yo and he said MOM you have to make that! It looks AWESOME!!! 😉

    He’s my little mexican food lover so this is totally up his alley! I can’t wait to try it this weekend!!!!

  8. Must try these!

  9. I’ve used this recipe in the past and it’s always a hit!

    To add a little crunch, I throw some crushed up tortilla chips on top of the shells, with shredded cheese in the last 10 minutes.


  10. Thanks. It’s on my Favorite Recipes Pin Board…can’t wait to make these for the kiddos.

  11. Oh yum! This has my family’s name all over it!

  12. sounds fantastic. All we’ve been eating lately is mexican food partly because it’s what has sounded good to my pregnant self…my husband finally said, “No more.” So I’m trying to cook more “American,” as he put it. But I will pin this to use in a few months. 🙂

  13. What a great, unique recipe! Thanks for sharing.

  14. I’m so glad I found your blog! Your blog’s name drew me in and these shells sealed the deal. 😉

  15. What salsa do you use? I cant wait to make this!

  16. I just made these for dinner tonight. They are SO GOOD! My 3 year old kept asking for more! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!

  17. Oh great! Pace is my usual go to salsa, thanks 🙂

  18. what a good idea! I love mexican and italian together 🙂

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. These sound amazing, I’m definitely bookmarking these for future reference!


  21. Was going to make these, turns out my tiny little local grocery store does not believe in stuffing shells – no jumbo shells, no manicotti, nor any other such pasta. So Mexican Pasta it had to be. Thanks for sharing!

  22. I make these almost weekly and love them! Want to know what takes them to the next level? Crumbled tortilla chips on the top before baking. O YUM!

  23. I have absolutely nothing else to say apart from the fact that i HAVE to try this. Looks amazing! 🙂

  24. This recipe was absolutely delicious and was super easy. Thanks!

  25. This looks like a dinner my family will LOVE! What a great combination with things I usually have handy.

  26. mmm this looks so good.. I must make it soon

  27. Making this tonight! Used Santa Fe cooking cream cheese instead of regular. Cant wait to eat!

  28. I made these and my family loved them! Thanks for the recipe, it’s sure so become a family favorite. 🙂

  29. I made this recipe this week and my husband LOVED IT. I’m already thinking about making it again, haha 🙂

  30. @Jill,
    Yay! Score! My husband loved them too.

  31. Delicious! These are better than taco night!

  32. These look fantastic and easy to make. Will definately be trying them soon!

  33. Do you think you could bake these off the night before and re-heat / top with cheese the next day? I want to make these for a pot luck, but I can’t assemble at work.

  34. @Mookyshine,
    Totally! They are very forgiving. They definitely reheat well!

  35. Can you make ahead and freeze? If so, at what point do you freeze? How do you reheat?

  36. @carolinepsu,
    I would definitely freeze them right after you stuff the shells. When ready to eat bake as directed in original directions.

  37. Thanks! I’m making this recipe for a new mom and freezer-friendly meals are preferred 🙂

  38. I made these for dinner tonight and they were SO yummy. My grocery store didn’t have shells so I stuffed them in Manicotti tubes and they worked out great. I have yet to make a recipe of yours that I don’t like!

  39. I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

  40. These looked so yummy I had to mention them in my post today about traditional stuffed shells and different variations you can make! To go see the post in my blog it can be seen here:
    Last Night’s Dinner: Stuffed Shells

  41. Tried these tonight…awesome!! My 9yo son, being a creature of habit insisted that I put his filling in a tortilla. Ah well, everyone else loved them. My husband had FIVE!! I also used shredded chicken instead and only had shredded cheddar cheese. I will definitely make these again. Oh and I’ve never, ever in my life eaten any type of stuffed shells. It’s just something my mom never made and I never did either. Glad I decided to try these. Due to my lack of experience making any type of stuffed pasta, I was a little clumsy and my kitchen is a wreck! But that’s okay…practice makes perfect and as mentioned, it’s on my list of regular recipes. Thanks so much!!!!

  42. Made this for dinner last night and everyone loved it. Definitely adding to our menu!!

  43. We had “taco night” once a week in our house and I seem to be the only person who gets sick of it. This recipe is a nice change of pace! One week, I over-made taco beef, stuck it in the freezer, and then just thawed it out while the shells were cooking so I could make these. These were a HUGE hit! Thank you for giving me a respite from traditional tacos!

  44. Can these be frozen? They look wonderful

  45. @Anonymous,
    I think they would freeze wonderfully but I haven’t tried it. I been able to freeze other stuffed shells than bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes so I would do the same with these.

  46. I’m on my second round of making this recipe and what I found the first time was that 1 lb of meat even adding in minced vegetables or about 1/2-3/4C total (onion, celery, red pepper, jalapeno, etc) that 20 jumbo shells was too many or there was insufficient meat. Bad ratio of pasta to filling.

    You can make 20 shells but plan on filling 15 leaving a few for the broken ones. I packed the 15 shells in an 8×8 pan. It made for a better ratio of the thick pasta to meat.

    I’m thinking next time to try refried beans either 1/2 and 1/2 with cream cheese or instead of but it’s definitely a bit much on the cream cheese.

    Hint too, if you make it and don’t care as much for it as you thought come back to it the next day or so because it definitely improves with time that way.

  47. mMGWnF I appreciate you sharing this article.Thanks Again. Really Cool.

  48. Kathi Hoffman says:

    I am going to make this one too! When I first clicked on the recipe, I was expecting something different. I was pleasantly surprised. Thanks for posting!

  49. I finally made this tonight, and it’s definitely a keeper!! We loved this recipe!

  50. My friends and I made this recipe the other night and it was SO delicious! I’m inviting other friends over tonight to make it! Last time we didn’t make enough and all wanted more, so this time I’ll be sure to buy more shells! It’s great served with black beans and rice on the side. Thanks so much for sharing!

  51. I love this. I make a double batch for potlucks and always have a request for it when they come up.

  52. I used Ground Turkey (93%Lean•7%fat), Fat Free Cheddar, Fat Free Sour Cream, Fat Free Cream Cheese, a little of Reduced fat Mexican Cheese. I added low sodium black beans and corn mixed with the turkey. I served it over a bed of spinach. So yummy.

  53. YUMMY

  54. I made this last night for dinner and we almost ate the whole thing! Love the creaminess of it and it was just so delicious! Thanks for a great tasting recipe that isn’t the usual taco. My husband said he definitely wants to have it again and my 9 year old son scarfed it up too. My 4year old finally gave in and ate it too (she’s very picky) and liked it. Going on my go to dinner menus.

  55. I made this for dinner last night and it was amazing! My hubby (who really never objects to anything Mexican food related) loved it. My 5yo daughter said it was her favorite thing. We happily ate the leftovers for lunch today and it may have been even better then!

  56. I tried this tonight- I used WAY more cheese and only used salsa instead of salsa and taco sauce as modifications. Can I just tell you this was a simple but absolutely YUMMY dinner! I’m looking forward to leftovers tomorrow (if my husband doesn’t get to them first tonight for a snack). I especially love the scallions on the finish product, not just a garnish but a lovely zing of flavor. Try this recipe ladies!

  57. I’ve made these and they are super delicious. My 2 years son & hubby loves them too. When I can’t think of what to cook or make these always comes to mind. Super quick & easy to prep and prepare.

  58. I made this last night, and it was awesome and easy! The only thing I did differently was 2 cups of taco cheese instead 1 cup of cheddar and 1 cup of monterey jack. My mom had dinner with us and enjoyed it so much that I gave her the recipe so she could make it for dad this weekend.

  59. I made these tonight and they were amazing! I already can’t wait to try them again. and the boyfriend even loved them too. 🙂 I also wrote a short blog about it and linked back to you. I hope that’s ok! I’m kind of new to the whole blogging thing. Thank you for the great recipe!

  60. These were so yummy- my 8 year old even loved them!



  62. Would the Mexican stuffed shells also work for the freezer?

  63. I’m a horrible cook, but I follow your blog all the time staring at the pictures, hoping I can cook one day. I made these over the weekend, and EVERYONE in my house loved them! Super simple and easy to follow, plus the pictures were a big help! Definitely will make these again. I use COlby Jack instead of Monetrrey and still delish! 🙂

  64. Just made these last night and they turned out great!! What a great meal, makes a ton and budget friendly! Will definitely be making these again! 🙂

  65. You can do this with chicken too; you can make chicken enchilada stuffed shells, or chicken taco shells. REALLY good.

  66. I use frozen veggie meat and my vegetarian friends love it!

  67. I have now made this recipe three times! I just pulled them out of the oven, they look and smell delicious. They are great as heated leftovers, too! Definitely a winner!!!

  68. I have made these several times. This is absolutely one of my favorite meals.

  69. I just made these last night… switched out some of the ingredients to make it a healthier version and it still tasted delicious! 🙂

  70. I love your recipes and follow you but I cannot seem to print hem right now??????I just get a blank page…. help

  71. I made this recipe for a birthday party I had yesterday. I am a longtime vegetarian, but my friends eat meat, so I figured this is something I could make easily to please the masses. I used Hot Taco Seasoning and Hot Ortega Taco Sauce. This was getting raves all night and was gone in minutes. Very easy recipe to follow and create. I am really happy I found your blog. Thanks so much 🙂

  72. I made these tonight…oh my word…they were absolutely delicious… I added a little cheese to the meat mixture and crushed some tortilla chips over them before pouring on the taco sauce….my family is already looking forward to the left overs for dinner tomorrow

  73. I’ve made this several times and absolutely love it!! I stopped using the big shells (I have the worst luck with tearing them up. I’m not a gentle cook apparently haha) and started using just medium shells and making more of a casserole pasta. Still super delicious and a lot less work.

  74. I found and pinned this recipe about a year ago. Made it tonight, everyone loved it! It was so good and easy to make. A crunchy green salad would be good on the side, which I didn’t have. We had strawberries 🙂 Thank you for the great recipe!!

  75. I stumbled upon this recipe several years ago and it is still a favorite! It’s a go-to meal when I need a freezer meal and it’s so easy to give a healthy makeover to, as well! I use 93% lean ground turkey and I substitute fat free greek yogurt for the cream cheese. I also use homemade taco seasoning so I can control the salt and the spice!

    Also, in a pinch, I’ve used lasagna noodles in place of the shells and make them as Mexican roll-ups!

  76. Can I leave the cream cheese out never have any on hand.