These stuffed shells are cheesy, saucy, and stuffed with the most delicious ricotta and spinach filling. I’m in love, and I think you will be, too. Speaking of love, they’re so pretty that you could serve these shells for a romantic Valentine’s dinner at home.
A few more reasons to love this recipe:
- It yields a lot of shells, so it’s perfect for serving a crowd.
- Leftovers are great for lunch, or you can freeze them for later.
- This recipe is relatively easy to make, with minimal chopping.
This stuffed shells recipe features simple and classic Italian ingredients. You’ll need jumbo shells, marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, a little Parmesan, garlic and seasonings.
To make this cheesy dish more redeeming, I added an entire pound of fresh greens! You can use fresh or frozen spinach or kale. The greens yield a gorgeous, vibrant green filling with a lovely, mild flavor. These stuffed shells are honestly the best I’ve ever had, by a long shot. Keep reading for some fun variations and tips.
How to Make the Best Stuffed Shells with Spinach & Ricotta
This recipe comes together easily, with minimal chopping. You’ll find the full recipe below, but here’s a rundown:
- First, blanch the greens. This is really easy—just dump them in a big pot of salted water and cook until they’re wilted (about 30 seconds). Using tongs, transfer the greens to a large bowl of ice water. This step preserves their beautiful, bright green color. Once chilled, squeeze all the water out of the greens and set aside.
- Cook the pasta shells in the same pot of water you used for the greens. The water will be a fun shade of greenish yellow, but the pasta will turn out perfectly. We’ll cook the shells until they’re almost al dente—in other words, we want them nicely pliable but not fully tender. They’ll finish cooking in the oven.
- Then, whip up the filling in the food processor. Since we’re blending up the garlic and chives, we don’t need to bother chopping them finely by hand.
- Stuff each shell with a generous spoonful of filling and place them in snug little rows across marinara-lined bakers.
- Spoon marinara sauce over the shells. We don’t need them completely covered. Finish them off with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake, and serve.
Watch How to Make Stuffed Shells
Stuffed Shells Tips
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Bust out your largest pot and baking dish for this recipe. Ideally, use a 5.5-quart or larger Dutch oven or stockpot to boil the greens and pasta. Then, you’ll transfer all of the cooked greens to a very large bowl of ice water. Finally, you’ll need an extra-large baker (even larger than 9 by 13 inches) or a combination of two bakers like you’ll see below (say, 9 by 13 and 8 by 8).
The filling comes together nicely in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, no problem. Chop up the ingredients (chop the chives and garlic finely, and the cooked greens into very small pieces) and stir the ingredients together by hand.
To save time, use store-bought marinara sauce. My favorites are Rao’s (it comes pretty close to my homemade marinara) or Newman’s Own organic. I try to avoid marinaras with added sugar, since it’s unnecessary. Or, make my homemade marinara sauce the night before (be sure to double the recipe to have enough).
Save time (and money) by using frozen greens. Frozen greens are less expensive and work perfectly well for this recipe. Just defrost them in a colander under running water, squeeze out excess water, and it’s good to go.
These shells make great leftovers! Store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for several months.
Stuffed Shell Recipe Variations
I’m completely smitten with this recipe as written below. Here are some fun ways to change it up:
- For lighter, less cheesy shells, use half as much mozzarella or omit it completely.
- For standard cheesy shells (no greens), double the ricotta, finely chop the chives, press or mince the garlic, and stir the mixture together by hand.
- For veggie shells, replace the greens with about 2 cups cooked or roasted vegetables.
- For dairy-free or vegan shells, use my vegan sour cream in place of the ricotta, and sprinkle some vegan Parmesan on top. Find more details in the recipe notes.
Craving more saucy Italian meals?
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Best Vegetable Lasagna or Vegan Lasagna
- Baked Ziti with Roasted Vegetables or Lentil Baked Ziti
- Roasted Ratatouille
- Italian Eggplant Parmesan
- Spaghetti Squash “Pizza” Bowls
I’d serve this recipe or any of the above with my Italian Chopped Salad—even a simplified version would be perfect.
Please let me know how your shells turn out in the comments. I love hearing from you and hope this recipe is a big hit.
Best Stuffed Shells
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
This stuffed shells recipe features cheesy, saucy shells stuffed with a delicious spinach and ricotta filling. Make these stuffed shells for dinner tonight! Recipe yields about 28 shells, about 8 servings.
- 1 pound (16 ounces) fresh baby spinach or baby kale, or frozen spinach or kale, or 1 ½ pounds Tuscan kale or spinach bunches, washed and stems removed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces jumbo shells
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into several segments
- 15 ounces (or 1 pound) ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
- 8 ounces (2 cups) grated part-skim mozzarella, divided
- ½ cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
- ¼ cup (⅔-ounce) chives or green onions (mostly green parts), cut into ¼-long pieces
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste (omit if sensitive to spice)
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with a fork
- 3 cups (24 ounces) marinara sauce, homemade* or store-bought (I used Rao’s)
- Fresh basil for garnish, optional
- Preheat the oven to 375 with racks in the middle and upper third of the oven. Bring a large Dutch oven or stockpot of water to boil over high heat. Generously salt the water (use at least 2 teaspoons). If you’re not using frozen greens, fill a large bowl with ice water for blanching.
- If you’re using fresh greens, add them to the boiling water and cook just until wilted, about 20 to 40 seconds. Using tongs (leave the water in the pot), transfer the greens to the ice bath and let them cool down. Drain off the water and squeeze as much excess water from the greens as possible. Set aside. (If you’re using frozen greens, place them in a colander and run cool water over them until they’ve full defrosted. Squeeze out as much excess water as possible, and set aside.)
- Bring the water in the pot back to a boil. Gently add the pasta shells in handfuls so they don’t break on the way in. Cook until pliable but just shy of al dente, about 10 minutes, stirring often so they don’t stick to the pot. Drain off the water, return the noodles to the pot, and gently stir in the olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking. Set aside.
- Turn on your food processor and drop the garlic through the feeding tube. Once the garlic is chopped and stuck to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the sides. For good measure, squeeze off any remaining water in the greens, then add them to the bowl. Process until the greens are chopped into small pieces.
- Add the ricotta and process until well blended. Add half of the mozzarella, reserving the rest for topping. Add all of the Parmesan and chives, about 10 twists of black pepper, the red pepper flakes and salt. Blend well. Taste, and add additional salt, pepper or red pepper flakes if desired. Finally, add the egg and process until blended. Set aside.
- If you have an extra-large baking dish (larger than 9×13 inches), spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce across the bottom. Otherwise, divide 1 cup marinara between a large (9×13 inches) and medium-sized baker (say, an 8-inch square). You might need to add another splash of sauce to evenly coat the bottom of the pans.
- Stuff each intact shell with a heaping spoonful (about 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons) of the green mixture. Place each stuffed shell in the baker in rows. (You might have a few leftover or broken shells; save them for another use.) Spoon the remaining marinara sauce over the tops of the shells. Top the shells with the remaining mozzarella.
- Cover the baker(s) tightly with foil and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and place the bakers on the upper rack. Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the mozzarella is fully melted and turning just slightly golden (you can bake longer for a more golden effect, but the greens will become less vibrant).
- Garnish the shells with a light dusting of grated Parmesan and some small or torn fresh basil leaves. Leftover shells will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze them for several months.
Recipe adapted from two New York Times recipes: Stuffed Shells Filled With Spinach and Ricotta by Martha Rose Sherman and Stuffed Shells by Ali Slagle.
*Homemade marinara sauce note: You’ll need to double my marinara recipe to yield enough for this recipe, and then you’ll have extra. If you don’t think you’ll use it up within a few days, you can freeze it for later.
Prepare in advance: You can assemble the shells (through step 7) and store the baker in the refrigerator until ready to bake. While I haven’t tried freezing the shells, they seem like excellent candidates. Let the frozen shells defrost in the refrigerator before baking. Since they’re starting off cold, they might need a few more minutes in the oven.
Change it up: For less cheesy shells, use half as much mozzarella or omit it completely. For standard cheesy shells (no greens), double the ricotta, finely chop the chives, press or mince the garlic, and stir the mixture together by hand. You could also replace the greens with about 2 cups cooked or roasted vegetables.
Make it egg free: Simply omit the egg. The egg helps the cheese set, but I’ve heard from readers that it turns out well without it!
Make it dairy free/vegan: Double my vegan sour cream recipe, and leave it in the blender. Add the greens, garlic, chives, black pepper and red pepper flakes (hold off on the additional salt). Process until the mixture is pretty well blended, and add salt to taste. Skip the egg. Follow the sauce and baking instructions as written. If desired, garnish with a light sprinkle of vegan Parmesan.
How many boxes of frozen spinach are needed to equal the 1 pound of fresh? Sounds delicious.
Hi Peg! You’ll need 16 ounces frozen spinach.
I love this recipe and make a few minor (unnecessary) tweaks. I add cream cheese to almost every meal that uses mozzarella cheese! So I just add 8oz of cream cheese and use cottage cheese for ricotta, and blend it all together! Such deliciousness!!!
That sounds so good, Cindy! I love the tang that cream cheese provides.
I made something similar to this years ago with an almond ricotta but I lost the recipe. I can’t wait to try this (vegan) version. I already planned to make the enchiladas in your cookbook for Valentines Day, so this will have to be next weekend!
This was so delicious! Used 1/2 arugula and 1/2 spinach.
Looks so yummy and I’ve been wanting to make this lately. I have my own recipe but I’m going to try yours because I love how you made the spinach creamy! I love spinach any way except from a can. Looks like a game changer! I made your hummus this past Fall and now my grown kids follow you! Sweet!!! Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome! I hope you enjoyed this one, Cathy.
As a passionate home cook I am always dubious about a recipe with “best” in its name. However, I made this recipe following directions to a T, and man, it did not disappoint! I did do half with homemade marinara (for me) and half with homemade bolognese (for hubby) and we both devoured our meal. We have left overs for 1.5 meals and I froze another 2 servings. Vibrant colors and flavors made this a success in my home! I I’ll be looking at your recipes for other suggestions.
Curious how you think it’d be if you used fresh spinach but didn’t even cook it — I’m thinking since you’re blending it up anyway, why cook first ? Does it improve flavor or texture to cook the spinach first?
I can’t wait to make this! Yum!
Hi Aliza! Cooking the spinach (and then dunking it in ice water) makes it soft and reduces its overall volume so it blends more easily. The ice bath helps preserve its bright green color. Lastly, I think it helps reduce the moisture contained in the spinach, so your shells aren’t watery. All that said, I haven’t tried not cooking the spinach—do report back if you try it that way!
Last week I bought shells for the first time in life (they were on offer), and my thought was that for sure I’ll find something to do with them on your blog. And here it is!!! I’m so looking forward to making these this weekend :)
…anxious to try this recipe but was wondering if one would use dry curd cottage cheese or creamed cottage cheese in place of the ricotta?
Hi Linda! I think that would work beautifully. I’ve used cottage cheese in lasagna recipes in place of ricotta, no problem.
Hi Kate…thanks for your reply….just wonder which texture to use? Dry curd or creamy cottage cheese?
Hi Linda! I’m sorry for the slow response. I’ve actually never used dry curd cottage cheese, to my knowledge. Other commenters are reporting that cottage cheese is working well for them but not specifying the type (I would assume they’re using creamy).
This looks so good that I’m going to try. it. If using frozen spinach, would you still use the same weight as fresh – 1 pound?
Yes, one pound!
Valentine’s Dinner tonight was stuffed shells with a salad and bread. This is an absolutely delicious recipe. I used Trader Joe’s roasted garlic sauce, but your recipe was perfect as written. Another Cookie and Kate winner.
Paige Cassandra Flamm
These look so good! I totally need to add them to the menu for next week!
This is a stunning and delicious recipe! Made last night for Valentines Day. It was a hit!
I can’t WAIT to try this recipe. It looks great!!
Making my wife a three layered strawberry cake
Thanks Soooo much for the delicious recipe and clear directions. I used half spinach and half kale. It’s a do over for sure and would be good to double for a crowd. I’m curious about other ways to use the stuffing because it was so good… thanks again, L
If you have other ideas for the stuffing, let me know! It’s so good. I appreciate your comment and review.
Super delicious – thank you for another excellent recipe!!! I was intrigued with the vibrant green color of the filling and the beautiful contrast with the red sauce, so I decided to try it Valentine’s Day. Truly named well – the best stuffed shells I’ve ever had. I found it faster and neater to pipe the filling into the shells with a pastry bag. I used my favorite Italian red sauce, and added a bit extra mozzarella on top before baking. We had them for dinner two nights in a row, and still have more. I suspect this will be my only stuffed shells recipe from here on.
This recipe turned out delicious, Kate – I made it tonight as-is with fresh baby spinach (I have a second batch in the oven as I write this, I had to make two because I have a small oven!) It’s a hit, thank you once again from Montreal!
As usual this is fantastic! I have never made any of your recipes and been dissapointed.
My daughter-in-law is a vegetarian and we made these together at our cabin this past weekend. These are the best stuffed shells we’ve tasted! Everyone loved the vibrant green colored filling and we thought cottage cheese gave it better flavor than ricotta. We loved the added flavor the red pepper flakes gave this dish, too. I also made the fresh homemade marinara sauce with the link you provided. We won’t be using jar sauce anymore! Fantastic! Thanks cookieandkate!
I made the recipe using a jarred marinara, but following filling recipe as described. It was absolutely delicious. Half of the shells I added seasoned ground beef to before topping with the spinach /cheese mixture. It got RAVE reviews. It’s hard to find recipes that I can combine vegetarian options with meat options for the meat lovers in my family. I didn’t have Parmesan, so I just used a little extra mozzarella. This is now a family favorite!!
Thank you so much for all of your wonderful recipes!
In the MAKE IT DAIRY FREE/VEGAN notes, you said you were 85% confident about your suggestions working. I tried them and wanted to report that you can be 100% confident – it turned out wonderfully! The only downside is that the cashews in the vegan sour cream detract from the vibrant green color of the cheese version but it was still absolutely delicious!!
Wonderful! Thanks so much for letting me know, Lyn—I’ll update the note accordingly.
I made this last night and it was delicious! The whole family went back for seconds. Luckily, I had set some aside for my lunch today.
These shells are amazing! I made them for our family day long weekend and they were a big hit.
Sandra L Irick
We made this recipe as a lasagna, because we had lasagna noodles. Used your marinara sauce recipe, queso fresco, manchego, and mozzarella. Absolutely delicious!!!
Fantastic recipe! My guests loved it. I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta and a mix of spinach and kale. I used my homemade marinara from Oh She Glows. Will make this again (and again).
These shells are wonderful! It dawned on me later that I forgot the egg, but the filling baked and set just fine! Wonderfully creamy and satisfying!
Thanks Summer! Glad to hear they worked great without the egg!
My husband told me this is the best vegetarian meal I’ve ever made for him (and that’s out of a LOT of meals I’ve made for him, so big praise)! Our local grocery was out of the Rao’s marinara, so we used their Tomato Basil sauce instead. He had the leftovers for lunch today and has texted me several times raving about how he just can’t get over how good they were. Thanks for the great recipe!
Victory!!! Hooray! Thank you for coming back to let me know.
These shells are DELICIOUS. Made them for some meat-loving friends and they devoured it.
Your Italian salad was the perfect side, and also a hit! So good I made another batch for work lunches :-)
Thanks so much, Ash! I want to come over for dinner. :)
Simple, delicious, and absolutely satisfying!
This was so good! Thank you for this great recipe! Finally found a source for Gluten-Free Shells at the Gluten Free Mall online. My partner couldn’t stop eating them.
Thanks Jan! I’m glad you found some good gluten-free shells—thank you for sharing your source!
I have been looking for good shells for a long time. Once I found
your recipe and searched again, and these are great!
I tried this recipe and unfortunately, I have to give it a thumbs down. I am always leery when I see a recipe that does not saute garlic, scallions, etc. because that flavor it too pronounced, but I gave it a go anyway. Bad choice. Perhaps this recipe would work if the garlic and scallions were not overpowering the entire dish. Great meal if you want to keep vampires away.
Hi Becky, I’m sorry to hear it! The oven really tempered the garlic and green onion for my palate. If you’re generally sensitive to the flavor of such ingredients, you may want to halve the amounts.
Thanks Kate for replying. Even though this recipe didn’t work out for my family, I still enjoy your other recipes. Your granola and southwestern kale, black bean power bowl is devine! Even my 7 year old loves it!
Easy to make and oh SO good….best stuffed shells ever.
Kate, these are fantastic!! They look good and are delicious! I love that there are leftovers also! Thank you for another keeper of a recipe.
You’re welcome, Connie!
Thank you so much for your response to my very naive question. The recipe looks absolutely delicious.
My family loved this recipe. This is the first recipe that I’ve made of yours and it was delicious and healthy.
I hope this recipe brings you back to try more! I’m happy you loved it, Kelly. Be sure to let me know what you think of other recipes. :)
Loved it – thank you! I used lasagna noodles and made rolls since i had them in the pantry already. I only used 5 oz of fresh spinach, as that’s what was in the frig and it still turned out great :)
That’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing, Jackie.
This meal was incredible. Recommend using Belgioso mozz and parm. We used Rao’s sauce as noted above and chose the Arrabiata one to add a little spice. We are definitely adding this to our rotation of favorites. Thanks for all of the work you put into providing us with amazing recipes! Everything we have made from your site has been great.
No shells at the store, but husband came home with all other ingredients and Zitti. Mixed it all together, lined the dish with sauce, and topped the pasta with the sauce and cheese. Delicious!
Thanks, LB! I’m so happy to hear it. Have a great day!
Thank for sharing! I’m glad you were able to get creative.
Made these yesterday, they were assume. Thank you Kate for yet another great recipe… However, I assume my extra pan needs to be cooked before frozen? Please advise, I thinking so because of the raw egg inside the filling. Thanks again!
Hi Cheryl! I haven’t tested this one frozen, sorry! I would assume if it works frozen, baking would be better. If you try it, let me know!
your recipes and ease of following on my phone/five star !
family loved the shells tonight..
I’m not sure if the stuffing will taste too bland. Can I add some other seasoning,like: Italian blend, oregano, etc? It seems like it might be too rich without other spices. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Hi Rainee! I love this as is, but you could adjust as you see fit for your taste buds.
it’s about time i give the credit
i’ve made the :
baked tofu w Brussel sprouts
red curry dish
and tonight the halloumi soft shell tacos
i kid you not… each dish was perfect and the family loved each one of them.
Thank you for the recipe! It’s so great!
I’m happy you think so!
Truly the best stuffed shells recipe ever! So easy to make too.
I loved this! Popular with the meat eaters as well. I am so happy I found your posts. Everything of yours I have made has been awesome. Thank you!!
Oh my gosh. This is amazing and well worth the work!!! Used 8oz fresh mozzarella that I diced myself. Instead of 16oz spinach, I used 8oz spinach and a cup of cooked diced onion/red bell pepper. Went with Raos Arrabbiata sauce because I love spicy!!! Of course another home run, Kate!
Another keeper, thank you! I made this tonight with cannelloni tubes instead of shells since that’s all I had on hand. Followed the rest of the recipe as-is and glad I did. It was lovely with a side of broccoli rabe and a fresh, homemade loaf of Italian bread. Hubby and kids both loved it and I’m sad to say there are no leftovers!
I love to hear that, Amanda! Thank you for your review and letting me know the shells were a hit.
This recipe is amazing. It will now be one of our families favorite dishes. I did add a few canned mushrooms stuffed in each shell and spread over the top. Wow, so great. Everyone needs to make this now.
Hi Cookie and Kate!
Great job in the blog!
We have tried to find organic whole grain shells. What kind do you use and where do you get them?
God bless you!
Hi Anne, they are actually harder to come by thank I thought! I just used regular jump shells here.
Thank you, Kate! You are so sweet and I am glad I found your blog!
Why did you use ricotta in this one and not cottage cheese? Just wondering since you love using it in the lasagna recipe?
Hi! I surprising liked it more for texture and flavor. I even surprised myself!
These were so good and I felt ok about them because it wasn’t just a glob of cheese for dinner. My father-in-law made a point of saying he doesn’t usually like cooked spinach but he went back for seconds!
I made the filling ahead of time and it kept in the fridge very well.
You need a bit of time to put this recipe together, but it is totally worth the investment. This recipe is one of my family’s favorites and the leftovers (if there are any) are even better as the flavors meld together.
These were absolutely delicious! I chose to use the spinach and green onions option, and it turned out great! I also made a side of your garlic bread recipe to go along with it, which was the perfect accompaniment. I will say it was a lot more work than anticipated (unfortunately took me almost 2 hours to make), but it was well worth the effort, and we had leftovers for days!
One thing that I struggled with was finding jumbo shells! I checked 4 different stores, and ended up ordering them online instead, which was a pain. Where do you find shells?
Thanks again for such a great recipe! :)
I’m sorry it took so long, but happy you thought it was worth it! Thank you for sharing, Samantha. Yes, finding jumbo shells was a bit difficult depending on what is in demand right now. I got them at a local store.
Another amazing recipe!!! Between your website and the cookbook, I feel like I don’t need anything else :-). Made this for my husband for his Father’s Day meal and it was a hit. I love how your food tastes like love! Thank you Cookie+Kate!
I made this using green onions instead of chives. It was a huge hit! To this day, my family still talks about how delicious it was. Thank you!
These are simply delicious! My family devoured a whole pan, and put the other pan in the freezer for a night we need a quick dinner! I appreciate that the recipe uses a full box of shells, entire container of ricotta, etc. so I’m not left with a small amount of anything leftover – very efficient!
I’m happy to hear they were such a hit, Emma! Thank you for taking the time to review.
This was SO GOOD!! My family loved it – especially my 6-year-old! Will definitely make again.
I made this with half spinach, half arugula (both fresh) and also added a hearty helping of basil to the greens mix (in addition to as a garnish), this added a lot more flavor to the stuffing and would definitely do it again. I also used about 1/3 additional jar of sauce to make it extra saucy. Awesome recipe, C&K!
This is truly THE best stuffed shells!! I’ve made this three times now and every single person falls in love. It’s especially great to make for non-vegetarians who are skeptical that a vegetarian meal cant be delicious and satisfying. Prove ‘em wrong with this one.
The material used in this really helps you to gain core strength and drastically increase the blood sugar level.Thanks for this article.It is really insightful.
Any suggestions/tips on halving this recipe? Would really like to try it but as a college student it just makes too many servings.
Hi Chelsea! You should be able to cut it in half (half all ingredients) and still have a great result. But, I do believe these will freeze well too as that could be a good option!
I made this with spinach and kale did not blanch either one I added basil as well and made my own sauce
Taste was stronger but turned out AWESOME thanks for the share:))
The shells came out perfectly! I had Johnny’s Super Sausage Sauce — a little chunky, so I think next time I’ll use a marinara sauce. I had fresh swiss chard so used that and for the top mozzarella, I used a whole mozz and just cut it in pieces. Phenomenal! I used 1/2 of a 12 ounce pkg of just medium sized shells and they filled a 9×13 pan. Never again! It was such a mess with medium sz shells, very hard to fill them, but they came out great! Thank you, Kate. First time in over 50 yrs of cooking to made a dinner w stuffed shells!
Delicious! I served this to a very skeptical crew.. who then asked for seconds and thirds. I slipped a little pepperoni in for the carnivores, and then enjoyed the spinach / cheese blend myself. Truly yummy.
That’s great! Thank you for letting me know.
These were so easy to make and delicious. When finished it looked just like your photo.
My husband and I are trying to eat clean as he is going through cancer treatments. This was easy on his digestion.
I would suggest putting the stuffing for the shells in a pipping bag to make it easier to stuff the shells.
I made this the other night and it was delicious! My family was very impressed by this recipe! I ran out of spinach so I added some leeks and mushrooms for the filling.Thanks for sharing! Love the photos and video!
I made the stuffed shells and left out the mozzarella inside the shells to decrease fat and calories. Was delicious with enough left over for tomorrow night! Added sauteed pine nuts for a traditional Italian mouthfeel! Thank you for sharing your recipes! Luv your app!
We loved these shells and they were fun to make. I used frozen spinach and cottage cheese. This is the 3rd recipe in 6 days I have made from you blog and I just signed up for your newsletter. All recipes were super delicious! Also – your notes are a godsend when cooking for a varied group.
I’m delighted to hear you are making so many of my recipes. Thank you for taking the time to comment and for your support!
Wow, this recipe is amazing! I used large sea shells because the grocery store didn’t have jumbo shells which resulted in making a casserole. I just layered it with marinara sauce, pasta shells, spinach mixture, marinara sauce, and then the mozzarella. This is also great for leftovers. We are definitely adding this recipe to our meal list. :)
OMG these are amazing – I added a little chilli spice to the mix and it really made them pop!
I cannot say how much I love your recipes. I live in Columbia MO but have referred you recipes, blog and books to many cooks on the NYT website. You are an inspiration. (And so close). Thank you!!!!
I made this for dinner this past friday night. They are so good!!! My husband loved them much that we went and got all the stuff to make it again later this week!! Absolutely delicious!! Thank you for the BEST stuffed shell recipe EVER!!
Oh my…these were sooooo good! I’m not a huge stuffed shells fan, probably because the filling is generally lacking flavor. But, these are a different animal. I used homemade ricotta cheese, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly (with fresh spinach & Rao’s Marinara – of course). I am telling you they are a game changer. I have some that I froze and I dream of them at night. Make these ASAP. You will not be disappointed.
I made this tonight. I couldn’t find jumbo shells so I substituted for cannelloni. Turned out great. Husband loved it!!
We loved it! Like so many other Cookie + Kate recipes, this one is as good as the ratings imply. We used fresh spinach, homemade sauce (NYT Cooking Classic Marinara Sauce)and stored in the fridge until ready to eat. Absolutely delicious. Thank you Cookie (and Kate) for another delicious recipe.
This is so great! Love the veggie to cheese ratio! I used half kale and half broccoli because that’s what I had in hand! Love your recipes!
ALL your recipes look great and the ones I have made taste divine.
Recipes that call for spinach or kale, do you have another “green” suggestion? My husband has gout and needs to stay far away from these delicious “greens”.
Hi! Unfortunately, those are typically the best substitutions. You can omit as much as you can. Not sure how this one will turn out without it, though. Sorry to not be of more help!
I’m trying this tonight but when you feeeze them do you freeze without the marinara?
Hi! I think it will be ok. I suggest freezing all of it.
We made this last night, what a delicious meal, thank you! I did have to do a few subs (in case anyone else is stuck like I was):
-I didn’t have enough garlic to make the sauce, so I made it the original Marcella Hazan way with just onion. I didn’t have fresh herbs so I used a pinch of Oregano.
-I didn’t have chives (I totally missed that!) so I cubed a cooked onion from the sauce and added for the filling.
-I didn’t have the 2 cups of mozzarella so I only used one cup and enough to sprinkle on top,
All these subs did not affect how delicious this meal was! Just WOW!
P.S. My daughter loved it as well and she is not a fan of Ricotta cheese;)
Thank you for sharing you variations, Tristan! I appreciate your review.
Another winner… love how easy it was to whip together. Basil on top is not so much a suggestion, as a necessity! In my opinion it rounded the dish out perfectly. When (yes when) I make it again I think I’ll half the mozzarella, and a little more parmesan because I love it so! Thanks again for the amazing recipe! All the best!
Thank you for sharing, Shayla! We appreciate you taking the time to review.
Love your recipes! What’s the best way to reheat these stuffed shells? I’d like to do so in the oven but don’t want to dry them out. Thank you!
Hi! Oven or gently in the microwave works too.
Oh my. These were the best stuffed shells I’ve ever had. I even ate a few before baking (I know, I know, raw egg. The risk was worth it). Followed the recipe exactly using blanched fresh spinach.
Hooray! I’m happy you think so, Shannon. I appreciate you taking the time to review.
So good!! My family’s new favorite past recipe
Yes! That’s great to hear. Thank you for your review, Rishika.
If I plan on making the recipe using my own freshly made shells should I still cook them? I usually cook the shells for about 4 min in water to have them be al dente, but I was wondering since they will be cooking in the oven should I just stuff them or only boil them for about 2 min?
Hi Sarah! I’m not 100% sure with homemade shells, but that may work. Be sure to report back!
Your directions are really precise, making this a wonderful dish to tackle. It is packed with flavour and is visually appealing–a perfect dish for a cold winter’s day.
Thanks for sharing it!
You’re welcome, Robin! I’m delighted you think so.
Would this work with manicotti pasta? I don’t have shells in the pantry.
Sure! You can try it. Others have rolled lasagna noodles. I hope you love it!
I made these stuffed shells for Christmas dinner this year. Although I omitted the egg, they were creamy and flavorful. Plus, the dish looks very festive–a fantastic holiday meal. Thank you!
Yes, very festive! I’m glad you liked them, Catherine. I appreciate your review.
I made these (non-dairy) and your spinach pasta (Husband’s fave) for our NYE dinner. So good. I’ve missed stuffed shells and these, using your sour cream recipe, were perfect. I halved the recipe and used one portion of your sour cream. No chives or scallions so subbed onion powder. Another winner!
Love it! Thanks so much Terri, and Happy New Year!
Made the shells with fresh baby spinach, ricotta and homemade marinara sauce yesterday. They were fabulous! I did add a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce as I found it a bit acidic but that did the trick. Might have been the Kirkland tomatoes.
This recipe is so delicious! I do not have a lot of experience cooking, so all of the helpful tips in the instructions are very useful. Every recipe I have made from your blog or cookbook has always turned out well. If people are not great cooks, but want to make healthy recipes that taste great, I highly recommend Cookie and Kate’s recipes.
Loved this recipe! First time making stuffed shells and was very easy. I don’t have a food processor and just mixed the ingredients together. I think this is easier for cleanup and I like the look of the spinach just mixed.
I used frozen chopped spinach which I definitely recommend over fresh to skip the step of blanching. I left it out on my counter for ~15 min to let it defrost and then used a tea towel to squeeze excess water out. (I think I could’ve skipped the tea towel step) I don’t think it’s a good idea to rinse it in water to thaw the spinach. It adds extra moisture you don’t want and gives you more work of ringing it out. I also used Rao’s sauce and thought it was great.
That’s great! Thank you for sharing, Kat. I’m glad you found a method that worked for you.
I made the vegan version tonight and it was excellent! It’s so nice to know we can count on your recipes!
Thank you, Kate!
Turned out super well! Super easy and delicious! Love your recipes!
Delicious and oh so visually appealing. Made exactly as written. The red pepper flakes knocked this one out of the ballpark for me. Freezes beautifully. As suggested by another reviewer, using a piping bag to fill the shells makes things a bit easier. If you don’t have one, you can MacGyver a makeshift one out of a Ziploc.
My daughter just had a baby and I’m looking for ways to leave frozen meals for her family after I leave town. She has limited freezer space but she loves this recipe. Would it work to make these stuffed shells and freeze them in a plastic bag? If so, do you think the sauce should be frozen in the same bag with the stuffed shells or a separate freezer bag? Thanks!!
Hi! I don’t know how well they will holdup in a plastic bag or freezing separately. Maybe freeze in a bag on a tray first to get them set? Sorry to not be of more help!
This is such a great recipe! Tastes and looks elaborate but is simple to prepare. Made it for Dinner last night and it came out delicious. Used the Newman’s organic, but will definitely go the extra mile next time and make your marinara sauce, which is a staple in my kitchen. Looking forward to trying out the version with roasted vegetables next time!
I’m delighted you loved it, Eva! Thank you for your review.
I used frozen spinach and no egg. It was delicious but I’d like to try with fresh spinach and egg next time. This tasted so good that I over-ate!
Will be making this tomorrow’s dinner. Yum! Thanks for sharing
A 12 ounce box of jumbo shells results in 42 cooked shells. Why is this recipe only for 28 shells in all? What do you do with the remaining 14 cooked shells?
Hi Marybeth, Sorry if that disappoints you. You can use them if you make them again or another recipe.
a dinner party hit! i found the filling in need of more brightness, so i put more garlic and chives into it, and then squeezed the juice of an entire lemon into it, to taste. this is great paired with a ‘bufala negra’ cocktail (which uses fresh basil) or with a ‘new york sour’ (kate, i believe, has a version) with rosemary-tinged simple syrup.
Sounds delicious, Erick! Thank you for sharing.
Made this tonight for dinner. It was my first time making stuffed Shells and the recipe was easy and delicious! Thank you!
We did the vegan version of these following Kate’s notes and used frozen kale for ease. They were INCREDIBLE! Can’t wait to make again!