These Beef Stuffed Shells are a perfect twist on your classic stuffed pasta. Combining the heartiness of beef chili with the comfort of baked pasta and melty cheese, each shell is a mini burst of flavor. It’s a simple yet filling dish that brings the whole family together for a tasty meal.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Super Comforting: These beef stuffed shells are like a warm hug on a plate. The tasty meat, cheesy goodness, and pasta make it a meal that everyone looks forward to.
- Simple to Cook: This recipe is really easy to follow. It’s great because you don’t need to be an expert in the kitchen to make something that tastes so good.
- You Can Make It Your Own: You can add your favorite toppings or change the cheese to make the dish just how you like it. It’s fun to be able to tweak the recipe a bit and make it special for you.
Complete list of ingredients with quantities and instructions is located in the recipe card below
- Lean Ground Beef: The main ingredient that gives the shells their hearty flavor. If you prefer, you can substitute ground beef with ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version.
- Jumbo Pasta Shells: These are the base of the dish, perfect for stuffing with the beef mixture. If you can’t find jumbo shells, large pasta shells will work too, just expect a bit less filling in each. Pasta shells are typically found in the pasta aisle of grocery stores.
- Frozen Peppers and Onions: A convenient way to add flavor and nutrition without the extra prep work. If you prefer, you can use fresh peppers and onions; just remember to dice them before cooking.
- Canned Beans (Black Beans and Chili Beans): These add texture and fiber to the dish. If you’re not a fan of one type, feel free to double up on the other, or use different beans like kidney beans.
- Tomatoes with Green Chiles and Tomato Sauce.
- Chili Seasoning: If you prefer, you can make your own blend using chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese: Adds a creamy, melty topping to the dish. Feel free to experiment with different cheeses like mozzarella or a Mexican cheese blend for a different taste.
How To Make Beef Stuffed Shells
- Preheat the Oven: Start by setting your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Cook the Beef Mixture: In a large skillet, cook the ground beef together with the peppers and onions until the meat is fully cooked and browned. Then, drain any extra grease from the skillet.
- Add Flavor: To the same skillet, add the black beans, chili beans, tomatoes with green chilies, tomato sauce, and chili seasoning. Stir everything well and let it simmer to combine all the flavors nicely.
- Prepare the Pasta Shells: While your beef mixture is simmering, boil the pasta shells as per the instructions on the package, then drain them.
- Stuff the Shells: Arrange the cooked pasta shells in a baking dish. Carefully fill each shell with the beef mixture from your skillet.
- Add Cheese and Bake: Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheese over the stuffed shells. Place the baking dish in your preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Garnish and Serve: Once baked, you can add some jalapeno slices for an extra kick or scallions for a fresh touch. Serve the beef stuffed shells hot and enjoy!
Recipe Success Tips
- Don’t Overcook the Pasta: Cook the shells until they’re al dente (still a bit firm). They will continue cooking in the oven, and overcooking them initially may lead to mushy shells.
- Drain the Meat Well: After browning the ground beef, make sure to drain the excess grease well. This helps prevent the stuffed shells from becoming too oily.
- Fill Shells Carefully: Use a spoon to fill the pasta shells with the beef mixture. Be gentle to avoid tearing the pasta.
- Evenly Spread the Cheese: Distribute the cheese evenly over the shells for a perfectly melted, golden topping.
- Customize Your Spice Level: Adjust the amount of chili seasoning or add chopped jalapeños to the beef mixture if you prefer a spicier dish.
Storing and Reheating Tips
- Refrigerate Leftovers: Place any leftover beef stuffed shells in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. They should be eaten within 3-4 days.
- Freezing: You can also freeze the baked stuffed shells. Make sure they are cooled completely, then store them in a freezer-safe container or bag. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- In the Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Place the shells in a baking dish and cover with foil to prevent them from drying out. Heat until thoroughly warmed, about 15-20 minutes.
- In the Microwave: For a quicker option, reheat the shells in the microwave. Place them on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Heat on medium power in 30-second intervals until heated through.
Once you’ve given this recipe a try, we’d love to hear how it went. Enjoy the meal and don’t forget to come back and share your thoughts. Your rating and review help others decide to try the recipe too!
Beef Chili Stuffed Shells
- 9×13 inch (23×33 cm) baking dish
- 1 pound of lean ground beef
- 1 ½ cups of frozen peppers and onions
- 1 15 ounce can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 15.5 ounce can chili beans undrained
- 1 10 ounce can tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 envelope chili seasoning
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 12 ounce box jumbo pasta shells
- Jalapenos and scallions for topping, optional
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef, peppers, and onions until the meat is thoroughly browned.
- Drain off any excess grease from the skillet.
- Add the black beans, chili beans, tomatoes with green chilies, tomato sauce, and chili seasoning to the skillet with the beef.
- Stir the mixture well and let it simmer, allowing it to thicken while you prepare the pasta.
- Boil the pasta shells according to the package instructions and then drain them.
- Arrange the cooked pasta shells in a 9×13 inch (23×33 cm) baking dish.
- Carefully fill each shell with the chili mixture.
- Sprinkle the stuffed shells with the shredded cheddar cheese.
- If you like, add jalapeno slices on top for extra heat.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Once baked, garnish with scallions if desired, and serve hot!
- Leftover-Friendly: This dish is a great way to use leftover chili. Simply heat the chili and proceed with stuffing the shells.
- Cheese Variations: Feel free to mix some cheese into the chili before stuffing for an even cheesier experience. You can use cheddar, Mexican cheese blend, or Monterey jack cheese.
- Personalize Your Toppings: Customize the dish with your preferred chili toppings, like avocado, sour cream, or extra cheese for extra flavor.
- Pasta Preparation: To keep the shells from tearing, handle them gently when boiling and stuffing. Make sure they are al dente so they don’t become too soft when baking.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.