Taco stuffed pasta shells are a great twist on classic stuffed shells Jumbo pasta shells are filled with a creamy seasoned beef & vegetable mixture and topped with cheese. 

All you need to add to this delicious taco inspired casserole is a simple tossed salad, or some roasted broccoli!

a plate of Taco Stuffed Shells

What Pasta To Use

Jumbo shells are sold with the pasta and are available in most supermarkets (or online at Amazon).  They often come in a box (to keep them from breaking) next to the lasagna. They are called conchiglie, because they resemble conch shells.

If you can’t find them, try substituting for the smaller shells and creating a casserole (layered like I do with my baked ziti), rather than stuffed shells.

How To Make Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

To make these stuffed pasta shells:

  1. Cook the pasta shells to al dente (they’ll cook a bit more in the oven).
  2. Brown the ground beef and onions and drain fat.

two images showing how to make meat for Taco Stuffed Shells, one ingredients, and one part way cooked meat with cheese on top

  1. Add tomatoes, taco seasoning, water, and veggies (per the recipe below). Cook until all of the water is evaporated.
  2. Fill each pasta shell with a few tablespoons of the beef mixture. Add them to a casserole dish.

two images showing how to stuff the shells and the Taco Stuffed Shells in the casserole dish

  1. Top with salsa. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Then, add cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

You bet, these are even freezable! You can prepare these up until step 5, and store them in the fridge for up to 24 hours or freeze them (more on that below).

2 images showing how to make Taco Stuffed Shells, with cheese and without

To Make This a Freezer Meal

This meal can be made ahead of time and frozen.  Prepare as directed but don’t add the cheese on top and don’t bake it. Ensure the filling is cooled and cover tightly with plastic wrap and then wrap in foil.

To Cook: Remove it from the freezer the night before and refrigerate overnight.  By dinner time the next day it’s ready to top with cheese and bake.

Storing and Reheating The Leftovers

Have leftovers? No worries! They will last about 3 days in the fridge, covered.

These reheat pretty well. To reheat this stuffed taco casserole, microwave for a couple minutes, or reheat in the oven at 350°F for about 10-12 minutes.

More Tasty Taco Takes

We love all taco inspired foods from a 5 minute taco dip recipe to Walking Tacos on the go!

We love traditional ground beef tacos and often cook the meat up in batches for meals. Add taco meat to your regular ground beef dishes to spice them up like taco lasagna or taco casserole.

Leftover meat is also great on Taco Salad or in a taco soup recipe!

a plate of Taco Stuffed Shells
4.94 from 29 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells. Jumbo pasta shells filled with a creamy seasoned beef & vegetable mixture and topped with cheese.  This is the perfect weeknight meal and fun twist on Taco night!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients  

Filling

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes with juice low sodium
  • 1 ½ cups chopped veggies red, yellow or green peppers, corn, zucchini… whatever you have on hand
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed

Other

  • 24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 2 cups cheddar and/or monterey jack cheese, grated
  • sour cream for serving

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cook pasta shells al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  • Brown ground beef and onion in a large pan until no pink remains.
  • Add in undrained tomatoes, taco seasoning, ¾ cup of water and veggies. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Stir in cream cheese until melted.
  • Fill each pasta shell with about 2-3 tablespoons of the beef mixture. Place into a casserole dish.
  • Top with salsa. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Notes

To Make Ahead: Prepare up to step 5. Refrigerate or freeze overnight.
To Cook Frozen Shells: Defrost in the fridge overnight and proceed with baking as directed.
 
4.94 from 29 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 745 | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 152mg | Sodium: 2124mg | Potassium: 1179mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 4565IU | Vitamin C: 19.7mg | Calcium: 289mg | Iron: 6.4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. Used Impossible Burger meat seasoned with salt and pepper while browning. Followed recipe exacting the rest of the way. Grandsons(teens) and hubby devoured it.5 stars

  2. I am rather new to the home cooking world. Only for about one and a half years. My wife and I found Holly’s recipes, about three months ago, while looking for goulash to help comfort my wife while she was sick. We use a different recipe from Holly nearly every night for dinner. As long as you follow directions, it WILL turn out like her pictures. For this recipe, I could not find jumbo shells. I ended up turning it into what I’ll call a taco lasagna and used ground chicken. It turned out exceptionally well and will be even better tomorrow for lunch after all the flavors marry up overnight. In my opinion, if you’re brand new to cooking like me or have 40+ years cooking, like my wife, you can’t go wrong with Holly’s recipes.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much David, your kind words made my whole week!

      So glad you loved this, your ground chicken lasagna version sounds yummy!

  3. I made these last night for Sunday dinner for our family of 6 people. I made two large casserole dishes full. There were no left overs. They were fairly easy to make and were delicious. For vegetables I diced two sweet peppers (remove the stems and seeds) and for diced tomatoes I used diced tomato with chili peppers.5 stars

  4. Made this for dinner last night, I thought it would be a nice change to taco Tuesday and I was not disappointed, I followed the recipe exactly as shown, for our veggies I added green pepper and diced zucchini, the whole family seemed to like it, especially since ALL of their plates were clean.5 stars

  5. I like to give my dad frozen meals in single serving containers so he eats better. He doesn’t have an oven though, just a microwave. How well do the baked shells freeze and reheat?

    1. Hi Courtney, that is so sweet of you. To make ahead, we usually prepare up to step 5 and freeze. Then you can reheat when ready to enjoy.

  6. There is so reason for 2lbs of meat for this recipe. I used 1lb and still had some left over unless I’m not stuffing the shells correctly4 stars

    1. Glad you enjoyed the recipe Alissa and letting us know that the recipe works with one pound too. I may just have stuffed them with a bit more filling than you.

  7. I have made these and they are amazing!! I also make dinners once a week for other families and events and these have become the most requested meal lol absolutely awesome!!

  8. I made this for my husband over a month ago and it was really delicious! My family is coming over for dinner tomorrow and I am planning on making this for them. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did! 5 stars