Mexican stuffed shells are a delicious combination of Mexican flavors and pasta, with seasoned ground beef and gooey cheese, its a dinner everyone will love!
These Mexican stuffed shells are a fun twist off of traditional Italian style stuffed shells, usually filled with a mixture of cheeses and topped with marinara sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese. Instead these shells are filled with a ground beef and cream cheese mixture, cooked in a bath of enchilada sauce and salsa, all topped with cheddar cheese.
How to make Mexican Stuffed Shells?
Mexican Stuffed Shells can be prepared and ready to eat in about 1 hour or less. First you will boil your jumbo pasta shells according to the package directions for al dente noodles, it should be around 10 minutes. Drain the water out when they’re done cooking.
While the noodles are cooking, saute your diced onions and ground beef until cooked through. Drain out any excess grease. Then add in some taco seasoning and then half a block of cream cheese.
Combine salsa and enchilada sauce and pour half of it into the bottom of a 9x13inch baking pan. Fill the pasta shells with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the prepared ground beef mixture and place them into the baking pan.
Pour remaining sauce over the top and cover the pan in foil and bake for about 30 minutes until the noodles are hot throughout. Remove the foil and top with the shredded cheeses. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese on top is all melted.
Serve the shells immediately with your favorite taco toppings.
These taco stuffed shells taste so good with traditional taco style toppings, they’re delicious topped with:
- shredded lettuce
- diced tomatoes
- sour cream
- fresh cilantro
- sliced green onions
- crushed tortilla chips
- pico de gallo
- taco sauce
- black beans
- pinto beans
- tomato sauce
- black olives
- Mexican cheese
- hot sauce
What’s your favorite taco topping? What would you put on these stuffed shells?
Nate and I both love this meal so much. Every time we make them we just gobble them up and keep going back for more and more because they really are that delicious!
If you don’t trust me, just look at the comments, everyone loves these delicious Mexican stuffed shells!
Although you may eat these up all in one day, if you end up with leftovers they are great for reheating throughout the week, just microwave up your individual portions when reheating for lunches. The stuffed shells should stay good in the fridge covered, for 5-6 days.
Can you Freeze Mexican Stuffed Shells?
These shells also make a great freezer meal! Make a double batch and freeze one of the pans up so you have a delicious meal for later that is already ready to go!
If you freeze a pan of these shells, make sure to cover the pan tightly with foil. It’s best to use a disposable aluminum pan to freeze them so you don’t have to worry about any glass breaking in the freezer.
You will prepare the stuffed shells until just before baking them. When you are ready to enjoy this delicious meal, bake the shells directly from the freezer at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes with the aluminum foil on top, then remove it for an additional 15 minutes of baking (so 1 hour total) until the shells are hot throughout and the cheese is nice and bubbly.
You can keep the pan in the freezer for about 3 months for the best results.
These shells make such a tasty meal, especially when paired with some yummy side dishes!
What are good side dishes for these Mexican stuffed shells?
- mexican street corn dip
- refried beans on Kleinworth and Co
- mexican rice on House of Nash Eats
- avocado tomato salad on Taste and Tell
- a simple side salad
These mexican stuffed shells are the perfect easy dinner that every one will love! The meal is ready in less than an hour and is perfect for any day of the week!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is another name for stuffed shells?
Also commonly called jumbo shells, there are a variety of different types of stuffed shells. This one is a Mexican food version that is perfect for a taco Tuesday for the whole family!
What is the difference between manicotti and stuffed shells?
While they are both forms of hollow shells of pasta that can be filled, manicotti is more of a tube shape while stuffed shells are more the shape of an ocean shell stuffed with a meat mixture or another delicious twist of ingredients.
What are Mexican stuffed shells filled with?
This Mexican stuffed shells recipe uses a lean ground beef with a taco meat flavor all mixed with cheese and other delicious ingredients like onions in an amazing casserole dish that is perfect for busy weeknights or for taco night. This recipe is a family favorite that is easy to store in an airtight container for leftovers and a great way to fill up the family.
These shells are so fun and delicious to eat. I love having a taco styled Mexican meal inside of pasta shells instead of with the typical tortilla, or chips!
Looking for more Mexican inspired pasta dishes:
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Mexican Stuffed Shells
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion (diced)
- 2 TBS taco seasoning
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 8 oz jumbo pasta shells*
- 10 oz enchilada sauce
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to boil
- Boil your pasta shells for about 10 minutes, or until cooked al dente according to package directions. Rinse shells when they're done cooking.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
- Meanwhile cook up your ground beef and onions over medium high heat until cooked thoroughly. Drain excess grease from the pan.
- Add in the taco seasoning and stir to mix.
- Mix in the cream cheese and cook until the cheese is melted throughout. Set aside.
- Combine your enchilada sauce and salsa in a small bowl.
- Pour about half of your enchilada sauce salsa mixture into the bottom a 9x13 pan and spread around to cover the bottom
- Fill each jumbo shell with a heaping 1 TBS of meat mixture and place into the pan with the sauce.
- Repeat until all the shells or meat mixture is gone.
- Pour the remaining enchilada sauce salsa mixture over the top of the shells.
- Wrap pan in aluminum foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is hot throughout the shells.
- Remove foil and top with shredded cheeses.
- Return pan to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Top with your favorite taco toppings, or enjoy as is.
These mexican stuffed shells were first posted on January 13, 2014. Photos updated on February 10, 2020.
GET SET TO MAKE THIS AMAZING MEXICAN PASTA DISH WITH THESE GREAT KITCHEN TOOLS and INGREDIENTS: