A cross between lasagna and a meaty casserole these hearty Cream Cheese and Ground Beef Stuffed Shells are comfort food at its finest!
Stuffed Shells with Ground Beef Recipe
Satisfying hamburger, rich cream cheese, creamy mozzarella and a little pizazz from the parmesan and cheddar cheeses make the perfect pasta stuffing. Inspired by our Cream Cheese Stuffed Peppers, serve these shells with a side salad and Texas Toast for a complete meal.
I enjoy making this hearty and satisfying main dish for our family of four and freezing leftovers for future meals or making this for company. The leftovers reheat very well which helps us meal plan for the week.
Our Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Shells are similar with a different protein profile. Five to ten ounces of defrosted and drained spinach could easily be mixed into this creamy ground beef filling before stuffing the shells if desired.
The first time I made this Cream Cheese and Beef Stuffed Shells recipe was while hosting 25 friends. Several were from out of town and many others I hadn’t seen in a while. So I was looking for a really good and easy pasta dish to impress and feed a lot of people. Of all of the food available these shells got the most compliments.
With a group, some people enjoy shells as a meal and others grab one or two stuffed shells for variety. Either way this is the type of easy dish for company or a church supper that is sure to be eaten and enjoyed!
I enjoy making these shells with a variety of combinations of cheeses. The type of cheese sprinkled on top will affect the color. My son prefers cheddar, but I like mozzarella better. We always include both kinds, but compromise by alternating the top layer.
Ingredients Needed to Make Beef Stuffed Shells:
- Lean ground beef – I like ground chuck
- Large pasta shells
- Cream cheese
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Seasoned salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Pasta sauce
How to Make Stuffed Shells with Ground Beef
Prepare a 9×13 casserole dish and possibly an additional 8×8 dish. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Brown ground beef in a skillet and season with salt and pepper. Drain well and then add cream cheese and mix together.
Stir in parmesan and cheddar cheese and mix well. Remove from heat and use a tablespoon to fill shells.
Cover pan generously with sauce and then cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes until the shells are heated through.
Uncover and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Return to oven uncovered for about 10 minutes until cheese melts.
Serve immediately or re-cover with foil and hold in a warming drawer on low for up to an hour before serving.
Leftovers make excellent freezer meals, but allow to cool off a while before placing in the refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy!
Food Still Comes From Farms
Ever since going to the Flint Hills of Kansas with my friends Mary, Rebecca, Joann and Meseidy and learning more about ranching and Certified Angus Beef I’ve been eating more beef. Beef is packed with protein and keeps me full longer which decreases the overall amount of food that I eat.
In addition to visiting a ranch and learning more about beef we went to the Symphony in the Flint Hills. As the music played and sun began to set there was a cattle drive on the prairie. The experience was unforgettable!
This trip was the perfect reminder that there are still thousands of families like mine all over the country raising beef to use in these delicious beef recipes!
Should I Buy Beef At the Grocery Store?
I live on a farm, but sometimes I take the level of commitment that my family has for granted. The personal experience that I had visiting Debbie Lyons-Blythe at her ranch motivated me to share more here! I was reminded that it is important to share how much farmers care about their land, animals, and the environment.
It has always frustrated me a bit hearing about factory farms or industrial farms. As I’ve shared several places from my personal experiences about making animal feed or raising turkeys, farms may be bigger, but it’s still families that do a lot of the work to grow the food we buy in the grocery store. These farmers are at home working hard and other people are telling their story on the news or internet in an incorrect way. Often with a scary spin that just isn’t right.
I also appreciate the leadership role that Debbie is taking serving on the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. Debbie defines sustainability as “Taking care of the land, taking care of the people, taking care of the animals and making a profit.”
Debbie’s family settled that area of Kansas in the late 1800s and my family settled in Ohio in the early 1900s. So we’ve both been working at this for several generations.
While farming is definitely not the easiest way to make a living the rewards of working the land, caring for animals and doing it with our families draw us to keep going. But we do have to make some money to live on, farmers like to go on vacation and eat out at restaurants too. Without profit we wouldn’t be able to do these normal activities.
While touring Debbie’s ranch and meeting her family we were treated to a wonderful steak in a cattle pasture. Debbie also made Homemade Marshmallows that we toasted over the camp fire.
Is Meatless Monday a Good Thing?
When farmers and ranchers can raise and sell cattle they have an economic incentive to manage and improve the land. Remove that incentive and the landscape in the United States will change, and not necessarily for the best.
There is a lot of land in the United States and the world that can only grow grass. Grass absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows and can then be eaten by cattle. Removing cattle from this land would cause it to grow up in brush and bushes that are not pretty or productive, becoming more of a wasteland.
Another little known fact is that 70% of the wildlife habitat is on private lands in the U.S. Being able to sell animals for meat benefits a lot of wildlife because farmers are incentivized to care for the pasture and keep harmful weeds from growing. This process also creates more wildlife habitat.
More Delicious Beef Recipes:
- Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders are a spin on our all-time favorite sandwich. But Sloppy Joes are a close second when it come to easy sandwiches!
- Our Farmhouse Slow Cooker Pot Roast is one of those meals we make at least monthly.
- Baked Beans for a Crowd is a party favorite that can be made in a roaster.
- Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes are a delightful blend of mushrooms, peppers, onions, cheese and ground beef with a light gravy to make amazing sandwiches!
- Farmhouse Cocktail Meatballs are another one of my mom’s classic party recipes. So easy and delicious!
Printable Cream Cheese and Beef Stuffed Shells Recipe
Cream Cheese and Beef Stuffed Shells
- 1 box Large shell pasta cooked and drained
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cups spaghetti sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook pasta until tender. Drain and cool.
- In a skillet over medium high heat brown ground beef, season with salt and pepper and drain well.
- Turn down to low heat and add cream cheese and use a meat masher or sturdy spoon to mix well.
- Stir in parmesan cheese and half of cheddar cheese until lightly melted. Set skillet off of the heat.
- Stuff shells and arrange in a single layer in a 9 x 13" or larger baking dish. An additional smaller dish may also be needed.
- Spread sauce over pasta and cover with foil. Bake for 40-45 minutes until shells are warmed through.
- Uncover and sprinkle remaining cheese on top in an even layer. Return to over for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve warm and enjoy!
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Originally published April 7, 2018 and updated on October 5, 2021.