Taco Stuffed Shells


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Indulge in the savory delight of Taco Stuffed Shells, a culinary masterpiece featuring jumbo pasta shells generously filled with a flavorful combination of seasoned ground beef, onions, salsa, and a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. Elevating this dish to perfection, it is crowned with an additional layer of cheese and baked to a golden brown. Enhance the experience by garnishing with diced tomatoes and minced jalapeno, or personalize it with your preferred taco toppings. A quick, easy, and guaranteed family favorite, this recipe is destined to become a recurring star in your kitchen.

How to Make Taco Stuffed Shells

  1. Prepare the Pasta: Commence by boiling a large pot of water. Cook the jumbo shells according to package instructions, then drain.
  2. Cook the Beef Mixture: In a spacious skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. Add diced onions midway through and continue cooking until the beef is browned, and the onions are tender. Drain any excess grease.
  3. Season the Beef: Introduce taco seasoning and water to the ground beef mixture, simmering for approximately 10 minutes. Add salsa and stir well. Allow the mixture to cool, then blend in half of each cheese.
  4. Fill the Shells: Spoon the seasoned taco meat into the shells, arranging them in a single layer in a casserole dish.
  5. Top and Bake: Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the shells, adding diced tomatoes and minced jalapeno. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes until perfection is achieved.
  6. Garnish and Serve: For an extra kick, consider using minced serrano pepper instead of jalapeno. Various tomato options work well, from fire-roasted to grape or cherry tomatoes. Don’t hesitate to experiment with ground turkey or pork. Serve with optional toppings like sour cream, green onions, black olives, black beans, Pico de Gallo, or guacamole.
  7. Kitchen Tips: Handle hot peppers with care, wear gloves, and avoid touching your face. To reduce heat, remove veins and seeds. Use a paper towel to absorb grease when draining ground beef.

Can Taco Stuffed Shells be Frozen?

Absolutely. Preferably freeze before baking to maintain the pasta texture. Assemble the dish, cover the casserole tightly with plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

To freeze after baking, cool completely, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight, reheat at 50% power in the microwave, and enjoy the revived flavors.

What to Serve with Taco Stuffed Shells

Pair this delightful dish with homemade lemonade, chips and salsa, avocado dip, Mexican street corn, a garden salad, or Doritos Taco Salad. For a complete meal, consider Chicken Taco Soup, Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, or refreshing raspberry or watermelon sorbet.

Storage and Reheating

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave at reduced power or in the oven at 300 degrees, covered with aluminum foil, for about 20 minutes or until warm.

Indulge in the culinary bliss of these Taco Stuffed Shells – a fusion of flavors that promises to be a family favorite. Enjoy the praise that accompanies this quick, easy, and undeniably delicious recipe.

  • Course: Main Meal Pasta
  • Cuisine: American
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Calories: 346kcal
  • Author: Beth Pierce


  • 20-24 jumbo shell pasta
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 cup salsa or salsa-style tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 10-ounce can Rotel tomatoes drained (or diced tomatoes)
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper finely minced
  • Green onion (optional garnish)


  1. Preheat Oven: Set the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cook Pasta: Boil a large pot of water, cook the shells, and drain.
  3. Prepare Beef Mixture: Brown ground beef in a skillet. Add onions, cook until beef is browned, and onions are soft. Drain excess grease. Add taco seasoning and water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add salsa, cool slightly, and stir in half of each cheese.
  4. Fill Shells: Spoon the beef mixture into shells, arranging them in a single layer in the dish.
  5. Top and Bake: Sprinkle remaining cheese over shells, add Rotel tomatoes and minced jalapeno. Bake covered for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with minced jalapeno or green onion.
  6. Notes: Adjust spiciness with serrano pepper. Experiment with tomato variations. Consider ground turkey or pork. Top with desired toppings. Use gloves when handling hot peppers.
  7. Pro Tips: Tilt the pan to drain excess grease. Boil extra shells as some may tear.
  8. Nutrition: (Per Serving)
    • Calories: 346kcal
    • Carbohydrates: 19g
    • Protein: 20g
    • Fat: 21g
    • Saturated Fat: 10g
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
    • Monounsaturated Fat: 7g
    • Trans Fat: 1g
    • Cholesterol: 67mg
    • Sodium: 507mg
    • Potassium: 329mg
    • Fiber: 2g
    • Sugar: 3g
    • Vitamin A: 514IU
    • Vitamin C: 4mg
    • Calcium: 233mg
    • Iron: 2mg

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