Ultra saucy stuffed shells with Italian chicken sausage, marinara, ricotta, and cheese. This is a family-favorite recipe that everyone loves!

Easy Stuffed Shells

These easy stuffed pasta shells are so easy to make with minimal ingredients and minimal chopping.

They make a perfect meal for busy weeknights. Plus leftovers are great for lunch, or you can freeze them for later.

Stuffed with flavorful Italian sausage and topped with creamy ricotta and mozzarella cheese. They are cheesy, saucy, and very delicious. My kids go crazy for them every single time!

What Are Stuffed Shells Made Of?

To make stuffed shells with sausage, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Sweet Italian sausage, chicken, or turkey
  • Yellow onion
  • Italian seasoning
  • Red chili flakes
  • Marinara sauce
  • Jumbo pasta shells
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Fresh chopped parsley
ingredients for easy stuffed shells

How to Make Stuffed Shells

This recipe comes together easily so it helps to have all of the ingredients prepared.

  • Cook the shells in salted water until they’re almost al dente—in other words, nicely pliable but not fully tender. They’ll finish cooking in the oven. About 10 minutes, stirring often so they don’t stick to the pot. Drain off the water, rinse under cold water, and set over a colander to drain further.
cooked jumbo shells in a pot
  • In a large pan, either a skillet or sauté pan, heat a little olive oil and cook the sausage until browned and crumbled. Stir in onions and spices, and cook until soft.
cooked italian sausage in a pan
  • Add marinara sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly.
italian sausage with marinara in a pan
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread 1 cup of meat sauce across a 9 X 13 pan. Stuff each cooked shell with a heaping spoonful of meat sauce and place it into the pan. Repeat with the rest of the shells placing them snuggly next to each other. Spoon any remaining meat sauce around the shells.
stuffed shells recipe with sausage
  • Top the shells with dollops of ricotta and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted. Garnish with parsley before serving.
stuffed shells with meat

How Many Stuffed Shells is a Serving?

A serving is about 4-5 stuffed shells. This recipe feeds 6 people.

You will need 8 ounces of dry jumbo shells to fill up a 9 X 13 baking dish, which yields about 28 stuffed shells.

What Goes with Stuffed Shells?

Just about any type of green salad or a vegetable side dish goes with stuffed shells. Here are a few suggestions:

easy stuffed shells with meat

Leftovers

Leftover stuffed shells with sausage will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze for several months. Thaw out overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

To reheat stuffed shells, place the shells in an oven-safe dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 375 degrees F until warmed through. If you have little to no sauce on the bottom, add a few tablespoons of water to the pan before reheating.

Shells can also be reheated in a microwave in a single serving portions.

easy stuffed pasta shells

Love easy Italian weeknight meals? Here are a few more to try:

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stuffed shells with sausage

Stuffed Shells with Sausage

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Katya
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Ultra saucy stuffed shells with Italian chicken sausage, marinara, ricotta, and cheese. This is a family-favorite recipe that everyone loves!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 8 oz. dry jumbo shells, about 28 shells
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. chicken sweet Italian sausage, or turkey, removed from casing
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1 (32 oz.) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook shells in salted water according to package directions until pliable but just shy of al dente, about 8-10 minutes, stirring often so they don’t stick to the pot. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside over a colander to drain further.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook sausage until browned and crumbled, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Stir in onions, Italian seasoning, and red chili flakes. Cook until the onions are soft, about 3-4 minutes.

  4. Add marinara sauce. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, uncovered, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Spread 1 cup of meat sauce over the bottom of the 9 X 13 baking pan. Fill each shell with a heaping spoonful (about 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons) of the meat sauce and place it snuggly in the pan. Spoon any remaining meat sauce around the shells.
  7. Top with dollops of ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Notes

  • Shells: Cook 2-3 extra shells just in case some rip and break apart.
  • Leftovers: Leftover shells will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze for several months.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4-5 stuffed shells
  • Calories: 485
  • Sugar: 9.9 g
  • Sodium: 934.3 mg
  • Fat: 19.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.4 g
  • Protein: 34 g
  • Cholesterol: 93.3 mg