Taco Stuffed Shells | Julie Blanner

These taco stuffed shells is such a fun spin on this classic family-friendly pasta dinner. Combine your crew’s love of taco night with their love of pasta night and get the best of both worlds!

With traditional Tex Mex flavors and the easiest combination of ingredients, this is a sure hit for dinner.

Customize it to your family’s taste and they’ll be begging for more! I can’t wait to show you how easy it is to make this tasty dinner.

What’s not to love about a cheesy pasta dinner baked with love? Well, when you add the delicious taste of tacos, it’s an explosion of all the best dinners you can dream of!

These cheesy taco filled shells are a new family favorite in our house. They are so easy to customize and everyone just loves this fun combination of Italian tradition and Tex Mex flavors.

Luckily, this family-friendly dinner is incredibly easy to make. Today I will show you how! Let’s dive right in and make a great dinner together!

Taco filled shells in a white baking pan.

Why you’ll love these taco-filled shells

  • So easy to make
  • Family friendly
  • Can be customized
  • Great leftovers!
A portion of taco filled shells on a white plate with a gold fork.

Ingredients and Substitutes

  • Jumbo pasta shells – prepared as directed on the box.
  • Lean ground beef – Make sure to drain any extra fat. Ground turkey if you prefer a leaner protein.
  • Taco seasoning – You can use homemade taco seasoning or your favorite prepackaged version.
  • Rotel – Use a can of diced tomatoes with green chillies.
  • Grated cheese – Use your favorite grated cheese, like a cheddar or Monterrey Jack. Learn more about Best cheeses for tacos here.

Topping

  • White Onion – Chopped. You can sub with a yellow onion if that’s what you have on hand!
  • Fresh tomatoes – Use diced cherry, roma or grape tomatoes here. You can sub the topping with more salsa or pico de gallo if you want to.
  • Fresh coriander – Chopped and de-stemmed. This is optional.

Variations

  • Add a cup of corn kernels or this Homemade Mexican recipe.
  • Add a cup of pinto or black beans.
  • Want to spice up your life? Add a few chopped jalapeños to the meat mixture.

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Tools to use

  • Separated
  • 9×13″ baking pan

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How to make taco-filled shells

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta shells as directed on the box and drain. A pot full of jumbo shells boiling in boiling water on a stove
  2. Add ground beef to a large skillet over medium heat. Stir regularly until brown. Remove from heat. Add taco seasoning, Rotel, one cup shredded cheese and stir to combine. Taco seasoning added to a pot full of ground beef on a stove. Taco meat in a gray pan on a stove, topped with tomatoes and cheese Taco meat for taco-filled shells, in a gray pan on a stove
  3. Place pasta shells in a large ovenproof dish. Fill each shell with a tablespoon of beef. Top with cheese, onion, coriander and tomatoes. A hand using a ladle to fill jumbo shell pasta with taco meat, the pot full of ground beef in the background. Stuffed shells in a white baking pan.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Taco filled shells in a white baking pan.

Tips

  • Remove the pasta from the heat when it is al dente. It will continue to cook as you bake this dish, so slightly undercooked is ideal.
  • Rinse the pasta shells in cold water to shock them. This prevents the shells from cooking longer after you remove them from the boiling water.
  • Use a small scoop to easily fill the shells.
  • Freshly grated cheese is important – if you can, grate it fresh!

Scale up, down or replace? You will love this printable Measurement conversion chart!

Taco filled shells in a white baking pan.

Shortcuts

  • Use grated cheese.
  • Sub with canned tomatoes instead of fresh diced ones.

Frequently asked questions

What is the cheese in filled shells?

In the traditional Italian version of stuffed shells, you usually find ricotta cheese along with parmesan and mozzarella. For taco-filled shells, choose your favorite Mexican cheese or any classic shredded cheese like cheddar.

What is the filled shell pasta called?

In the US it is generally labeled as jumbo shells. Traditionally, this type is called pasta conchiglioni.

Close-up of a spatula pulling a batch of taco-filled shells out of a pan.

Serving suggestions

I have some great ideas to round out this Tex Mex meal! Consider the following options for a healthy, nutritious meal your family will love.

All your favorites Taco toppings serve beautifully here, as well as your favorite Accessories for tacos.

A portion of taco filled shells on a white plate with a gold fork.

Dietary considerations

  • Can be made gluten-free (Sub with gluten-free pasta shells)
  • Free of nuts

How to store

  • Room temperature – This pasta dish is best served as soon as it comes off the stove. It can rest at room temperature for up to two hours before refrigerating.
  • Refrigerator – If you have leftovers, cover and store in the fridge for up to three days. When ready to eat, boil in a small pot and a little chicken stock or water to loosen the sauce.
  • Freezer – you can also freeze this pasta dish for up to three months.

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More pasta inspiration

Pasta

Taco filled shells in a white baking pan.

Taco stuffed shells

Preparation time 20 mine

Cooking time 15 mine

Total time 35 mine

These taco-filled shells are such a fun spin on this classic family-friendly pasta dinner. Combine your crew’s love of taco night with their love of pasta night and get the best of both worlds!

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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.

  • Add ground beef to a large skillet over medium heat. Stir regularly until brown. Remove from heat. Add taco seasoning, (tomatoes or salsa), 1 cup shredded cheese and stir to combine.

  • Place pasta shells in a large (13×9) baking dish. Fill each shell with a tablespoon of beef. Top with cheese, onion, coriander and tomatoes.

  • Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Nutrition information

Calories: 244kcal (12%), Carbohydrates: 17g (6%), Protein: 21g (42%), fat: 10g (15%), Saturated Fat: 5g (25%), Polyunsaturated fat: 1g, Monounsaturated fat: 3g, Trans fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 57mg (19%), Sodium: 294mg (12%), Potassium: 364mg (10%), Fiber: 2g (8%), Sugar: 2g (2%), Vitamin A: 508IU (10%), Vitamin C: 7mg (8%), Calcium: 165mg (17%), Iron: 3mg (17%)





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