Mexican Stuffed Shells


Mexican Stuffed Shells

I’m really excited about this recipe for Mexican Stuffed Shells . It’s a combination of traditional ground beef enchiladas and my popular One-Pan Enchilada Pasta recipe.  Stuffed shells baked in the oven are one of my favorite comfort foods, and this Mexican version is absolutely perfect – tender pasta shells filled with spicy and saucy ground beef and delicious melty cheese.  I served our Mexican Stuffed Shells with black olives, green onions and a dollop of sour cream. I’ve also included some tips for making ahead or using as a freezer meal!


Mexican Stuffed Shells

Like enchiladas, these Mexican Stuffed Shells take a little bit of prep. You stuff the pasta shells with a spicy and delicious mixture of ground beef, tomato sauce, and enchilada sauce, then fill with freshly shredded colby jack cheese. I love how colby jack melts in Mexican dishes, but really any cheese you prefer will work well! Use the remaining enchilada sauce to drizzle over the shells.  Cover and bake.


Mexican Stuffed Shells


This is a great meal to make ahead or freeze.  If you are going to freeze or refrigerate,  let the meat mixture cool before stuffing the shells. Then stuff with cooled meat mixture and cheese, and top with a final layer of enchilada sauce. Cover tightly and freeze or refrigerate. Once you are ready to bake, let the shells thaw or come to room temperature before baking. If baking from frozen, increase cooking time and watch for the shells to be hot and bubbly.



Mexican Stuffed Shells





Mexican Stuffed Shells
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Servings: 8
  • 1 12 oz package of jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 28 oz can of red enchilada sauce divided
  • 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 3 cups of freshly shredded colby jack cheese
  1. Start by preparing pasta shells according to package directions. Once shells are par cooked, about 9 minutes for my shells, drain well in colander and lay shells out on a baking sheet to avoid sticking.
  2. While pasta shells are cooking, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Once onions have started to soften, increase heat to medium high and add ground beef to the pan.
  4. Season ground beef with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder.
  5. Once ground beef has cooked through, add 1/2 can of enchilada sauce and tomato sauce.
  6. Let simmer until reduced by half.
  7. While ground beef is simmering, prepare a 9x13 baking dish by pouring a small amount of enchilada sauce into bottom of the baking dish. This will prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Stuff shells by adding a heaping tablespoon of ground beef mixture into each shell and then filling with shredded cheese.
  9. Add shells to baking dish as they are stuffed.
  10. Once dish is full, drizzle remaining enchilada sauce all over shells.
  11. Cover with foil and bake covered at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.
  12. Serve with diced green onions, black olives and sour cream.



If you like this recipe, you may also like some of my recent favorites:

Skillet Lasagna

Skillet Lasagna

One Pan Chicken Alfredo

One-Pan Chicken Alfredo

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  1. Very clever — this gives me another excuse to go make and enjoy a big comforting cheesy casserole!

  2. I recently made a different version of Mexican stuffed shells and they were a huge hit. I was skeptical at first because I tend to not like combining Mexican and Italian cuisine, but I was pleasantly surprised.

  3. I want to make this recipe soon, but i have a question first. In your directions you said “Once shells are par cooked” is that partially cooked? why wouldn’t you cook it all the way?

  4. Marti Thompson says:

    Made this tonight for the fam. Everyone liked it. They all had red faces from the Enchilada Sauce it was so cute. Only thing I would do differently was pay attention to how much sauce I was putting in the shells cause I ended up with extra shells cause I didn’t have enough sauce. Thanks for the recipe


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