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Mexican Stuffed Shells Recipe

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 432kcal
Mexican Stuffed Shells make for a and hearty weeknight meal! This cheesy pasta casserole is packed with taco seasoned ground beef and topped with a fiesta of Mexican flavors!
Print Recipe


  • 12 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper stem, ribs & seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons taco or chili seasoning
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro divided
  • 1 cup taco sauce divided
  • cups shredded Mexican blend cheese or Colby Jack
  • 1 cup crushed corn chips such as Fritos
  • Garnishes:
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sliced scallions green onions


  • Heat oven to 350°F and spray a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Cook pasta to al denté (per package directions), drain, and rinse with cool water. Lay the shells, open-side down, on a paper, to allow to dry while preparing the other ingredients.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, onion and diced jalapeno. Cook the onion and jalapeno, stirring occasionally, until translucent and fragrant, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a paper towel.
  • Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook, breaking the beef apart, until lightly browned. If there is just a small amount of rendered fat in the pan, no need to drain.
  • Add taco seasoning, cream cheese, salt, black pepper, ¼ cup taco sauce and ½ cup shredded cheese to the beef mixture and stir well.
  • Cook 2-3 minutes, over medium-low heat, until mixture is hot and cheese has melted. Remove from heat.
  • Pour ¼ cup taco sauce into the prepared casserole dish.
  • Fill each pasta shell with 2 tablespoons beef/cheese mixture and place the shells into the prepared dish on top of the sauce.
  • Pour the remaining ¾ cup taco sauce around and in-between the shells.
  • Cover and bake 20 minutes.
  • Remove the dish from the oven, uncover, and sprinkle with crushed corn chips. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts.
  • Garnish with sour cream, chopped cilantro and sliced green onions.
  • Enjoy!


You can use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef if you prefer. Whatever the case, go for lean as it's less greasy.
I used taco sauce. You can also use enchilada sauce or a spicy salsa for a different flavor take.
These shells can be assembled up to 8 hours before you plan to bake them. Simply cover the pan and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to heat them up. You will have to increase the bake time accordingly.
You can use your favorite kind of cheese for these stuffed shells. For more spice you can use a habanero cheese blend.


Calories: 432kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 1105mg | Potassium: 391mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 749IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 198mg | Iron: 3mg