This Mexican Stuffed Shells recipe is everything you love about stuffed shells but with a Mexican twist! This recipe is loaded with ground beef, salsa, enchilada sauce and lot’s of cheese! Perfect for meal-prepping, batch-cooking, or just a delicious, hearty meal the whole family will love!
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Homemade Taco Stuffed Shells
Taco Tuesday doesn’t always have to mean traditional tacos with a shell. This easy taco stuffed shells recipe is a great way to change things up while featuring the classic Mexican food-inspired flavors we all love! The stuffed shells are perfectly rich, creamy and cheesy. Everything you want a stuffed shell to be!
I might actually like these Mexican Stuffed Shells more than actual tacos, at least as a homemade family dinner. It’s super easy to make, comes together in just one pan in the oven, and is less messy. (Kids are notorious for making a BIG mess with tacos.)
The stuffed jumbo pasta shells rest on a bed of jarred salsa and enchilada sauce, then are topped with shredded cheese, more sauce, and freshly chopped cilantro. You’re going to love it!
- Jumbo Shells
- Ground Beef: I use 80 / 20 ground beef for this recipe. You could also use a combination of beef and pork or even sausage.
- Cream Cheese: Softened full fat cream cheese works best in this recipe.
- Salsa: Use your favorite store-bought salsa. We did mild salsa to make sure it wasn’t too spicy for our kids.
- Enchilada Sauce: You can use store bought enchilada sauce or make your own!
- Shredded Mexican Cheese: You could also use a combination of cheeses. Cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese and Colby jack would all be great in this!
- Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, oregano, paprika and cumin.
how to make mexican stuffed shells
- Cook jumbo shells according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. While they’re cooking, preheat your oven.
- Cook ground beef and onion in a large skillet with olive oil until the beef gets browned and onion begins to turn opaque. Then, add the dry seasonings, and toss to coat. Cook for an additional minute or two.
- Stir in the room temperature cream cheese, and reduce heat to medium. Stir everything together until the cream cheese has melted and become incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine salsa and enchilada sauce in a small bowl. Spread half of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a prepared 9×13 baking dish.
- Stuff the shells with the beef mixture, and then place in the baking dish. Repeat until all of the beef filling is used. Top the shells with the remaining sauce mixture, and sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the shells are heated through.
- Serve immediately with extra enchilada sauce, sour cream, and/or cilantro. Enjoy!
- Make it vegetarian by omitting the meat entirely and using black beans or quinoa instead.
- Make it vegan by omitting the meat and using a plant-based cheese!
- Swap the ground beef for ground chicken or ground turkey for a leaner protein option.
- Add more veggies! Black beans, diced carrots, or red onion, would be great.
- Spice it up with some diced jalapeno, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes!
what to serve with mexican stuffed shells
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
- Store leftover, cooled Mexican Pasta Shells in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. Perfect for meal-prepping ahead of a busy week!
- Freeze cooked and cooled taco stuffed shells in an airtight, freezer-safe container or plastic bag without salsa for up to 3 months. You can also just freeze the meat filling if you want to make the pasta fresh whenever you re-serve.
- Reheat frozen Mexican Stuffed Shells in a prepared baking dish with salsa and cheese for 45-60 minutes or more until warmed through and bubbling. Reheat refrigerated taco shell pasta in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, or until warmed through.
More Recipes To Try
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- Chicken Pot Pie Pasta
- Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Peppers
- Crockpot Chicken Alfredo
- Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
- One-Pan Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake
products i used
Mexican Stuffed Shells
- 15-20 jumbo shells,, I only used 15 however I like to throw in extra in case they break
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp cumin
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup enchilada sauce or taco sauce
- 3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
- extra enchilada sauce for serving, if desired
- chopped fresh cilantro for serving, if desired
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile cook jumbo shells according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add in ground beef and onion and cook until the beef gets browned and is no longer pink.
- Add in the seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, oregano, paprika and cumin. Toss to coat the beef in spices and cook for one minute.
- Stir in the softened cream cheese and turn the heat down to medium heat. Stir until the cream cheese has melted and incorporated into the ground beef mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a small bowl combine salsa and enchilada sauce.
- Spread half of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish.
- Stuff the shells with the beef mixture then place in the baking dish. Repeat until all of the beef filling is used.
- Top the shells with the remaining sauce mixture.
- Sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the shells are heated through.
- Serve immediately with extra enchilada sauce and cilantro, if desired.