These taco stuffed 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!
With traditional Tex Mex flavors and the easiest combination of ingredients, this is a surefire success for dinner.
Customize it to your family’s taste, and they’re going to 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 that is baked up with love? Well, when you add the zesty flavor of tacos, it’s an explosion of all the best weeknight dinners you can dream up!
These cheesy taco stuffed 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 flavor.
Luckily, this family friendly dinner is incredibly easy to make. Today, I’m going to show you how! Let’s dive right in, and make a fabulous dinner together!
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love these Taco Stuffed Shells
- So Easy to Make
- Family Friendly
- Great Leftovers!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Jumbo pasta shells – prepared as directed on box.
- Lean Ground Beef – Be sure to drain any extra fat. Sub ground turkey if you’d prefer a leaner protein.
- Taco Seasoning – You can use homemade taco seasoning or your favorite prepackaged variety.
- Rotel – Use a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies.
- Shredded Cheese – Use your favorite shredded cheese, like a cheddar or Monterrey Jack. Learn more about the Best Cheeses for Tacos here.
- White Onion – Chopped. You can sub with a yellow onion if that’s what you’ve got 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’d like.
- Fresh Cilantro – Chopped and destemmed. This is optional.
- Add a cup of corn kernels or this Homemade Mexicorn Recipe.
- Add a cup of pinto or black beans.
- Want to spice up your life? Add a few chopped jalapeños to the meat mixture.
How to Make Taco Stuffed Shells
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta shells as directed on the box, and drain.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add ground beef. Stir frequently until brown. Remove from heat. Add taco seasoning, Rotel, a cup of the shredded cheese and stir to combine.
- Place pasta shells in a large baking dish. Fill each shell with a tablespoon of beef. Top with cheese, onion, cilantro and tomatoes.
- Bake 15 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Remove the pasta from the heat when it is al dente. It will continue to cook when you’re baking this dish, so a little underdone is ideal.
- Rinse the pasta shells in cold water to shock them. This keeps the shells from cooking longer after you removed from the boiling water.
- Use a small cookie scoop to easily fill the shells.
- Fresh grated cheese is important – if you can, grate it fresh!
Scaling up, down or substituting? You’ll love this printable Measurement Conversion Chart!
- Use pre-shredded cheese.
- Sub with canned tomatoes instead of dicing fresh.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the traditional Italian version of stuffed shells, you’ll usually find ricotta cheese, along with Parmesan and Mozzarella. For taco stuffed shells, choose your favorite Mexican cheese, or any classic shredded cheese like cheddar.
In the US, it’s generally labeled as jumbo shells. Traditionally, this type of pasta is called conchiglioni.
I’ve got some great ideas to round out this Tex Mex meal! Consider the following options for a wholesome, nutritious meal your family will love.
All your favorite Taco Toppings serve beautifully here, as well as your favorite Side Dishes for Tacos.
- Serve with a Salad – try this Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing
- Or, Fiesta Ranch Roasted Cauliflower
- Top with this Salsa Guacamole
- Or, Lime Crema de Cilantro
- Chipotle Corn Salsa is excellent here too.
- Can be made Gluten Free (Sub with gluten free pasta shells)
- Nut Free
How To Store
- Room Temperature – This pasta dish best served as soon as it comes off the stove. It can rest at room temperature for up to two hours before it must be refrigerated.
- Refrigerator – If you do have leftovers, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. When you’re ready to eat, cook in a small sauce pan and a little chicken broth or water to loosen the sauce.
- Freezer – you can also freeze this pasta dish for up to three months.
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Taco Stuffed Shells
- 12 Ounces Jumbo pasta shells – 24 shells prepared
- 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
- 3 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning one packet
- 10 Ounces Rotel (one can diced tomatoes and green chilies)
- 2 Cups Shredded Cheese Cheddar or Monterrey Jack
- ½ Cup White Onion (approximately ½ an onion, chopped) (can sub with yellow)
- 1 Cup Fresh Tomatoes chopped se diced cherry, roma or grape tomatoes
- ¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro Chopped and destemmed
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add ground beef. Stir frequently until brown. Remove from heat. Add taco seasoning, (tomatoes or salsa), 1 cup of 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, cilantro and tomatoes.
- Bake 15 minutes until cheese is melted.
Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.
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