Cheesy Cheeseburger Stuffed Shells Recipe

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
Published:
5 from 2 reviews

Beef Casserole Main Dishes Pasta Recipes

Cook time Cook time: 20 minutes

Cheeseburger Stuffed Shells are delicious jumbo pasta shells filled with ground beef and lots of cheddar cheese and garnished with your favorite Big Mac toppings. This hearty meal is ready in minutes, and you do not even have to make extra side dishes to go with it. The whole family will love it, even the kids!

Instead of stuffing your shells, try our easy recipe for Creamy Beef and Shells with medium pasta, marinara sauce, and sour cream. Or skip the meat altogether and make this Ricotta Stuffed Shells recipe with fresh spinach, Italian herbs, and three kinds of cheese. 

Shells are actually called conchiglioni and are traditionally served with ricotta cream and marinara sauce. But the stuffed shells recipe began in Sicily, so they are Sicilian instead of Italian. The first ones were made with veal, tomato sauce, and peas. However, we like to mix things up so we stuff our shells with cheeseburger stuffing. 

Cheeseburger stuffed shells are savory and delicious comfort food, perfect for a cool winter night. But this dish can be served any time of year and it is so versatile you can make it with white sauce, different kinds of cheese, and other meats to make it your own. Are you looking for other easy dinner meals? 

This outstanding dinner is a family favorite, as it combines the flavors of a classic cheeseburger, in a hearty and delicious meal. In addition, it. makes great leftovers, can be prepared ahead of time, and also be frozen for later.

For something similar, this cheesy taco pasta is easy to make with taco seasoning, salsa, and sour cream. Or you may enjoy our creamy instant pot Tuscan chicken pasta made from sun-dried tomatoes, cream cheese, and skinless chicken breasts. 

Ingredients needed:

To make this delicious stuffed shells recipe, gather the ingredients listed below. Then, go to the bottom of the page to find our handy recipe card with the exact measurements and directions when you are ready to begin.

  • Ground beef: 80/20 is best.
  • Jumbo shells
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: Divided.
  • Diced tomatoes: Drained.
  • Chopped onion
  • Broth
  • Tomato sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Minced garlic cloves
  • Smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

Garnish:

  • Thousand island dressing
  • Diced dill pickles
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

How to make cheeseburger stuffed shells from scratch?

  1. Preheat and prepare: First, preheat the oven to 350 F and prep your baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cook pasta: In the meantime, cook shells al dente according to package directions in a large pot of boiling water. Drain and rinse with cold water. 
  3. Cook beef: Then, add ground beef to a large skillet over medium-high heat and crumble while stirring occasionally. Add onion and garlic and heat until meat is cooked through, and the onions are translucent. Drain the fat.
  4. Add seasonings: Next, add paprika, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and diced tomatoes over medium heat. Then, add 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and season with salt and pepper. 
  5. Make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the broth and tomato sauce and pour 2/3 of it into your prepared casserole dish. 
  6. Stuff hamburger mixture: Now, stuff the beef mixture into the shells and arrange the stuffed shells in the dish. Drizzle pasta shells with the remaining sauce on top.
  7. Add remaining cheese: Last, top with the remaining cheddar cheese and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  8. Serve and enjoy: Finally, garnish with your favorite toppings before serving.

How to make instant pot cheeseburger stuffed shells from scratch?

  1. Cook pasta: First, cook shells according to the package, drain, and rinse with cool water.
  2. Saute beef: Next, set the instant pot to saute and add ground beef, onion, and garlic. Saute until the meat is cooked through and the onions are translucent.
  3. Combine: Afterward, drain the fat before adding the meat mixture to the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, paprika, and 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese in a medium bowl.
  4. Mix the sauce: Then, whisk the tomato sauce and broth together and pour 2/3 of it into your cleaned instant pot.
  5. Stuff shells: Now, stuff the shells with the meat mixture, placing them into the pot with the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce on top. 
  6. Add cheese and cook: After, add the remaining cheese on top and cook on high for five minutes before doing a quick release.
  7. Garnish and eat: Lastly, garnish your shells and serve.

 

Recipe variations:

  • Different cheese: Try these with ricotta cheese. They are deliciously creamy.
  • Seasoned salt: For extra flavor, add a bit of seasoned salt.
  • Other meat: Alternatively, replace ground beef with ground chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Add more veggies: Feel free to add your own favorite veggies to the meat mixture like bell peppers, zucchini, and celery.
  • Make it spicy: Or, add some chopped jalapenos for spicy cheeseburger stuffed shells. 
  • Whole wheat pasta: For a healthier dish, use whole wheat pasta shells. 
  • Italian shells: Try using Italian sausage with oregano instead of beef for a different twist.

How to serve:

This is an easy dinner recipe that can be served alone or with your favorite foods. Try one of these yummy serving ideas or share some of your own in the comments section below. 

  • Serve with other favorite toppings like sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and whatever else you like. 
  • These shells taste great with some parmesan and romano cheese sprinkled on top. 
  • Bake some breadsticks or rolls to dip in the sauce for a heartier meal. 
  • Crumble some crispy bacon on top for bacon cheeseburger stuffed shells. 
  • This meal would go great with a side salad or this yummy crack corn salad.
  • Use leftovers to make a casserole for tomorrow’s dinner. 
  • You can also use the leftovers to mix with this Big Mac Salad recipe. 
  • Instead of Thousand Island dressing, you can use whatever you like. 

Frequently asked questions

Why are my stuffed shells watery?

If you did not drain your pasta shells enough, you will end up with excess water in your recipe. It can also happen if you cook your pasta too long. The shells continue to bake in the oven so they can get mushy if they are cooked too long or if you do not rinse them with cool water to stop the cooking process before draining.

How do you keep the pasta from sticking together?

First, make sure you do not put your shells in while the water is still cold. It should be boiling. Also, only cook it to just before al dente, stirring occasionally. After it is done, rinse with cold water and drain it, stirring it around in the colander. 

How many shells should I use?

We used a 10-ounce package for this recipe. However, it depends on the size of the shells you are using. If you are using the smaller ones, you may need more. And if you want to make extra, do not forget to double the meat mixture ingredients as well.

What are the nutrition facts in this recipe?

Each serving has 470 calories, 38 carbohydrates, and 23 grams of fat with 10 grams of saturated fat. It also contains about 67 mg of cholesterol, 390 mg of sodium, and 8 grams of sugar. You also get 221 units of vitamin A, 215 mg of calcium, 3 mg of iron, 5 mg of vitamin C, 553 mg of potassium, and 29 mg of protein. 

More pasta recipes to try:

How to store leftovers:

  • Store: Refrigerate your leftovers in an airtight container and be sure to eat them within three days. 
  • Freeze: You could also freeze your leftover cheeseburger stuffed shells if you cannot eat them in a few days. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag and eat within three months. 
  • Thaw: If you freeze your leftovers, thaw them overnight in the fridge for best results. 
  • Reheat: When reheating, you may need to add more sauce or broth because the shells will have soaked up the extra sauce. Reheat in the microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. 
 

Cooking tips:

  • Try to chop all the pieces roughly the same size for better uniformity and taste.
  • You can use garlic and onion powder instead of fresh garlic and onion.
  • Instead of jumbo shells, you can use large shells if that is all you have. 
  • Feel free to use a different kind of pasta if you do not want to stuff the shells. 
  • Make sure you drain the grease well. 
  • Save prep time by using pre-chopped frozen veggies.
  • You can also save time and add flavor by using your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce instead of making your own tomato sauce.
close macro shot of cheeseburger stuffed shells on a wooden spoon

Cheeseburger Stuffed Shells

Cheeseburger Stuffed Shells are jumbo pasta shells filled with ground beef, and cheddar cheese and garnished with your favorite Big Mac toppings.
5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 554kcal
Author: Catalina Castravet

Ingredients

  • 10 oz jumbo shells (dry)
  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef (or sausage)
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup beef broth (low-sodium)

Garnish:

  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Diced pickle
  • Thousand island dressing

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the large shells according to the package direction. Drain and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the beef, cook, and crumble it using a wooden spoon.
  • Add in the onion and garlic and cook together until the beef is cooked through and the onions are translucent and soft. Drain grease.
    ground beef with onion and garlic in a cast iron skillet
  • Next, add the diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and paprika, and stir.
    ground beef with diced tomatoes in a cast iron skillet
  • Then add in the shredded cheddar cheese. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
    ground beef with cheddar cheese in a cast iron skillet
  • In a bowl or measuring cup. whisk together the tomato sauce and broth. Add the mixture to the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.
    mixing beef broth and tomato sauce in a bowl
  • Spoon the beef mixture into the cooked shells and arrange them tightly in a single layer in the casserole dish.
    stuffing shells with ground beef
  • Top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
    stuffed shells topped with cheddar cheese in a baking dish
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and drizzle with thousand island dressing before serving.
    close shot of a cheeseburger stuffed shell

Nutrition

Calories: 554kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 856mg | Potassium: 746mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 476IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 187mg | Iron: 4mg
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Comments

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LisaLisa

This looks so good! I do create stuff chicken shells and the kids love them. I'm going to try this recipe with turkey burger before the kids head back to school, thanks for sharing this recipe.

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Beautiful Touches

This looks like a tasty recipe, I was talking about stuffed shells just the other day too!

Reply

Renee

I love anything to do with pasta! This looks really good. I'm going to have to try this one.

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Rosey

Hey, now there's a twist I can get behind. That's really good looking and I know my family would love it. Pinning it.

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Lynndee

It's been a while since I prepared stuffed shells. I will have to try your recipe soon. Looks good!

Reply

Amber Myers

My whole family would love this one. I am trying it for dinner!

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Christy Garrett

I haven’t made stuffed shells but they always look so good and filling. I’ll have to try both versions: regular and taco.

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