Creamy Beef and Shells [Video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
Updated:
Published:
5 from 20 reviews

Creamy Beef and Shells is a hearty pasta dish that is perfect for a quick dinner for the whole family! It is rich, flavorful, and cheesy and even kids will love it!

We have a lot of pasta dishes that you can choose from and we keep on growing that list! You can also try Crack Chicken Pasta Salad, Tuscan Chicken Pasta, and Garlic Parmesan Shrimp Pasta!

image of creamy beef and shells in a pan

Creamy Beef and Shells Recipe

Creamy Beef and Shells is such a tasty dinner! It is meaty, never dry, and the flavors are awesome!

The combination of marinara sauce and dairy makes it so yummy. And you get all sorts of savory flavors coming from the aromatics and the different herbs and seasonings.

You have protein and carbs in one dish and that makes this hearty and filling. Serve it with a side of veggies, and you get yourself a complete lunch or dinner!

Kids also love it! It is easy to eat and each bite gives you cheesy and beefy goodness.

Busy on weeknights? That is not a problem with this recipe. You can finish cooking this in under 30 minutes!

What is “beef and shells”?

It refers to this dish made with short pasta and seasoned ground beef in a sauce that is both tomato-based and dairy-based.

In this recipe, we are also adding in heavy cream and sour cream aside from the cheddar cheese while others add in cheese only. This makes this dish creamier overall.

picture of beef and shells on a wooden spoon

How do you make beef and shells?

  • Cook the pasta: Follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Sauté the meat: In a skillet, brown the ground beef, drain the excess fat, then, set aside.
  • Make the sauce: In the same large skillet, sauté onion and garlic. Stir in the flour for about a minute. Slowly stir in the stock, marinara sauce, and the herbs and seasonings. Let the whole thing boil and thicken.
  • Combine: Add in the pasta, meat, heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Then, add in the sour cream and cheese.
  • Serve: Once the cheese has melted, serve it while hot!

Can I use different ground meat?

Sure! You can replace the beef with other meat like chicken or turkey.

image of freshly cooked beef and shells on a plate

Do you need to discard beef grease?

The answer is both yes and no. You will be throwing away flavor along with the grease when you discard it. So, there are two answers to this question.

Yes, if you used the kind that has too much fat. Too much grease is not desirable so you need to discard.

And no, if you used extra lean meat. There is not much grease that will develop, so you can keep that tiny amount and not discard it.

Hence, I strongly recommend that you use extra lean meat for this one as it would be more flavorful. And since this dish has sauce, do not worry about it getting too dry.

What can be used in place of marinara sauce?

It is a simple sauce made with tomatoes and some aromatics like onion, garlic, and some seasonings. For this dish, you can simply substitute it with tomato sauce and probably add more of the aromatics and seasonings.

How to Store Creamy Beef and Shells:

  • Refrigerate: Let it cool completely and transfer it in an airtight container before putting in the fridge. Consume it within 3 days. You can simply reheat it on the stove.
  • Freeze: You can freeze this for a few weeks, simply thaw completely before reheating. This way, when you reheat, you will not be breaking the pasta into pieces.
  • Make-Ahead: You can freeze the sauce and simply add cooked pasta on the day you want to serve it. You can also pre-cook the pasta and freeze it. Before freezing, remember to drizzle some oil to prevent sticking.

image of beef and shells in a a lunch box along with sliced tomatoes cucumber and cherries

Recipe Tips:

  • You can choose from penne, elbow macaroni, or rotini as a substitute for the shells.
  • To prevent the pasta from being soggy, you can cook it just al dente so that when you combine it with the sauce, further cooking will not make it too mushy.
  • You can vegetables like bell peppers and carrots.

Save Recipe
5 from 20 reviews

Creamy Beef and Shells

Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Total time: 30 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

Nutrition information

Calories: 480 Carbohydrates: 39 Protein: 28 Fat: 23 Saturated Fat: 9 Cholesterol: 66 Sodium: 370 Potassium: 553 Fiber: 2 Sugar: 6 Vitamin A: 221 Vitamin C: 3 Calcium: 215 Iron: 3
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Comments

Leave a reply

Kathy

Came out really good. Served with salad 🥗and garlic bread🍞 yummy

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Elicia

Could I use plain yogurt instead of sour cream hubby is not a fan of sour cream LOL

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sure!

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Bobette J Larsen

How much pasta? Is it an 8-0z. package or a 16-oz. package? Thanks - Bobette

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Bobette J Larsen

Whoops - I see it is 8 oz. Sorry I didn't read closer. Sounds delicious.

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Amy

I just finished making this and is came out very saucy. Fine with me......but I let it sit with a lid on and it got much thicker. The flavor is spot on (I added a little heat cuz we like things hot!!! I will definitely make this again!

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Charlaine

Made this last night and we loved it. I didn't have marinara sauce so I used an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and I did add another 1/2 pound of beef for protein. No other changes. It was great. To reheat I added a little more cream tonight and it again turned out great. Nice, easy and so good.

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Peggy

Made this today and it turned out delicious. I will be making this again. Thanks for posting it.

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DavidF

Hey, where's the video, Peeps? I don't see it but says it has a video. I must be going blind.

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maybe its not loading for you, sorry!

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Kandi Doce

Creamy deliciousness!

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Nikki

I made mine and it is so good light look but my family loved it

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Tony

I like sour cream but my family doesn't... what's a good substitute?

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cream cheese or yogurt

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Kathie Coleman

Can I use mozzarella?

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Yes, you can use any of your favorite cheeses. Mozzarella will work as well.

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Sunshine

Hi I just saw this And wanted to know if this Could be frozen

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yes, it can, just keep in mind that texture will be different when thawed, the pasta will be mushier and you will need to add some broth when reheating.

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Kt

This was so good. Will make this again and again!

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Bailey

If I need to make this for more than 6 servings, do I just double all the ingredients?

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doubling the ingredients works great

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Holly Krick

Made this last night. Followed the recipe except I didn't have marinara sauce so just used regular spaghetti sauce. And instead of ground beef I used ground venison sausage. Turned out delicious 😋. Def Making this again.

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Marion

Awesome recipe! My husband is a really picky eater? Loved it. In my repeat recipes box. Thanks!! Followed the recipe as is. Smoky paprika does make a difference.

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Whitney

What’s the serving size?

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about 3 cups

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Stephanie

Hi, Is the nutritional facts at the bottom for the 6 servings or is it for 1 serving?

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yes, per 1 serving

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Stephanie

Made this tonight and it was delicious! Is the nutritional information at the bottom per serving or is it for all 6 servings?

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Nutritional info is per serving. thanks

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Stephanie

Thank you! Also thanks for sharing the recipe! 😊

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Amy

Made this tonight and it was super yummy! Love the creamy texture 😊 would be nice with bacon too

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Alyss

This recipe makes 18 cups worth?

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I am sorry I didn't measure it in cups.

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Mischell Marteeny

It was super good. I left out sour cream bc the heavy cream was enough for us. Also I boiled the noodles in the sauce instead of separate. Added a few more seasonings and boom it was perfect.

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Dannilynn

I made this for my man and he love it...... follow the recipe to the letter..... very delicious. Will add to the dinner rotation.

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Michelle

I made this and I think it’s the bomb!!

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thanks for the feedback!

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Tammisha

Do you have to use chicken stock?

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You can use vegetable stock as well. Water will also work, but the flavor will not be as rich as if you used stock. However, you could skip it and use either veggie stock or water. thanks

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Carrie

My kids loved this. Great recipe. Will totally make it again for my family. Thank you for sharing.

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Suzanne

This looks so good! Does it work with other types of noodles?

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Vanessa

Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?

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Alex

I don’t have heavy cream. Could I use milk instead?

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yes, you can, but it won't be as rich.

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Heather

Would it be possible to prep this ahead of time and then reheat in the oven later in the day or even the following day?

Reply

yes!!!

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Jessica

Quick easy meal using up what I had in the fridge! This was a lifesaver for us last night as I had NOTHING prepped and not enough leftovers in the fridge to feed the kids. This took no time at all to make and was so comforting not to mention a hit with the boys! Thank you!

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Hi Jessica, thank you for the feedback, I am happy that you enjoyed this easy recipe!

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Alana

Very good i made this and im 10 years old!

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Joe

Finally made this last night it came out awesome thanks for the recipe will definitely make it again

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Happy that you enjoyed it!

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Sharon

Made this today and followed the recipe exactly. It turned out delicious! One of my new favorites.

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Kacey

It’s good! Kind of like a homemade “Hamburger Helper!”

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Elizabeth

We fed 8 picky kids.... and all I can say is holy cow this was amazing. Each kiddo got seconds. Finally we have a recipe that everyone will eat. I am in love!!

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yay!

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Arielle Brown

Can I use sausage or ground turkey instead of beef?

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yes, sure!

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Kristin White

Made this for dinner tonight. Followed recipe exactly, it was very good, but creamer than I thought. Your picture does not look like it has such a creamy sauce. I

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Athena C

I made this for my family of 6, I had to double the recipe. Everyone loved it. I had a plate full of leftovers, my son wanted to eat it for breakfast, but I heated it up for him for lunch. I'll definitely be making this again.

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Sabrina

I’m not very experienced in cooking but this recipe was very easy and turned out delicious! My husband and I loved it. Thank you!

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Rickey Spivey

Fantastic cuisine, restaurant quality! Thanks. Check out Rickey Spivey first time YouTube video. I am a food follower, keep on, keeping on.

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Jeanne

Could you use evaporated milk and some cream cheese instead of heavy cream

Reply

yes, you can.

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Vera

I tried this, it is good. Being a vegetarian I had to substitute and move some of the mixing orders. But it came out good. I substituted the beef broth for vegetarian bullion cubs, I used American cheese and mozzarella instead of cheddar. My daughter said it tasted like lasagna.

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Stacey Hamilton

I tried this but I substituted the beef with ground chicken and used tapioca flour! It came out so delicious. Thank you!

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Lucy

I did without sour cream and more marinara.. it made it a bit lighter & very delicious!!

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Jessica

Wow! This is like gourmet hamburger helper and I mean that in the best way possible. Comfort food at its best!

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Tamaya

Can I substitute the beef stock with something else?

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yes, any liquid, water or other types of broth.

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Jessica

Would this work okay with egg noodles? I don’t have shells and I’m not able to make it to the store before I have to cook tonight! I was thinking of just adding the noodles to the sauce because they cook pretty fast!

Reply

it should work

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