Three Cheese Stuffed Shells are jumbo shells loaded with cheese and topped with a hearty meat sauce that will sure to be a recipe on repeat. Pair this with some homemade breadsticks and Garlic and Parmesan Roasted Asparagus for your next family dinner!

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells on A White Plate
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Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

Not much can go wrong when it comes to pasta and cheese, and Three Cheese Stuffed Shells are no exception. Plus, it’s a recipe you can make ahead of time! So, it’s definitely a keeper of a recipe. It’s also easy to change up the kinds of cheese you use as well as make it with or without meat.

Pouring Sauce over Stuffed Shells

Alternatives to Ricotta Cheese

Sometimes I hear from folks that they just don’t like Ricotta Cheese.  I get it.  It doesn’t seem to have the same texture as traditional “cheese”.  If you are one of these people, have no fear…I have you covered.  There are a few options for the Ricotta naysayers out there.

Adjust the Ratios:  You can reduce the amount of ricotta by half and increase the mozzarella by the same amount.  That way you will still get the necessary moisture that makes this dish amazing, but it won’t have the overwhelming flavor and texture of ricotta.

Substitutions: There are several options when it comes to Ricotta substitutions.  They will all alter the flavor of the dish slightly but they will probably be better if you are against the aforementioned cheese in the first place.

  • Cottage Cheese – It has a mild taste, similar to ricotta but it is less creamy. Cottage cheese is also low in fat and calories, so it is a healthier option too.
  • Goat Cheese – Fresh goat cheese (not aged goat cheese) is rich and creamy, with a mild but slightly tart flavor.
  • Queso Fresco – This fresh Mexican cheese has a mild, salty, and milky flavor. The main difference is that queso fresco is drier than Ricotta, but it can be grated or crumbled in lieu of Ricotta cheese.
  • Cream Cheese – Both have a soft, creamy texture but cream cheese is higher in fat than Ricotta cheese.
White Pan of Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells Variations

In this recipe, I added ground beef to the sauce before I poured it over the shells. You could definitely leave out the meat and make this a meatless recipe. 

Other options for the sauce is to substitute the beef with turkey or sausage. You could also add chicken to the mix. Just make sure it is shredded chicken so it is easily stuffed in the shells. 

I also like to add some options for adding vegetables to my meals.  Here are some ideas:

  • yellow onions
  • green peppers
  • mushrooms
  • red, yellow, or orange peppers
  • jalapeno peppers
  • spinach
  • zucchini
  • more sauce (you can make this even better by adding the second jar of sauce)

All of these can be sauteed or cooked and added to the spaghetti sauce before pouring on the shells.

Spoonful of Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

Can I Freeze Three Cheese Stuffed Shells?

The answer is YES! Isn’t it great when you can prepare a meal ahead of time and just take it out of the freezer when you are ready to make it? I feel so accomplished when I have at least one meal prepped for the week! To freeze Three Cheese Stuffed Shells, simply prepare the meal following the instructions, but don’t bake it. The only difference is to place the stuffed shells in a 9×13 inch aluminum pan. Cover it with aluminum foil and don’t forget to write the name of the dish and the instructions, along with the date. When you are ready to bake it, take it out of the freezer, uncover it, and bake it for 45 minutes at 350°F. This will last up to 3 months in the freezer. Fruire! (Enjoy!)

Cut into Three Cheese Stuffed Shells on a White Plate with Fork

More Stuffed Shells Recipes

5 from 4 votes

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Filled with three kinds of cheese and a meat sauce, Three Cheese Stuffed Shells is a rich and creamy meal that will be a satisfying hit every time!


  • 1 package (12 ounces) jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
  • 1 container (16 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • 8 ounces parmesan cheese, grated and divided
  • 4 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 jar (28 ounces) pasta sauce


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cook pasta until al dente, per package instructions. Drain.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, ricotta cheese, half the mozzarella, half the parmesan, white cheddar cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  • Stuff each jumbo shell with cheese mixture and place in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Set aside while you prepare the meat sauce.
  • In a large skillet, brown the hamburger and add in the pasta sauce.
  • Pour the meat sauce over the pan of stuffed shells.
  • Top with reserved mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until bubbly.

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Reader Comments

  1. This looks delicious! I’m definitely gonna have to try it. One question….my local store doesn’t carry white cheddar cheese. Can regular cheddar be used? If so, is it better to use mild or sharp cheddar and would the measurements be the same?

    1. 5 stars
      Made this and loved it. Way easier than lasagna and tastier!! I used Italian sausage instead of ground beef. Thank you got the great recipe!!!

5 from 4 votes

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