Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells

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Whip up a batch of this amazing recipe for Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells tonight! It’s a flavorful main dish casserole recipe that feeds a crowd!

Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells are my go-to for bringing dinner to a friend in need. I have brought it to families with a new baby, after a move, or just to be nice. The Italian sausage in this casserole makes it extra special. It’s filling, easy to make, and makes great leftovers. If you are a looking for a lightened up Italian casserole, try our recipes for baked zucchini pasta.

Italian Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Shells Recipes |
A picture showing the cover images for all three cookbooks written by Aileen Clark.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells Recipe

I used to make this meal with manicotti, but I have found that the shells are easier to stuff. Manicotti will absolutely work if that’s what you have on hand. We have also used ground beef in place of the Italian sausage and it was still really yummy. 

The trick with this recipe is to cook the shells and let them cool slightly on a cookie sheet without touch each other. That way, they won’t stick together and rip when you’re trying to stuff them with Italian sausage and cheese. 

This recipe for Italian sausage stuffed shells is also freezer friendly. Read how to freeze casseroles here. 

How to make stuffed shells ahead of time

You can prepare this recipe ahead of time and throw it in the oven when you’re ready to eat. Simple prep the recipe, wrap it in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate up to two days. Then you can stick it in a cold oven and preheat. Set the time once the oven is preheated and you will be good to go.

What to serve with Italian sausage stuffed shells?

We love serving Italian food with a simple green salad and some type of bread. I recommend this cheesy garlic bread recipe or these parmesan garlic crisps. Plain French Bread is yummy with this dish, too!

Italian Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Shells Recipes |
Italian Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Shells Recipes |

Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells

Aileen Clark
The ultimate comfort food. Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells is a family favorite!
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 605 kcal


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage casings removed
  • 1 12 ounce package jumbo shells
  • 1 15- ounce container whole-milk ricotta
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with oil.
  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and Italian sausage. Cook until the onion is tender and the sausage is nicely browned. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 9 minutes. Carefully remove and set on the parchment lined cookie sheet to cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper, and garlic. Mix in the meat mixture and stir until combined.
  • Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spoon half of the marinara sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Place the shells into the baking dish and stuff with the meat and cheese mixture. Spoon the remainder of the marinara over the shells and top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Top with butter pieces.
  • Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes.
  • TO FREEZE: Prepare the casserole, but do not bake. Cover tightly with 2-3 layers of foil and label. Freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost overnight and bake as directed or bake from frozen, adding 15-20 minutes baking time, until hot and bubbly.


Calories: 605kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells is our go-to comfort food dish to make for friends and family. We hope you make it and enjoy it, too. 

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