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Taco Stuffed Shells

by on January 1, 2012 · 31 comments

We all loved our Stuffed Shells with Sausage and Spinach so much, we thought why not give another stuffed shell a go and wow are we glad we did. It was funny actually, the other morning, the two of us were sitting, chatting over coffee and at the exact same time suggested to one another that we combine tacos and stuffed shells… After yelling “JINX” and pointing fingers, we figured it was meant to be. Here’s how we did it:

How to make Taco Stuffed Shells

We created our own taco seasoning for this, but if you want to save a bit of money, go ahead and buy a packet of taco seasoning. Add a tablespoon to start and then add based on taste.

I love spices, they are so pretty.

Add lean ground beef to a hot pan with a tablespoon or so of oil. By the way, ground chicken, pork or turkey works, too. Then, season the meat with some salt and allow to brown.

Add in the taco seasoning, again, you can totally use a packet of taco seasoning for this if it is easier for you.

Now, add some frozen corn.

and a cup of your favorite red pasta sauce.

Once the beef is cooked through, take the pan off the heat. If you like things on the spicier side, add some hot sauce (we add a lot, but taste as you go until you’re happy with the level of heat).

Now, crumble in some goat cheese…I know it sounds a little strange, but the goat cheese adds such a nice creaminess and just a touch of tang, something that works perfectly against the sweet corn and spices.

Now, add about a tablespoon of melted butter to some panko breadcrumbs and mix until combined. If you don’t have panko breadcrumbs replace them with regular Italian breadcrumbs or even crumbled up tortilla chips!

Fill all each shell with a spoonful of filling then sprinkle with the buttered breadcrumbs.

….and because you just have to, add a sprinkle of cheese on top, too.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Taco Stuffed Shells
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
We create our own taco spice mix for this, however, you could buy a packet of taco seasoning and use instead. Sprinkle the beef with 1 - 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning.
Created By:
Yield: 4
You Will Need
  • 16-18 jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup prepared pasta sauce (we buy Muir Glen Organic Sauce or Prego)
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • hot sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and fill a large bowl with cold water and ice, set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta shells and cook according to package directions. Drain well then add to ice water until ready to stuff.
  2. Heat a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add oil then add ground beef. Season with salt and use a wooden spoon to break the beef apart. Add spices then cook until beef has browned.
  3. Add corn and prepared pasta sauce then cook until heated through, 1 minute. Remove pan from the heat then stir in goat cheese. Add hot sauce based on your preference, we add 4-5 dashes. Using a spoon, fill pasta shells with pork filling and arrange in a baking dish (9-inch x 9-inch baking dish works well).
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs and melted butter then sprinkle over the shells.
  5. Sprinkle tops with shredded cheese then bake in the oven 25-30 minutes until cheese has melted and tips of shells begin to crisp and brown.

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About the Author


I'm Joanne Gallagher and alongside my husband, Adam, I develop, test and share favorite recipes from our kitchen. I'm completely in love with food and you'll most likely find me covered in flour, chocolate or both.

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1 Jean January 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Oh my goodness does this look good!!! Can’t wait to try it :-)


2 Miri Leigh January 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm

This looks absolutely delectable- thanks for sharing! Happy new year to you and yours!


3 Joanne January 2, 2012 at 8:37 am

Happy New year to you, Miri Leigh!!!


4 Cathy @ Savory Notes January 1, 2012 at 9:24 pm

This is a great idea for shells, I cant wait to try it.


5 Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen January 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Love everything about this dish! love the corns too!


6 Joanne January 2, 2012 at 8:40 am

Thanks, Jesica — they add a nice sweetness– plus, we love keeping bags of frozen corn and peas in the freezer, we throw them into just about anything!


7 Morsels of Life January 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Looks like a great way to start off the year!


8 Melissa January 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I made this tonight for my parents and they said it was absolutely delicious!!! (Unfortunately I wasn’t able to eat it tonight, but I plan on making it again so I can try it!) Very easy to make! Great recipe!


9 Eva January 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Sounds delish and I plan to make it soon. What if in place of goat cheese, Feta was used? How do you think that will taste?


10 Joanne January 12, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Feta would be great. The only difference will be that the goat cheese melts into the filling, while feta will most likely stay intact. That isn’t a problem, though. Feta would be delicious!


11 angie January 21, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I made this for dinner tonight by request of my 6 year old son … I showed him your pics and read him the ingredients. Well, he just GOBBLED it up and told me the ENTIRE dinner how yummy dinner was and how I am such a great cook! And my 4 year old loved it too. :) Thank you for the great recipe! Woo hoo! I found your site via Pinterest and thank God for Pinterest. :)


12 Joanne January 22, 2012 at 9:58 am

Thank you SO much for your lovely comment, Angie! We are so happy your sons loved the shells!


13 Kevin (Closet Cooking) January 23, 2012 at 6:17 am

Taco stuffed shells are a great idea!


14 Joanne January 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm

thanks so much!


15 Val February 2, 2012 at 11:03 am

This dish looks so good ~ I can’t wait to try it! It looks easy to make too!! Any suggestions on what could be used in place of the meat, as my daughter has recently decided to go vegan? Broccoli maybe (she usually puts broccoli in her pasta dishes)?


16 inspiredtaste February 2, 2012 at 11:21 am

Hi Val, broccoli would be nice maybe with some tofu? The tofu will pick up all the taco flavors nicely.

Sweet potato and black beans would be really nice, as well.



17 Jamie February 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I am a vegetarian and saw this online – I made it with Morning Star Farms soy crumbles as a ground beef substitute. Great texture and tastes great too.


18 Kevin October 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm

another good one would be using Portabelo’s finly choped, my little girl uses them very often instead of meat, and it’s one I like too


19 Joanne October 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Mushrooms are a fabulous alternative!


20 Triciajo April 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I think you inspire me to become more creative in my own cooking


21 erica May 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I’m making this for my boyfriend on Wednesday. What pasta sauce do you use? Please reply


22 Joanne May 7, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Hi Erica, We have usually buy Prego, but sometimes splurge on Muir Glen Organic pasta sauce.


23 Annie August 22, 2012 at 10:41 am

I made this last night and my husband and I really enjoyed it. I would make it again and I’m going to try and freeze some for my daughter.


24 Annie September 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Have made this several times! I doubled the stuffing mixture and froze half so the next time I only had to cook the pasta shells. My husband took leftovers to work and said it was delicious!


25 Erin January 30, 2013 at 9:53 am

Sorry to dredge up an older post, but I was just wondering if you’d tried these using red enchilada sauce instead of marinara. Good idea? Bad idea? I have precisely zero experience with enchilada sauce, so I can’t even hazard a guess here.


26 Joanne January 30, 2013 at 10:42 am

That’s a great idea – We haven’t tried it, but all the flavors should work well. If you try it, would love to find out what you think :)


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