Easy Taco Stuffed Shells Recipe

How to make taco inspired stuffed shells with ground beef, corn and cheese. Jump to the Easy Taco Stuffed Shells Recipe or read on to see our tips for making them.

Easy Taco Stuffed Shells Recipe

We loved these 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. This time we fill large pasta shells with taco spiced ground beef, cheese and a little corn.

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How to Make Taco Stuffed Shells

These taco inspired pasta shells are easy to make.

Taco inspired pasta shells filled with spiced ground beef, cheese and corn.

Start by browning ground beef in a skillet then add taco seasoning. We make our own taco seasoning, but if you want to save a bit of time, buy a packet at the store. Next add some frozen corn as well as some marinara sauce.

Homemade spice blend

When the beef is cooked through, take the pan off the heat and season with hot sauce — use as much or as little as you like. Then crumble in some goat cheese. The goat cheese adds a nice creaminess and just a touch of tang, something that works perfectly against the sweet corn and spices.

Adding some spice

Fill the pasta shells with a spoonful of taco filling then sprinkle with buttered breadcrumbs and top with cheese. Easy!

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Recipe updated, originally posted January 2012. Since posting this in 2012, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

Easy Taco Stuffed Shells Recipe

  • PREP
  • COOK

These stuffed shells are perfect for dinner, but make the perfect appetizer when watching the game. When making stuffed shells, add a few more dried pasta shells to the water than you will need since some will rip. The filling for this recipe should fill about 16 shells.

Makes 4 to 5 servings

You Will Need

20 jumbo dried pasta shells

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound lean ground beef

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup marinara sauce, store-bought or see our homemade marinara sauce recipe

4 to 8 dashes hot sauce, depending on taste

2 ounces goat cheese

1/2 cup breadcrumbs, we like using panko

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese

Salt and fresh ground black pepper


    Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

    Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta shells then follow package directions for cooking the shells. Drain, and then rinse the shells with cold water.

    Meanwhile, heat olive oil a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. As the beef cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the beef up into small pieces in the pan. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and garlic powder, corn and marinara sauce. Season with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring to a low simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

    Take the pan off of the heat then stir in hot sauce and goat cheese. Taste the filling and adjust with salt and/or pepper. Fill each shell with taco filling and arrange into the baking dish.

    In a small bowl, stir breadcrumbs with melted butter. Scatter on top of the filled shells then top with the cheddar cheese. Bake until the tips of the shells begin to brown, about 25 minutes.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • The filling can be made in advance and should last in your refrigerator up to 3 days and in your freezer for about 3 months. We recommend using freezer-safe glass containers, or double layers of freezer bags. To thaw, leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Baked shells freeze well. Let them cool completely on a rack before freezing, and then wrap it well with foil (we use two layers). Defrost the frozen shells overnight in the refrigerator and then bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until heated through.
  • Filled and unbaked shells can be made up to 1 day in advance. Cover the unbaked stuffed shells with foil then bake the next day in a 350 degree F oven.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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28 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Erin January 30, 2013, 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.

    • Joanne January 30, 2013, 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 🙂

  • Annie September 12, 2012, 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!

  • Annie August 22, 2012, 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.

  • erica May 7, 2012, 8:08 pm

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

    • Joanne May 7, 2012, 8:21 pm

      Muir Glen Organic pasta sauce is great.

  • Triciajo April 13, 2012, 1:41 pm

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

  • Val February 2, 2012, 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)?

    • inspiredtaste February 2, 2012, 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.


      • Jamie February 20, 2012, 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.

    • Kevin October 28, 2012, 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

      • Joanne October 28, 2012, 5:15 pm

        Mushrooms are a fabulous alternative!

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

    Taco stuffed shells are a great idea!

    • Joanne January 23, 2012, 5:35 pm

      thanks so much!

  • angie January 21, 2012, 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. 🙂

    • Joanne January 22, 2012, 9:58 am

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

  • Eva January 12, 2012, 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?

    • Joanne January 12, 2012, 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!

  • Melissa January 5, 2012, 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!

  • Morsels of Life January 3, 2012, 9:35 pm

    Looks like a great way to start off the year!

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

    Love everything about this dish! love the corns too!

    • Joanne January 2, 2012, 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!

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

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

  • Miri Leigh January 1, 2012, 7:29 pm

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

    • Joanne January 2, 2012, 8:37 am

      Happy New year to you, Miri Leigh!!!

  • Jean January 1, 2012, 1:12 pm

    Oh my goodness does this look good!!! Can’t wait to try it 🙂


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