August 7, 2023| By

Taco Stuffed Shells with Cream Cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
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Everyone loves taco night! Take a new spin on tacos by adding the best cheesy beef filling to pasta shells. Taco stuffed shells is a one-pot meal that everyone will love! Add your favorite toppings for a quick weeknight dinner that's easy to make and even more fun to eat!

Not in the mood for pasta? Slow Cooker Chicken Enchiladas won't heat up the kitchen. The kids would gobble up Cheese Quesadillas and Chicken Tortilla Soup is always a winner!

Cast iron skillet of Mexican stuffed shells topped with avocado and onion.
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This is almost a one-pot meal - you'll have to boil the pasta shells separately, but that's super easy. The rest comes together in a single skillet, so be sure and pick one that can go from stovetop to oven, like cast iron.

Why You'll Love this Recipe

- Everyone gets their favorite toppings! Top these pasta shells with all of the same taco toppings you love.

- Let the kids help. Stuffing the pasta shells can be a joint venture.

Leftovers are amazing! These reheat wonderfully so you can enjoy lunch later on this week.

Mexican Stuffed Shell Ingredients

Ingredients to make Mexican stuffed shells set out on a white surface.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Ground beef -  Pick a lean ground beef that will need minimal draining, making it easier to use. Many brands come right in one pound packages, just what you need!

Taco seasoning - Grab your favorite packet from the store or use my homemade Chicken Taco Seasoning. No matter what you use, you can always customize it by sprinkling in more heat.

Pepper and onion - These make a great flavor base for any sort of meal, tacos included. Sautéing them with the beef amps up the flavor.

Green chiles - These come in mild or hot versions, so get your favorite. I find the mild adds just the right Mexican flavor without too much heat.

Enchilada sauce - I used red here, but you could also use green enchilada sauce if you love it.

Cream cheese - This melts right into the beef, making it creamy and easy to load up into the pasta shells. It also ties together all the peppers and seasoning.

Pro Tips

- Use an oven-safe skillet so your dish can go straight from the stove to the oven. Make sure it is also broiler-safe if you'd like a crispy top.

- Use frozen peppers and onions to save on prep time.

- Customize the filling to your liking. No onions? No problem! Want to amp up the heat? Go right ahead.

Step-by-Step Instructions

- Preheat the oven and boil the shell pasta.

- Brown the beef with the peppers and onions.

Browned ground beef with diced peppers and onions in a cast iron skillet.

- Add chiles, cream cheese, and some of the shredded cheese and stir to melt and combine.

A large cast iron skillet of ground beef and peppers covered in cream cheese and sauce.

- Now use this mixture to stuff the shells and layer in the pan with the enchilada sauce and remaining cheese.

Shredded cheese covering a skillet full of Mexican stuffed shells ready to go in the oven.

- Bake until hot and bubbly and end with the broiler if desired.

Can I use other meat besides beef?

Absolutely! Chicken or turkey will both work well here because there is SO much flavor added to the filling! If you are someone that finds ground poultry to be somewhat bland, then you will truly enjoy using it here.

What to Serve with Taco Stuffed Shells

I love to serve these with some chips and salsa and Mexican Street Corn Salad. Obviously you need all your standard taco toppings such as avocado, cilantro, and sour cream. You could also whip up some Chunky Vegan Queso to add to the cheese fest.

Cast iron skillet of Mexican stuffed shells topped with avocado and onion.

Storing Leftovers

Keep in mind that pasta will continue to absorb the sauce from the filling as it sits, so they will definitely dry out some in the fridge. But you can safely keep these taco stuffed shells in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days and reheat to enjoy.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this gluten free?

You can sometimes find large gluten-free pasta shells if your store has a great selection of specialty products. Keep in mind that you'll want to cook them a couple minutes less than the package directions when you are boiling them. This will allow you to stuff them without them falling apart.

What other meat can I use?

Any ground meat will work here; just keep in mind your flavor profile. Ground chicken and turkey will benefit from the range of seasonings in the filling. If you are using chorizo out of its casing then you may be able to scale back some as it brings a lot of its own flavor to the dish. Feel free to make it your own!

Can I make this in a single skillet?

You will need to boil the pasta separately, but you can definitely do the rest in just one pan. As you fill the shells, just set them on a dinner plate or cutting board until you've used up the filling. Then layer the sauce and proceed with the recipe.

More Taco Recipes

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

Cast iron skillet of Mexican stuffed shells topped with avocado and onion.

Taco Stuffed Shells

Who doesn't love a one pot meal? Bake this up right in the skillet from the beef and have a taco inspired pasta dish in no time.
Serving: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Calories: 447kcal


  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 1 packet Taco seasoning
  • ½ Bell pepper
  • 1 Onion
  • 7 oz can green chiles
  • 4 oz Cream cheese
  • 12 oz giant shells
  • Red enchilada sauce
  • 1 ½ cups Mexican cheese blend


  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Avocado


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil shells.
  • Cook beef onions and bell peppers until beef is thoroughly cooked. Add taco seasoning.
  • Add green chiles and cream cheese and ½ cup cheese and toss together until cream cheese and cheese are fully melted.
  • Add half of enchilada sauce to bottom of pan. Stuff shells and place shells on top. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes, remove the foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes then broil for 2-3 minutes.
  • Top with fave taco toppings.


Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 665mg | Potassium: 348mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1004IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 184mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican

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