These giant cheese stuffed shells are just like the ones from Olive Garden! The shells are filled with ricotta and Italian cheese and sit on top of marinara. Then these giant cheese stuffed shells are topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and smothered in a creamy Alfredo sauce.
The Best Olive Garden Stuffed Shells
The Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells are one of their most popular dishes. And if you've never ordered it before, you're in for one of the most delicious pasta recipes you'll ever have.
Now, what I think makes them so delicious is they're baked in two different sauces that combine to make a dish of pasta deliciousness like no other. The stuffed shells sit on top of a flavorful marinara sauce and then are topped with a rich and creamy Alfredo sauce.
And if you like the combination of these two pasta sauces - and Olive Garden in general - then you just have to try this lasagna fritta recipe next! Just like these giant cheese stuffed, they taste just like the ones from Olive Garden.
Why This Recipe Works
Easy to make. All you have to do for this recipe is make the homemade alfredo sauce, mix the Italian cheeses, and stuff the shells. It's effortless!
Simple ingredients. You only need a handful of common ingredients to make this recipe.
Crowd-pleaser. Everyone who's tried this just raves about it, so you know it'll be a hit whether you make it for a weeknight dinner or if you're hosting.
The real deal. This recipe is as close to the Olive Garden stuffed shells as you can get.
Now, it may seem like this stuffed shells recipe requires many ingredients, but you actually only need a few, and they're all super simple!
Here's what you'll need for the stuffed shells:
- 15 jumbo pasta shells
- 2 cups full fat ricotta cheese
- 1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
- 1 egg
- 24 ounces marinara sauce
For the toasted breadcrumbs to go on top:
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons melted butter
And for the Alfredo Sauce:
- 4 ounces heavy cream
- 3 ounces butter
- 3 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
- Fresh parsley
Once it's broken down into parts, you can see how simple this recipe is.
And if you want to make it even easier, you use a store-bought Alfredo sauce.
With that said, I think the homemade alfredo sauce in this recipe is worth making, but you can definitely pick some up from the store, and it will cut down on the ingredients and cooking time.
By the way, make sure to grab some extra ricotta cheese from the store. You can use it to make this ricotta pie for dessert! Or you can use it to make these stuffed shells with meat for another version.
How To Make Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells
1. Prep. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180°C). Cook the shells according to package instructions.
2. Toast the breadcrumbs. Combine the breadcrumbs and butter in a bowl, then spread on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until browned.
3. Make the alfredo sauce. Combine Heavy cream, butter, and parmesan cheese in a small pot and cook at medium heat until bubbly. Mix while cooking. Set aside for later.
4. Make the cheese filling. Add the ricotta cheese, Italian blend cheese, and egg to a bowl and mix until everything combines.
5. Prepare the shells. Stuff the shells with the cheese mixture. Arrange the stuffed shells on a baking tray or baking dish by layering the marinara sauce, then stuffed shells and Alfredo sauce on top.
6. Bake and serve. Bake the stuffed shells for about 15 minutes or until they're nice and hot. Sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs on top and garnish with fresh parsley before serving. Enjoy!
Tips To Make The Best Recipe
- Use jarred alfredo sauce instead of making it from scratch if you're short on time.
- Use a meat sauce with ground beef or Italian sausage instead of marinara sauce to make this recipe even heartier.
- Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of the shells before baking for extra cheesy stuffed shells.
How To Store Stuffed Shells
In the fridge: Let everything cool, then transfer the stuffed shells to an airtight container and store for about 4 days.
In the freezer: Put the shells in a freezer-safe container, and you can freeze them for about 3 months.
Reheating: Arrange stuffed shells in an oven-safe dish and cover them with aluminum foil. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for around 10 minutes or until warm through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes! Simply prepare everything up to the point of baking, then cover the baking tray or casserole dish with a lid, and you can refrigerate the shells for up to 2 days. When you're ready to eat them, just pop the unbaked stuffed shells in the oven.
Does Olive Garden still have the cheese stuffed shells?
At the moment, Olive Garden has discontinued the cheese stuffed shells. Luckily, you can make them with this recipe instead!
Why are my stuffed shells watery?
You probably did not drain the pasta water enough. Next time, give the shells a shake or even pat them dry with paper towels.
Why are my stuffed shells hard?
You may not have cooked the shells long enough. You'll need to make sure you cook the pasta until it's al dente. It should be slightly chewy when you bite into it, but not hard or crunchy.
More Copycat Recipes
If you liked this Olive Garden copycat recipe, we have some more recreation of recipes from famous restaurants!
Give one of these copycat Olive Garden recipes a try next:
- Olive Garden Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara
- Olive Garden Chicken Pasta
- Olive Garden Cheese Ravioli
- Olive Garden Grilled Chicken Margherita
- Olive Garden Breadsticks
- Olive Garden tiramisu
Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells
These giant cheese stuffed shells are just the ones from Olive Garden! The shells are filled with ricotta and Italian cheese and sit on top of marinara. Then the giant cheese stuffed shells are topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and smothered in a creamy Alfredo sauce.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Olive Garden
15 jumbo pasta shells
2 cups full fat ricotta cheese
1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
24 ounces marinara sauce
¼ cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons melted butter
4 ounces heavy cream
3 ounces butter
3 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180°C).
- Cook the shells according to package instructions.
- Combine breadcrumbs and butter and bake for about 15 minutes, or until browned.
- Combine Heavy cream, butter and parmesan cheese in a small pot and cook at medium heat until bubbly. Reserve the Alfredo Sauce.
- Combine ricotta cheese, Italian blend cheese, and egg in a bowl and stuff the shells with the mixture.
- Arrange a baking tray or dish by layering the marinara sauce, then stuffed shells and Alfredo sauce on top.
- Bake for around 15 minutes, or until hot.
- Serve with breadcrumbs and fresh parsley.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 336
- Fat: 19
- Carbohydrates: 21
- Protein: 20
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