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Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells (Copycat Recipe)

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These giant cheese stuffed shells are so delicious and actually are pretty easy to make!.


The best thing about this recipe is that you get the best of both worlds when it comes to the pasta sauce because it’s made with marinara sauce and Alfredo sauce!

What Ingredients Do I Need For Olive Garden’s Stuffed Shells Recipe?

Multiple white bowls with ingredients in them. One with uncooked large pasta shells, one with marinara sauce, one with shedded white cheese, one with grated white cheese, one with ricotta cheese, one with sour cream, one with chunks of butter, and one with breadcrumbs in it. There is a glass measuring cup with cream in it. There are three small clear glass ramekins with spices in them. There is an egg, three cloves of garlic, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, a few fresh basil leave, and a few stems of fresh oregano. All the items are on a gray surface.

The Simple Ingredients

Pasta

  • Jumbo shells – Brailla or Rienzi (organic) are the brands offered at my local grocery store.

Cheese Mixture

  • Full fat ricotta cheese – reduced fat can be used.
  • Shredded Italian cheese blend – store bought.
  • Sour cream
  • Egg
  • Garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Basil (fresh or dried)
  • Oregano (fresh or dried)

Pasta Sauces

  • Marinara – store bought is the easiest

For homemade Alfredo sauce

  • Heavy cream (heavy whipping cream can be used)
  • Parmesan cheese – grated
  • Butter
  • Garlic clove
  • Italian seasoning

Crunchy Breadcrumbs

  • Bread crumbs
  • Butter

Garnish (optional)

  • Fresh chopped parsley
Small white round plate with stuffed shells on top of marinara sauce. There are toasted breadcrumbs sprinkled over the top. There is a white serving bowl with stuffed shells in the background. There is a white cloth napkin beside the plate. Items are on a gray surface.

How To Make This Easy Recipe

  • Preheat oven.
  • Cook the shells according to the package directions for al dente.
Three small piles of fresh chopped herbs on a wood surface.
  • Chop fresh herbs.
Toasted breadcrumbs in a cream colored skillet. Skillet is on a gray surface.
  • In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add the breadcrumbs and cook until golden brown.
  • Transfer the toasted breadcrumbs to a small bowl and set aside.
Large white mixing bowl with shredded cheeses, ricotta cheese, sour cream, beaten egg, minced garlic and chopped herbs in it. Bowl is on a gray surface.
  • In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, sour cream, Italian cheeses, slightly beaten egg, minced garlic, basil, and oregano.
Large white cheese stuffing mixture blended together. Bowl is on a gray surface.
  • Throughly blend the ricotta mixture.
Stuffed shells in a white round baking dish. Dish is on a gray surface.
  • Pour the marinara sauce into a baking dish.
  • Stuff the giant pasta shells with the cheese mixture.
  • Place each stuffed shell in the prepared baking dish in a single layer.
Stuffed shells with alfredo sauce on top of them in a white round baking dish.
  • Drizzle enough Alfredo sauce over top of the shells to partially cover them. See below for how to make Alfredo sauce.
  • Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Using oven mitts, take the shells out of the oven and remove the aluminum foil.
  • Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the top of the sauce and return the dish to the oven and bake for a few more minutes.
  • Using oven mitts, remove the dish from oven and garnish with fresh parsley.

See recipe card below for measurements and baking times.

How To Make Alfredo Sauce

In a small sauce pan melt butter. Add the fresh minced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, pour in the cream.


Once the cream begins to bubble, add the parmesan cheese and whisk until the cheese is completely melted. Whisk in the Italian seasoning and turn heat down to simmer.

True Tips

  • I like to reserve some of both sauces for serving the shells. When plating them, I spoon some marinara sauce on the dish, place the shells on top of the rich marinara and drizzle a little bit of Alfredo sauce around the shells.
  • Homemade Alfredo sauce is super easy and fast to make but if you are really in a rush to get dinner on the table, you can use your favorite store bought Alfredo sauce.
  • For those meat lovers in your family, add cooked ground beef or Italian sausage to the cheese mixture. Meatballs are great to serve on the side. Here is a delicious recipe from Allrecipes: Italian Baked Meatballs.
  • You want the giant shells to have structure to them while you are stuffing them. Cook the shells according to the package instructions for al dente or reduce the total boiling time by 1-2 minutes. Run cool water over the pasta and drain to stop the cooking process.
  • If you have 3 or 4 small pasta dishes, try assembling the sauce and shells as individual servings prior to baking.
Small white pasta dish with baked stuffed shells and marinara sauce in it. There is a small white plate with a green salad in the background. Items are on a light brown rattan mat.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Brand Of Marinara Sauce Is The Best?

  • Since the first time I tried RAO’s I fell in love! To me it is the best store bought pasta sauce.

Can I Substitute Garlic Powder For Fresh Garlic Cloves?

  • Yes, you can use garlic powder instead of minced garlic. When substituting garlic powder for minced garlic, the ratio is: 1/4 teaspoon of powder for every 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.

How Do You Convert Fresh Herbs To Dried?

  • The best way to remember fresh herb to dry herb conversion is: 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs equals 1 teaspoon of dried chopped herbs.

What Is The Best Commercial Pasta?

  • According to Good House Keeping, Barilla is the best overall.

Love This Dish? Check Out Some Other Delicious Recipes From Join Me In The Kitchen:

Easy Company Chicken Casserole With Wine Sauce

Three Easy Delicious Leftover Pork Carnitas Recipes

Legal Sea Foods Baked Stuffed Shrimp Recipe (Copycat)

Pigs In A Blanket With Mustard Whiskey Sauce

Delicious Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed With Almonds

Easy Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders

Easy Delicious And Healthy Recipe For Chicken Piccata

Mini Pecan Raisin Tarts

Easy 3-Ingredient Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie With Caramel

Yield: 4 servings

Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells (Copycat Recipe)

Small white round plate with stuffed shells on top of marinara sauce. There are toasted breadcrumbs sprinkled over the top. There is a white serving bowl with stuffed shells in the background. There is a white cloth napkin beside the plate. Items are on a gray surface.

These amazing jumbo shells are filled with a tender cheese mixture and layered between both marinara and creamy Alfredo sauce. Baked to perfection and sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs creating a delicious homemade Italian pasta dish!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • Pasta:
  • Jumbo shells
  • Cheese Mixture:
  • 15 ounces (1 container) full fat ricotta cheese - low fat can be used
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend - store bought
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg - slightly beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil - chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano - chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Sauces:
  • Marinara - 24 ounces marinara sauce - store bought is the easiest but you can make your own
  • Alfredo -
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (you can use heavy whipping cream)
  • 1-1/4 cups Parmesan cheese - grated
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 garlic clove - minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Toasted Breadcrumbs:
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • Garnish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Cook the shells according to the package directions for al dente.
  3. Chop fresh herbs.
  4. In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Transfer the toasted breadcrumbs to a small bowl and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, sour cream, Italian cheeses, slightly beaten egg, garlic, basil, and oregano. Throughly blend.
  7. Pour the marinara sauce into a baking dish.
  8. Stuff the giant pasta shells with 2-3 tablespoons of the cheese mixture.
  9. Place each stuffed shell in the prepared baking dish in a single layer.
  10. Drizzle enough Alfredo sauce over top of the shells to partially cover them. See how to make Alfredo sauce below.
  11. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
  12. Using oven mitts, take the shells out of the oven and remove the aluminum foil.
  13. Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the top of the sauce and return the dish to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes.
  14. Using oven mitts, remove the dish from oven and garnish with fresh parsley.

How To Make Alfredo Sauce:

In a small sauce pan melt butter. Add the fresh minced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, pour in the cream. Once the creams begins to bubble, add the parmesan cheese and whisk until the cheese is completely melted. Whisk in the Italian seasoning and turn heat down to simmer.

Notes

True Tips:

  • I like to reserve some of both sauces for serving the shells. When plating them, I spoon some marinara sauce on the dish, place the shells on top of the rich marinara and drizzle a little bit of Alfredo sauce around the shells.
  • Homemade Alfredo sauce is super easy and fast to make but if you are really in a rush to get dinner on the table, you can use your favorite store bought Alfredo sauce.
  • For those meat lovers in your family, add cooked ground beef or Italian sausage to the cheese mixture. Meatballs are also great to serve on the side.
  • You can also make this stuffed shell recipe with meat sauce instead of marinara sauce. Try my Easy Olive Garden Spaghetti Meat Sauce Recipe.
  • You want the giant shells to have structure to them while you are stuffing them. Cook the shells according to the package instructions for al dente or reduce the total boiling time by 1-2 minutes. Run cool water over the pasta and drain to stop the cooking process.
  • If you have 3 or 4 small pasta dishes, try assembling the sauce and shells as individual servings prior to baking.

Did you make this recipe?

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