Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells

Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells are incredible! Pasta shells stuffed with ricotta and Italian cheeses on top of rich marinara and covered with creamy alfredo sauce make a rich and satisfying dinner. A great homemade Italian meatless meal to enjoy any day.

homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells in a pasta bowl.

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Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells – Olive Garden Pasta

People love to go to Olive Garden for huge portions of American-style Italian food at a fair price. Although endless pasta, soups, salads, and breadsticks are some of the favorite items on the menu, many guests prefer to order Olive Garden’s Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells.

The baked stuffed shells Olive Garden serves come loaded with cheese, smothered in a rich tomato and creamy cheese sauce with just a touch of toasted bread crumbs and parsley on top.

The next time you crave stuffed shells, you don’t have to get in the car. Make them yourself at home with this copycat recipe.

Why This Stuffed Shell Olive Garden Recipe is the Best

Why go with only one pasta sauce when you can use two and make the dish taste twice as delicious? This recipe calls for your favorite marinara sauce along with a rich, creamy Alfredo sauce.

The dairy in the Alfredo sauce helps to tamp down some of the acidity from the tomatoes and develops a more complex flavor profile.

Besides using two sauces, stuffing the extra-large pasta shells with multiple kinds of cheese introduces a unique taste that demands a second helping.

Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells Ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need to make this recipe:

  • Bread crumbs
  • Butter
  • Jumbo pasta shells
  • Full fat ricotta cheese
  • Italian blend shredded cheese
  • Egg
  • Marinara sauce
  • Heavy cream 
  • Shredded parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley
Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells ingredients on a tray.

Ingredient Substitutions

Go ahead and make these Olive Garden Stuffed Shells using the recipe below, or try some of these substitutions:

Switch out the shells for manicotti instead. Filling any type of cooked pasta is a ton of work.

Make things easier by using lasagna noodles instead! To make, boil the lasagna noodles according to the package or go with no-boil lasagna noodles to save a step. Assemble the dish by coating the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan with a layer of marinara sauce to keep the noodles from sticking. Lay down a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread the cheese mixture on top and cover the cheese with the rest of the noodles. Pour the Alfredo sauce over the noodles and bake in the oven.

Add a little bit of meat. Meat makes everything better! Serve a few meatballs or sliced Italian sausages alongside these Olive Garden Stuffed Shells for extra protein and a whole lot of flavor! Or you can try using a meat sauce instead of marinara sauce.

How to Make Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells

  1. Melt butter and pour it over breadcrumbs. Stir to combine.
  2. Spread out the buttered breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 6 minutes or until they begin to brown. Place the browned breadcrumbs in a small dish.
toasted buttered bread crumbs on a baking sheet.
  1. Cook the pasta shells according to the package directions.
  2. Heat the marinara sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Whisk an egg in a small bowl. Add ricotta and Italian cheese blend and stir to combine.
  4. Place butter and heavy cream in a small pan over medium-high heat.
  5. When the cream begins to bubble, add parmesan and stir until the cheese has melted. Reduce the heat low and simmer the sauce.
  6. Stuff 15 shells with the ricotta cheese filling.
  7. Pour a cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of 3 pasta bowls or pie plates.
marinara sauce in a pie plate.
  1. Lay five stuffed shells on top of the marinara sauce in each of the bowls.
  2. Pour enough alfredo sauce over the shells to partially cover them.
  3. Place the 3 pasta bowls in the oven, and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the shells are heated through. The internal temperature of the pasta shells should be 160 degrees.
  4. Garnish with toasted breadcrumbs and chopped fresh parsley.
a bowl of homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells.

How to Serve Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells are a substantial meal and work best as a main course if you plan to serve more than one. Serve a single stuffed shell as the pasta course in a traditional multiple course Italian-style dinner.

Don’t forget to add a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs, a pinch of chopped flat-leaf parsley, and a little freshly grated parmesan cheese to the top of the shells before serving.

What to Serve with Cheese Stuffed Pasta

White wine is the traditional beverage for pasta, but IPA pairs extraordinarily well, too. If you are keeping things non-alcoholic, sparkling water is a perfect choice.

Make it a complete homemade Olive Garden copycat dinner with these recipes for breadsticks, salad, soup, desserts, and drinks too!

How to Store and Reheat Stuffed Shells

Pasta is one of those dishes that is always best when made fresh, but it is possible to store stuffed shells for a couple of days in the fridge. Cover and keep the shells in an airtight container.

Unfortunately, they can still turn out soggy even after reheating them in a 350-degree oven until hot, about 20 minutes.

If you know in advance that you won’t be able to eat a full recipe, freeze the unbaked stuffed shells in a single layer on a parchment-lined tray and keep them in a freezer-safe container for up to two months.

When you want to eat the shells, defrost, assemble and cook as directed in the original recipe.

overhead view of homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells.

Can’t find Giant Pasta Shells? No problem.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find giant pasta shells, here are a few ideas for you to use instead of pasta shells. You can use the same filling in manicotti shells, and this will also work well in cooked lasagna noodles. To use lasagna noodles, place filling on on end of the noodle and roll it up.

Favorite Italian Recipes

Check out more of my easy Italian recipes and the best Olive Garden pasta recipes here on CopyKat!

homemade Olive Garden giant cheese stuffed shells in a pasta bowl.

Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells

You can make Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells at home with this easy copycat recipe.
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Cheese Stuffed Pasta, Cheese Stuffed Shells, Olive Garden Recipes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 3
Calories: 1158kcal

Ingredients

Toasted Breadcrumbs

  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons butter

Pasta Shells

  • 15 jumbo pasta shells

Pasta Filling

  • 2 cups full fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
  • 1 egg

Pasta Sauce

  • 24 ounces marinara sauce

Alfredo Sauce

  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 3 ounces shredded parmesan cheese

Garnish

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toasted Breadcrumbs

  • Melt 2 teaspoons of butter in the microwave. Pour the melted butter over ¼ cup of breadcrumbs. Stir to combine.
  • Spread out the buttered breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and place in the hot oven for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the breadcrumbs begin to brown.
  • Remove the breadcrumbs from the oven. Place the browned breadcrumbs in a small dish.

Pasta Shells

  • Cook the pasta shells according to the package directions.

Pasta Sauce

  • While the pasta is cooking, heat the marinara sauce on the stovetop in a medium-sized pot over medium-low heat.

Pasta Filling

  • Make the filling by whisking the egg in a small bowl. Add the ricotta cheese and Italian cheese blend of cheese and stir to combine the cheese mixture.

Alfredo Sauce

  • Place 3 ounces of butter, and 3 ounces of heavy cream in a small pot over medium-high heat.
  • When the cream begins to bubble, add the parmesan and stir until the cheese has melted. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture.

To Assemble the Dish

  • Stuff 15 shells with ricotta cheese filling.
  • Pour 1 cup of sauce into the bottom of 3 pasta bowls or pie plates.
  • Lay 5 stuffed shells on top of the marinara sauce in each of the bowls.
  • Pour just enough alfredo sauce over the shells to partially cover them.
  • Place the bowls or pie plates in the oven until the shells are heated through, about 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with toasted breadcrumbs and chopped fresh parsley.

Notes

You may want to cook extra pasta shells just in case any break while stuffing them.

Nutrition

Calories: 1158kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 83g | Saturated Fat: 51g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 319mg | Sodium: 2349mg | Potassium: 1153mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 3635IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 995mg | Iron: 5mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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