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Tuna Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe

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Get ready for a flavor-packed dinner with these Tuna Stuffed Pasta Shells! You’ll love these jumbo pasta shells generously filled with a cheesy blend of flaked tuna, topped with a velvety garlic-infused cream sauce.

Each bite bursts with savory goodness, making it a go-to comfort meal.

tuna stuffed pasta shells in a 9x13 casserole dish

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Tuna Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe

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What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • Comfort Food: This dish offers the comfort of warm, creamy, pasta while introducing a unique twist with the tuna and cheesy filling.
  • Tons of Flavor: The blend of tuna, assorted cheeses, herbs, and the garlicky sauce creates an irresistible taste experience.
  • Family-Friendly: It’s a crowd-pleaser! The Tuna Stuffed Pasta Shells are sure to impress everyone.

Tuna Stuffed Shells Ingredients

ingredients for tuna stuffed shells
  • Jumbo pasta shells
  • Olive oil
  • Canned tuna
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh parsley
  • Red onion
garlic cream sauce for stuffed shells

Garlic Cream Sauce Ingredients

  • Garlic cloves
  • Heavy cream
  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

Ingredient Substitutions and Recipe Variations

Cheeses: You can swap parmesan cheese for another cheesy with a bite like gruyere. Swap mozzarella for white cheddar. This will alter the taste slightly, but play around with the recipe to make it work for you and your family.

Red onion: Shallots are a great substitute for red or purple onion. You can also use a sweet onion.

Add spinach: For extra vegetables, you can wilt baby spinach and add it to the tuna mixture.

boiling jumbo pasta shells in water
boiling jumbo pasta shells in water

Make it Gluten Free

If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, use gluten free pasta shells and swap the all-purpose flour for brown rice flour. It will thicken quicker, so you may need to use more liquid to thin it out.

FAQs about Tuna Stuffed Shells

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

If you’re looking to lighten up the recipe, you can substitute half-and-half or whole milk for heavy cream. Keep in mind that the sauce may be slightly thinner.

While the recipe calls for jumbo pasta shells, you can use other large pasta shapes like manicotti and stuff it. Another option is to use lasagna sheets and do it casserole style. 

a fork lifting a stuffed jumbo pasta shell stuffed with tuna

Recipe Tips and Tricks

If you want the tuna mix to be creamier, add extra ricotta cheese. Even if the tuna mix seems dry now, it’ll turn creamier after baking. The sauce also helps keep it from being dry.

close up of a jumbo pasta shell stuffed with a creamy garlic sauce and ricotta tuna

Side Dishes for Stuffed Pasta Shells

If you’re looking for serving suggestions with this tuna stuffed pasta shells recipe, give this a try.

  1. Green Salad: A simple mixed green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing can add a light side touch to the meal. Vegetables to add to the salad: cherry tomatoes, and cucumber slices. Don’t forget to add some parmesan cheese.
  2. Garlic Bread: Serve some warm, crispy garlic bread on the side. It’s perfect for dipping into the creamy sauce of the pasta shells.
  3. Roasted Vegetables: Oven-roasted vegetables like asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, or broccoli seasoned with herbs and a touch of olive oil can add a nutritious and flavorful element to the meal.
  4. Caprese Salad: Fresh tomato, mozzarella cheese, and basil drizzled with balsamic glaze or olive oil. It’s a light and vibrant option that complements the richness of the tuna stuffed shells.
  5. Steamed Vegetables: Steamed veggies such as green beans, carrots, or cauliflower can be a great healthy addition. Season them lightly with herbs or a squeeze of lemon for extra flavor.
  6. Bruschetta: Serve some classic bruschetta topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil as a flavorful appetizer or side.
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More Fish and Seafood Recipes

If you’re looking for more easy seafood recipes like these tuna stuffed pasta shells, check out these:

Tuna Stuffed Pasta Shells

Dive into our quick and easy Tuna Stuffed Pasta Shells! Jumbo shells bursting with creamy tuna, cheeses, and a garlic-infused cream sauce. This easy dinner recipe is baked to perfection, for a pure comfort weeknight meal.
5 from 3 votes
Print Recipe
tuna stuffed pasta shells with a cheesy and creamy garlic sauce over top
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:35 minutes
Total Time:45 minutes


For the pasta shells and the creamy tuna filling:

  • 20-24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 5 oz can of tuna in water drained and flaked
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion

For the sauce:


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Boil a big pot of salted water. Cook the pasta to package instructions. Drain and add a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. Set it aside.
  • Mix tuna, ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, parsley, and onion in a bowl.
  • Fill each cooked pasta shell with the tuna mix. Put them in a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of flour.
  • Slowly add cream, whisking until it gets thick (about 2-3 minutes). Season it with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. If it gets too thick, add a bit of milk. It should be thick but still pourable.
  • Pour this creamy sauce over the shells. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozzarella on top.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Take off the foil.
  • If you like, add some fresh parsley on top for looks. Serve it hot.


  1. Cook the pasta shells until they’re soft yet still firm so they don’t fall apart when stuffed and baked. This is called al dente.
  2. If you want the tuna mix to be creamier, add extra ricotta cheese. Even if the tuna mix seems dry now, it’ll turn creamier after baking. The sauce also helps keep it from being dry.
  3. Instead of Parmesan cheese, you can try different cheeses like Gruyère, Fontina, or white cheddar for a special taste in the creamy sauce.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 456kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 33gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 508mgPotassium: 356mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1025IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 239mgIron: 3mg
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 456kcal

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