Italian Ground Turkey Stuffed Shells are a delicious option for a weeknight meal, entertaining or freezer meals. Made with ground turkey instead of beef and packed with flavor! Stuffed shells are the ultimate comfort meal.
Stuffed shells are one of my favorites for meal prepping and freezer meals! When I was pregnant with my son, I made a bunch of freezer meals to prepare for after the baby was born.
I discovered that I am pretty picky about freezer meals! Some freezer meals just taste so bland once you cook them, and certain foods don’t freeze and then thaw out great.
Stuffed shells, though, are always a winner! They freeze so well and taste just as good after you thaw them out and bake them.
For this version of stuffed shells, I decided to go with a tomato sauce and use ground turkey for the meat. I’ve also got an Italian Sausage Alfredo version on the blog if you want to check that out!
This recipe is based on the recipe my mom used to make when I was a kid. Stuffed shells were one of my favorite meals. My mom would freeze them without the sauce so that we could get a few out at a time and reheat with sauce for lunches.
Making stuffed shells is a bit of a process. It’s not too bad, but definitely more work than I usually put into a weeknight dinner. So whenever I make them, I like to make several batches so that I can have one for dinner that night and freeze the rest.
Usually I do a triple batch of these stuffed shells, and it takes me about an hour or so to get everything prepped and all 3 pans of shells assembled.
This recipe is also great made with different types of meat! Ground beef works well or you could even try using leftover chicken.
How to Freeze Stuffed Shells
This recipe freezes great! I like to triple the recipe when I make it. Because of the amounts in the packages of pasta shells and turkey I can get at my store, I find that tripling works best for me. I’ll have one pan for dinner and freeze 2.
I get disposable 9×13 foil pans and then cover with a layer of cling wrap and a layer of tin foil. Prepare the recipe through step 6 but don’t bake before freezing.They will stay good in the freezer for at least 2 months.
Once you are ready to eat your frozen shells, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. At dinnertime, preheat the oven to 350 F and bake. If the shells were just taken from the refrigerator before putting in the oven, it may take a little longer than 20 minutes to fully heat the filling.
- 1 pound ground turkey
- drizzle olive oil
- 25 large pasta shells
- 1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, (divided)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 (24 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce, (divided)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- Drizzle some olive oil in a large skillet and brown the ground turkey over medium high heat until fully cooked. Drain any liquid and set aside.
- Cook the pasta shells according to the directions on the box. Once they are cooked, drain the water and set the shells on a flat surface to cool off.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, egg, and all the spices. Once it is completely combined, add in the cooked ground turkey and mix to combine.
- Pour about 2/3 of jar of tomato pasta into your prepared 9x13 pan. Use a spoon to stuff each pasta shell with the turkey and cheese filling, placing the stuffed shells in the pan.
- Drizzle the remaining tomato pasta sauce over the stuffed shells. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling is hot.
Freezer Instructions: This recipe freezes great! I like to triple the recipe when I make it. I'll have one pan for dinner and freeze 2. I get disposable 9x13 foil pans and then cover with a layer of cling wrap and a layer of tin foil. Prepare the recipe through step 6 but don't bake before freezing.They will stay good in the freezer for at least 2 months. Once you are ready to eat your frozen shells, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. At dinnertime, preheat the oven to 350 F and bake. If the shells were just taken from the refrigerator before putting in the oven, it may take a little longer than 20 minutes to fully heat the filling.
Love this recipe? Be sure to try my Italian Sausage Alfredo Stuffed Shells next! This version features a homemade alfredo sauce and Italian sausage.