Today: Get My No Fail, Easy Cookbook Series for 60% OFF
Buy Now

Creamy Beef and Shells

Pin RecipeReview Recipe
close up overhead shot of a skillet of Creamy Beef and Shells
Make this simple creamy beef and shells recipe as a one-pan easy dinner recipe that’s like the hamburger helper but much tastier.
Jump to Recipe
Table of Contents
  1. Creamy Beef And Shells Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Creamy Beef And Shells Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

These creamy beef and shells are a delicious comfort food-style recipe that puts a homemade spin on boxed pasta dishes. Packed full of seasoned ground beef, tender shells, and a cheesy tomato sauce, it is quick, hearty, and easy to make.

If you have some ground beef left and want another creamy pasta dinner, you could try ground beef stroganoff. Or, if using the pasta shells inspired you to try more pasta shapes, make these stuffed shells with the giant version.

close up overhead shot of a skillet of Creamy Beef and Shells

Creamy Beef And Shells Ingredients

Creamy Beef and Shells raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 8 ounces medium shell pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, about 1½ cups

PRO TIP:

Shred your cheese from the block rather than buying pre-shredded for this recipe. Pre-shredded cheese has a coating on it and doesn’t melt quite as well as freshly shredded cheese.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

GROUND BEEF: For a change to the recipe, you could use diced Italian sausage in place of the ground beef. You could also use different ground meat such as ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork.

SPICY: If you don’t like things too spicy, you may want to reduce the paprika a little.

CHEESE: If you don’t have cheddar cheese ready, you can use mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, or any other cheese that melts well. You could even use a Mexican blend cheese for a spicier version. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top to complete the dish.

CREAM: If you don’t have heavy cream, half and half or milk will also work in a pinch.

kitchen tools you actually need

How To Make This Creamy Beef And Shells Recipe

STEP ONE: In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain well.

PRO TIP:

To test your pasta for al dente, take a bite of the pasta a minute or two before the package instructions indicate it should be done. When you bite into it, and your teeth feel some resistance, but the pasta is still tender, your pasta is al dente.

STEP TWO: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until brown, about 3 to 5 minutes, crumbling the ground beef. Drain excess fat and set it aside.

PRO TIP:

Ground beef can be batch-cooked ahead of time and kept in the freezer until you are ready to use it in a recipe. This is a great time saver.

Creamy Beef and Shells process shot of ground beef cooked in a skillet

STEP THREE: Add diced onion to the skillet, cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. 

STEP FOUR: Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, paprika, and mustard powder and then cook for about 1 minute.

Creamy Beef and Shells process shot of ingredients whisked together in a skillet

STEP FIVE: Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.

STEP SIX: Gradually whisk in beef stock and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer. Stir occasionally until reduced and slightly thickened, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Creamy Beef and Shells process shot of beef stock and tomato sauce whisked into the ingredients in the skillet

STEP SEVEN: Stir in pasta, beef, and heavy cream and heat through.

Creamy Beef and Shells process shot of ingredients added to the skillet

STEP EIGHT: Stir in cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Creamy Beef and Shells process shot of cheese and seasonings added to the skillet

STEP NINE: Garnish with fresh parsley and extra cheese if you’d like. Serve warm and enjoy!

How To Serve

Serve this comforting family meal with garlic bread on the side. It is a complete meal on its own so you are all sorted. You could also opt to serve it as part of a larger meal or add a Caesar side salad.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: You can store any leftovers of this hearty pasta dish in an airtight container in the fridge once cooled and use them within 4 days.

IN THE FREEZER: Leave the pasta to cool to room temperature and then store in an airtight container in the freezer for 1 to 2 months. Defrost and heat on the stovetop until warmed through.

close up shot of Creamy Beef and Shells on a fork

Creamy beef and shells are a tasty way to serve pasta. It has a delicious creamy tomato sauce and the beef absorbs all of the flavors. The recipe is simple to make, although you might find there’s never enough for everyone! 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What can I use if I don’t have heavy cream?

You can use half and half or milk but heavy cream really will make a big, delicious difference for this sauce.

What kind of jarred tomato sauce do you recommend?

Any kind and brand of jarred, plain tomato sauce will work.

If I want to double the amount of noodles, do I have to double the pasta sauce?

If you’re increasing the noodles, we would suggest increasing the other ingredients as well so the consistency stays the same; otherwise, it will be dry.

If I do not have any beef broth, what is an alternative that I could use instead?

You could substitute another broth or stock, like chicken broth or vegetable stock.

More Recipes You’ll Love

Get Recipes on Pinterest

get recipes on pinterest
get digital lazy cookbooks
Get a Free Cookbook
Subscribe now to receive our FREE Sweet & Treats digital cookbook with 15 amazing desserts inside!
close up overhead shot of a skillet of Creamy Beef and Shells

Creamy Beef and Shells

5 from 16 votes
Make this simple creamy beef and shells recipe as a one-pan easy dinner recipe that’s like the hamburger helper but much tastier.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces medium pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded, about 1½ cups

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain well.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown, about 3 to 5 minutes, crumbling the ground beef. Drain excess fat and set aside.
  • Add onion to the skillet, cook stirring frequently until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, paprika, and mustard powder then cook about 1 minute.
  • Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
  • Gradually whisk in beef stock and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer. Stir occasionally until reduced and slightly thickened, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Stir in pasta, beef, and heavy cream, then heat through.
  • Stir in cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Shred your cheese from the block rather than buying pre-shredded for this recipe. Pre-shredded cheese has a coating on it and doesn’t melt quite as well as freshly shredded cheese.
  • Ground beef can be batch-cooked ahead of time and kept in the freezer until you are ready to use it in a recipe. This is a great time saver.
  • To test your pasta for al dente, take a bite of the pasta a minute or two before the package instructions indicate it should be done. When you bite into it, and your teeth feel some resistance, but the pasta is still tender, your pasta is al dente.
 
Inspired by: https://damndelicious.net/2018/09/16/creamy-beef-and-shells/

Nutrition

Sodium: 578mg | Calcium: 206mg | Vitamin C: 5mg | Vitamin A: 901IU | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 2g | Potassium: 567mg | Cholesterol: 93mg | Calories: 461kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Fat: 29g | Protein: 21g | Carbohydrates: 28g | Iron: 3mg
Have You Tried This Recipe?Follow me on Pinterest @spaceshipslb

Get Recipes on Facebook

get recipes on facebook

Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

You May Also Like

get digital lazy cookbooks

Reader Interactions

Comments

    Leave a Comment

    Recipe Rating




    Comments

  1. Emi Lever says

    5 stars
    It’s difficult to find recipes that are easy but there’s enough spices and flavor. This recipe is so easy to tweak to your preferred spice level or even if you want it thicker or more runny. Highly recommended trying this recipe. Its definitely a recipe I’ll be making again!

Load More Comments

16108

Free Membership!

Get all our new recipes straight to

your inbox plus a BONUS

download in your first email! ❤

close up shot of Mongolian beef and noodle in a pan