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Creamy Beef and Shells

A bowl of food, with Beef and Cream
Make this simple Creamy Beef and Shells recipe as a one-pan easy dinner recipe thatโ€™s like the hamburger helper but much tastier.
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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. FAQ
  6. MORE RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
  7. JUMP TO RECIPE

This creamy beef shells recipe is a delicious comfort food style dish that can easily be made in bigger batches and frozen for later. Packed full of seasoned ground beef, tender shells and a cheesy tomato sauce, it is also quick 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.

overhead shot of creamy beef and shells in a pan with a wooden spoon

MORE BEEF RECIPES:
Shepherd’s Pie | Cheeseburger Soup


CREAMY BEEF AND SHELLS INGREDIENTS

creamy beef and shells raw ingredients that are labeled

You will need:

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

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.

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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.

STEP TWO: 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 it aside.

creamy beef and shells process shot of beef being browned

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 seasoning being added to beef

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 ingredients being added to pan

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

creamy beef and shells process shot of ingredients being added to pan

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

creamy beef and shells process shot of ingredients being added to pan

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 once cooled and use 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 being picked up with a fork

Creamy Beef and Shells is 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! 

FAQ

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

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A bowl of food, with Beef and Cream

Creamy Beef and Shells

5 from 12 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 oz medium pasta shells
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded, about 1 ½ 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

Nutrition

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

Inspired by: https://damndelicious.net/2018/09/16/creamy-beef-and-shells/

Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

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  1. Shelby Verhaert says

    I halved the recipe and it still made a ton of food. There are just two of us.
    I added a little extra of all the spices after I let it simmer…just my preference!
    I loved this take on “hamburger helper” shell n chz!! Its so much better and even easier to make!!! Thanks for the nostalgia, we don’t eat HH anymore!

  2. Jodi says

    What kind of jarred tomato sauce do you recommend? I am in Canada and all we have that is plain is Hunts canned tomato sauce. Thanks.

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