Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (2024)

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Olive Garden Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells are one of their most popular dishes and one of my most popular recipes! Filled with four cheeses and topped with marinara and alfredo sauce – everyone will love it!

Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (1)

What You Will ❤️ About Olive Garden Stuffed Shells

  • Copycat Perfection – this dish might even taste better than Olive Garden!
  • Fancy Dish for Friends – this is a dish to impress – your friends will be BRAGGING about this meal
  • Under an 45 Minutes – this is a big meal with multiple components – so for it to be from fridge to table in 45 minutes is pretty good!
Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (2)

Ingredients in Jumbo Stuffed Shells

  • jumbo pasta shells – I like to mimic the Olive Garden ones by getting the most GIANT pasta shells I can find – these are the ones I like! (hard to find in store – so I get them online)
  • ricotta cheese – You can use full fat ricotta cheese or part skim – either works. Pretty sure Olive Garden is always full fat! (I would avoid cottage cheese.)
  • mozzarella/provolone cheese
  • Parmesancheese
  • dried basil & oregano
  • Minced garlic
  • marinara sauce – you can make your own, use from a jar – or even use my copycat Olive Garden meat sauce recipe
  • Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • butter
Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (3)

This recipe also has you make your own creamy Alfredo Sauce – you can buy your own – but I really recommend making your own – and you can use the Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce recipe I have (seen above) – here’s what you’ll need for homemade alfredo sauce:

  • butter
  • garlic cloves – fresh is best in this recipe!
  • half & half – you can use heavy cream if you like
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese & Provolone cheese – you could also use an Italian cheese blend but I prefer grating my own cheese vs a pre-grated
Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (4)

How to Make Stuffed Shells Recipe

My mom used to make stuffed manicotti when I was a kid – and it’s pretty much the same technique. Here’s how it goes:

  • Boil your pasta until al dente (slightly underdone) according to package instructions – you want them to not be overdone so they fall apart when you pick them up – but not hard. Your pasta should tell you on the package time for al dente
    • PRO TIP: Make extra shells – you’ll tear some when you’re stuffing – you can always feed extras to the dogs. (or is that just what I do?)
  • While pasta is boiling, mix together your cheeses and herbs
  • Rinse the pasta, preheat the oven and spray a baking dish with nonstick spray
  • Pour a bit of the marinara into the bottom of the baking dish
  • While the oven is preheating, stuff your shells with the cheese mixture. You can use a spoon but sometimes – it’s easier to use your hands. Just remember to be gentle so the pasta doesn’t split open.
  • Lay the shells on top of the marinara and bake at 400 for 20 min
  • While they are baking – you can toast your breadcrumbs for a few minutes with just a little butter and breadcrumbs in a skillet
  • When there is 5-6 min left on the oven – prepare your alfredo – it’s so easy!
  • In a saucepan, Melt butter and add garlic
  • Slowly stir in cheeses and half and half – that’s it!
  • Remove the shells from the oven – and turn the oven to broil
  • Top the shells with your freshly made alfredo and more marinara
  • Then, top with breadcrumbs and extra Parmesan cheese
  • Broil for 2-3 min for toasting breadcrumbs and melting the cheese
  • Garnish with a little fresh parsley and Serve! Devour!
Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (5)

Stuffed Shell Substitutions

You can make some easy tweaks to this dish to make it easier or more your own. Here are some ideas:

  • Veggies – you could add sauteed mushrooms or spinach to the cheese mixture for more texture
  • Store bought sauce – grab store bought marinara and alfredo to make it a little easier on yourself
  • Manicotti – feel free to use manicotti tubes instead of shells – they’re going to cook and eat the same!
  • Protein – you can also add browned Italian sausage, ground pork or hamburger to the cheese mixture
Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (6)

Tips, Tricks & FAQs

Can stuffed shells be frozen?

Yes! My recommendation for this would be to make the stuffed shells with the marinara – and freeze BEFORE you bake.

Wrap tightly with aluminum foil and/or put a lid on your baking dish and put in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to make them, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then bake per the rest of the recipe.

Can stuffed shells be made ahead of time?

Yes – you can make the shells up to the point you’re going to bake – and put them in the fridge – then they’re ready to bake whenever you’re 20 minutes from starving!

How do I store and reheat stuffed shells?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. (I like these glass storage ones) You can either reheat in the oven or if you have an air fryer with a reheat/oven setting – around 300 degrees, covered – for 10-20 min depending on how much you’re reheating. (Air fryer is closer to 10 min). Or you can always microwave!

Do I need to use both marinara and alfredo?

No – if you prefer one to the other – go with that – I love the combination!

Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (7)

What to serve with Stuffed Shells

Well – that’s easy! Of course you’re going to make the legendary Olive Garden House Salad with Italian Dressing! You could always try and make their breadsticks – but sometimes I like biscuits and butter with my pasta!Or you could switch it up and serve with Cinnamon Butter. Or even make some Air Fryer Garlic Bread or Texas Toast with Cheese!

Other Olive Garden Copycat Recipe Ideas

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More Delicious Pasta Recipes

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Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (8)

Copycat Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells

Olive Garden introduced new giant features and one was the Giant Stuffed Shells. They’re stuffed with four cheeses and then topped with marinara and alfredo sauce. And they are delicious!!! But you don’t have to go to Olive Garden to get them – you can have them in your own home!

3.96 from 452 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 25 minutes mins

Total Time 40 minutes mins

Course Entree

Cuisine American, Italian

Servings 4 people

Calories 911 kcal

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Ingredients

  • 16 jumbo shells
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella/provolone mixture (or 1/2 cup of each) shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan shredded/grated
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 15 oz marinara
  • 1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp butter

Alfredo Sauce

  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1 cup Parmesan grated
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella/provolone mix shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400

  • Cook shells 12 min (package said 9 but I felt like they needed longer)

    16 jumbo shells

  • In a bowl, mix ricotta, mozzarella/provolone, Parmesan basil, oregano and garlic. Stir well.

    15 oz ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella/provolone mixture (or 1/2 cup of each), 1 cup Parmesan, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp garlic

  • Rinse pasta with cool water

  • Spray 8×8 pan with nonstick spray (I love this Rachael Ray baking dish)

  • Add 1 cup marinara to bottom of pan

    15 oz marinara

  • Stuff shells with 2 tbsp filling per shell – use small spoon or hands

  • Place each shell on top of the marinara

  • Cover with aluminum foil and Bake at 400 for 20 min

  • In skillet, melt 1 Tbsp butter – add breadcrumbs – stir until toasty brown 1-2 min – spoon into a small bowl and set aside.

    1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp butter

  • When 5 minutes left on shells – In same skillet melt 6 Tbsp butter

    6 tbsp butter

  • Add garlic and saute for 1 minute

    1 tsp garlic

  • Slowly stir in half and half and both cheeses

    3/4 cup half and half, 1 cup Parmesan, 1/4 cup mozzarella/provolone mix

  • Stir together until all cheese are melted and sauce is smooth

  • Remove shells from oven

  • Spoon alfredo sauce over top and around shells

  • Add a little more marinara on top

  • Sprinkle bread crumbs and any extra Parmesan cheese on top

  • Broil on high for 2-3 min until cheese browns slightly

Video

Notes

**We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Serving: 4shellsCalories: 911kcalCarbohydrates: 74.3gProtein: 44.3gFat: 49.3gSaturated Fat: 29.3gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 1409mgPotassium: 615mgFiber: 5.7gSugar: 13.9gCalcium: 896mgIron: 4mg

Keyword copycat, olive garden, pasta

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Reader Interactions

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Comments

  1. Unknown says

    Im excited to try this recipe but I'm afraid to mess it up. What flame do you cook the breadcrumbs and everything else on? Low, medium, high?

    Reply

  2. FoodHussy says

    i would broil on low or medium and just watch them – it's only going to take a couple of minutes to brown – you can do it!

    Reply

  3. Anonymous says

    This was just ok. I would make this again with a few minor changes. I would skip the breadcrumbs altogether and reduce the amount of oregano. I don't know how you get 2 Tbsp of filling in those shells. I did buy jumbo shells and could only get 1 tbsp with maybe a smidge extra in a few. I also used a bit more marinara than what was called for. My husband is a saucy kind of guy 😉 Overall, I would try it again.

    Reply

  4. Unknown says

    Do you boil the noodles first?

    Reply

  5. FoodHussy says

    Yup – that's step 2!

    Reply

  6. Unknown says

    Could you just as easily substitute the marinara in the bottom of the pan before baking for alfredo if you wanted them to be solely alfredo shells? Obviously with the four cheese inside the shells. If not alfredo, what should I use instead? I dont want the cheese to burn or anything.

    Reply

  7. FoodHussy says

    Yup – of course – you can always sub stuff to make it the way YOU like it!

    Reply

  8. Maranda says

    I just made this for my family and they loved it!!! It’s so delicious and I substituted the sauces and cheeses to my liking and it turned out perfect. I also added ground beef because I like a meat sauce. Thank you!!!!

    Reply

  9. Melissa says

    Are the cheeses a total of three cups or is it half a cup of mozzarella and half a cup of provalone to make a full cup and one cup parmesan….sorry a little confused.

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      I used a mozzarella/provolone mixture – but if you’re doing separate – then it should be 1/2 cup of each

      Thanks!

    • Michele says

      Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (9)
      I made a lasagna pan full of this for a potluck dinner. . There was not a crumb left. 11 people . Like you jumbo shells weren’t available so I used Walmart’s version. ..Will make again and again. ..and AGAIN.

    • FoodHussy says

      thank you for the comments!!! yeah!!!

  10. Susan Soucie says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (10)
    I made these awesomely, delicious Olive Garden stuffed shells this afternoon for dinner. OMG!!! I’ve made plenty of cheese/ meat stuffed shells over the years but they didn’t come close to these. Olive Garden cheesy eweey goowy delicious 3 cheese stuffed shells. 5 stars ?!!?? NO ! 10 stars lol my family and I loved them . Will definitely be making them again real soon.!! Thank you for sharing Susan S.

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      OMG – what a great compliment!!! Thanks so much! Glad you liked them – I have lots of OG recipes to check out! 🙂 Woohoo!

  11. Susan D. Soucie says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (11)
    I made these copycat Olive Garden stuffed shells. So easy & so delicious I will definitely be making these again. I will need to double up on the recipe though we all wanted more.
    Susan S.

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      Yeah – most of my recipes are for 2-4 people – but yeah – I always can have more Olive Garden copycats! haha

  12. Julie says

    How time consuming are these? I need to 20 people. Will I be stuffing shells until the cows come home? And how many stuffed shells would you say an adult would eat?

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      It really depends on how big the shells are – but I would say – if there are other sides (salad, etc.) – 4-6 shells each adult – they stuff quickly if you get the jumbo because they’re open and not difficult like manicotti

  13. Liza says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (12)
    Have made this a couple of times… I think it’s a good recipe but the filling is so much better with a egg added to it. I don’t think I’ve ever made stuffed shells or baked ziti without adding an egg to the ricotta mixture. The mix of marinara & Alfredo is great.

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      Well then go forth and add the egg! Glad you like it!!! 🙂

    • Terri says

      Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (13)
      Love the recipe. Do you think these can be made and frozen for another day?

    • FoodHussy says

      Yes definitely!!!! We used to make this all the time and freeze it – before baking – then thaw overnight – bake and you’re good!

  14. Sara says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (14)
    So delicious and easy to do. We make it on the weekly!

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      Woohoo!

  15. Julie says

    Can these be made earlier in the day, or even the night before, and then cooked in the oven before serving?

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      Yes – definitely! Be sure the noodles are cooked al-dente (a little firm) – so they don’t get too soggy.

  16. Jessica says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (15)
    Definitely took over an hour to make, but it was delicious!

    Reply

  17. Christine Smigiel says

    I just made this recipe & it was excellent but next time I would put in a larger pan? Maybe a 7×11. They were very squished in the 8×8. Also they needed to be baked much longer. I had to put back in the oven because they weren’t hot. So I say 40 min at 400 deg. They were very good though with that alteration.

    Reply

  18. AMJ says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (16)
    I wish I could give this more than five stars! I’ve made this multiple times, but tonight my husband and I officially decided that this is our favorite dinner! Love everything about it 🙂

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      I love to hear that! Glad you love it!

  19. Kathy says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (17)
    Turned out perfect taste just like Olive Gardens. My family was very happy!

    Reply

  20. Caitlin says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (18)
    Oh my gosh! I made this with lasagna noodles and rolled them up because I couldn’t find the shells. Doubled the alfredo and skipped the extra marinara on top. Absolutely to die for! Definitely going to be making this again!

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      glad you liked it!!! sounds yum – next time invite me over! haha

  21. autumn says

    after the 1 cup of marinara on the bottom what do you do with the rest? it only says to put a “little more” on top

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      I put the rest of the jar on top.

  22. Michele says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (19)
    I made this recipe last night and my husband and I loved it. I used a jar of Allredo sauce and skipped the bread crumbs. Next time I’ll increase the Ricotta and cheeses so I can fill more shells. Scrumptious and Easy Peasy.

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      yeah!!! glad you liked it!

  23. Brittany says

    When you say parmesan shredded/grated, do you mean the shaker stuff you put on top of spaghetti/pizza or the actual shredded stuff? Thanks!

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      I never ever use the shaker stuff that is pre-grated because it’s old and not great quality. I always buy a wedge of Parm and grate myself. That said – they’re both technically parm so either will work. 🙂

  24. Bob maloney says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (20)
    Made using my own marinara. Omitted the breadcrumbs and added a bag of microwaved spinach. 1 and a half minutes then flip for another one and a half minutes. Made more shells as a result.

    Reply

  25. Grace says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (21)
    I really like this recipe a lot. I did make the cheese sauce with 2% milk instead of half and half and it was fine. I skipped the breadcrumbs because Im lazy and I added chopped spinach to my stuffing.

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      sounds yum!!!!

  26. Cheryl says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (22)
    This was restaurant quality ! Definitely making it again

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      huge compliment!! thanks!

  27. Andy says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (23)
    Gonna have to try this sometime. The OG pulled this item from their menu recently. Kinda sucks cause it was one I liked.

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      well mine is awesome – it’s a big hit on the blog!

  28. Carol says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (24)
    My adult daughter was so excited about me making this. She love Olive Garden and said this recipe is no longer on the menu. Everybody loves it!

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      Love tht!!!

  29. Tina says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (25)
    thanks for the recipe. Made this tonight and it was a real hit. Way better than olive gardens shells. Just one question: if I use manicotti, do I still bake it at 400 for 20 minutes?

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      Yeah – it should take about the same amount of time – maybe 5 min more. so glad you liked it!!!

  30. Emily says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (26)
    I love this recipe! This has been my third time making it and I absolutely love it! It is so tasty!

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      AW LOVE IT!!!

  31. Louise says

    Olive Garden Giant Stuffed Shells Copycat Recipe - The Food Hussy (27)
    Best recipe ever!!!

    Reply

    • FoodHussy says

      aw thanks!

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