Beef and Shells featured image
Our Creamy Beef and Shells is an easy ground beef recipe that will satisfy even the pickiest eater and will be on the dinner table in under 30 minutes.
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Table of Contents
  1. Creamy Beef and Shells Recipe
  2. Ingredients
  3. How to Make Beef and Shells
  4. Recipe Variations
  5. More Easy Dinner Recipes
  6. Creamy Beef and Shells Recipe

Our Creamy Beef and Shells is an easy ground beef recipe that will satisfy even the pickiest eater and will be on the dinner table in under 30 minutes. Super easy weeknight dinner!

This comfort food recipe is easy and delicious. It’s the perfect meal for anyone who loves cheeseburgers and macaroni and cheese (but all in one pan!)

Creamy Beef and Shells

Creamy Beef and Shells Recipe

We all know how hectic getting dinner on the table can be. That is why I love to bring you all easy recipes. The challenge though is finding easy recipes that my kids will love (or even just like).

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! Or I should say pasta dinner! 

Pasta dishes are always a hit in our house, but sometimes I feel like changing things up beyond the typical spaghetti and meat sauce.

This creamy beef and shells dinner recipe is just the change we were looking for. 

Pasta shells tossed in a creamy and cheesy tomato sauce with garlic and paprika and some other delicious Italian spices! It is the perfect weeknight comfort food recipe.

Beef and Shells on a table in a bowl

Do you remember Hamburger Helper? We used to have that as kids growing up. It reminds me of a version of that, except it is fresh, homemade and beyond delicious!


Don’t let the list of ingredients scare you. The majority of them are spices that you probably already have in your pantry. If you don’t, you will buy them once and use them forever! 

Trust me, this quick and easy recipe is worth the investment in stocking your spices!

  • Medium pasta shells
  • Olive oil
  • Ground beef (I like to buy lean ground beef or Piedmontese beef)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • Paprika
  • Mustard powder
  • Flour
  • Beef stock
  • Tomato sauce
  • Heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Beef and Shells ingredients


How to Make Beef and Shells

  1. BOIL the pasta (according to directions on the package)
  2. BROWN ground beef in a large skillet, drain and set aside.
  3. COOK onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, paprika, and mustard powder in the skillet
  4. WHISK in the flour, beef stock and tomato sauce.
  5. BOIL, simmer and thicken.
  6. STIR in pasta, beef, and heavy cream and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese until melted.
How to make Beef and Shells

Recipe Variations

MEAT: As I mentioned, you can use leaner ground beef. We also like to make this dish with ground turkey or ground chicken.

VEGETARIAN: If you are looking for a vegetarian pasta recipe, just leave out the meat altogether! The sauce is delicious without the meat and you can use a vegetarian stock to replace the beef stock! 

VEGETABLES: Make this a complete meal by adding in some veggies. We love broccoli, asparagus and peppers, but any of your favorites will work perfectly!

Beef and Shells in a skillet

More Easy Dinner Recipes

4.91 from 111 votes
Beef and Shells featured image

Creamy Beef and Shells

Serves — 6
Our Creamy Beef and Shells is an easy ground beef recipe that will satisfy even the pickiest eater and will be on the dinner table in under 30 minutes.
Prep Time 0 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 30 mins


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


  • 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 3-5 minutes, crumbling the ground beef. Drain excess fat and set aside
  • Add onion to the skillet, cook stirring frequently until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, paprika and mustard powder, 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 and simmer, stirring occasionally until reduced and slightly thickened, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Stir in pasta, beef and heavy cream and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in cheese until melted.


Nutrition Info

Calories: 429kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 398mg | Potassium: 504mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 894IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 251mg | Iron: 3mg

Originally posted 9/6/19

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Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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  1. 5 stars
    This was a huge hit, kide eat the left overs two days ina row, only changes I did was cooking the noodles in same pan adding more liquid if needed and I added hot pepper flakes and a little pit more seasonings

  2. 5 stars
    You have to dump your amazing husband and marry me for the amazing chef that you are,I love your recipes but I don’t like getting them every day or so can you just give them to me once a week???? PLEASE. JUST kidding about dumping your hubby he he

    1. OH Neil…you crack me up!! I did look at your email subscription and from this point forward you should just be receiving a weekly email from me! Enjoy!

  3. This is one of our favorite meals!!! I’m looking to add veggies to it this time how would you recommend cooking them?

    1. So glad you like it!! I think broccoli would be a great addition. I would just cook it to your preference and mix it in at the end!

  4. 5 stars
    This yummy I have been trying to use up all my pantry items so I can start fresh and I managed to make this what I had left. I used spaghetti sauce instead of tomato sauce and rigatoni instead of of shells. I also used more of my pantry items. Definitely will make again