The TikTok-Approved Pasta Dish That Reinvents Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shell lovers, it's your time to shine in the kitchen. If you wish you could live off of stuffed shells (But really, don't we all?), there's an equally comforting alternative that you just have to try.

Usually, stuffed shells are slathered in cheese and sauce; but TikTok has found a way to compound all of those flavors into a stuffed shell remix that will have your mouth watering. This recipe takes components of the classic stuffed shells you know and love and turns it all upside down, but it's still saucy and full of flavor. The pasta may not be shells this time, but you can still stuff them full of delicious food that'll have your stomach growling even before you put this dish in the oven. And, with 80 million views and counting, this stuffed shell TikTok video has captivated a global audience: home cooks who just want to make a warm, filling pasta dish that everyone is sure to love.

How TikTok is reinventing stuffed shells

The viral "stuffed shells" TikTok video is intriguing, perhaps because it doesn't use shells at all. Instead, the stuffing is inserted into a large, tubular pasta similar to cannelloni.


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That's not the only difference between this new take on stuffed pasta and the stuffed shells we all know and love. Instead of stuffing the pasta with multiple types of cheese, this recipe calls for stuffing alternating grape tomatoes and bits of mozzarella into the pasta tubes. 

If you're worried about missing the rest of the cheese you'd normally find in stuffed shells, well, it's all there too. According to the video, when you make the sauce, add shredded mozzarella cheese directly to the sauce mixture. After making the sauce and spreading it on top of the cannelloni-like pasta, add another layer of shredded mozzarella on top of the sauce layer before putting the dish in the oven to cook. 

You'll have some of the stuffed shell toppings on the outside as opposed to inside the pasta, but the cheese and tomatoes stuffed in the pasta may feel reminiscent of both the traditional stuffed shell interior and that gloriously savory sauce. All of the classic stuffed shell flavors are there — they're just turned inside out for a swap you'll want to use every time you crave some stuffed pasta.

Other exciting ways to change up your stuffed shells

If you're a stuffed shell traditionalist who prefers the classic pasta shape over cannelloni, there are still a variety of ways to try new flavors in your stuffed shells. From chicken parmesan-inspired stuffed shells to stuffed shells with a cheesy tuna filling, there's a stuffed shell recipe for every craving.

Many stuffed shells have multiple types of cheese and a tomato-based sauce, so if you want the same pasta shape but with different flavors, change up the cheeses, meats, and sauces you use. Blend Greek and Italian flavors together with feta cheese-laden spanakopita stuffed shells for a Mediterranean twist. If you'd rather infuse your stuffed shells with another favorite comfort food, cook breaded chicken for chicken parmesan and bring all of those other chicken parm flavors into your shells. And, of course, if you believe that tuna and cheese absolutely must go together at all times, make a creamy, tuna-based sauce with some mozzarella cheese and stuff those shells full. 

Changing up your pasta shape and redistributing the cheese in stuffed shells is TikTok-approved, but it's just one way to make your go-to stuffed shells recipe even more fresh and fun.