Cooking frozen stuffed shells in the oven is a great way to prepare this delicious pasta dish with minimal effort. However, figuring out how long to bake frozen stuffed shells can be tricky since the cooking time depends on several factors.
Factors That Affect Frozen Stuffed Shell Cooking Time
Here are some of the main things that impact how long frozen stuffed shells need to bake:
- Size of the shells – Jumbo shells take longer than standard size shells
- Fillings – Shells filled with meat and cheese take longer than veggie fillings
- Amount being cooked – A 9×13 pan of shells takes longer than a few shells on a sheet pan
- Oven temperature – Lower temps lengthen the cooking time
- Frozen vs. thawed – Frozen shells require more time than thawed shells
While exact cooking times vary based on the factors above, here are some general guidelines for how long frozen stuffed shells take to bake:
Frozen Stuffed Shells
- Standard size shells: 45-55 minutes at 375°F
- Jumbo size shells: 55-65 minutes at 375°F
Thawed Stuffed Shells
- Standard size shells: 35-45 minutes at 375°F
- Jumbo size shells: 45-55 minutes at 375°F
The oven rack position also impacts cooking time. Place frozen shells on the middle rack. For thawed shells, use the top rack to promote browning of the cheese.
Tips for Baking Frozen Stuffed Shells
Follow these tips for perfect oven-baked frozen stuffed shells every time:
- Arrange shells in a single layer in a baking dish for even cooking
- Cover the pan tightly with foil to trap steam and prevent drying out
- Bake at 375°F for time recommended above
- Allow shells to rest 5-10 minutes before serving
- Check that filling is piping hot and cheese is fully melted before removing foil
How to Tell When They’re Done
Checking doneness for stuffed shells requires opening the foil cover to peek in the oven. Here are signs frozen stuffed shells are fully baked:
- Shells are hot with filling bubbling
- Cheese is completely melted and starting to brown
- Shell edges are soft, not crunchy
- A knife inserted in the center meets no resistance
An instant-read thermometer should register 165°F for meat fillings or 160°F for veggie fillings once shells are done baking.
Allow 45-65 minutes for frozen stuffed shells and 35-55 minutes for thawed shells at 375°F. Watch shells closely near the end of the recommended baking time and do a doneness test. Let shells rest before serving so the filling sets up. Now enjoy those ooey gooey stuffed shells!