Short rib stuffed shells are the ultimate fancy comfort food that can be made at home. Ideal for a special dinner party or holiday meal, these cheesy shells are covered in a short rib ragu and lots of cheese, then baked until bubbly and hot. Delish!

Best meal ever coming up today!

short rib stuffed shells

If you want an extra special comfort food dish, I am here for you today. This is out of this world and I can’t wait to tell you about it. 

short rib stuffed shells

Short rib stuffed shells are the ULTIMATE holiday meal. If you want something fabulous to make in the next few weeks, a holiday showstopper – even if it’s just for your immediate family, that is it!

It’s a perfect “fancy night” meal – great for Christmas Eve or Day, and all around delicious. It can also be mostly prepped ahead of time. Huge win!

slow cooker short rib ragu

Wowza. I cannot even explain how delicious this is! 

pasta shells stuffed with ricotta

This meal does take a bit of time. Like most extravagant special meals, it takes a bit of work, but much of it is downtime. So that’s great! I find it easier to make this than lasagna, but it’s a similar situation. We’re going to make the short ribs in a slow cooker overnight, turn them into sauce, stuff the shells with a cheesy ricotta mixture and marry the entire thing together.


The shells bake until bubbly, saucy, hot and cheesy and are an absolute delight. I don’t know one person who doesn’t love these. 

short rib stuffed shells ready for the oven

So despite the same, the shells aren’t actually stuffed with the short rib ragu. But they envelope the shells completely and cover the tender noodle, then once you take a bite, the filling of ricotta wonderfulness bursts through. It’s the absolute best!

short rib stuffed shells

This is how the shells come together!

Overnight, I make the short ribs. I season and sear them, then slow cook them for about eight hours until they are fall-apart tender. If you want to start this super early in the morning, you could do that too! 

When the short ribs are done, I remove them from the bone. They should fall right off! I like to use a slow cooker that does the searing right in the crock. If you don’t have one of those, you can do the next process in a dutch oven or even cast iron skillet on the stovetop. The only issue here is that you lose the brown bits from the short rib.

short rib stuffed shells

It’s time to make the ragu! I saute an onion, some diced carrot and garlic in the pan. I like to add a few herbs and spices, some red wine, tomato paste and then the short ribs go back in. 

Time for tomatoes! I add diced fire roasted tomatoes. I prefer to blend them in a blender first (I use the nutribullet, it’s so easy!) to remove the chunks. If you want a rustic sauce, you can leave them diced. It’s really up to you. 

I add a bit of beef stock and let it simmer for a bit. I don’t simmer for hours, because we’re going to bake the shells for about an hour or so. 

While the short rib sauce simmers, I make the stuffed shell filling. This is a mix of ricotta, mozzarella, some egg, parmesan and spices. 

short rib stuffed shells

Cook the jumbo shells too! You want 20 shells, but I make a few more just in case some break. 

And it’s time to assemble. I stuff all the shells with the ricotta mixture. Then, I add a layer of the short rib ragu on the bottom of a baking dish. Next, the shells go on top. And then the rest of the short rib sauce blankets the shells. Finally, a big sprinkle of grated mozzarella cheese. 

short rib stuffed shells

At this point, you can wrap this and stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it! You can also probably freeze it – I did not try that yet. 

When ready, bake for 45 to 60 minutes or so. I let it sit for 15 minutes. Cover in fresh herbs, a sprinkle of parmesan and serve this heavenly dish. 

short rib stuffed shells

I hope you guys love this as much as we do. I seriously DREAM about this meal. It is so incredibly rich, decadent, special and delicious. A little goes a long way and it’s perfectly balanced served with a big greens salad. One of my favorite meals ever! 

short rib stuffed shells

Nothing screams “happy holidays” more!

short rib stuffed shells

Short Rib Stuffed Shells

Short Rib Stuffed Shells

Short rib stuffed shells are the ultimate fancy comfort food that can be made at home. Ideal for a special dinner party or holiday meal, these cheesy shells are covered in a short rib ragu and lots of cheese, then baked until bubbly and hot. Delish!
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short rib sauce

  • 3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • cup dry red wine
  • 14- ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes

stuffed shells & filling


  • Pat the short ribs completely dry with a paper towel. Season them all over liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat - or use your slow cooker on the saute setting if you have one. Add the oil. Add the short ribs in a single layer and sear on both sides until deeply golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Transfer the short ribs to your slow cooker (or keep them in there if you sauteed them in the crock). Pour in ½ cup of beef stock - keep the remaining ½ cup for the sauce. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until the short ribs are falling off the bone.
  • Once finished, remove the bones and pull apart the beef with two forks. If your slow cooker has the saute setting, turn it to the highest heat. You don’t need any oil or anything extra, just use what is in the crock. If you transfer to a dutch oven, you will need a drizzle of oil and heat over medium heat.
  • Once the pot (or slow cooker) is hot, stir in the diced onions and carrots with a sprinkle of salt. Cook until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add in the rest wine to deglaze the pan.
  • Add the pulled short ribs to the vegetables. Stir in the tomatoes and the remaining beef stock. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce it to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes uncovered, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes more.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make the shell filling and follow the directions below.

stuffed shells & filling

  • Cook the pasta shells according to the package directions, then drain and separate them so they don’t stick together. I put them on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  • Stir together the ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese, the parmesan, egg, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir until fully combined.
  • Fill each of the pasta shells with the ricotta mixture. I start with 2 tablespoons then go in and fill each one up to use all the ricotta.
  • To bake, spread a spoonful of the short rib sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Place the shells in the dish next. Spoon all the remaining short rib sauce over the shells evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with a bit of parmesan.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until warm and bubbly and cheesy. If at any time the top is getting too dark, you can tent it with foil.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan and fresh basil before serving. Let rest for 15 minutes. Serve!

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short rib stuffed shells