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Slow cooker stuffed shells with spinach

Did you know you can cook pasta in the slow cooker?  We took raw pasta shells and cooked them directly in the slow cooker for our Stuffed Shells with Spinach.

We started with large uncooked pasta shells and filled them with a combination of frozen spinach, mozzarella cheese, creamy ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, fresh garlic and Italian seasoning. Use a spoon and to fill the shells with the cheese mixture. We found that running the shells under warm water for a few seconds helps to soften them, making them easier to fill. Once the shells are filled, layer them directly in the crock. Top the first layer with extra tomato sauce (use homemade or your favorite jarred variety from the grocery store) and cheese. Add another layer of shells and close the lid.

Once the pasta is cooked, sprinkle a little more cheese on top, garnish with fresh parsley and dinner is served. Not only is this an easy meal to make, it’s a simple way to get your kids to eat their vegetables. Serve with garlic bread or a salad for an well-rounded Italian dinner.

Stuffed Shells with Spinach

Yield: Serves 8
Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen


  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 container (12 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 28 jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 jars (24 ounces each) marinara sauce
  • Chopped parsley


  1. In a large bowl, stir spinach, ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan, garlic and Italian seasoning.
  2. Divide and fill each shell with ricotta mixture.
  3. Add 3 cups sauce to the bottom of the crock.
  4. Place 14 stuffed shells in the bottom of the crock. Spoon 2 cups marinara sauce over shells.
  5. Top with remaining stuffed shells and sauce.
  6. Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 until shells are cooked. Remove lid and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over shells. Wait 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Garnish with parsley.

Mix and match any temperature with your choice of cooking times with the Programmable 6 Quart Slow Cooker.

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  1. Heather, no, you don’t cook the shells before stuffing them. They cook right in the slow cooker. You might find that some of the shells are hard to fill, so we recommend running the shells under warm water for a few seconds to make the filling process a little easier!

  2. If you use a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner snipped
    off and pipe the cheese filling in, it is much easier.

  3. This recipe sounds delicious. I couldn’t find any jumbo shells at the store so I’m going to try this with manicotti.

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