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scoop of beef and shells pasta on wooden spoon
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4.89 from 9 votes

Creamy Beef and Shells

This creamy and cheesy Beef and Shells pasta recipe is the ultimate family comfort food!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef and shells, homemade hamburger helper
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 677kcal


  • 1 lb lean ground beef (I normally use 93/7 for this recipe)
  • 12 oz dried medium pasta shells
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small white or yellow onion diced
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 - 3 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 - 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese



  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Toss with a little oil to prevent too much sticking.


  • Add oil to a large skillet and heat over MED HIGH heat until hot. Add beef, onion, and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes, breaking up the meat as it cooks.
  • If lean beef was used, and there's not much grease in the skillet, you can just continue cooking to simmer that grease away. If there's a lot of grease, you'll want to drain it.
  • Add in Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and flour, stirring well to combine. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
  • Add tomato sauce and stir. Add heavy cream, cream cheese and sour cream and stir well. Simmer a few minutes, stirring often, to really incorporate the cream cheese into the sauce.


  • Add cheese and cooked pasta, stirring well to combine.


  • Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley if desired.


  • 1 tsp of onion powder can be substituted for the diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder can be substituted for the minced garlic


Calories: 677kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 1040mg | Potassium: 751mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1223IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 481mg | Iron: 4mg