Shells and Cheese Recipe

Shells and cheese make a great dinner or side dish. This recipe is perfect if you have little time and are looking for an easy meal. These shells and cheese can be prepared in about 30 minutes. No baking is required because everything is done on the stove top. This recipe does not use expensive cheeses, only shredded cheddar. In my opinion cheddar cheese adds the perfect flavor and no additional cheeses are needed. There is a good chance a lot of these ingredients you already have on hand so you will not have to do much shopping. You can pretty much use whatever type of pasta you like; shells, macaroni, rontini, ect. This recipe can easily be doubled if you want to make more. Enjoy.

8 ounces shells  medium shells
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 dash black pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
sliced green onions (optional)

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1: Cook shells according to package directions.
Step 2: Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Slowly add the milk and cook while stirring until the mixture becomes somewhat thick. Stir in the cheese until melted. Remove from heat.

Step 3: Drain shells and add them to the cheese sauce. Stir to coat. Top with green onions for serving if desired.
(Makes 4 Servings)


20 Responses to “Shells and Cheese Recipe”

  1. Shelby — January 21, 2012 @ 2:33 am

    The ultimate comfort food – looks so creamy and delicious!

  2. CulinarilyCourtney — January 21, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

    This recipe reminds me of something my aunt made for me as a child! It looks just like I remember it…I would love to make this and see if it tastes the same.

  3. Stephanie — January 21, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

    I made this tonight and, honestly, the sauce tasted like flour. Not much flavor and I followed the recipe exactly. Perhaps if it used a mixture of cheddar and parmesan it would be better.

  4. Betty — January 22, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

    Stephanie, I just made this recipe with a fantastic variation. Try using sharp mozzarella and some parmesan for the cheese sauce. Once you have mixed pasta and cheese mix, throw into a baking dish and cover in a a layer (1/2 – 3/4 c) of breadcrumbs that have been mixed with salt, pepper, cayenne and even a favorite herb or two. Bake for 15m at 400.

  5. Fernando — January 23, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

    We tried this recipe tonight and it was pretty good with sharp cheddar cheese. If you want an even richer flavor, you may want to add parmesan reggiano, gruyere, or emmentaler.

  6. holly — January 24, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    I made this tonight for myself and my kids (age 1 and 3). I thought it was really good and it was so quick and easy to make on a week night. I used mild cheddar since my kids don’t like sharp cheese and then I just put a little extra seasoning on my serving. I am going to steam some broccoli to add in to the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

  7. James — January 25, 2012 @ 2:37 pm


    I think the issue you experienced is that you didn’t cook the flour and/or the white sauce enough. The technique is basically making a roux where after you add your flour to the fat, you need to stir/whisk the mixture while letting it cook. You will see the mixture turn into sort of a darker shade of blonde. That is a good indicator that the flour has been cooked enough. Also, after pouring in the milk make sure you properly incorporate the roux into the milk. You’re going to need to cook the mixture (white sauce) until thick to the point where it coats the back of a spoon. The test I usually do is I’ll take my finger and swipe down the coated spoon. The white sauce should all still be on the spoon except for the bit that you swiped off with your finger. You will noticeably see the white sauce go from thin to thick and that’s when you know it is ready. Temperature wise, you’re basically bringing the white sauce to right under a boil (you’ll see steam rising from it, but no bubbles). Also, I would suggest mixing in the cheese after taking the pan off the heat and letting it sit for a few minutes. The reason why I say this is because by this point the mixture is going to be so hot (almost boiling temperature) that depending on the cheese that you use the cheese will separate (sharper cheeses generally do this). This is how I make sure that the result in a smooth cheese sauce versus a grainy one.

    I hope my long rant helps!

  8. Colleen Bierstine — January 25, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    This looks like creamy cheesy heaven! I would love a bowl of this for dinner tonight 🙂

  9. Christine — January 25, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

    Your photos make me drool. I love my mac and cheese this saucy. I gotta try out your recipe to see how it compares to my version.

  10. Bridget — February 9, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

    The recipe calls for 8 ounces of pasta. Is that 8 ounces of uncooked pasta, meaning 1 cup? I am trying to figure out how much to pasta to use to serve 2 people.

  11. Bobby — February 9, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

    Bridget- 8oz as in 1/2 lb or half of a 16oz box.

  12. Olga — March 3, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

    I am getting hungry just looking at this! Going to try it this week.

  13. Carla — August 5, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

    This was super good, but next time I will use a little less flour. Even the pickiest kid (who hates most good foods) loved this one.

  14. May — September 22, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    Made it for my 7-year-old son’s lunch today. He loves it. Used mild cheddar. Thanks.

  15. carrie kline — November 18, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

    i like this one so good mmmmmm

  16. Cindy — November 25, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    The method of adding the flour to the melted butter didn’t work for me. It kept clumping and even after whisking in the milk, it was lumpy. I ended up starting over, this time adding flour to the milk and butter in the saucepan. I kept whisking while adding salt and pepper, then stirred in some cream cheese, sharp cheddar and grated Parmesan. I used whole wheat shells and added some chopped pickled jalapeños for a kick. Delicious and easy side dish!

  17. Michele — January 14, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

    First time I made this I LOVE IT! Tonight not so much. It was my technique not the recipe just like James replied. I would add the flour little a time. It would take awhile to mix it well but it’s worth it.

  18. Robert — December 18, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

    Love it! And its really easy, but there’s enough cheese sauce for like 4 times the noodles.

  19. Amanda — April 7, 2014 @ 11:47 am

    I just tried this recipe for lunch using elbows instead of shells and it turned out fantastically. Different kids of cheeses may have made it a bit more flavorful but when you’re on a budget like me cheddar works great too!

    Thanks for sharing another wonderful recipe!

  20. Lauren — June 17, 2014 @ 7:19 pm

    Made this using velveeta cheese! DELICIOUS! The measuring above is a bit off since I ended up with way more cheese. Haha. But overall it was great

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