This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
There’s no denying that stuffed shells are one of the best comfort food options out there.
Not in a mood to cook? Boil some large pasta shells and stuff them with a ricotta and spinach filling. Use some marinara as the base sauce, sprinkle parmesan, and shut the oven.
You're ready with a piping hot pasta dish within the next forty minutes.
Despite how easy it is to pull off a non-casserole stuffed shell meal, reheating can become a problem. The pasta may get chewy, or you get a watery outcome after reheating the dish.
To avoid that, we have gathered solid information about how to reheat stuffed shells in four ways. So, let's dive in!
How to reheat stuffed shells
Stuffed shells or pasta, in general, almost always don't get fully consumed. Maybe it is the charm of making a pasta dish that urges us to do more, or the filling gets heavy on the stomach, so we eat less. Nevertheless, leftover stuffed shells are a real thing.
Storing them is easy — either refrigerate them for up to three days or freeze them in an air-tight container for three months. But when you take them out, you dread the reheating process because the pasta loses texture in some reheating methods, or the cheese gets too rubbery in others.
Whatever method you choose, make sure to lower the pasta temperature first to match room temperature and then pick either microwave, oven, stove, or air fryer to reheat the stuffed shells.
As a rule of thumb, you need to achieve 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees centigrade as the pasta's internal temperature.
How long does it take to reheat stuffed shells?
Various reheating settings will take different times to reheat the stuffed shells. For example, the quickest is the microwave, where you will get it done within a few minutes, depending on if the shells are refrigerated or frozen.
The slowest of all is the oven, where you need almost the same time as it takes to cook the dish in the first place.
The stove comes between an air fryer and an oven. It will take about 15-20 minutes of the lowest heat settings to reheat stuffed shells on the stove.
Similarly, the air fryer is the second fastest method, with 8-10 minutes of reheating stuffed shells.
How to reheat in the microwave
The microwave is the only option to reheat stuffed shells in some situations. You may be at school or work and only stuck with a microwave.
In such situations, use a microwave-safe container to store the stuffed shells and reheat them in incremental settings.
But before that, splash some water on the pasta so it doesn't get dry.
First, microwave for a couple of minutes and check if the pasta is reheated or not. If not, again, set the timer for fifteen-second intervals. Keep repeating until the pasta gets thoroughly heated.
If the pasta is not frozen, it will be reheated until now. If it is frozen, set your microwave to defrost the stuffed shells.
- Place the stuffed shells in a microwave-safe container and spritz with a little water or add extra sauce. This helps keep them moist.
- Make sure that the container is covered.
- Start heating the shells first for a couple of minutes.
- Keep heating for fifteen-second intervals if the stuffed shells don't get reheated in the first couple of minutes.
How to reheat in the oven
If you have time, cold stuffed shells and an oven, go for reheating in an oven. It gives the best result, although it's the slowest reheating method.
To reheat the pasta in an oven, place the stuffed shells in an oven-proof dish lined in a single layer. Then, cover the container with a foil sheet.
Make sure that the foil covers the container and becomes almost air-tight. But before starting this arrangement, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about ten minutes.
Once preheated, place the pasta dish in the oven and let it cook until the top cheesy layer starts bubbling (25-30 minutes approximately.)
- Make a single layer of stuffed shells in an oven-safe dish.
- Cover the dish with a foil sheet so that the top is entirely beneath the foil.
- Before doing these steps, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for ten minutes.
- Stick the dish inside the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until the pasta top starts to bubble (the melting cheese effect)
How to reheat on the stove
Using a stovetop for reheating purposes may not be a prevalent practice, but it's good if you know how to handle things on a stove.
You need to arrange a pot with a lid to reheat on the stove for stuffed shells. The lid will keep all the steam inside you will create using a splash or two of water in the pasta pot.
With a stove, there's no preheating involved. You only need to pick a pan big enough to place your stuffed shells at some distance and splash almost ¼th cup of water on the pasta. Turn the flame on and keep checking the pot every five minutes.
Keep the flame at the lowest so that the shells' bottoms do not get stuck to the pan's bottom.
You need to add more water if the pasta sticks to the pot's base.
Once you get done with the reheating, turn off the flame and indulge.
- Take a big pot with a lid and place your stuffed shells in a single layer.
- Cover the pot with the lid and place it on the stove, keeping it on the lowest flame.
- Before closing the lid, add 1 tablespoon of water to the pot so that the pasta doesn't stick to the pot's bottom.
- Keep checking the pasta every 5 minutes to see if the bottom isn't burning.
- Using a kitchen thermometer, check the temperature of the pasta, which should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- At this stage, you have successfully reheated the stuffed shells.
How to reheat in the air fryer
An air fryer works slower than a microwave in reheating stuffed shells, but you will be amazed by the results.
You need to preheat the air fryer to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes. Take out the air fryer basket and place a silicone mold or something inside that doesn't block the basket completely.
If you don't have anything, you can use foil, but keep in mind that the foil should not cover the sides of the basket with it.
Place your stuffed shells with sauce over the foil and place the basket in the air fryer. Set the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and take out the hot pasta after 8-10 minutes. Easy peasy!
- Preheat the air fryer to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes.
- Place a piece of foil in the basket and place the stuffed shells over the foil.
- Place the basket inside the air fryer and let the pasta cook for about 6-8 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take the foil out using baking gloves and enjoy your meal.
How many times can you reheat stuffed shells?
Although you can reheat the stuffed shells multiple times, the practice is not safe.
You should only reheat cooked food once because if you refrigerate food after reheating, its exposure to the external environment makes it prone to exponential bacterial growth.
It may lead to stomach illnesses in the people who consume such food, so it's better to stick to reheating only once.
If you're afraid that you wouldn't be able to finish a pasta batch in a single reheating, make small portions out of the batch and reheat individual portions to avoid wastage.
How long do stuffed shells last in the refrigerator?
If you store the stuffed shells in proper airtight containers, they will last in the fridge for about 3-5 days.
Discard the stuffed shells immediately if you find mold growing on them or if they smell bad even after refrigeration. These are the signs of stuffed shells going bad.
Stuffed shells are the ultimate comfort food, and the experimentation with the stuffing can make them a home chef's favorite within no time.
However, when it comes to reheating them, you need to pick the right option carefully and follow the instructions thoroughly to keep the dish's flavors intact.
Ensure to store them air-tight in the fridge so that the leftover stuffed shells suffice you for at least a couple of meals.
How To Reheat Stuffed Shells
- 4-8 stuffed shells
- Place the stuffed shells in a microwave-safe container and spritz with a little water or add extra sauce. Make sure that the container is covered.Start heating the shells first for a couple of minutes. Keep heating for fifteen-second intervals if the stuffed shells don't get reheated in the first couple of minutes.
- Take a big pot with a lid and place your stuffed shells in a single layer.Cover the pot with the lid and place it on the stove, keeping it on the lowest flame.Before closing the lid, add 1 tablespoon of water to the pot so that the pasta doesn't stick to the pot's bottom. Keep checking the pasta every 5 minutes to see if the bottom isn't burning. Using a kitchen thermometer, check the temperature of the pasta, which should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.At this stage, you have successfully reheated the stuffed shells.
- Make a single layer of stuffed shells in an oven-safe dish. Cover the dish with a foil sheet so that the top is entirely beneath the foil. Before doing these steps, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for ten minutes.Stick the dish inside the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until the pasta top starts to bubble (the melting cheese effect)
- Preheat the air fryer to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. Place a piece of foil in the basket and place the stuffed shells over the foil. Place the basket inside the air fryer and let the pasta cook for about 6-8 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.Take the foil out using baking gloves and enjoy your meal.