5 Ingredient Creamy Beef and Shells

Dreamy 5 Ingredient Creamy Beef and Shells made in just ONE pot and ready in under 30 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknight dinners and great for the whole family. Filled with ground beef, onion, your favorite jarred marinara, pasta shells (regular or gluten free), and milk.

5 Ingredient Creamy Beef and Shells

I am ALL about one pot dinners. Not only do I love only having one pot to clean, I love how quick and easy they are. This one pot wonder will be ready and on the table in less than 30 minutes. I actually timed myself the other day and made it in 24 minutes start to finish! Oh yeah– That’s what I’m talking about!

The FIVE ingredients needed for this 5 Ingredient Creamy Beef and Shells are:

  • Grass-fed ground beef
  • Pasta shells
  • Onion
  • Jarred Marinara
  • Milk
  • OPTIONAL— garlic and cheese. These items aren’t absolutely necessary, however, If you happen to have them lying around, I would consider tossing them in.
5 Ingredient Creamy Beef and Shells

Can this dish be modified to be gluten or dairy free?

This meal can be very easily modified to be gluten-free and dairy-free. Simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta (I love Jovial foods) and substitute a non-dairy alternative (nut pods original is delicious), and just leave out the cheese– it’s as easy as that!

5 Ingredient Creamy Beef and Shells

Piero absolutely LOVES this dish too which is so nice. I love that it’s quick, healthy, and good for the whole family. Leftovers last for 3-4 days in the fridge as well.

I hope you love it!! As always, if you try it, a comment and review below is so very appreciated! I love hearing from you guys. XO, Lindsay



5 Ingredient Creamy Beef and Shells

5 Ingredient Creamy Beef and Shells

The most delicious 5 ingredient creamy beef and shells.  Made in one pot, ready in under 30 minutes! The perfect busy weeknight dinner recipe! 

  • Author: Lindsay Cola (Tippens)
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 5-6 1x


  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 124 oz jar marinara sauce of choice (I like Rao’s tomato basil)
  • 4 cups water
  • 16 oz pasta shells
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 c shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Heat a few T olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  When oil is hot, add ground beef and cook, breaking up with the back of your spoon until fully cooked through, about 5- 7 minutes.  Drain excess fat.
  2. Add onion and garlic if using and season with salt and pepper; cook another 2-3 minutes, until onion is translucent and garlic fragrant.
  3. Add in marinara, water, and pasta shells.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until pasta is cooked and liquid has reduced to a creamy consistency.
  4. Stir in milk and cheese if using and adjust salt and pepper.
  5. Enjoy!
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  • Reply
    Libby Pfeiffer
    July 13, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    My 12 yr old is very interested in learning to cook so we started with this recipe. It was quick, easy and so yummy. She felt so accomplished! Love your recipes.

    • Reply
      Lindsay Cola (Tippens)
      July 14, 2021 at 7:47 am

      How fun!!! Thank you for sharing, that made my day! And so happy you enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  • Reply
    Rachel Daly
    July 15, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    You know a meal is fantastic when you don’t have to tell your 4yr old twin girls to eat once during dinner….bc they were shoveling it in! Very easy and great for leftovers 👌🏽

  • Reply
    August 21, 2023 at 5:38 pm

    When do you add back the cooked, drained ground beef to the pot? Currently cooking this and it smells great!

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