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Cheesy Ground Beef Manicotti

Beef and cheese manicotti stuffed with ground beef and three cheeses, an easy to make cozy and comforting dinner sure to please the whole family.

Pan of baked beef and cheese manicotti.

Cheesy ground beef manicotti, does that not sound delicious?  It's a dish I've made every so often over the years and it never disappoints.  Although it involves a few steps, it's not at all hard and still doable on a weeknight.

Close up of baked manicotti stuffed pasta tube.

Back in the day, I used to watch A LOT of cooking television shows, not so much anymore.  I remember seeing Giada make this manicotti and printed off the recipe and stuck it in my recipe drawer.  It's filled with my notes and a few stains, a welcome baked pasta dish when the weather turns cooler.


It's a stuffed pasta dish and in Italy it's called cannelloni.  The difference is minor, manicotti noodles are pasta tubes with ridges and are a little larger, cannelloni tubes are smaller and smoother.

Cooked manicotti noodles cooling on sheet pan.

The pasta tubes are cooked al dente and then stuffed with a cheese or meat and cheese mixture, or even spinach, and then baked in a casserole with marinara sauce.


Ingredients photo.

You'll need:

  • olive oil, salt and pepper
  • onion
  • ground beef
  • manicotti noodles
  • ricotta cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan
  • Italian parsley, garlic and butter
  • marinara sauce (I use Rao's store-bought)


Process photo collage of preparing the meat filling, with onion and garlic.

Four photo process collage of mixing the cheese and meat filling.

Step 1: Make the ground beef filling.  Cook the beef in a skillet with the onion and garlic and then set aside to cool a bit.

Step 2: Cook the manicotti noodles until softened but still firm to the bite, transfer to oiled baking sheet to cool.

Step 3: Combine the cheeses and then stir in the cooled meat mixture.

Step 4: Fill the manicotti tubes with the meat and cheese mixture and arrange in a single layer in baking dish and top with marinara. Sprinkle with more mozz and Parm and then dot with butter.  Bake about 35 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Assembled stuffed pasta tubes topped with shredded cheese and dotted with butter.

Pan of baked manicotti with melted cheese on top.


  • I recommend whole milk ricotta for the flavor and richness.  If you want a skinnier version, then try low fat.
  • Manicotti pasta tubes come in packages of about 14 and are easily found in the pasta aisle of your supermarket.
  • I use a small spoon to stuff the manicotti but you could use a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off to pipe in the mixture.  I've never done that, I just use a spoon with no worries to how it looks, it works just fine that way for me.
  • I use store-bought marinara sauce (only Rao's for me!but feel free to use your favorite awesome homemade marinara sauce.  No right or wrong here.  A good jar of marinara gets this on the table in about an hour!
  • This freezes beautifully!  I usually freeze about half the cooked manicotti and it's delicious reheated weeks later, always a treat to have a comforting freezer meal handy!

This is the kind of comfort food we love around here, a homemade cheesy beef stuffed manicotti baked pasta dish.  What's not to love about this one?  Kelly🍴🐦

Plated manicotti shown with forkful and salad in background.

You can never have enough baked comforting Italian American dishes!

  • My Mom's Lasagna Recipe is classic American lasagna with meat sauce and cottage cheese.
  • Italian Baked Spaghetti is my great granddad's cherished family recipe.
  • And if you're really adventurous, Nana's Ravioli is my great grand parent's Chicago-style ravioli, a lot of work but worth it!

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Pan of baked beef and cheese manicotti.

Cheesy Ground Beef Manicotti

Beef and cheese manicotti stuffed with ground beef and three cheeses, an easy to make cozy and comforting dinner sure to please the whole family.
4.34 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 736kcal


  • olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, medium-fine dice about 1 cup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef I like ground sirloin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti, 14 pasta tubes
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, divided preferably Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 cups marinara sauce store-bought or homemade
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces


  • Prepare ground beef mixture. Heat skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add onion, garlic and ground beef and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up ground beef, until onion is translucent and beef is crumbled and browned and cooked through, about 7-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • Cook manicotti. Drizzle a little olive oil all over a large baking sheet to prevent sticking. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta tubes until softened but still firm, about 6 minutes. Remove to oiled baking sheet to cool.
  • Prepare filling. Combine ricotta, 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, ½ cup grated Parmesan and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture and combine well.
  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Drizzle a couple more teaspoons of olive oil into bottom of 9" by 13" glass baking dish. Spread 1½ cups marinara over bottom of prepared dish. Fill the manicotti tubes with the cheese-meat mixture and arrange the stuffed pasta in one layer in the prepared dish. Spoon the remaining 1½ cups marinara over the top.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup shredded mozzarella, then the remaining ½ cup of Parmesan and then dot the entire dish with the butter pieces. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and bubbly, about 35 minutes. Let dish rest for 5 minutes or so and serve. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • I use and prefer whole-milk ricotta, but you can use low fat if desired.
  • I also use packaged shredded mozzarella for this dish, it's easier to mix the filling without clumping. So while I generally agree to shred your own cheese because it tastes and melts better, you'll be served well by buying a good quality package of shredded mozzarella.
  • Romano cheese is a nice substitute for the Parmesan, if desired.
  • Use a small spoon to stuff the tubes or pipe in with a gallon plastic bag with the corner cut off.
  • Store bought marinara is my choice and I love Rao's. If you love your awesome homemade marinara than use that!
  • Leftover manicotti freezes beautifully. I wrap it tightly and freeze the next day after it's completely cooled and chilled. Reheats are great down the road!


Calories: 736kcal Carbohydrates: 42g Protein: 46g Fat: 42g Saturated Fat: 23g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 13g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 156mg Sodium: 1367mg Potassium: 858mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 7g Vitamin A: 1598IU Vitamin C: 12mg Calcium: 622mg Iron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe? Please comment, rate it and share! And mention me on Instagram @thehungrybluebird or tag #thehungrybluebird so I can see!


Recipe Rating


Wednesday 18th of October 2023

It was good just isn’t as quick to make as it’s made out to be. Also, no it will not all fit in a 9x13. I had to end up using a 8in pan as well to hold the last 5. The taste was amazing but I also added a few other seasonings to it as it seemed to bland to me. When it says to let everything cool, DON’T. The manicotti will become too fragile and the meat/cheese mix will be almost impossible to get in. I had to end up warming the mix up a couple of times to make it go in the pasta. The only other thing I changed up was the butter part. I lined the pan with it then placed the sauce on it then spread a small amount on each noodle to prevent sticking.


Friday 29th of October 2021

Someone please explain to me how you fit 14 shells in a 9 x 13 baking pan. I could do probably eight going vertical but I had to do for going horizontal. And all the pictures I see they’re all going vertical so I could use some tips.


Friday 8th of April 2022

@Nattie, you don’t! They just don’t fit unless they are over lapping. I’m not sure why they say 9x13 pan. I like to leave a little space between my manicotti so they don’t stick together. I was able to get 6 going across vertically & 4 horizontally @ the bottom of the pan & still leave space between them. I also have a 15x10 pan & still can’t do it plus we like a lot of sauce so I more then double the sauce. 24 ounces of sauce isn’t near enough.


Monday 11th of January 2021

For us we use Lac-tail cottage cheese as a substitute for ricotta as we are all lactose intolerant. Tastes just as good.


Sunday 29th of November 2020

I made this for supper yesterday, (didn't have manicotti so I used jumbo shells and stuffed them) and it was AMAZING. My husband said it is his new favorite meal


Saturday 5th of December 2020

What a great idea, shells are perfect! It's such a comforting meal.


Tuesday 13th of October 2020

ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan. The three cheese trifecta.