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Whenever I’m in a rush for something easy and comforting, this is my go-to meal

Slow Cooker Creamy Ground Beef and Shells Recipe


Put your slow cooker to good use tonight with this creamy and hearty ground beef and shells dish. Seasoned and browned ground beef is stewed into a cream of mushroom soup base, along with al dente shell pasta, creating a delightfully comforting dish reminiscent of beef stroganoff. Whether it’s a cold winter’s night or a large party, this recipe is perfect for serving many people with minimal effort.


  • 1 pound 80/20 lean ground beef
  • 2 cans (11 ounces each) cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shell pasta, uncooked
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Brown the Beef: In a medium skillet, cook and break apart the ground beef over medium-high heat until fully browned.
  2. Combine Ingredients: Add the cooked ground beef to the slow cooker, along with all other ingredients. Mix together to fully combine.
  3. Slow Cook: Cover the slow cooker and set on high power for about 3 ½ hours or until the pasta reaches the desired texture. Check the pasta after 30-45 minutes before the cooking time ends to prevent overcooking.
  4. Serve: Serve directly from the slow cooker into individual bowls. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or a dollop of sour cream, and serve hot immediately.


  • Healthier Option: Use reduced sodium cream of mushroom soup and skim (1%) milk for a healthier version of this dish.
  • Stovetop Variation: If you’re short on time, you can also prepare this meal quickly on the stovetop.


1. Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef?
Yes, ground turkey can be substituted for ground beef if desired. Adjust cooking times as needed.

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2. Can I add vegetables to this dish?
Certainly! You can add vegetables like diced mushrooms, onions, or bell peppers for extra flavor and nutrition.

3. Can I freeze leftovers?
Absolutely! This dish freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop when ready to eat.

4. Can I use a different type of pasta?
While shell pasta works best for this recipe, you can experiment with other small pasta shapes like elbow macaroni or rotini. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

5. How can I make this dish spicier?
To add some heat, you can incorporate diced jalapeños or a pinch of red pepper flakes into the dish. Adjust the amount to suit your taste preferences.