Cheese Manicotti Skillet + Video

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Cheese Manicotti Skillet cooks right in the sauce, no pre-cooking needed! This easy skillet meal recipe makes an Italian dinner in only 30 minutes!

While I love fresh pasta dishes, I don’t always have time to make them from scratch. With this Italian pasta casserole, time is no longer an issue!

titled image of italian cheese manicotti

Cheese Manicotti

Uncooked pasta tubes are stuffed with a blend of three classic cheeses and cooked to perfection in a delicious meat sauce. It’s a simple, flavorful dinner that will have everyone begging for seconds.

I love one pot recipes because who has time to wash a pile of dishes? Whether you’re in the mood for Mexican red rice, some rigatoni, or some good old fashioned chicken pot pie, I have a variety of easy skillet meals for you to choose from!


Watch the video to see how easy it is to make chicken fettuccine alfredo!

packages of ingredients for cheese manicotti recipe

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Add some meat.
    The cheese manicotti would be just as delicious with Italian sausage – just be sure to drain off the extra grease. For a leaner option, try ground chicken or turkey, and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  • Veggie boost.
    Sauté some onions or mushrooms in a little oil before browning the meat. Or, defrost frozen spinach and stir it into the ricotta mixture.
  • Skip the bagged shreds.
    Pre-shredded cheese is coated with anti-caking agents, which can give the shreds a waxy texture and prevent them from melting properly.
  • Want more flavor?
    Replace some or all of the water with vegetable or beef broth instead.
filling pasta tubes with ricotta filling

Serving Suggestions

The beauty of this meal is that it is delectable all on its own!

You can always add a green salad to round out your plate. Or, whip up a quick batch of garlic knots in the air fryer while this cheese manicotti simmers on the stove.

If you have dinner guests, finish off the meal with an easy tiramisu or 2-ingredient affogato.

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Cheese Manicotti FAQ

Can I substitute cottage cheese for ricotta?

Yes! Cottage cheese has a similar mild taste and fewer calories than ricotta. The manicotti filling won’t be quite as creamy, but your meal will still be delicious.

overhead: making manicotti recipe in skillet

Will this recipe work with stuffed shells?

Possibly, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The filling may float out since the entire top is open and they are being submerged in sauce.

How do I save leftovers?

Allow the cheese manicotti to cool, then transfer to an airtight container. It will last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

I wouldn’t recommend freezing this dish though, since dairy tends to have an unpleasant texture once thawed and reheated.

melted white cheese on top of pasta sauce


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overhead: serving of manicotti on white plate

Other Easy Skillet Meals

italian pasta dinner on white plate

Cheese Manicotti Skillet + Video

Donna Elick
Cheese Manicotti Skillet cooks in one pan, no pre-cooking needed! This easy skillet recipe makes an Italian meal in only 30 minutes!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Method Stovetop
Servings 4


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 16 ounce container part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 8 manicotti shells, uncooked
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • fresh parsley, optional garnish


  • Warm oil in a large (10-inch) skillet over medium high-heat, add beef and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook beef until cooked though, stirring occasionally. Drain if necessary.
  • Meanwhile in a medium bowl combine ricotta cheese, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ½ cup shredded cheese, egg and ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Mix until well blended.
  • Fill a 1 gallon resealable bag with ricotta mixture. Clip off the tip of the bag (so it is still small enough to fit inside manicotti shell). Stick a clean finger about 1” into one end of the shell and place end of bag into the other end of the manicotti shell and squeeze mixture into shell until no more will fit. Turn shell over and fill the remaining portion. Repeat until all shells are filled.
  • Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, Italian seasoning and water. Turn heat to high. Place stuffed manicotti into sauce. Press down to get them under the sauce mixture. Spoon sauce over shells. Cover skillet to bring to a boil, reduce to simmer (sauce should still be bubbling). Cook covered until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle remaining cheese over top of skillet, allow cheese to melt. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired.
  • Serve and enjoy!



Serving: 1 | Calories: 742cal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 61g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 196mg | Sodium: 2147mg | Sugar: 12g | Fiber: 4g | Calcium: 782mg | Iron: 6mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled pinterest collage for cheese manicotti recipe

Originally published October 2013, updated and republished July 2022.

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  1. You do really fabulous pasta recipes! Comes as no surprise since your blog has the word "Italian" in it. LOL. I have always wanted to try this but the cooking time just puts me off. I made lasagna again recently and was immediately reminded why I hardly make it at all. The work! So glad you've come up with a quicker recipe for manicotti 🙂

    1. Stuffed shells would work in this recipe, but the filling may tend to float out as the entire top is open and you are submerging them in sauce.

  2. Won’t the filling come out the ends as it cooks in the sauce? You mentioned this with shells, I’d love to try this as my husband loves it but a lot of work to have the cheese filling melt out into sauce

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