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Air Fryer Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

Carnitas and cheese stuffed into tender pasta shells and cooked in an air fryer to crispy, flavor-bursting perfection.
4.95 from 18 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer appetizers, air fryer taco stuffed pasta, tik tok taco stuffed pasta shells
Servings: 24 shells
Calories: 189kcal
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Pasta Shell Ingredients:

  • 1 pound box of jumbo pasta shells - about 48 shells
  • 2 cups carnitas
  • 24 oz. cheddar cheese - cut into 1 oz. sticks
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Dipping Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning - more or less to taste


  • spoon putting carnitas in pasta shell
    In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta shells according to package instructions. Shells should be fully cooked, not al dente. Drain pasta and rinse with cool water.
  • cheddar cheese chunk put on top of carnitas in pasta
    Cupping a pasta shell in your palm, place about a tablespoon of the carnitas into the shell. Wedge a stick of cheese over the carnitas.
  • top shell put on taco stuffed pasta shell
    Wrap a second shell over the open side of stuffed shell to form a “lid.”
  • Spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray.
  • uncooked large stuffed shells in air fryer
    Set the stuffed shells in the basket of the air fryer, leaving just a bit of space between each shell.
  • Continue assembling the stuffed shells. Once the air fryer basket is filled, you can begin cooking the batch.
  • Spray the tops and exposed sides of the stuffed shells in the basket. Cook at 400°F for 13 minutes until the shells are crispy and light golden brown.
  • Remove shells from the basket and keep warm while cooking the remaining batches.


Storage: Best eaten while hot and crisp! But you can store these in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Stir together sour cream and taco seasoning for an easy, tasty dip.
You can spray the non stick oil over the cooked pasta shells and toss (or toss with vegetable oil) to prevent them from sticking to one another while assembling.
You really want to make sure these are contained. Do not overfill and be sure the second shell really wraps around the stuffed shell to keep everything in a nice little package.
These do not need to be flipped in the air fryer. Best results are achieved without flipping, but ensuring that there is some breathing room between the shells in the air fryer - we found 8 at a time fit best in our air fryer.
Exact cook times will vary depending on the size and wattage of your air fryer. We recommend testing one shell to get started and adjust accordingly.
Use any of your favorite taco meats in here - seasoned ground beef or chicken would also be great. You can also vary the type of cheese.
If your pasta is not cooked all the way through, it will be al dente and crisped from the air fryer - cooking the pasta completely ensures a crisped pasta that is easy to bite into and tastes delicious.


Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 205mg | Potassium: 126mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 354IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 219mg | Iron: 1mg
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