The Best No Roux Shells And Cheese

April 4, 2022 15 Comments

Let me show you how to make the absolute best shells and cheese with no roux.

The Best No Roux Shells And Cheese

From the recipe collection of Tara Ippolito

You may find it hard to believe that the best shells and cheese you’re ever going to have is made with no roux.

I’m not a chef. I’m a proud home cook who started out in the kitchen just like everyone else did.

Making a roux used to intimidate me. Big time.

I was always afraid of either over or under cooking the flour. Once you do that the whole dish is off.

But I absolutely loved macaroni and cheese. So, I was determined to get around my little issue.

I thought a roux was an absolute must for this recipe at the time.

We’ll let me just tell you, not only do shells and cheese not need a roux, they’re actually even better without one.

Yup, I said it.

This is the creamiest, cheesiest most flavorful recipe you will ever find. I’m not even exaggerating a little bit.

I have made this for some many people and it’s become a family favorite recipe in all of their homes.

I’ve also shared this on lots of social media channels. It racks up millions of views every time I post it.

I didn’t say that to boast or brag either.

It’s just that to me its a really strong indicator that that the feelings I have for this recipe is shared with lots of other people.

I said the best part about this recipe is that there’s no roux needed to me made.

That is true!

But another great part is that is so easy to make.

Most of the effort is put into shredding the cheeses and that’s nothing.

Every single person deserves a great shells and cheese recipe in their lives.

And this one is the BEST!

Other super easy and delicious dinners you have to try:

Do I have to use pasta shells?

Nope. You can use whatever you want.

Obviously, macaroni and cheese is the most popular pairing.

I’ve just always preferred the shells. I think they really do a great job of holding in all of that creamy cheesy goodness.

If you’d like to use something else besides macaroni or shells, be my guest!

I would recommend a tube like pasta as opposed to a long flat one though.

Pasta cooking tips:

There aren’t many ingredients to this recipe. Shells and cheese is mainly it.

So they both have to be at their best.

Here’s some tips to make sure the pasta part of this recipe is as good as it can be.

  • Salt the water. While the shells cook they will absorb the salt and add some flavor.
  • Boil the water. Might sound like a strange thing to bring up but please make sure your water is at a rapid boil before dropping the pasta.
  • No oil. Some people add a couple drops of oil to their boiling water before adding the pasta. Don’t do that. The oil will actually coat the pasta and prevent the sauce from sticking. It will just roll right off instead.
  • Don’t over cook it. Undercook the shells here by two minutes. If you over boil the pasta, it will become super mushy and not hold its from when you bake it.

Do I really have to shred all the cheese myself?

Yes, you absolutely have to shred the cheese yourself.

It’s a must for this recipe. Don’t take a shortcut here and get the pre shredded cheese in a bag.

There’s all kinds of chemicals in there like cellulose that keep it from clumping.

That anti clumping stuff is also going to stop the cheese from melting properly.

For this shells and cheese recipe to be the best, the cheeses need to be able to melt perfectly.

Take the extra time to shred the cheese yourself. It will be totally worth it.

What other cheeses can be used?

I really love the monetary jack, cheddars and Munster cheese for this.

But pretty much any cheese that can be shredded would work.

If you’d like to try something different or just want to use up what’s already in your fridge, go for it.

Pepper Jack would even be a great alternative if you’d like a little heat.

Is there a substitute for the Velveeta?

Some people are really against using Velveeta.

Im assuming because it’s processed and not “real cheese” as I’ve been told many times.

There really is no substitute for this creamy, cheesy, liquid gold besides cheese whiz.

And that’s processed, too.

I highly recommend using the velveeta or completely omitting it if you really feel strongly against it.

Does this reheat well?

I wish I could say yes here but unfortunately I can’t.

If you make this recipe it’s best eaten right away.

Of course you can reheat it but it’s really not the same.

Topping Options:

I love all the creaminess of this shells and cheese recipe but sometimes I’m in the mood for a little crunch.

Here are some great topping ideas if you’d like to add a little something extra to this dish:

  • Breadcrumbs
  • Crushed up Ritz crackers
  • Flaming hot Doritos
  • Cooked and crumbled bacon
  • French’s fried onions

The best no roux shells and cheese recipe video:

The best no roux shells and cheese ingredients:

  • Medium sized pasta shells
  • Butter
  • Velveeta
  • Muenster cheese, shredded
  • Mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Monetary jack cheese, shredded
  • Heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried parsley (optional)


First, drop the pasta in salted water.

Cook the shells for 2 minutes under the recommended time it suggests on the package.

While that’s boiling, shred all of the cheeses.

Now place them in a bowl and toss them all together.

Once the shells are done cooking, drain them from the pasta water.

Place the same pot back on the burner that you just used. Keep the heat off and add the butter and the Velveeta.

Then pour the shells back into the pot over the Velveeta and butter.

After that, season the pasta with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Keep in mind that the cheeses are salty when you’re adding the seasoning.

Now add the heavy cream.

And almost all of the combined cheeses. Keep about 1 1/2 cups on the side that will go on the top of the shells and cheese later.

Next, stir everything together until it’s evenly combined.

Add the mixture to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Add the rest of the cheese evenly on top.

Bake uncovered for about 30-40 minutes.

The sides will be bubbly and the cheese will be melted on top.

Finally, sprinkle the top with some dried parsley If you want. It does nothing besides make it look nice.

Let the shells and cheese sit to thicken up for about 5 minutes before serving it.

This stuff is so good!

easy Dessert IDeas:

Here are a few super easy and delicious dessert ideas to serve after this shells and cheese dinner.

The BEST No Roux Shells And Cheese

The absolute best recipe for shells and cheese you'll ever make and no roux required
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: no roux, no roux mac and cheese, no roux shells and cheese, shells and cheese, the best shells and cheese
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 pound shells, medium sized pasta
  • 1 stick butter
  • 8 ounces velveeta
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups Munster cheese, shredded
  • parsley, dried (optional)


  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Cook the shells in salted water for 2 minutes under the recommended time on the back of the package
  • Shred all the cheese (except for the velveeta) and toss them together to combine them.
  • When the shells are done cooking, strain them and leave them in the colander.
  • Place the pot you just boiled the pasta in on the same burger you just used. Keep the heat off!!
  • Slice up the velveeta and the butter and add them both to the pot.
  • Add the strained shells on top of the butter and velveeta.
  • Season the pasta with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  • Add the cream
  • Add almost all of the cheese to the pot. Keep about 1 1/2 cups to add to the top later. Stir everything together. The pot/pasta should be warm enough to melt the butter. The velveeta will still be cubed a bit, that's fine, it will melt in the oven.
  • Add the mixture to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
  • Bake it for about 35/40 minutes uncovered or until the cheese is melted and the sides are bubbly.
  • Sprinkle the top with a little dried parsley if you'd like. Let the shells and cheese sit for about 5-7 minutes just to firm up before serving. ENJOY!!

Tara Ippolito

About Al Dente Diva

Tara Ippolito is a self taught home cook from New Jersey and cookbook author of Fast, Simple, Delicious. Better known as “T” across social media, she makes easy to follow recipes using familiar ingredients. T uses her Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest channels to share recipes and cooking tips for everyday people. Her motivation to share with her followers is simple. To inspire people to cook and become more comfortable in the kitchen.

As a wife and busy mother of two little boys she she’s always cooking fast family friendly meals. Sharing her kitchen with others that want to learn is a true passion of hers. As her social media platforms continue to grow she is committed to delivering consistently delicious content to her followers.

Al Dente Diva

Hello there! My name is T & I’m a home cook from New Jersey. I love to share easy to make recipes, cooking tips & kitchen hacks with people who love to cook like I do. My recipes are all easy to follow & use ingredients most people are familiar with. Being a busy stay at home mother of two, I have to cook delicious budget friendly meals that are fast to make. I hope you find something helpful here. Thanks for coming by.

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  • Becca April 14, 2022 at 3:41 pm

    This website has helped me so much. You have no idea how organized these recipes are especially because you really emphasize on step by step and provide pictures as well. Especially given that I’m a beginner to cooking. Thank you for this recipe and all of the other ones! Almost all of my dinners are inspired from you and they’re delicious every single time. I can’t thank you enough, really!

    • Al Dente Diva April 14, 2022 at 4:02 pm

      Hey Becca,
      This was such a nice comment! Thank you so much for visiting the site and trying the recipes. It makes me so so happy to read stuff like this. I truly appreciate it.

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  • karen allen April 29, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    Hi!! Can this recipe be made early in the day and baked off later? I like to get all my prep work done before I have company so all I have to do is take things out of the oven at dinner time. My guests are always so surprised that way when they see everything is already done and my kitchen is already clean!

    • Al Dente Diva May 1, 2022 at 2:15 pm

      Hi! Yes it does. I’ve done it before and it works for sure

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