Homemade Manicotti

Homemade manicotti is one of the first Italian dishes that I learned how to make. At the time, it was a challenging dish to make. Well, making the shells was challenging anyway. I remember always having to throw away first few I would make. Nowadays though, I can turn out manicotti shells like it’s nobody’s business! In my family, manicotti is typically reserved for holidays and special occasions. But, with yesterday being 9/11, I wanted to make something special that reminded me of the people I love and of course, to share this recipe with all of you! Of all of my family recipes, this is the one I have really wanted to share! This recipe is so special to me because it always reminds me of good times around the table with my family and friends. 

Homemade Manicotti

Serves 4-6

Ingredients for the shells:

– 2 eggs

– 1 1/2 cups milk

– 1 cup all-purpose flour

– butter


1. In a bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Add flour and mix. Batter will resemble a pancake batter that is thin enough to be poured into a pan. If your batter seems thick, add more milk. If it seems thin, add flour. It is okay if your batter has some lumps from the flour. Set aside.

2. With a non-stick pan that is approximately 6-7 inches in diameter, heat pan on medium heat. When pan is heated, add a small pat of butter. Use a heat resistant brush to spread butter evenly around the pan.

3. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the heated and buttered pan. Pick up the pan and swirl the batter around the pan so that it covers the base of the pan. You have to move quickly with this step! This can be a little tricky. You have to get the batter spread all around the pan before it starts really cooking. As you continue to cook each shell, you may find that your pan is getting too hot. If this is the case, remove pan from heat and wipe with a damp cloth in between each shell. You can also try to lower the heat.

Cook the shell for approximately 2 minutes and then using a fork, turn the shell over and cook it on the other side. Once the shell turns a light golden brown on each side, it is done! Remove the shell from the pan and put it onto some wax paper to cool. Now you are ready to start the next shell!

Here is what a finished shell looks like!!

The great thing about the shells is that you can make them ahead of time! If you make them more than a day ahead of time, I recommend freezing them. Make sure the shells are completely cooled before freezing. Place a piece of wax paper in between each shell and freeze! Whether you freeze or refrigerate the shells, make sure that they are at room temperature or slightly warmed before you try to roll them with the cheese. If you try to roll a cold shell, it WILL crack! This recipe should make you about 12 shells. Ok, now that you have your shells, you are ready to get rolling and make your manicotti!

Ingredients for the filling:

– 1 lb. ricotta cheese

– 2-3 handfuls of romano cheese

– 1/2 lb. mozarella cheese

– 2 eggs

– salt and pepper

– handful of finely chopped parsley/span>


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cheeses. Fold in eggs. Add in about a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Mix in parsley.

2. In a baking dish, coat the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce. I made my favorite tomato sauce (you can also make your sauce ahead of time!). One shell at at time, add about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of the cheese mixture in the middle of the shell. Then wrap the shell. Put the filled shells into the baking dish seam side down. Once you are done, top the shells with more sauce and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese!

3. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 more minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving! Then, Manga!!

All done!

Nom, Nom, Nom!!



  1. Great manicotti, Stephanie. My mother makes it from time to time – but not often enough! Maybe this time, I will invite her over and make your version.

  2. I have had the pleasure of indulging in this manicotti on several occasions and it is incredibly delicious! So good, in fact, that people have slipped home all of the leftover shells leaving none for Stephanie the next day!

  3. This looks like one delicious manicotti. Love that you cook your own shells.

  4. I have done the homemade filling, but have never gotten enough nerve to make the shells. Your recipe here does look like they are fairly easy to make, so I have saved it. Glad that you posted this!

    • Tina, once you make your own shells, you will never go back to buying them again! They are just lighter and taste so much better than the store-bought kind. The shells can be a little tricky at first, but once you get in the groove, they are so easy and worth the time!

  5. This looks wonderful! There is something so comforting about manicotti!

  6. Mmm sounds so yummy. I just love italian pasta dishes! Props on making your own pasta too!

  7. These look DIVINE! I am salivating….

  8. I never though to make my own shells. Great job! I can’t wait to try this.

  9. This looks amazing, and look at you, making your own shells. Amazing!!

  10. Wow – that looks amazing! I have made my own manicotti shells, but I usually make them as a rolled pasta…I LOVE this idea!

  11. Love the homemade shells! We used boxed when I was a kid, and I bet it is even better with homemade.

  12. I love how food can bring out certain memories and show others how we care. This looks absolutely amazing!

  13. Oh, I love this manicotti…those tender shells make ALL the difference and yours look perfect! Great comfort food~

  14. Manicotti is such a labor intensive dish. I love to eat it, but hate to make it, so I usually wait to order it at restaurants. Yours looks wonderful. Now I am wanting to go out for Italian!

    • It is quite labor intensive. So when I make it, I will do what I can in advance! The shells and sauce can be made in advance and be refrigerated or froze! That way, all you have to do the day of is defrost, stuff with the cheese, and bake!

  15. I love that everything is from scratch here…the shells sound amazing, but very doable! I make thin egg pancakes quite a bit and its the same technique to get it just right in the pan…Yum – great recipe for what sounds like some incredible Italian food!

    • Thanks, Becki! Yes, the shells are very similar to a thin pancake or crepe! And they are pretty easy once you nail down the technique and can move quickly!

  16. I have always wanted to do this! Thanks for the recipe! :)

  17. Wow I cant believe you made your shells from scratch! I was going to say this was one of the first things I learned to make at my after school care cooking class- but it was nothing like this!

  18. I’ve never heard or tasted manicotti before and thank you for introducing this delicious looking dish! Looks like lasagna but I might like this shell version even more than lasagna… Thanks for the recipe and I just bookmarked this.

    • Hey Nami! Manicotti is similar to lasagna. In fact, when I make my lasagna, I use the exact same recipe for the cheese filling. Traditional manicotti doesn’t include meat I don’t think, but I do mine in a meat sauce sometimes or you can serve it with a side of meatballs or sausage. Personally, I like manicotti better than lasagna because of the light and tender homemade shells!

  19. I love that you make your own shells! The only manicotti I’ve ever had was the school cafeteria variety…not so good. Yours, on the other hand, looks delicious!

  20. This is one of those dishes that I always, always ordered in the traditional red-sauce Italian restaurants. And never make. Now you have me yearning for it.

  21. This is such a great recipe. I have never made my own manicotti but you have inspired me to try it out!

  22. You make your own shells too?! Very nice!

  23. Wow, I am blown away by the homemade shells. Seriously impressive. And a very sweet meal to make for family on 9/11

  24. your manicotti looks awesome! Don’t think I’ve ever made it before, but I’m gonna have to give it a go! You make it look so easy =)

  25. This is different than what I know of manicotti. I thought it was a pasta that you filled, but this is more like a crepe. It sounds amazing! I love Italian food, but I have no experience with TRUE Italian food!

    • I think people confuse manicotti with cannelloni which is the filled (or rolled) type of pasta. But, manicotti is typically a crepe in Italy. I think the two are often used interchangeably though! I just tried to look it up actually and it is pretty confusing! All I know is that my great-grandmother says this is manicotti and this is her recipe and she was straight off the boat from Italy! lol!

  26. Stephanie….these look beautiful…all cheesy and good! I have never attempted my own pasta of any kind. But this actually may be doable for me!

  27. These manicotti sound wonderful! I used to love my Mom’s manicotti as a kid, but hers were always with storebought noodles. Yours look amazing!

  28. Those manicotti are mouth-watering… I’m very interested in trying to make the homemade shells, they do remind me of crepes! :)

  29. Manicotti is one of my favorite Italian dishes. This recipes looks mouthwatering – I might have to make it for dinner this week. Crepes are a specialty of mine so I can’t wait to have a go at the homemade shells!

  30. Wow! That is an amazing recipe & technique to have mastered!! I was just thinking that some stuffed manicotti would be wonderfully homey right now and you went and knocked my socks off with the whole kit and caboodle!

  31. I was just scrolling through your blog and saw this. I’ve never even seen a recipe for homemade manicotti shells before. You’re awesome. Thanks for sharing this!

  32. Pingback: Top 10 Posts of 2011

  33. How can I make this recipe in advance? Can I stuff the crepes and freeze? Can I do everything  the night before, cool in fridge and cook the following day? Please get back to me before Easter, Thank you. 

    • Sorry I didn’t get back you in time. I just had a baby right before the holiday. For the future, yes, you can prep these the night before and bake the day of.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.