Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

5 from 5 votes
43 Comments

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These Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells are the perfect weeknight meal! Also great when served as an appetizer. Easy to make and only a few simple ingredients!

A baking dish full of Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells with a scoop taken out

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

Don’t these Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells look amazing? They taste even better! I made them the other night as kind of an experiment just to see how they would turn out. I had a box of large pasta shells and I didn’t really know what to do with them and this idea popped into my mind. We served the pasta bake with garlic bread and a side salad and we had a wonderful meal! 

Making Food Fun

My kids LOVE the shells because, well, they are shells and my kids think they are actual seashells. Anytime you can capitalize on something they love, I am game. Seriously, if I want to get my kids to eat something, I just have to stuff it in one of these shells and it automatically becomes their favorite food. I love the large shells for the kiddos because unlike pasta noodles, they don’t get all over the place and they are easy for the little ones to spear with a fork.

Fun Food For Everyone

Of course, this stuffed shell recipe isn’t JUST for kids. They make for awesome little appetizers and are the perfect game-day snack! I love getting a little bit of everything (chicken, cheese, pasta) in each bite! Can you get any better than that triple combination? I say, no! These are super super easy to make, even the kids can help with this one too. My 3-year-old was able to help assemble these, and she felt like such a big-shot helping out. If you don’t have breaded chicken (or you want to try something different) pop a meatball in there instead of chicken for Meatball Parmesan Shells. YUM!

Three stuffed shells on a plate

Method

  1. First, assemble your ingredients. Boil the shells in a large pot according to the package instructions until they are al dente. Be careful not to overcook the shells, or they will be hard to fill and they won’t hold their shape. While the shells are cooking, cook the breaded chicken in the oven or air fryer until crispy and then slice. Cut the Mozzarella into cubes. Once the shells are done, let cool or rinse with cold water to cool the pasta so it is easier to handle. 
  2. Next, set up your filling station. Place the shells, chicken, and cheese each in a separate large bowl. Then, prepare a 9×13 pan or casserole dish by spreading 1 cup of sauce over the bottom of the pan. Preheat the oven to 375.
  3.  Assemble the shells by taking one cooked shell and putting a piece of chicken and a piece of cheese inside. Then, spear a toothpick through all the layers to hold them together. Place in the casserole dish. 
  4. Once all the shells are stuffed, pour the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle cheese over the top. 
  5. Bake and enjoy! 
Stuffed shells before being baked in a casserole dish

Do Stuffed Shells Make a Good Freezer Meal?

Yes, they do! To make this into a freezer meal recipe, prepare the shells all the way, but stop before baking. Then, cover with plastic wrap and then foil and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to enjoy this meal, defrost in the fridge and then bake as normal. 

What Kind of Sauce Should I Use for Stuffed Shells?

  • If you are in a rush, you can always use a pre-made marinara sauce like Ragu or Prego. However, even if you start with a base like that you can easily doll it up with some additional spices like basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper, to make it taste more like your own.
  • If you have fresh tomatoes on hand, try our delicious Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes in this recipe.
  • My favorite tomato sauce to use for this recipe is a homemade sauce made with canned San Marzano tomatoes. You start by sautéing onions in olive oil. Then, you add the delicious canned tomatoes. Then, blend everything together and finish off with some salt and pepper. It is that easy!  

More Delicious Italian Recipes

Now that we’ve got your mind thinking about all the great sauce, cheese and pasta combinations out there, check out these other great Italian recipes:

And don’t miss out on these other amazing Chicken Dinner recipes!

How to make Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

5 from 5 votes
These Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells are the perfect weeknight meal! Also great when served as an appetizer. Easy to make & only a few simple ingredients!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12

Video

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large or jumbo pasta shells
  • 8-10 breaded chicken strips cooked (I like the packaged, frozen parmesan-crusted chicken strips)
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese in a block
  • 1 quart spaghetti sauce see below for our favorite sauce recipe
  • shredded Mozzarella/Parmesan cheese blend to taste
  • fresh basil chopped, to taste

For Homemade Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion very finely chopped
  • 800 grams whole, peeled DOP San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 3 teaspoons salt or to taste, you want to keep salting until the acid taste of the tomatoes is balanced out

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 375-degrees.
    Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and allow to cool for easier handling.
    Cut chicken strips into 1 ½ inch pieces (4-5 pieces per strip).  You want it to be about the same size as the shells.
    Cut cheese into strips (as if you were cutting them to serve with crackers) to your desired thickness.
    Spread about ½ cup of spaghetti sauce over the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish.
  • Place the cheese on top of a chicken piece and stuff inside the shell, putting in a toothpick to hold it together if needed). Place the prepared stuffed shells in the baking dish.
  • Cover evenly with remaining spaghetti sauce. Top with shredded Mozzarella/Parmesan blend.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until sauce is hot and bubbly. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving. Top with fresh basil and serve.
    A baking dish full of Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells with a scoop taken out

For the Sauce

  • Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan. Add onion and cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. (If you don't have an immersion blender, you can throw the sauce in a blender instead.)
    Tomatoes being blended into a sauce with an immersion blender
  • Add salt, to taste. Allow to simmer on low, stirring occasionally until ready to serve.
    Tomato sauce in a skillet

Nutrition Information

Calories: 311kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 21gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 691mgPotassium: 497mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 605IUVitamin C: 5.9mgCalcium: 211mgIron: 1.6mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

More about Erica Walker

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are actually really fun to make! They are always a hit when I make them for dinner too! They look complicated to make, but they actually are very simple to throw together!

  2. How can I find out how to make your spaghetti sauce I clicked the link and it didn’t come up would love to make this recipe for Thanksgiving

    1. It didn’t quite use a full 1 Lb. of shells. I didn’t count the number of shells but it is close to 1 Lb in weight.

  3. I made these and they were fine but I think if I make it next time I will use unbreaded chicken strips. It was a little dry but not terrible. I used a whole jar of sauce and the Parmesan and mozzarella but it just wasn’t moist enough. These will be for my lunches so I don’t have to worry about what to have.

  4. hi. I found the Tyson brand Parmesan herb encrusted chicken strips It says it’s fully cooked but frozen. I plan on baking them for half the time allotted before cutting and stuffing. I’m afraid that they will dry out. How does that sound?

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