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!
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once all the shells are stuffed, pour the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle cheese over the top.
- Bake and enjoy!
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:
- Baked Italian Sausage Rotini — This is one of our favorite baked pasta dishes. It is savory, cheesy and a little spicy. Tastes great fresh or freeze for later.
- Italian Pasta Salad — Easy, yet bursting with Italian flavor
- Slow Cooker Zesty Italian Shredded Chicken — Make this ahead in the crock pot for a fast, delicious meal
And don’t miss out on these other amazing Chicken Dinner recipes!
How to make Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells
Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells
- 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
- 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.
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.)
- Add salt, to taste. Allow to simmer on low, stirring occasionally until ready to serve.