Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

4.85 from 13 votes
43 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy.

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
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients in Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells
  2. Making Food Fun
  3. Step by Step How to Make Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells
  4. What Kind of Sauce Should I Use for Stuffed Shells?
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Do Stuffed Shells Make a Good Freezer Meal?
  7. More Delicious Italian Recipes
  8. How to Make Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells
  9. Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells Recipe

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! 

This dinner has all your nutrients right into one dish! It is filled with dairy, vegetables, meat, and fruit from the tomatoes. Chicken parmesan stuffed shells are a fun appetizer or dinner. Everyone loves shell pasta and the delicious flavor it adds to any meal. With all the ingredinets combined this dinner is a well-balanced meal that everyone is sure to love!

Ingredients in Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

For the stuffed shells:

  • Large or jumbo pasta shells
  • Breaded chicken strips
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella/Parmesan cheese blend
  • Fresh basil

For the Homemade Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • Chopped onion
  • DOP San Marzano tomatoes
  • Salt
chicken tenders and mozzarella cheese on a cutting board


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. It is a win-win in my book! We are taking these shells and boosting them with delicious and easy ingredients that are taking this dinner to the next level!

A bowl of chicken parmesan stuffed shells

Step by Step How to Make Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

Make this dinner even easier with these step-by-step instructions on making chicken parmesan stuffed shells the best meal yet! Get ready to add this shell pasta dinner to your weekly menu plan they are that good. Each bite is covered in cheese, and sauce, and held together with a savory pasta shell. The Italian combination is well worth the few steps in making this dinner recipe!

  1. Boil – 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.
  2. Cook – 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 them cool or rinse with cold water to cool the pasta so it is easier to handle. 
  3. Filling – Next, set up your filling station. Place the shells, chicken, and cheese 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.
  4.  Assemble shells – 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. 
  5. Layer – Once all the shells are stuffed, pour the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle cheese over the top. 
a baking dish full of jumbo shells stuffed with cheese and chicken

What Kind of Sauce Should I Use for Stuffed Shells?

Make this chicken parmesan stuffed shell recipe as simple or complex as you would like! Go easy and find a delicious canned sauce at the store, make a homemade sauce from scratch, or prepare a sauce using a can of tomatoes. Either of these options is well worth the time and money put into them!

  • Canned marinara – 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.
  • Homemade sauce – If you have fresh tomatoes on hand, try our delicious Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes in this recipe.
  • Canned tomatoes – 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!
A bowl of chicken parmesan stuffed shells

“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!”

-Amy

Frequently Asked Questions

What are stuffed pasta shells called?

Stuffed pasta shells are called Conchiglie. It means a pasta variety that is shaped like a conch shell. The smaller shell shape is called conchigliette and the largest is called conchiglioni.

What is the difference between manicotti and stuffed shells?

Manicotti shells are long tube shells that can be stuffed and filled on the inside. Stuffed shells can hold the filling inside the shell area. Both use a creamy filling with cheese and other Italian ingredients that is stuffed into the pasta shells.

Where do stuffed shells originate from?

Stuffed shells originate from Sicilian culinary tradition. The meat sauce is made with veal mixed with tomato sauce and occasionally peas.

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 it in the fridge and then bake it as normal. 

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:

How to Make Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

A bowl of chicken parmesan stuffed shells.

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

4.85 from 13 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 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12

Video

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large or jumbo pasta shells cooked according to package directions
  • 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. 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.
    Chicken tenders and mozzarella cheese on a cutting board.
  • Spread about ½ cup of spaghetti sauce over the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish.
    A baking dish with a layer of marinara sauce on the bottom.
  • 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.
    A baking dish full of jumbo shells stuffed with cheese and chicken.
  • Cover evenly with remaining spaghetti sauce. Top with shredded Mozzarella/Parmesan blend.
    A casserole dish with uncooked Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells covered in a tomato sauce and shredded cheese.
  • 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.

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

Notes

  • This makes a great freezer meal! 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 it in the fridge and then bake it as normal. 
  • Make meatball stuffed shells by replacing the chicken with fully cooked meatballs.
  • Use toothpicks if needed to keep the shells together.

Nutrition Information

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

Love this recipe?

We want to hear from you! Please leave a review.

Rate and Review



Share This With the World

PinYummly

About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful 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

Leave a comment

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

How many stars would you give this recipe?




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?