Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells are flavorful, cheesy, and wonderfully filling. They’re a family favorite dinner that’s easy to make!
This whole weeknight meal is easy to make in just 40 minutes. The flavors of chicken parmesan all come together in this crowd-pleasing meal. With chopped crispy chicken tenders, Italian seasoning, fresh marinara sauce, and delicious melty cheese all stuffed into a giant pasta shell, it’s simply the perfect meal!
The delicious dinner has been a huge hit with everyone who’s tried it. The gooey melty cheese and crispy chicken are favorite flavors with kids. Plus, the giant shells are always a fun new way to serve a meal. But adults also love Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells. You don’t have to be a kid to love melty cheese, comforting pasta, and crispy chicken. It’s pretty much always going to be a classic.
While the Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells are baking, it’s the perfect time to get some simple side dishes prepped. You can toss together a bowl of fresh green salad with Italian dressing for a light, refreshing side. Garlic Bread is also a family favorite with Italian food and perfect to round out your dinner table.
- Jumbo Pasta Shells: Jumbo shell pasta is the perfect way to change up a classic pasta dish. Instead of serving the sauce and meat on top of the noodles, it’s all used as a delicious filling for the shells.
- Chicken Tenders: This recipe calls for chicken strips because they have a nice, crispy coating like traditional chicken parmesan does. It’s the perfect way to use up leftover Chicken Tenders.
- Cheese: Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells have the same combination of flavors as classic chicken parmesan, which means the cheese is an important component. The mozzarella cheese is mixed with the diced tomatoes and chicken pieces, while the parmesan is combined with the marinara sauce. Then the whole recipe is finished off with another cheese layer of each variety. The cheese coats the other ingredients and melts to bubbly perfection in the shells.
How to Make Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells
- Prep Time: Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Then you can cook the jumbo pasta shells according to the box instructions. Drain the pasta water, and lay the shells in the baking dish.
- Chicken Parm Filling: Add the garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and canned diced tomatoes to a large, heavy skillet. Stir the mixture as you go to bring it to a simmer. Then stir in the mozzarella cheese, and chopped chicken pieces. Scoop the chicken mixture into the pasta shells on the prepared baking dish.
- Sauce: Add the marinara sauce, tomato paste, and parmesan cheese to a pot. Then stir the sauce well and bring it to a simmer. Spoon the finished sauce over the stuffed shell pasta. Then top the shells off with the remaining parmesan cheese.
- Bake Time: Cover the baking dish with foil. Then pop it in the preheated oven and let the pasta bake for 20 minutes. Top the Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells off with parmesan cheese and parsley before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells
If you’d like to avoid breaded chicken, you can easily used chicken tenders that are grilled or roasted. There are more ideas for chicken variations below.
Make your evening easier by prepping these Stuffed Shells ahead of time. The day before you want to serve it, prepare the dish according to the recipe, but don’t put it in the oven. Cover tightly and place it in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook it, preheat your oven. Allow for more cooking time because you’re cooking the dish from cold. Once it is melty and bubbly, it is ready to remove from the oven. Let cool for a few minutes, serve and enjoy.
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- Bread Crumbs: You can give the Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells a crispy bread crumb coating with panko crumbs. Just sprinkle the crumbs over the shells at the same time you add the remaining mozzarella. Then pop it in the oven to bake until the crispy bread crumbs are lightly toasted and the cheese is bubbly.
- Seasonings: Add a little extra flavor with seasonings like fresh basil, rosemary, chives, onion powder, or red pepper flakes.
- Cheese Filling: There are so many delicious kinds of cheese that you can add to the cheese mixture. Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, or provolone cheese would all taste amazing.
- Chicken Pieces: If you don’t have leftover crispy chicken tenders, you can use other kinds of chicken for the recipe. Roasted Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast or ground chicken would also work really well.
- Impossible Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells: This dish is perfect for a meat substitute. Grab some Impossible Chicken Nuggets and chop them up the same way you would chicken tenders. Add them to the mixture and prepare the rest of the recipe as instructed.
- Veggies: If you want you can add some extra vegetables to the sauce mixture. Chop up some peppers, red or yellow onion, or zucchini to mix into the homemade sauce. Then spoon the veggie sauce over the stuffed pasta shells before baking. It’s a great way to add some extra nutrition, color, and texture to the dish.
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How to Store
- Serve: Don’t leave Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Store: To keep leftovers, you can cover them in plastic wrap or transfer the shells to an airtight container. Then they’ll stay good for 3-5 days.
- Freeze: You can also freeze Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells for up to 3 months.
- 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells
- 2 cups chicken tenders , chopped
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 14 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese , shredded
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley , minced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook the pasta shells in a pot according to the directions on the box and drain.
- To a large heavy skillet add the garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and canned diced tomatoes. Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Stir in half the mozzarella cheese and the chopped chicken tenders.
- Scoop the mixture into the jumbo pasta shells and place into a 9×13 inch baking pan.
- To the pot add the marinara sauce, tomato paste, and parmesan cheese on medium heat.
- Stir well and bring to a simmer, then spoon the mixture over and around the stuffed shells.
- Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in a covered pan for 20 minutes..
- Garnish with parsley and additional parmesan cheese before serving.