Home > Dinner > Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells May 21, 2020 | 20 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. These cheesy, marinara-covered Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells are a mash-up of two delicious dinners: stuffed shells and chicken Parmesan! Pair these delectable cheesy shells with a simple side salad like this Italian salad or this balsamic dressed cucumber salad. Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells My husband’s favorite meal (besides a really great grilled steak) is stuffed shells. He loves them! Another meal he can’t get enough of is chicken Parmesan. So why not mash the two together to make the ultimate comfort meal?! And while I was sure these would be a hit, I never expected so much praise! In fact, the whole family is obsessed with them, myself included. We make this meal so often that I’ve come up with some short-cuts along the way. Throughout this post I’ll share ways to make this recipe from scratch (if you’ve got extra time or are feeling ambitious) and I’ll share the short-cuts for how to make this meal come together a bit quicker. Let’s get started! Marinara The base of these Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells is marinara sauce and once the shells are loaded, they’re covered in more marinara. The marinara can either be bought (quick and easy) or made from scratch. If going the store-bought route, I highly recommend Rao’s® marinara sauce: (not sponsored). This marinara sauce is the absolute best on these stuffed shells – it’s got a rich flavor and tastes like homemade. To make marinara from scratch, here’s my go-to recipe: 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion 1 teaspoon minced garlic handful fresh basil leaves 2 (28 ounces each) peeled and crushed tomatoes (Muir Glen®, fire-roasted recommended!) 1 teaspoon white sugar Salt and pepper, to taste 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the finely chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook until tender — about 5-6 minutes. Add in the basil (coarsely chop or cut it with kitchen shears — no stems) and then the cans of tomatoes. Next, add in the sugar, a generous amount of salt and pepper, and the Italian seasoning. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally. Simmer until the other ingredients are ready (shells and the chicken). Chicken Tenders Once the shells are filled with the cheesy layer, they are stuffed with pieces of crispy, baked chicken tenders. Again, the chicken can be made from scratch or purchased ready-made (quick and easy). Store-bought route: While I’m no expert at store bought crispy chicken tenders (I don’t buy it all that often), I personally use Tyson’s crispy chicken strips for these Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells (not sponsored). I do recommend baking the chicken tenders, not microwaving them. Let the crispy chicken slightly cool to a warm temperature and then give them a quick coarse chop before adding to the shells. Make your own tenders To make crispy chicken tenders from scratch, here’s my go-to recipe: 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts 1/2 cup white flour Salt, pepper, paprika 2 large eggs 1 and 1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs Remove any fat from the chicken breasts and cut widthwise into a few large, even pieces. Grab three small bowls. Fill up the first with flour (Stir in some salt and pepper. Add some paprika if desired — about 1 teaspoon of each). Fill up the second with the two eggs. Add in 1 tablespoon of water and beat with a fork. Take the third bowl and fill it up with the Italian breadcrumbs. Place the chicken pieces in the flour and lightly cover, then quickly dip in the eggs, and then dredge in the breadcrumbs (I use all of them for 1 pound of chicken). Repeat the process once more (double breading makes these super delicious): flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs for the second time. Heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken pieces in the oil and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side (turning the chicken once) until completely cooked through (165 degrees F). Remove to a cutting board to allow to slightly cool. Coarsely chop and add to the recipe. Chicken Parm Stuffed Shell tips Cook a few extra shells. Occasionally a shell (or a few!) will break, so boil a few extra shells to use just in case. Eat leftover shells with marinara sauce! Salt the pasta water. Make sure the jumbo pasta shells are well salted as they cook, since salting is the only chance you have to season the actual pasta. Read about how to properly salt your pasta water here. As a general rule of thumb, I add 1 teaspoon salt to 4 cups of water. Stuff the shells efficiently. Add the cheese mixture to a gallon-sized zipper-top plastic bag. Press the cheese mixture to one side of the bag and using scissors, cut off a 1-inch opening in the corner. Squeeze the cheese mixture into each shell and gently press the mixture down to make sure the cheese fills 32 shells about 3/4 full. Completely cover the shells with sauce. Aim to cover every part of the shells with marinara sauce so you don’t get crispy, overcooked edges of pasta. More comfort food recipes Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells with a seasoned cream cheese Chicken Parmesan Meatballs in a homemade marinara sauce Crockpot Pot Roast with carrots and potatoes Philly Cheesesteak Pasta with peppers and mushrooms Creamy Pesto Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells 5 from 2 votes - Review this recipe These cheesy, marinara-covered Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells are a mash-up of two delicious dinners: stuffed shells and chicken parmesan! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells 5 from 2 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe These cheesy, marinara-covered Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells are a mash-up of two delicious dinners: stuffed shells and chicken parmesan! Course Dinner Cuisine American Keyword Chicken Parm Stuffed Shells Prep Time 35 minutes Cook Time 40 minutes Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes Servings 6 servings Calories 339kcal Cost $7.32 IngredientsChicken & Shells32 jumbo pasta shellsFine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper2 and 1/2 cups cooked and chopped crispy chicken (See Note 1)Cheese Filing1 container (15 oz.) whole milk ricotta cheese2 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese, divided1 large egg1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons fresh basil, divided1/2 teaspoon EACH: dried oregano, dried thyme, dried parsley1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (~2 cloves)Topping1 jar (24 oz.) Rao's Marinara Sauce, divided1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil1/2 cup panko bread crumbs InstructionsPREP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.PASTA SHELLS: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt (1 teaspoon for every 4 cups) and then add in the pasta shells. I usually cook a few extra in case some fall apart. Cook for 1 minute less than the package says to al dente. Drain the shells and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking and allow them to be easily separated. Drain off any water and separate shells onto a sheet of parchment paper on the counter.CHEESE FILLING: Place the ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup chopped basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried parsley, and minced garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper (I add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Stir until combined. Transfer this cheese mixture to a large (gallon sized) zippertop plastic bag. With scissors, snip 1-inch off the corner of the bag and "pipe" the cheese mixture into each of the 32 shells. Each shell should get a heaping 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture (which should fill 32 shells just over halfway full).ASSEMBLY: Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce along the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add cheese-stuffed shells in baking dish on top of the marinara. Press the chopped chicken pieces into each shell on top of the cheese mixture, using up all the chicken. Spoon remaining sauce over stuffed shells, being mindful to cover all the pasta so it doesn't dry out during baking.BAKE: Cover dish with foil; bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. TOPPING: Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add panko; stir to coat. Cook and stir 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle over baked shells along with remaining 2 tablespoons basil. Enjoy hot! Recipe NotesNote 1: I use Tyson's ® crispy chicken strips and bake according to package directions. Once baked, I let slightly cool and then chop into small bite-sized pieces. Nutrition FactsServing: 6servings | Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.2g | Protein: 26.9g | Fat: 16.7g | Cholesterol: 75.8mg | Fiber: 3.3g | Sugar: 6.7g DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.