Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

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Pesto, chicken and creamy cheese stuffed inside jumbo pasta shells drenched in marinara. Typically Sunday dinners consist of family-friendly comforting meals. Me being a food blogger, I reserve those days to test out new recipe ideas I dream up. Some are misses (and my poor family has to pretend they like it) or they’re a huge hit, like these Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells!

I love the flavor of pesto and thought up this glorious concoction of pesto, chicken and creamy cheese stuffed inside jumbo pasta shells. The results were incredible! Flavor-packed, cheesy chicken shells drenched in marinara. How could they not be good!?

With a few simple ingredients, and about 45 minutes, you’ve got one yummy dinner! And it’s even kid-approved 🙂

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 -8
Author Life in the Lofthouse


  • 1 box (12 ounces) jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 ½ cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large pot of water, boil pasta shells until al dente; according to package directions. Drain the water, then rinse noodles in cold water. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine chicken, ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and basil pesto. Stir mixture until combined.
  • In a 9×13 baking dish, spread about 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom. Take one pasta shell and stuff it with 2 Tablespoons of chicken/cheese mixture. Place shell in prepared dish, and then repeat process with remaining shells and chicken/cheese mixture. There should be enough filling to fill at least 24 shells.
  • Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the stuffed shells, then sprinkle the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped, fresh basil (optional). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy! ♥


FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS: Prepare stuffed shells right up before baking step. Do not bake. Cover with a double layer of aluminum foil and freeze. Freeze up to 1 month. To reheat: Place in the fridge to thaw up to 1 – 2 days. Once thawed, bake in a 350° F oven, covered for 1 hour or until heated through.


Pesto, chicken and creamy cheese stuffed inside jumbo pasta shells drenched in marinara.

Pesto, chicken and creamy cheese stuffed inside jumbo pasta shells drenched in marinara.

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14 thoughts on “Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

  1. This is one of my favorite ways to have stuffed shells! I add frozen spinach to the cheese mixture to sneak some veggies in. 🙂 We’ll usually make a triple batch of these because they freeze beautifully and they’re so easy!

  2. This is going on my list of recipes to try! It’s nice to find something that isn’t just a different version of something I already make. Looks like a good candidate for a freezer meals as well.

    1. I visited North Italy a few years ago, where pesto is a staple, and my friend showed me how they make it… sooo easy. Here is his “recipe” (they never measure anything):

      Large handful of Basil Leaves (try a cup of packed leaves)
      Very finely shredded parmasian (quarter cup maybe)
      handful of pine nuts (try a tablespoon to start with)
      olive oil to bind it (tablespoon or two)

      put in your mini blender and mush mush mush till its a paste.

      enjoy and adjust to your liking 🙂

      ….. oh and Thanks Holly L for all the quick and easy recipes, as a single dad.. i love your site.

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