This lemon chicken stuffed shells recipe is easy, cheesy, and delicious. Three different kinds of cheeses and flavorful lemon chicken are baked to melty perfection. This recipe makes an awesome comfort food dinner!
What can I say? Jumbo shells stuffed with chicken and cream cheese seemed like a good idea, and it worked.
The 3 cheeses in here are cream cheese (makes a great tangy filling and keeps the chicken moist), parmesan, and mozzarella.
I used rotisserie chicken in this recipe to save some time. You can use any kind of cooked chicken... this is a great leftover chicken recipe. You could even make this with leftover turkey meat after Thanksgiving.
I considered making a cream sauce to go along with these, but I thought it might be overkill. Delicious for sure, but definitely rich.
If I were going to do this, I would add around a 1/2 a cup of heavy cream along with some seasonings (e.g. Italian seasoning and some garlic) to the bottom of the skillet/baking dish before adding the shells. The cream will reduce and thicken a bit as everything warms through. So if you want a cream sauce, there ya go. 🙂
How to make chicken stuffed shells
- Cook the shells.
- Mix the cooked chicken, cream cheese, parmesan, lemon juice, and seasonings together.
- Stuff the shells and sprinkle them with mozzarella.
- Bake for 400F for 20-25 minutes. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Love shell pasta? Try my Easy Creamy Beef and Shells.
These chicken stuffed jumbo pasta shells actually reheat pretty well. I took them to work for lunch the next day and really enjoyed them.
I think this recipe will become a hit in your house if you give it a try. 🙂
More lemon chicken recipes you'll like:
- Easy Chicken Piccata
- Honey Lemon Chicken
- Lemon Butter Chicken
- Easy Creamy Lemon Chicken
- Crockpot Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- Lemon Parmesan Chicken Alfredo Recipe
Ask me in the comments below.
Lemon Chicken Stuffed Shells Recipe
- 2 dozen jumbo pasta shells (see note)
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken e.g. rotisserie chicken
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup grated mozzarella
- Boil a large salted pot of water and cook the pasta shells al dente according to package directions.
- Preheat oven to 400F and move the rack to the middle position.
- Add the chicken, cream cheese, lemon juice, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper (I'm quite generous with it) to a bowl and stir it together until you've got a smooth mixture.
- Grease the inside of an oven-proof skillet or baking dish with the olive oil to minimize the shells/cheese sticking on.
- Drain the shells once they're cooked, and then spoon the mixture into each shell (I like to use a teaspoon to do this).
- Arrange the shells in the skillet or baking dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella over top. Bake for 20-25 minutes. If you want the cheese to brown, broil it for a few minutes on high (watch that it doesn't burn). Serve immediately.
- I fit about 20 jumbo shells into my 10 1/4" cast iron skillet. It'll vary depending on what you use to bake them in.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Hi! Could you use canned chicken in this recipe? Thanks!
I think that should be fine! 🙂
Barbara G. Proud says
I have cooked this about 4 times now & we are loving this recipe!! My husband usually does not care for dishes with cream cheese in them, but he loves these! W e are having them again tonight .mmm mmm mmm I cant wait! Thank you for sharing this recipe! And I switched it up a bit by adding minced garlic to the chicken mixture ..its awesome!!
That's awesome!! I'm so happy it's a hit! 🙂
Great recipe! Perfect comfort food! I had to do some modifying since I wasn’t able to find jumbo shells(at two different stores even! Who knew...) so I opted to use lasagna noodles instead. I just spread the chicken/cream cheese mix on the noodles and rolled them up, cut them in half and put them in my cast iron. I also put a layer of pasta sauce on the bottom of the cast iron. Surprisingly it turned out amazing with not having the shells! I’m never disappointed in these recipes! Thank you! Wish I could upload the photos!
Hmm that's interesting about the shells!! I'm so glad you were able to modify it. Love the lasagna roll-ups idea!
Sharon Smith says
Have you tried this with gluten free shells?
I haven't. Any readers want to chime in if you have?
Kiki in the Kitchen says
I love the idea of this recipe. I've never baked pasta without sauce on top if it. I agree Natasha that adding a cream sauce might make the dish to rich. I'm wondering what the texture of the shells is like after baking without sauce. It seems like they could get really dry. Any thoughts or suggestions?
I don't find them too try 🙂
Jessica Fowler says
Ok Girlfran...finally commenting on one of your amazing recipes bc I’ve got a moment of peace while the kids are entertaining themselves with their free balloons from Publix. But also bc this mixture is THE BOMB! I mean, I found it difficult not to eat the mixture while waiting for the shells to boil. I added the cream suggestion for the bottom of the skillet bc duh. Oh - looks like the balloons are old news already so just had to let you know your recipes are everything! Big fan - keep it up.
Hahaha your comment made me laugh. I am so happy that you liked the recipe. XO 🙂
Jessica Fowler says
Natasha I’ve made this a half a dozen times since I first made. It has become one of my favorite comfort meals and so many of your recipes are in the circulation. This is baking as I speak...shell yeah! 😁
Aww so glad to hear it, Jessica! 🙂
Made these tonight. Delicious. I added some lemon zest and Italian herbs to the chicken mixture. Next time will add some sauce to the bottom of the pan because the shells turned out a little crispier than my family would like. Overall, beautiful recipe!
So pleased you enjoyed the stuffed shells, Janice!
I made these a few times and they’re always a hit, gone in seconds! Thank for sharing. One question though... I made way too much mixture today, can I freeze it? Or maybe stick it in a few shells and freeze it for a quick dinner? Thanks again!
So glad to hear it! I think the mixture should be fine to freeze. Thawing cooked shells may not yield the best results.
M. Reyes says
I've made these a couple of times now and my family and I absolutely LOVE them! They are fast and easy to make and super delicious.
I am so happy to hear that!! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂
Sooo yummy!my picky husband loved it and asked for it again tonight. I didn't have angled to erase chicken so just cooked some tender, with a little onion and minced garlic, and shredded them, and defected lemon. Delicious, even my 4-year old told me I could make it again, lol. Thanks so much for sharing. Apparently we're having it again tonight.
That's awesome!! Thanks for letting me know. So glad everyone enjoyed the recipe. 🙂
yummy you enjoyed it... i want to make it
WOW this dish looks so good and delicious! I have to try it soon 🙂
I made these shells for dinner and I thought they were very tasty. My husband wasn’t too sure about the cream cheese though. He suggested using ricotta cheese instead. What do you think? Thank you!
I reckon ricotta should work, but I haven't tested it myself. Glad you liked them! 🙂
This looks sooo good! 😍 I'm planning on making it for dinner tomorrow! I'm a newbie to cooking and haven't quite figured out proportions and how much salt and pepper to add unless it's written in a recipe. How much salt and pepper would you recommend to get the perfect taste?
Hi Ashley! No worries. This is actually a really tough question to answer since it really varies. I personally like quite a lot of salt. I tend to add extra to cooked meals that have already been salted haha. Try adding about 1 teaspoon to the pasta water. Chefs say it should taste like sea water... so even more is fine if you’re cooking it in a large pot. I’m hesitant to suggest a quantity for the chicken mixture. It’s way better to under salt than over salt because you can always add salt later on if it’s tasting a little bland. And a great cooking tip is that if something tastes bland, it’s probably because there’s not enough salt. My rule of thumb when cooking is to salt as I go. I usually put “add salt & pepper to taste” at the end of my recipes since it’s easier to write them that way, but adjusting as you go along is generally how the pros do it. Of course, you can’t taste everything... especially things like raw meat, but if you generally salt as you go, you’ll eventually get the hang of it.
Leigh Ann says
this looks amazing and I love a good skillet meal!!
Thank you!! Me too. They’re such a treat.
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says
Stuffed shells are one of my favorites! That filling sounds delicious!
Thank you!! Have a lovely weekend. 💛
Matt Robinson says
This would disappear in seconds here, can't wait to make it soon!
That's awesome! Thanks, Matt!