Easy Chicken Manicotti

My family loves pasta and the more red sauce and cheese involved, the happier they are.

I was happy that such a simple dish and with so few ingredients came out tasting like a million bucks.

Easy Chicken Manicotti - Pasta shells stuffed with chicken, coated in red sauce, and smothered with loads of melted cheese!! Pure comfort food that's packed with flavor that the whole family will love!!

The chicken is soft, moist, and tender and there’s ample sauce to coat everything and to add flavor. And anything covered in warm, gooey, melted cheese is automatic comfort food.

Simply stuff manicotti shells with thin-sliced chicken breasts, smother with red pasta sauce, and bake. In the final ten minutes, add mozzarella cheese. So darn easy.

Easy Chicken Manicotti - Pasta shells stuffed with chicken, coated in red sauce, and smothered with loads of melted cheese!! Pure comfort food that's packed with flavor that the whole family will love!!

Tips for success include making sure the manicotti shells are resting on a thick bed of sauce and are then covered completely with sauce. Complete coverage is crucial so that the sauce softens the shells whereas exposed shells will turn crunchy and hard which you definitely don’t want.

For stuffing the shells I find using thin-sliced chicken breasts that I slice lengthwise in one-quarter inch strips works well. Two strips slide in easily and then the third strip I just stuff in however I can. I pack the shells very full with chicken because my family doesn’t like it when they’re skimpy on the chicken. They already asked when I’m making this again.

Easy Chicken Manicotti - Pasta shells stuffed with chicken, coated in red sauce, and smothered with loads of melted cheese!! Pure comfort food that's packed with flavor that the whole family will love!!

Print Recipe

Easy Chicken Manicotti

This is such a simple dish and with so few ingredients that comes out tasting like a million bucks. The chicken is soft, moist, and tender and there's ample sauce to coat everything and to add flavor. And anything covered in warm, gooey, melted cheese is automatic comfort food. Simply stuff manicotti shells with thin-sliced chicken breasts, smother with red pasta sauce, and bake. In the final ten minutes, add mozzarella cheese.
Make sure the manicotti shells are resting on a thick bed of sauce and are then covered completely with sauce. For stuffing the shells I find using thin-sliced chicken breasts that I slice lengthwise in one-quarter inch strips works well.

Yield: one 9x13-inch pan, about 11 to 14 manicotti shells

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 75 minutes

Total Time: about 90 minutes

Ingredients:

  • one 8-ounce package manicotti shells (I used 11 of the 14 shells)
  • two 24-ounce jars red pasta sauce (I used a homestyle tomato and basil variety)
  • about 1.25 pounds thin-sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise in 1/4-inch strips
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil for garnishing, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. To a 9x13-inch baking dish (ceramic or glass preferred), add one jar of pasta sauce in an even, smooth, flat layer. Smooth sauce lightly with a spatula if necessary.
  2. To one manicotti shell, add about 3 strips of chicken. I find two strips slide in fairly easily and then the third strip I just stuff in however I can. I pack the shells very full with chicken. The exact amount of chicken used will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts, length of manicotti, length of chicken strips, etc. Place the stuffed shell in the center of the baking dish at the top of dish (on the short side of the dish).
  3. Repeat the stuffing process and continue to place shells down center of pan, then fill in on the sides. I comfortably fit 7 shells down the middle horizontally and 2 shells on each side, for a total of 11. Amount of shells used may vary based on exact baking dish size.
  4. After all the shells are in the baking dish, cover them with the second jar of pasta sauce, making sure to cover them completely. Exposed areas won't cook and will simply turn hard and crunchy.
  5. Cover pan very tightly with foil and bake covered for about 60 to 65 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Try not to peek under the foil while baking because the heat and steam helps soften the shells and cook the chicken and peeking impedes the process.
  6. Remove foil, evenly sprinkle with cheese leaving a 1/4-inch bare margin around the edges (so cheese doesn't stick to sides and burn), and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
  7. Optionally garnish with basil and serve. Manicotti will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

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20 comments

  1. A tube of pasta with chicken and cheese sounds like some delicious comfort food and I love a recipe like this that doesn’t require pre cooking the shells (or the chicken). This looks a lot easier than I would have thought!

  2. It looks amazing! I see why everyone likes it so much :) I’m pretty sure I could shove some of that in my face right now and be very very pleased :) 

  3. My children will like this :) I love pasta and to try new recipes with it 

  4. I’m with Paula–pre-cooking pasta is not my favorite thing.  This would work for us!  

  5. I just made manicotti last night so I’ll have to wait a little before I make these but with chicken sounds delish.  I love lots of sauce so these would be right up my alley.  

  6. Ok…I just reread the recipe…are you telling me you didn’t have to precook the shells??? Yeah what a time saver..definitely can’t wait to make these

  7. Heaven in a pan, that’s what this is!! OMG!!

  8. All beautiful recipes. I haven’t had manicotti in years and it was always beef. This sounds so good. Thank you.

  9. I’m drooling over all that cheese!!  This looks amazing and I love how easy it is to put together!

    • I was stressing over all that cheese and how to try to NOT make it look like an oily, glarey mess on camera. Lol. Cheese is not my food photography forte. But it tasted great :)

  10. oh yummy! I would love this!

  11. Averie your recipes are just delicious and pictures more so.  Do you take your own photos?  Love this recipe and it will appear on my weekly menu a lot xoxo

  12. This is almost exactly like my chicken manicotti recipe! The only difference is I use chicken tenders and roll them in a little bit of garlic powder and parmesan cheese before stuffing them in the shells. Quick and ease and the family loves it!!

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