Creamy, cheesy, and satisfying, this Crack Chicken Stuffed Shells recipe is always a crowd-pleaser. Each large pasta shell is stuffed full of shredded chicken, a blend of cheeses, crumbled bacon, and savory scallions before being baked to bubbling goodness.
The flavor of this chicken dinner is made even tastier with the addition of a ranch dressing mix added to the homemade cheesy sauce. That extra bit of tangy flavor elevates the cheesy sauce from a standard Alfredo sauce to this “crack” version that also includes the crunch of bacon and the zesty bite of green scallions. It’s an irresistible combination that’s always a winner!
Jumbo Pasta Shells – use your favorite brand
Shredded Chicken – use leftovers or use rotisserie chicken for a quick shortcut
Butter – use unsalted
Flour – use all-purpose flour
Chicken Broth – I use low sodium
Heavy Cream – use the heavy cream to keep the sauce rich and thick. If you use half and half, the sauce will be thinner.
Cream Cheese – use full fat
Dry Ranch Mix – you’ll need one envelope of the mix
Colby Jack Cheese – shredded
Cooked Crumbled Bacon – use your favorite brand. For a shortcut, you can use store-bought bacon bits.
Scallions – sliced
Ranch Dressing and Fresh Parsley – garnishes that are optional
How To Make Crack Chicken Stuffed Shells
Note: This is a summary of the recipe steps. For complete instructions, see the recipe card down below.
STEP 1: Boil the jumbo pasta shells to al dente. Drain and set aside.
STEP 2: Make the cheesy ranch sauce over medium heat by combining the butter and flour before adding the chicken stock and heavy cream. Let it thicken before adding the cream cheese and ranch dressing and whisking until smooth.
STEP 3: Spread 1 cup of the sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
STEP 4: Make the chicken stuffing mixture by combining the shredded chicken with half of the shredded Colby jack cheese, half of the bacon, and half of the scallions. Finally, add 1 cup of cheesy ranch sauce.
STEP 5: Stuff each shell with the chicken mixture and place it in the baking dish.
STEP 6: Top the shells with the remaining ranch sauce and the remaining cheese, bacon, and scallions.
STEP 7: Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 35-45 minutes until bubbly and golden.
STEP 8: Optional: drizzle with ranch dressing and garnish with freshly chopped parsley before serving.
- If I don’t have leftover chicken to use, I like to use store-bought rotisserie chicken and shred the meat. It’s a time saver and works well for this recipe.
- Cook the pasta shells to al dente, which means leave them slightly undercooked. If they’re too tender, they won’t hold their shape as well when they’re filled and baked and can become soggy. To keep the shells from sticking together once you’ve boiled them, be sure and run them under cold water to remove any remaining starch and then drain them well. I like to take them out, one by one when they’re cool enough to touch and set them on parchment paper until they’re ready to fill.
- Meat: The recipe calls for shredded chicken, but you can also use browned ground chicken. You can even use shredded turkey or browned ground turkey and it will taste great, too!
- Pasta: The recipe calls for large shells that can be easily stuffed, but you could also use cooked manicotti shells. Additionally, you could also use cooked lasagna noodles and add the filling on top and roll the noodles up.
- Cheese: Definitely use cream cheese, but the type of shredded cheese is totally up to you. I like the Colby Jack, but cheddar, parmesan, or even mozzarella are great.
- Veggies: If you’re wanting to add some vegetables to the mix, spinach or broccoli are great choices. For frozen spinach, be sure and let it thaw and squeeze out all the water before adding it to the chicken and cheese mixture. For frozen broccoli, let it thaw and chop it into smaller pieces before adding to the mixture.
What To Serve With Crack Chicken Stuffed Shells
Since this is practically a meal in itself, I usually make a large side salad to accompany it. If you’re looking for something more substantial, try my air fryer roasted Brussels sprouts or my simple asparagus side dish. For a cold salad, try my crunchy broccoli salad.
Can I Make This Ahead?
Yes. Just follow the recipe as written, assemble it in your baking dish, seal and cover it tightly and either keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before baking or in the freezer for up to three months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before baking the frozen casserole.
For leftovers, let them cool and cover them tightly and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until the desired temperature is reached.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
Instant Pot Chicken Stroganoff
Slow Cooker Copycat Olive Garden Gnocchi Soup
Slow Cooker Ranch Crack Chicken
Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Bake
Keto Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Chicken
Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Skillet Bake
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Crack Chicken Stuffed Shells
Crack Chicken Stuffed Shells is a wonderfully flavored simple dinner that doesn't look simple at all. Shredded chicken is mixed with a creamy ranch sauce, cheese, bacon, and scallions and then stuffed into large pasta shells before being topped with more cheese and baked to perfection. A delicious family-friendly dinner. Your guests will be coming back for seconds.
- 12 ounces box jumbo pasta shells
- 2 cups of shredded chicken
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese
- 1 (1 ounce) envelope dry ranch mix
- 2 cups Colby jack cheese, divided
- 8 slices cooked crumbled bacon, divided
- ¼ cup scallions, divided
- Ranch dressing and parsley for garnish, optional
- Gather all of the ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Boil your pasta shells according to the box directions, drain, and set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat melt the butter and whisk in the flour until it forms a paste.
- Whisk in the chicken stock and cream.
- Let bubble for 2 minutes.
- Add in the cream cheese and ranch dressing and whisk until smooth.
- Place 1 cup of the sauce mix down the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
- In a large bowl combine the shredded chicken with half of the cheese, half of the bacon, and half of the scallions.
- To the chicken mix add 1 cup of the ranch sauce.
- Stuff the shells and place them into the bottom of your baking dish.
- Top the shells with the remaining ranch sauce.
- Top with the remaining cheese, bacon, and scallions.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes until bubbly and golden.
- Drizzle with ranch dressing if desired.
Tips and Tricks
- This is a great way to use up leftover chicken.
- Rotisserie chickens are also perfect for this recipe.
- You can use any type of shredded cheese you like.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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DELALLO Jumbo Shells, 12 OZ
Herb Italian Parsley Organic, 1 Bunch
Fresh Brand – Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon, 12 oz
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Monterey Jack Cheese Block, 8 Ounce
Hidden Valley - Original Ranch - Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix - Makes 16 FL OZ (473 mL) - Net Wt. 1 OZ (28 g) Per Packet - Pack of 5 Packets by Hidden Valley
Philadelphia Cream Cheese Brick (8 oz Boxes, Pack of 2)
Natural By Nature, 100% Organic Heavy Cream, 16 Oz
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Chicken Broth, 32 Ounce
365 Everyday Value Prepacked Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (Step 2)
365 Everyday Value, All-Purpose Flour, 5 lb
365 Everyday Value, Unsalted Butter, 16 oz
Ifuerte 10-Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons Set
13 x 9 Casserole Dish
Amount Per Serving Calories 614Total Fat 43gSaturated Fat 22gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 138mgSodium 1019mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 32g