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Creamy Chicken Manicotti

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1 (16 ounce) package manicotti shells
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
salt and pepper
1 (26 ounce) jar pasta sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Creamy Chicken Manicotti

A rich and creamy chicken mixture is stuffed inside tender pasta shells, then baked in a flavorful tomato sauce.

  • Serves 8
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Manicotti are those big pasta shells that are stuffed with wonderful fillings. This super simple recipe for Creamy Chicken Manicotti uses chicken and cream cheese for the filling, and tops the stuffed pasta with a rich tomato sauce.

The only problem with manicotti shells is that they tear and break easily after they are cooked. The best way to solve this problem is to undercook the shells in boiling water. They will finish cooking and become nice and tender while they are baking in the sauce.

And you can still use the torn shells. They just won’t look as pretty, but they will taste every bit as good!

You can vary this recipe by using cooked pork sausage or ground beef in place of the chicken, or use cubed cooked steak or even pork chops.

Serve this easy dish with a green salad tossed with some sliced mushrooms and avocados. A big glass of iced tea will complete this wonderful meal. Serve Oatmeal Carmelitas for dessert.

Tips for the best Creamy Chicken Manicotti:

  • Handle the manicotti shells very gently. It’s easiest to use your fingers to fill them, however messy that is.
  • To soften cream cheese, unwrap it and cover with a microwave-safe paper towel. Microwave at 50% power for one minute, then check on the consistency. The cream cheese should be soft but not melted.
  • You could make the filling ahead of time, cover it, and refrigerate up to two days. Then when you want to eat, cook the manicotti, shred the cheese, fill the shells, assemble the casserole, and bake it, adding another 10 minutes to account for the cold filling.

Why this recipe works:

  • Manicotti is usually filled with beef or sausage. Chicken makes a nice change of pace and complements the cream cheese and tomato sauce.
  • Cream cheese adds body and flavor to the filling. You can use low fat cream cheese if you’d like.
  • For more nutrition, add some vegetables to the sauce. Chopped bell peppers, or even chopped zucchini or yellow summer squash would be delicious.


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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9" x 13" glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Then bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.


Add the manicotti to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes less than the package directs. Drain the manicotti into a colander in the sink and rinse with cold water. Set aside.


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.


Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese with the ricotta in a large bowl and mix until combined. Add the onion mixture.


Stir the chicken, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste into the cream cheese mixture. Use this mixture to stuff the cooled manicotti shells.


Put 1 cup of the pasta sauce into the prepared baking dish and top with the filled manicotti. Pour remaining sauce over all.


Sprinkle the manicotti with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling and the manicotti shells are tender.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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