Tuesday, April 1


This is for Kristin, my niece. Chicken Manicotti is one of her favorite dishes and when she asked me the other day for my recipe I couldn't believe that I had neglected to post it. It is one of our family's favorites, and quite easy to make once you get past handling HOT manicotti noodles.

I think I have asbestos hands.

Manicotti shells stuffed with a mixture of chicken, cheese, spinach, breadcrumbs and Italian spices, for me it just doesn't get any better. I'm giving you the 'down and dirty' version of this recipe — you could spend all day in the kitchen stewing chicken and making homemade sauce — but why would you?? This recipe is simplistic in nature using, frozen chicken, spinach, pre-grated cheese and Rao's Tomato Basil Sauce — you know I'm a huge fan!

I'm not going to lie.

Rao's sauce is not inexpensive, costing about $7.00 a jar, so feel free to use your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce. Also, forgive the fact that a few of the photos below are blurry. Trying to take clear pictures of hot noodles in boiling water was not the easiest task for me — the steam kept getting in the way. All the steam and hot noodles aside, this Chicken Manicotti is delicious and decadent, bringing smiles to the faces of the ones I love. Hope you and your family enjoy as well!

Chicken Spinach Manicotti
Pass up time-consuming and go straight to delicious with this Shortcut Chicken Manicotti recipe!
SERVES 6 to 8
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  • 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti shells
  • 4 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 (8-ounce) containers Kraft chive-and-onion cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 2 (8-ounces) packages Kraft Natural Shredded Italian Five Cheese Blend; divided
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian spices
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (24-ounce) jars Rao's Tomato Basil Sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Garnish: chopped fresh basil or parsley, optional

  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Stir together chicken and next 8 ingredients; using only 1 package of grated Italian cheese.
  • Taking pasta shells out of water, cut lengthwise. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each shell, gently pressing cut sides together. 
  • Mix pasta sauce and cream together. Pour two cups of sauce in the bottom of 2 lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dishes, 1 cup in each dish.
  • Place stuffed manicotti shells, cut sides down, on top of sauce in baking dishes. Pour remaining sauce evenly over shells. Top with remaining package of grated cheese.
  • Bake, covered, at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish, if desired.

Prepare and stuff manicotti shells. Wrap tightly with wax paper; freeze individually and keep in a freezer bag until ready to serve. Let thaw in the refrigerator during the day. Unwrap and place in a baking dish; top with your favorite pasta sauce, and bake as directed. Quick and easy, using only the amount of shells you need. It's really an effective time-saver and conserves money as well.

manicotti, family-style, Italian cheese, easy and easy, convenient, week-night meal, spaghetti sauce, short-cut, chicken, spinach


  1. I've never had manicotti, but it looks so good! And I like the addition of cream cheese, it's so good on pasta.

    1. This is absolutely the best recipe, NO ONE has ever turned it down and I've been making it for over 15 years. It's a winner!