Creamy Broccoli Chicken Shells and Cheese


A meal the whole family can agree on can be hard to come by, but this one definitely makes the cut. Better yet it’s easy to make and if you happen to already have some cooked chicken sitting in the fridge or freezer then you’ve got a meal in no time.

Creamy Broccoli Chicken Shells and Cheese | Cooking Classy

I made this to be much lighter than a traditional mac and cheese by using low-fat milk and no cream, using only a small amount of butter, and using reduce fat cheddar cheese. Plus, I added a bonus of a protein and veggie to make it more of a meal in one, and so there’s actually some nutrition in there. I actually prefer a mac like this vs one with all the fat because it’s not so heavy and I feel fine about eating it, I mean with 4 1/2 cups broccoli how could it be bad :)? If you insist on making this richer you could use regular fat cheddar and replace a little of the milk with cream (if doing so I’d reduce the flour by 1 Tbsp).

One more delicious, perfectly creamy and filling dish to add to the rotation. Enjoy!


Creamy Broccoli Chicken Shells and Cheese | Cooking Classy

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Creamy Broccoli Chicken Shells and Cheese

5 from 2 votes

Creamy cheesy shells are swirled with broccoli and hearty bites of chicken for a dish that's sure to satisfy!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: broccoli chicken, shells
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 620 kcal
Author: Jaclyn


  • 9 oz large shell pasta , dry (3 1/4 cups)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts , cooked and shredded into small bites size pieces
  • 12 oz broccoli florets , diced into small bite size pieces (4 1/2 cups once diced)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups low-fat milk
  • 6 oz 2% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese , shredded (1 1/2 cups)*
  • 1 oz parmesan cheese , finely shredded (1/3 cup)


  1. Boil pasta according to directions listed on package adding broccoli during last 3 - 4 minutes of boiling, drain well (reserve 1/4 cup pasta water, just in case you want to thin pasta sauce).
  2. Meanwhile, in a pot melt butter over medium heat then stir in flour. Cook mixture stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  3. While whisking vigorously, slowly add in milk, then season with onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high, cook mixture, stirring constantly until it boils and thickens.
  4. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 1 minute then add in cheddar and parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Add drained pasta and broccoli and chicken and toss to evenly coat. As it sits it will thicken, you can thin it with a few tbsp pasta water if desired.
  5. *If you want a stronger cheddar cheese flavor use 8 oz. You can also use extra sharp cheddar.
  6. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
Nutrition Facts
Creamy Broccoli Chicken Shells and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 620 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 37%
Saturated Fat 14g 70%
Cholesterol 124mg 41%
Sodium 550mg 23%
Potassium 896mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 55g 18%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 9g
Protein 43g 86%
Vitamin A 23.2%
Vitamin C 75.2%
Calcium 53%
Iron 11.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Creamy Broccoli Chicken Shells and Cheese | Cooking Classy Creamy Broccoli Chicken Shells and Cheese | Cooking Classy Creamy Broccoli Chicken Shells and Cheese | Cooking Classy


  • Stacy: Great Recipe! Delicious! And easy. May 31, 2018 at 9:40am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the 5 star feedback! June 4, 2018 at 10:49am Reply

  • Lynda: Loved it!! I made it gluten free by switching out the pasta and flour for gluten free substitutes. Will definitely make again. December 19, 2017 at 7:40pm Reply

  • Ady: Has anyone tried with canned brocolli cheese soup September 6, 2017 at 8:28pm Reply

  • Melo: Can I use oat flour instead of all purpose flour? March 5, 2017 at 1:04pm Reply

  • Rob: Hi – is that broccoli fresh or frozen in your pictures? November 7, 2016 at 8:34pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It’s fresh November 8, 2016 at 10:01am Reply

    • Jaclyn: It’s fresh. November 8, 2016 at 10:01am Reply

  • Angie: This is really good. We have this in our regular rotation now! October 12, 2016 at 5:01pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy these that Angie! October 13, 2016 at 10:58am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy that Angie! October 13, 2016 at 10:58am Reply

  • Angel: I make this s lot and it is a hit even with my pickiest child ! I love how versatile it is. I add different cheeses….and steam my broccoli. I was wondwrong if anyone has tried it with a little chicken stock instead if all milk? I was thining 2 cups of milk and one cup of chicken stock . Think it might worl ? Again thank you for sharing this is delish! July 5, 2016 at 12:28pm Reply

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