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Creamy Garlic Shells Pasta

Shell-shaped pasta is tossed in a creamy white garlic cheese sauce for an amazing experience. The best part? This Creamy Garlic Shells Pasta recipe doesn’t require any kind of packet and is ready in less than 15 minutes.

Creamy Garlic Shells Pasta

I’m just going to go ahead and apologize right now before I go any further.

I’m sort of on a comfort food (you know, high calorie, delicious, and unhealthy food) kick right now, (maybe because the weather is getting cooler?) and there is absolutely nothing healthy about this dish.

Creamy Garlic Shells Pasta

Actually, you could make it significantly healthier depending on what type of ingredients you choose to use (skim milk instead of cream, less cheese, and not over-indulging), but I’m not going to lie and tell you I made any of those choices. This is pure, delicious, evil.

There was a long (-ish) period where the hubs and I should have bought some stock in Lipton. We were investing that much money.

When I was first married those little side-dish pasta packets were an automatic go-to of mine for dinner.

Except in our little world, while we were figuring everything out, including learning to cook and figure out a monthly food budget, they weren’t really sides so much as a meal and, man, did we love em.

Creamy Garlic Shells Pasta

Sure, one package allowed us to reach our sodium limit for a month, but I’m sure that’s what made them so tasty.

After a few years went by, we had learned a few things.

Creamy Garlic Shells Pasta

Those pasta sides got kicked to the curb in favor of more and more homemade versions, that we came to find tasted better and were loads cheaper, especially for a large, expanding family.

Creamy Garlic Shells Pasta

So here’s all that delicious (and still very convenient) taste, without the copious amounts of sodium, and without requiring you to purchase a pasta packet.

If you’ve tried this CREAMY GARLIC SHELLS PASTA, or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTERESTFACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!

Creamy Garlic Shells Pasta

A quick and easy dish, this yummy recipe features small shells stirred into a creamy Parmesan garlic sauce.
4.47 from 13 votes
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  • 8 oz small shells pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, half/half, or even milk- if you'd like a lighter version
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp parsley flakes


  • Cook pasta in a pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain, then set aside. Let pot cool off the heat for several minutes.
  • Return pot to stove over medium heat then melt butter in olive oil. Add garlic then saute until golden brown, about 30 seconds, being very careful not to burn. Sprinkle in flour then whisk and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk while whisking until mixture is smooth. Season with salt & pepper then switch to a spoon and stir constantly until mixture is thick and bubbly, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Take pot off the heat then stir in parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and parsley flakes until smooth then add cooked pasta and stir to combine.


recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
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4.47 from 13 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Pure out and out comfort food, mac and cheese as far as I’m concerned, but 10 times better with your sauce! Thank you for bringing to the party and have a wonderful weekend!!!

    1. We put in everything! Well not everrrything, but ya get the idea. Thanks for the love, Alison and I can’t wait to hear your final thoughts.

  2. 5 stars
    I was looking for a recipe for shells, peas and pasta salad, but came across this creamy garlic shell pasta recipe to make instead. Made this recipe instead and added peas. Came out delicious.

    1. So happy you found & enjoyed our recipe, Richard. I can totally picture peas in this and it sounds delicious. Next time I make it for my guys, I will definitely be giving your version a try!

  3. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I needed a side dish and knew I had pasta shells in the pantry so I googled pasta shell side dish and your port popped up.
    It was delicious and my whole family enjoyed it, even my picky 2yr old šŸ™‚

  4. Made this up, and added knackworsts, carrots and broccoli to make it a full meal. It was amazing! So thankful, because I’ve never been a fan of those sidekicks šŸ˜Š