Chicken · Mexican · pasta

Mexican Manicotti

Do you ever find a recipe and think, “Oh, that looks good!”, but you only read the title and ingredient list?

I do that all the time, and then I get upset when I read the directions and find out I don’t own a certain cooking utensil, or I can’t do a certain technique, or the dish has to sit in the fridge overnight. Ugh. You get so excited by a delicious sounding recipe, and then you’re thrown a curveball in the directions! It can be extremely frustrating.


This recipe fits that example. I thought the ingredient list and title were intriguing, so I gave the go-ahead to myself to buy groceries based around this recipe. It wasn’t until I actually read the recipe that I found some strange things in the directions:

  • You don’t cook the pasta before you stuff and bake it
  • You don’t cook the meat before baking
  • You let the recipe sit in the fridge for 8 hours

Those are all very, very strange things in my world. I’ve only worked with manicotti maybe once in my life, but I know that you typically boil the pasta first before you bake it. In fact, most baked pastas are made with pre-cooked pasta! That aspect weirded me out the most out of all three.


I was also a little concerned about not cooking the meat before baking, too, especially since I was subbing in ground chicken for ground beef. It ended up working out fine, though, so that was good.

And finally, since the pasta has to sit pre-stuffed in your fridge for 8 hours (in the sauce you make), it gives the pasta enough time to soak up the sauce so it isn’t hard when you bake it. So it’s kind of like you do precook the pasta! No boiling water necessary. You might think that the outcome would be gummy pasta, but I can assure you—this pasta was perfect.


Mexican Manicotti

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

An easy, one pan dinner that mixes Mexican flavors with Italian pasta.


  • 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 (16 oz) can refried beans
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg. manicotti noodles
  • 2 cups water
  • 16 oz. jar picante sauce
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • Sour cream and scallions, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, combine the uncooked ground chicken, refried beans, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix well with your hands or a spoon.
  2. Spoon or pipe meat mixture into uncooked manicotti shells. Place stuffed manicotti in a 13×9″ glass baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together picante sauce and water. Pour sauce over manicotti. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours, making sure to bake immediately.
  4. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and olives and continue to bake for about 8 minutes more. Serve with sour cream and scallions.

Step-By-Step Instructions


In a large bowl, mix together meat, beans, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stuff or pipe meat mixture into uncooked manicotti shells.


Place manicotti shells in a 13×9″ glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine water with picante sauce. Pour over manicotti. Cover dish and refrigerate for 8 hours. Remove from refrigerate, cover and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and olives, and continue to bake for 8 more minutes.


Serve with sour cream and scallions! Enjoy!


2 thoughts on “Mexican Manicotti

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