Creamy Garlic Shells

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Need a delicious and simple pasta side dish? Then you came to the right recipe – this one is a big hit with the whole family. And super simple to boot! Creamy Garlic Shells are so popular in fact, that you will likely find packets on the grocery shelf. This recipe helps you make a delicious and simple side dish that works with just about any protein (beef, pork, chicken) or could make a great lunch or meatless meal.

Creamy Garlic Shells

Because the recipe name has shells in it, I obviously list shells as the type of pasta to use. Really you could use any short or small pasta. The sauce does need a pasta with good surface areas, so that it latches on better, so a long pasta (spaghetti, linguini, fettuccini) is not ideal. While this sauce resembles an alfredo, it is not as thick as a traditional alfredo, so it doesn’t act the same. So the smaller pastas hold the sauce in a lot better.

Creamy Garlic Shells

This is a very garlic forward pasta side dish recipe. So while the amount of garlic powder might seem extreme, it really does need to be the star of the show. If you are wondering why I do not call for fresh garlic – there are two reasons. First is texture – the sauce is supposed to be very silky and creamy, so chunk (even small ones) of garlic would change that. And second, garlic powder dissolves and disperses into the sauce more evenly.

Creamy Garlic Shells

This one is a family favorite, so I make it often. Most recently I made it with a Apple Gouda Hasselback Pork Tenderloin. It was great balance of flavor. This pasta is also delicious with a nice simple steak (salt, pepper, garlic powder, seared on a very hot pan and butter basted). As well as a baked chicken.

Now Let’s Get Cookin’!


Creamy Garlic Shells

A smooth garlic cream sauce over shells is a perfect side dish for so many meals.
Course Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword cream sauce, Garlic, garlic sauce, Pasta, pasta side dish, Side Dish, side dish ideas
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 lb Small Shells
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 3 tsp Garlic Powder divided
  • 4 tbsp Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 2 cup Broth chicken or vegetable
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese grated
  • 1 tbsp Parsley Flakes


  • Start water boiling for the pasta.
  • In a sauce pan over medium heat, add oil, butter and two teaspoons of garlic powder. Once melted whisk in flour. Let cook for 3 minutes then whisk in broth, salt and pepper. Cook another 3 minutes and whisk in heavy cream. Let cook another 3 minutes.
  • Add pasta to boiling water and cook as directed on the package. Drain in colander and rinse with cool water. Return to pot away from heat.
  • Remove sauce from heat and stir in remaining garlic powder, parmesan cheese and parsley. Pour over cooked pasta and stir to evenly coat.

Estelle Forrest’s self-published first cookbook – Homemade on a Weeknight: A Family Cookbook – was created after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:


Estelle self-published a second cookbook – Burgers on a Weeknight – recently. It has over 60 delicious burger creations! You can purchase your own copy here:


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