The best baked ziti recipe

The Best Baked Ziti Recipe

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This is The Best Baked Ziti Recipe you will ever try. Made with hearty pasta, ground beef, flavorful marinara, layered with mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan cheese. This Italian comfort food will become one of your family’s favorite casserole dinners.

The best baked ziti served on a white plate with shredded parmesan cheese on top

Baked Ziti is such a classic comfort food that is hearty, filling, and is loved by kids and adults alike. This recipe is perfect for family dinner, feeding a crowd, and is great for leftovers during the week.

This baked ziti makes a perfect freezer meal to feed your family or to take to your friends or family who are in need of a comforting meal. You can’t go wrong with this classic Italian meal that everyone will love.

Ingredients Needed For Baked Ziti

  • Ziti Pasta
  • Ground Beef or Ground Sausage
  • Onion
  • Minced Garlic
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Egg

How To Make The Best Baked Ziti

  • Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 9×13 casserole dish with baking spray.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet add ground beef and chopped onion and cook over medium heat. Drain any excess grease.
  • Stir in minced garlic, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes until well combined.
  • Add crushed tomatoes and marinara sauce. Bring to a simmer stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes.
  • While sauce is simmering, prepare cheese filling. In a medium size mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, and egg until well combined.
  • In a prepared 9×13 baking dish spread 1 1/2 cups meat sauce evenly on the bottom of the dish.
  • Spread 1/2 of the cooked pasta over sauce.
  • Dollop Spoonfuls of ricotta cheese mixture over noodles and spread over noodles.
best baked ziti with ricotta cheese layer
  • Top with the remaining cooked pasta.
  • Spread remaining sauce over noodles and top with remaining shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese.
best baked ziti with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Spray aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray, cover and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted.
  • Serve immediately. Enjoy
baked ziti that has been removed from the oven

Can I Make It Vegetarian?

Yes, you can definitely omit the meat in this recipe, and it will taste just as good. One thing you can add to your sauce to give it a little more filler, is mushrooms.

Can I Use a Different Kind of Meat?

Yes, the one thing I love about baked ziti is that you can use whatever meat your family prefers. Here are a couple great options.

  • Mild or Spicy Sausage
  • Lean ground Turkey
  • Ground Chicken
  • Ground Pork

Or you can use a combination of two different meats.

The best baked ziti with a side of shredded parmesan cheese and parsley

Can I Make Baked Ziti Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can definitely make baked ziti ahead of time and bake when you’re ready. Simply prepare the ziti as directed below, cover and place in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking.

What To Serve with Baked Ziti?

Baked ziti is a filling and delicious on its own, but if you are looking for a side dish to make this a complete meal, I’ve listed some sides to serve with baked ziti below.

How To Store and Reheat

How To Store: Once cooled baked ziti can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. When you are ready to reheat, place in the microwave or reheat in the oven at 350F until warm throughout.

How To Freeze: Baked ziti makes a great freezer meal. Simply prepare ziti as directed below, but do not bake. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake place in the fridge the night before and bake according to the instructions below.

best baked ziti in a large baking dish

Other Favorite Pasta Dishes

The best baked ziti recipe

The Best Baked Ziti Recipe

April King
This is The Best Baked Ziti Recipe you will ever try. Made with hearty pasta, ground beef, flavorful marinara, layered with mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan cheese. This Italian comfort food will become one of your family's favorite casserole dinners.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. ziti pasta noodle
  • 1 lb. ground beef or ground sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 45 oz. bottle marinara sauce
  • 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 16 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 9×13 casserole dish with baking spray
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet add ground beef and chopped onion and cook over medium heat. Drain any excess grease.
  • Stir in minced garlic, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes until well combined.
  • Add crushed tomatoes and marinara sauce. Bring to a simmer stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes.
  • While sauce is simmering, prepare cheese filling. In a medium size mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and egg until well combined.
  • In a prepared 9×13 baking dish spread 1 1/2 cups meat sauce evenly on the bottom of the dish.
  • Spread 1/2 of the cooked pasta over sauce.
  • Dollop Spoonfuls of ricotta cheese mixture over noodles and spread.
  • Spread remaining sauce over noodles and top with remaining shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese.
  • Spray aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray, cover and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted.
  • Serve immediately. Enjoy

Notes

*Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on Modernmealmakeover.com should only be used as a general guideline.
Keyword Baked Ziti
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