Baked Ziti Recipe (VIDEO) (2024)

This Baked Ziti is an easy, saucy, cheesy pasta casserole with all of the great flavors of Lasagna, but so much easier to prepare. Watch the video tutorial below and see how simple it is to make this pasta bake that captures the essence of Italian-American flavors in every bite.

Baked Ziti Recipe (VIDEO) (1)

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We love classic Italian recipes, and I’ve got some simple to make, but oh, so tasty ones to share! From Chicken Parmesan to Meatballs, and Manicotti too, if you are a fan of saucy, cheesy pasta, this Baked Ziti is a must-try!

Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

Baked ziti is an Italian-American casserole of tubular-shaped ziti noodles withMarinara Sauce, ricotta, and loads of gooey, melty cheese. Think of this Baked Ziti as a lazy lasagna- it has all of the familiar flavors ofLasagna, without the fuss of layering the noodles.

The combination of mozzarella and parmesan, a match made in pasta heaven, is our secret to making the BEST Baked Ziti! I love that this pasta casserole is make-ahead friendly, so customizable, and freezer-friendly too. No need to be precise or fancy with this dish. You can’t go wrong with pasta and cheese.

Baked Ziti Video

Watch Natasha make this easy Baked Ziti Pasta casserole. Get ready to dive into the comfort of saucy pasta and melted cheeses. You are going to love this one.

Why this Recipe Works

  • Easy – This recipe is nothing fancy – the ingredients are mixed together, and it’s not supposed to look perfect, but it sure tastes perfect.
  • Make-Ahead Friendly – This recipe can be prepared up to two days before baking. Not only does it freeze and reheat beautifully, but it also makes a wonderful meal for a potluck or a meal train dinner for a friend in need.
  • Picky-eater Approved – Baked Ziti recipes are customizable to your taste or dietary needs. See our suggestions below on how to make this dish your own.


The ingredients here are simple, so use the best quality you can source. If you have 10 minutes, try Homemade Marinara Sauce which is our secret to making the BEST Baked Ziti!

  • Ziti Pasta – cooked al dente – keep in mind it finishes cooking in the oven.
  • Ground Beef – I like to use 85% lean
  • Onion and Garlic – aromatics that add tons of flavor and aroma
  • Marinara Sauce – Homemade or store-bought
  • Ricotta – One 15-ounce container of fresh ricotta cheese
  • Basil Leaves – Ten fresh leaves, cut into thin strips
  • Mozzarella Cheese – We use low moisture, part-skim
  • Parmesan Cheese – One cup, freshly grated or shredded and divided


  • Meat – Try chicken or ground turkey instead of beef; add Italian sausage or meatballs; or omit the meat altogether to make a vegetarian casserole.
  • Vegetables – Adding veggies is a great way to bulk up this recipe and turn this pasta casserole into a meal in itself. Dice and sauteé zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, and/or carrots and add them to your sauce mixture. Sprinkle chopped spinach or layer sliced and sauteed bell peppers between the layers of pasta. You can use one or all of these to make the best Vegetarian Baked Ziti.
  • Pasta – You can use any tubular pasta, ridges or no ridges, it’s up to you. Ziti is an obvious choice, but you can also use penne, rigatoni, cavatappi, or rotini. For a gluten-free pasta casserole, try a GF pasta.
  • Cheese – In addition to the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, you can top your baked pasta dish with fresh grated parmesan, or sliced fresh mozzarella.
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How to Make Baked Ziti

This is the easiest pasta casserole and the results are so perfecto. It’s no wonder Baked Ziti is such a popular dish.

  • Boil – Set your oven to 350°F. While the oven preheats, boil a large pot of salted water and cook one pound of ziti pasta until al dente, then drain.
  • Sauteé – In a large sauté pan or Dutch Oven, sauté ground beef and onion until cooked through. Add minced garlic, salt, and pepper and continue cooking until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Combine – Pour Marinara Sauce into the meat and simmer for 5 minutes. Spread 1/2 cup of sauce into a 9×13 inch casserole dish to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
  • Stir – Spoon the ricotta cheese and basil into the pot of sauce and gently stir until lightly combined. Stir in the cooked pasta, mixing just until the pasta is coated.
  • Assemble – Add half the pasta mixture to the casserole dish, top with half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and then repeat with another layer of pasta and finally, more cheese.
  • Bake – Bake uncovered at 350°F for 25 minutes and then broil for an additional 2 minutes to brown the top. Garnish with fresh basil and another sprinkle of parmesan cheese for good measure. We love to use this Cheese Grater.
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Pro Tip:

Don’t overcook your pasta. You want to cook the pasta al dente (slightly firm) as it will continue to cook in the oven while baking.

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Can I use spaghetti instead of ziti?

Baked Ziti is really best with a tube-shaped pasta, to really hold onto that meat sauce. If you are looking for a spaghetti casserole, try our Chicken Tetrazzini recipe, it’s fantastic!

How can I make a healthy baked ziti?

Choose leaner meat (such as ground turkey), add low-fat cheeses (and reduce how much you use), and add extra vegetables to boost nutritional content are all easy ways to make this recipe healthier.

Can I double the recipe?

This is a great dish to feed crowds for a potluck or party. If you need to double the recipe, please use a second casserole dish or a large disposable aluminum pan.

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How to Serve Pasta Casseroles

Be sure to let your Baked Ziti sit for 5 minutes after it comes out of the oven. After that, use a spatula to cut it into squares, or simply scoop it out of the dish with a spoon. Serve this classic dish with:

  • Garlic Bread – an obvious choice
  • Roasted Cauliflower – simple and delicious
  • Caesar Salad – light and crisp with the best dressing
  • Garden Salad – a go-to since it’s kid-friendly
  • Panzanella Salad – adds more Italian flavors to your meal


Baked ziti can be assembled ahead or baked ahead and reheated. It’s perfect for meal planning.

  • Prep-Ahead: Assemble, cover with foil, and refrigerate for up to two days before baking.
  • Storing Leftovers: Store leftover portions in airtight storage containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating Leftovers: Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before heating. Drizzle with a little water to keep it moist, cover with foil, and put in the oven at 350˚F for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Timing will vary by the amount of ziti. You can also reheat in the microwave.
  • Freezing: Assemble in an aluminum or oven-safe casserole dish without baking. Cool completely and then tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw frozen ziti in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking as directed.
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“Mangia, mangia!” (an Italian phrase which means ‘Eat, eat!’)

More Casserole Recipes

We love casseroles for dinner because they can be made ahead and re-heat well so you get to enjoy leftovers for days. These are the top-rated, best-loved casserole recipes on our blog:

  • Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
  • Chicken Lasagna
  • Lasagna Roll-Up
  • Eggplant Parmesan
  • Chicken and Mushroom Casserole

Baked Ziti (Easy Pasta Casserole) VIDEO

4.99 from 235 votes

Author: Natasha Kravchuk

Baked Ziti Recipe (VIDEO) (8)

Baked Ziti is an easy, saucy, and cheesy pasta casserole. It has all of the great flavors of Lasagna but is simple to prepare and serve as a pasta bake.


Prep Time: 20 minutes mins

Cook Time: 40 minutes mins

Total Time: 1 hour hr


Servings: 10 people

  • 1 lb ziti pasta, or penne pasta or gluten-free pasta
  • 1 lb ground beef, 85% lean
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 5 cups marinara sauce
  • 15 oz fresh ricotta
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 12 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided


  • Cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions until just al dente, then drain (do not overcook as the pasta will continue to cook in the oven).

  • In a deep pan or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, cook ground beef and onion, breaking up the beef with a spatula, until beef is fully cooked through and onions are softened (5-7 minutes). Add minced garlic, salt, pepper, and sauteé for another minute. Add 5 cups marinara sauce, bring to a simmer, and continue cooking for 5 minutes then turn off the heat.

  • Add chopped basil and spoon in ricotta into the remaining sauce Add cooked pasta and stir just until noodles are coated (you want to keep that ricotta texture)

  • Transfer half of the pasta to the casserole dish. Top with 1/2 of the shredded mozzarella and 1/2 of the grated parmesan. Add the remaining pasta and top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.

  • Clear the edges of the pan so the cheese doesn’t burn onto the dish. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the cheese. Let cool for 5 minutes, then garnish with basil if desired and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

469kcal Calories44g Carbs34g Protein17g Fat10g Saturated Fat80mg Cholesterol1307mg Sodium765mg Potassium4g Fiber7g Sugar991IU Vitamin A10mg Vitamin C498mg Calcium3mg Iron

  • Full Nutrition Label
  • Nutrition Disclosure

Nutrition Facts

Baked Ziti (Easy Pasta Casserole) VIDEO

Amount per Serving



% Daily Value*






Saturated Fat






































Vitamin A





Vitamin C















* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, Italian

Keyword: baked ziti, baked ziti recipe

Skill Level: Easy

Cost to Make: $$

Calories: 469

Natasha Kravchuk

Baked Ziti Recipe (VIDEO) (9)

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Baked Ziti Recipe (VIDEO) (2024)
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