Baked Ziti Recipe

Monday, February 17, 2020
Baked Ziti Recipe is the easiest way to feed a crowd is to make this kind of casserole.

This is a casserole layered with crushed meatballs, seasoned Ricotta cheese, and shredded melted mozzarella, this is the favorite classic for many Italian American homes.

The recipe is simple and inexpensive to make to feed a very large family.

You could actually use any kind of pasta with this basic recipe, layered with store-bought or homemade ingredients.

The recipe will need tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, pasta of your choice, and a large casserole dish.

Seasonings are usually easy pantry ingredients most have already.

Mom made wonderful pasta dishes quickly like pasta ceci, baked cavatelli, pasta fagioli, quick lasagna, and a favorite Italian goulash.

Scroll down to get this easy classic  Italian-baked ziti casserole recipe.

Homemade Casseroles

This is a casserole mom made and fed many of us growing up in the 1960s and it continues to be an Italian classic found in many restaurants everywhere in America.

We would see this on buffets at Italian weddings, church functions, and many Holiday tables.

The casserole comes together easily with sauce, meat, cheese, and pasta.

You can make you're own or get everything store-bought depending on the time and how many people you have to feed.

The best part is the cheese broiled after this is baked just until the top of the pasta crisps up a little.

this is a pan of Italian homemade tomato sauce with meatballs and sausage simmering


  • Always add salt to the pasta while boiling
  • Leave the pasta al dente as it will continue to cook in the oven
  • Use whole milk ricotta the others are too watery
  • Whole milk mozzarella melts easier and works much better even flavor-wise
  • Use traditional homemade sauce or store-bought meat sauce
  • If you don't want to make your meatballs buy the frozen ones and mashed them adding tomato sauce to them before you make the casserole
  • Adding fennel seeds (around 1 teaspoon will add a sauce flavor without the sausage)
  • Use disposable pans for easy cleanup
  • Broil the top at the end when the casserole is heated up
  • any pasta is fine to use

this is baked ziti in a casserole dish in the oven baking

Pasta Alternate Suggestions:

  1. Bowties
  2. Rigatoni
  3. Broken lasagna noodles
  4. Baby shells
  5. Penne

A casserole with tomato sauce cheeses, and pasta baked called baked ziti

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Baked Ziti Recipe

The kids love this recipe even after they are grown we still use this recipe for picnics and pot lucks.

Baked ziti is so versatile, I love this with shell pasta.

My mom liked to alternate pasta just to make it fun with different shapes.

The baby shell pasta is still a favorite to make.

The shells fill up with ricotta cheese during the layering, and I love using them.

Let me know how you like this recipe and do leave me a comment!

Thanks for your visit today!

Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti

Yield: 12
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 45 Mtotal time: 70 M
This is a pasta layered with cheeses, meats and tomato sauce with cooked our favorite ziti pasta. The all in one pan casserole is a classic favorite in most Italian American home baked to perfection with melted shredded mozzarella cheese on top.


  • 1 lb or more for your crowd of ziti pasta cooked al dente or use any pasta you prefer
  • 2 - 16-ounce containers of homemade sauce or store-bought
  • 1 pound loose sausage store-bought or homemade ( I like hot use what you like) saute with hamburger, drain set aside in a bowl
  • 1 pound hamburger (I use ground sirloin) saute with sausage drained set aside in a bowl
  • Optional spices to sprinkle on the top: dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, granulated garlic (or use fresh when in season)
  • grated cheese Pecorino Romano
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese whole milk
  • Cheese layer filing:
  • 1- 15-ounce container Ricotta cheese store-bought or homemade
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons shredded mozzarella
  • Mix this in a bowl and set aside


How to cook Baked Ziti

  1. Cook the pasta to package instructions and drain. (leave it al dente, it will get softer when you bake this).
  2. In a greased 13x9 pan add sauce, a little ziti, half the ricotta mixture, top with half the cooked meat, more sauce, mozzarella, grated cheese and repeat until you use up everything. 
  3. This can be placed in the refrigerator overnight and baked the next day or you can freeze it for a future get-together, thaw and bake.
  4. If you are ready to use this now, bake it right away if you like on 350 degrees just until heated around 35 minutes. 
  5. I like to broil the top of the cheese at the end for 3 to 4 minutes watch it till it gets nice and brown on top. 
  6. I sprinkle dried herbs on top or fresh when in the herb season before serving for extra flavors along with grated cheese we use pecorino romano.
  7. For cooking the pasta dish frozen, I thaw it in the refrigerator overnight so it isn't going to have to cook too long which will make the pasta too soft.
  8. Heat the same way once its thawed.
  9. Optional: add 1 teaspoon fennel seed to the sauce in place of sausage for flavor.
  10. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator no more than 3 days.
Fat (grams)
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baked ziti recipe, Italian pasta baked, ziti casserole, pasta baked casserole, baked macaroni casserole,
pasta, casseroles, macaroni, Italian sauce, Italian casseroles, Pasta recipes
Italian American
Created using The Recipes Generator

Pin for later Baked Ziti Recipe

this is a pin for how to make Baked Ziti the Italian Classic Casserole baked pasta meal

More Recipes To Try

Cacio e Pepe

Tomato Basil Pasta


Rigatoni alla Zozzona

this is a fusilli style pasta

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2016. It was edited and re-published in 2020.


  1. Baked ziti is one of my favorite comfort foods and it’s one of those things that my whole family gets excited about! Thank you for the recipe!

  2. YUM! This recipe turned out exactly as planned. So delicious and perfect for my family.

  3. i love this ziti - it was so easy and delicious!

  4. Great dish! This is my go to whenever I am having a party or going to a church pot luck.

  5. Yummy ziti recipe! We all loved this wonderful classic!

  6. Great recipe for baked ziti - definitely keeping it in my recipe box! Thanks for all the helpful tips.

  7. You've done it again! We love your Italian recipes, and this baked ziti is going to have a permanent place in our dinner recipe rotation. Another winner from What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine!


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