Baked Ziti – Two Peas & Their Pod

A big pan of Baked Ziti filled with pasta, cheese, sausage, and marinara sauce just might be the best dinner ever, especially when garlic bread is served on the side. This baked pasta is a family favorite!

Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti is a staple dinner recipe at our house. Our boys LOVE this cheesy baked pasta recipe. My recipe makes a full 9×13-inch pan which makes it really good for feeding a crowd or having leftovers. Leftovers always come in handy, especially during the week and our boys are always happy to see baked ziti on the menu, even a few times in one week. It’s that good!

This baked ziti recipe is also perfect to make for someone who needs a big, comforting meal. Take it to someone welcoming a new baby, to someone who is under the weather, or to someone who just needs a delicious meal! You can’t go wrong with baked ziti! It’s a classic Italian dish that everyone loves!

Recipe for Baked Ziti

Ziti Pasta

Ziti is a tubed pasta like penne, but the edges are cut in a straight line instead of at a slant. Look for ziti pasta in the pasta aisle. If you can’t find ziti, penne is a great option since they are very similar. If you need the recipe to be gluten-free, you can use gluten-free pasta.

Marinara Sauce

We love to use our Homemade Easy Marinara Sauce or Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce for the very best flavor. Of course, if you have a favorite store bought marinara sauce you can use that in this recipe to save some time. I always keep our homemade marinara sauce in the freezer so it is ready to go! It keeps this recipe super simple!

Sausage Baked Ziti

This baked ziti recipe is made with Italian sausage, the boys love it! You could also use ground beef or turkey, whatever you and your family like best. If you want to make a vegetarian baked ziti, you can leave out the meat and add in your favorite vegetables. This baked pasta dish is easy to adapt to your liking.

Baked Ziti with Ricotta

How to Make Baked Ziti

Baked ziti is easy to make, there are a few steps, but the steps are easy! Let’s get started!

  • Let’s cook some pasta! Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta until it’s al dente. Don’t over cook the pasta because it will keep cook more in the oven. Drain the pasta and put it in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and give it a good stir. This is going to keep everything from sticking together! Set aside.
  • Now it’s time to prep the sausage. Cook it over medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it’s no longer pink. This should take 5-7 minutes. Once done, drain the fat and set it aside with the pasta.
  • In a medium mixing bowl combine ricotta, egg, half the mozzarella cheese, ½  cup Parmesan, and all the seasonings.
  • Combine the pasta, ricotta mixture, marinara sauce, and cooked sausage. Stir gently so the pasta noodles stay intact, and then pour it into a greased 9×13-inch pan.
  • More cheese, please! Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. The pasta will get a bit bubbly and the cheese will be golden brown (YUM!).
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes, garnish with fresh basil, and serve warm. It’s so cheesy, so filling, and so tasty. Bon appetit! 
  • If you have leftovers, keep the baked ziti in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

Freezing Baked Ziti

Here’s a great way to have THE BEST dinner ready when you need it: assemble everything up until it’s time to bake in a disposable aluminum pan or freezer safe pan, then seal it well with a lid or plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Pop it in the freezer and freeze for up to 2 months. Let it defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baking! Then follow, the baking instructions.

You can also freeze baked ziti. I like to freeze leftovers in individual portions. You can pull out the baked ziti when you need an easy lunch or dinner! Reheat in the microwave.

Baked Ziti Recipe

What to Serve with Baked Ziti

Baked ziti is very filling and good by itself, but if you want to serve a full meal, here are a few of our favorite side dishes to serve with baked ziti.

More Pasta Recipes

Our family loves pasta! If you are looking for more delicious pasta recipes, we have you covered! I have a feeling you will love them all!

Easy Baked Ziti
  • 16 oz ziti or penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling over pasta
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 32 oz marinara sauce
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Dash of crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: chopped basil, if desired

Nutrition Facts

Baked Ziti

Amount Per Serving

Calories 528 Calories from Fat 252

% Daily Value*

Fat 28g43%

Saturated Fat 13g65%

Carbohydrates 42g14%

Fiber 3g12%

Sugar 6g7%

Protein 27g54%

Calcium 388mg39%

Iron 3mg17%

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

Photos by Dishing Out Health

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