Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

This unbelievable baked ziti takes only 10 Minutes to prep. SO YUMMY!

Often, we use the phrase “blond Italians” in our home.

No, we are not Italian, but by the way we inhale all things considered to be “Italian food,” we need to be.

We LOVE our pasta!  There’s nothing yummier to smell than homemade sauce simmering on the stove, but in my stage of life, I’ve had to let go of always serving homemade pasta sauce and have chosen to “doctor up” some of the store bought ones available.

For our family, baked pastas top the list of our comfort food selections, and this one is very simple, cozy, meatless choice.  This meal went so fast that I didn’t even have time to snap a picture of the entire dish.

“No, stop eating. I haven’t gotten a picture yet.”

So, this is a scaled down version of what I made. 🙂

This makes a wonderful “Cooking with Kids” meal since we are not cooking our noodles first,.  My nine year old can mix this up, since she doesn’t have to worry about pre-cooking the noodles and transferring them on her own.

Remember that you may vary your choices of quick cooking pastas. We used traditional ziti noodles, but try curly rotini, bow ties, tri colored varieties or angel hair. All of them will vary the look, but still give you the delicious end result.

The basic meatless recipe that I am sharing is wonderful as written, but feel free to add in some ground sausage or small pieces of cooked chicken as an option. Serve with the 5 Minute Artisan Style Homemade Bread, and you will be the new food hero in your home.

If you enjoy this, you’ll love our Whip it Up Quick, Easy Lasagna recipe.

If you want to turn this vegetarian Ziti, into one packed with ground beef, just grab the ground beef that you made in the crock pot, mix it into the sauce and you are ready to go.

Enjoy! It’s so yummy.

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  1. Have you ever whipped up this recipe and then frozen it before cooking? I am making meals for a friend who broke her ankle and the recipe sounds great. I would like to giver her freezer meals though and wonder if this would work.

    • I have not, but it would probably work. I am just trying to think through the liquid and dry noodle aspect. Since I haven’t tried it, I’d hate to recommend it. I would think baking it first would be better or at least baking it for half of the time so that liquid is absorbed a bit. She could finish baking it at the time she’ll eat it.

  2. Oh! I’m going to let my grandsons make this for their family! Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Have you tried it with just cottage cheese and no ricotta? I’m wondering if it would work..we don’t
    eat much ricotta. Looks YUMMY!!

    • Yes. In fact, I probably make it more often with just cottage cheese due to cost, but since authentic ziti uses ricotta, I didn’t want to steer them wrong with my all cottage cheese suggestion. 🙂

  4. I like your blog I will be back I just love easy meals. They work great with my large family.

  5. ssmazzon says:

    Hello! When you freeze the baked ziti, do you freeze it uncooked or already cooked? I am totally going to make this for our Friday Lent Meat Free Friday this week. Thank you! Stephanie Mazzon

    • Freeze it cooked already. I typically double my batch, so I have one for meal that day and then freeze the extra.

  6. So, you put the pasta in UNCOOKED? How does that work?

    • Yes, that is correct. Since there is additional liquid, it cooks perfectly right in the pan. Such a great time saver.

  7. Rennelda says:

    Finally made this tonight after saving this recipe for a while. I picked up a few shifts this week so I knew I needed something quick and simple for dinner for the family. Since I work at night, I needed an easy dish that my husband could do the last steps. I prefer my family have the food right out of the oven fresh. Although I didn’t have any fresh parmesean or ricotta, I made due with what I had. I used penne, Kraft parmesean cheese (shaker). When I got home from work, the hubby told me that it was good and the noodles cooked all the way through. Thank you for such a clever recipe. I follow Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and enjoy reading about you and your family. I always try to get people to follow you on F B or through email.

  8. I just made this with Alfredo Sauce instead of red pasta sauce – because it gives my husband heartburn… it turned out soooo good! 🙂 thanks for the recipe!

    • Sharon – I am thrilled to hear that. Thanks for sharing how you switched it up. Did you use a full jar of alfredo?

  9. Can you clarify how much mozzarella you initially used due to typo?

    • Sorry, I don’t see the typo in the recipe. Where are you referring and I’ll help?

      • In the directions, it says, “Stir in… and 1/ the Mozzarella cheese…” I’m assuming you mean 1/2? Also, is the measurement for Parmesan 1/4 cup? Looking forward to making this tonight! 🙂

        • oh no, I am just seeing this. It slipped by with spam. Hoped you enjoyed it. You can never go wrong with too much cheese. 🙂

  10. Argh…Guess I’m going to have to wing this for tonight, but recipe says one box of ziti (8 oz.). I’ve never seen a half pound box of pasta, is this a typo?

  11. I tried this the other night and it was great. I used Barilla gluten free penne and increased the recipe by 50% and it still turned out well. Thank you for sharing this!


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