Baked Ziti (Easy Pasta Casserole) VIDEO
Baked Ziti is an easy, saucy, and cheesy pasta casserole. This has all of the great flavors of Lasagna but is simple to prepare and serve as a pasta bake.
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Baked Ziti Recipe Video:
Watch Natasha make this easy baked ziti pasta casserole. This is so easy and delicious. It also reheats so well and you will be excited about leftovers!
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What is Baked Ziti?
Ziti is a tubular-shaped pasta. Baked ziti is an Italian-American casserole of ziti noodles with Marinara Sauce, ricotta, and cheese. The combination of mozzarella and parmesan is our secret to making the BEST Baked Ziti!
We love making baked ziti with meat sauce because it has all of the familiar flavors of classic Lasagna with Meat Sauce, but it comes together fast and is easy to serve as a pasta bake (without the fuss of layering lasagna noodles).
How to Make Baked Ziti:
This is the easiest pasta casserole and the results are so satisfying. It’s no wonder Baked Ziti is such a popular dish. Watch the video tutorial above and you will be a pro in no time.
- Cook pasta in salted water until al-dente then drain.
- In a dutch oven, sautee ground beef and onion until cooked through. Add garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Add Marinara Sauce and simmer 5 minutes. Ladle 1/2 cup sauce into a 9×13 casserole dish.
- Spoon in ricotta and basil and stir lightly. Stir in pasta, mixing just until noodles are coated.
- Add half the pasta mixture to the casserole, top with half the mozzarella and parmesan then repeat.
- Bake uncovered at 350˚f for 25 minutes then broil 2 minutes to brown the top.
What Kind of Pasta Can I Use?
The classic pasta choice is ziti pasta. Ziti is a tube-shaped pasta, but you can also substitute with any short tubular shaped pasta, just be sure to cook until al-dente according to package instructions. If you aren’t able to find ziti noodles, try these instead:
P.S. If you are looking for a spaghetti pasta Casserole, try our Chicken Tetrazzini.
Can I Substitute Ground Beef?
You can substitute with a variety of meats to change up your baked ziti. You can even make a vegetarian baked ziti and leave the meat out all together. Any of these options will work great in this pasta casserole:
- Chicken – Baked Ziti is so easy using leftover rotisserie chicken
- Italian Sausage – cook the sausage as you would ground beef
- Ground Turkey – a leaner and tasty option
- Meatballs – sauteed meatballs work great for this casserole
What Vegetables Can I add to Baked Ziti?
Adding veggies is a great way to turn this pasta casserole into a meal in itself. If you’re looking to make baked ziti without meat, you can use one or all of these veggies together to make the best Vegetarian Ziti.
- Zucchini – dice and sautee with the onion until tender
- Mushrooms – slice and saute with onion until soft
- Cauliflower – roast cauliflower and add it to the sauce
Can I Make this Pasta Casserole Ahead?
Refrigerate Overnight: You can assemble, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350˚F, covered with foil for 10 minutes until it comes to room temperature, then remove foil and bake as directed in the recipe.
To Freeze: Tightly cover and freeze unbaked casserole up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bake at 350˚F covered in foil for 10 minutes to bring it to temperature. Uncover and finish baking as directed in the recipe.
More Casserole Recipes:
We love casseroles for dinner because they can be made ahead and reheat really well so you get to enjoy leftovers for days. These are the top-rated casserole recipes on our blog. I hope you find many new favorites here.
- Chicken Parmesan – baked and smothered in sauce and cheese
- Chicken Lasagna – with a creamy white sauce
- Chicken Mushroom Bake – a party favorite
- Lasagna Roll-Ups – the easiest way to serve lasagna
- Eggplant Parmesan – a vegetarian spin on a classic
- Sweet Potato Casserole – a timeless side dish
Baked Ziti (Easy Pasta Casserole) VIDEO
- 1 lb ziti pasta, or penne 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 aldente them drain (so not overcook since they 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, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and sautee another minute. Add 5 cups marinara, bring to a simmer and continue cooking 5 minutes then turn off the heat.
Spread a ladle of meat sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.
Into the remaining sauce, add chopped basil and spoon in ricotta. 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 shredded mozzarella and 1/2 grated parmesan. Add remaining pasta and top with 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 1-2 minutes to brown the cheese. Let cool 5 minutes then garnish with basil if desired and serve.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen
Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review
I’ve made this several times beforr with Kielbasa, but tonight I used Ground Bison, and my hubby and I both thought it was even better! The kids love it and are happy when there are leftovers so they can take it to school the next day and don’t have to prepare their lunches:) This dish comes together rather quickly and is so very tasty. Thank you for all of your amazing recipes!
Thats great, Alisha! I’m so glad you loved the recipe. Thank you for sharing your experience.
It’s me again!! Should of added that my family does not like cream cheese either!! Again, can I just use the Mozzareel cheese? Thanks again.
Hi Marie, I have not experimented on that but feel free to give that a try. It might work!
My family does not like ricotta or cottage cheese. Can I make this with just the mozzarella cheese? Thanks
Hi Marie! You can if you’d like, it won’t be quite the same but I’m sure it will still be delicious.
If I could give this recipe 6 stars, would because almost every one in my house enjoyed this. I felt really awesome making it, cause it seemed hard and complicated, but it wasn’t! Thank you, Natasha! You’ve blessed us all!! 💜
That’s wonderful, Gigi! I’m so glad you loved it.
I rate Natasha’s Kitchen recipes with 5 or more stars ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ because she has never disappointed me!
Awe, thank you, Donna. That is very sweet. 🙂
Made this for dinner tonight – oh my – SOOO good!!! Looking forward to taking leftovers to work for lunch tomorrow 🙂
I’m so glad you loved it! Thanks for sharing.
I made this recipe for the first time last night. My family absolutely loved it. We ate the leftover casserole this evening. Thank you, Natasha!
That’s wonderful, Fran! I’m so glad it was a hit. Thank you for sharing.
Hi Natasha! Would it work to substitute a block of cream cheese instead of the ricotta cheese?
Hi Nadia! Cottage cheese may work also. I haven’t tested it but one of our readers made this with cream cheese to substitute for ricotta.
This was so good, even my very picky son enjoyed it and came back for more. I didn’t have beef but I did have some leftover ground turkey that I used. I also didn’t have penne or ziti but jumbo fusilli pasta. It all turned out perfectly and I broiled it at the end as suggested. Delicious!
That’s wonderful! I’m so glad it was a hit!
Well Natasha I’ve been making this for the last 35years exactly like yours my wife used to invite all her friends for this while I was sent packing to the cinema while they enjoyed the dinner.
Aww, that’s the best! Thank you so much for sharing that with me, John!
Love this recipe. I will continue to make it . Quick question : my meat sauce after adding the ricotta
(low fat because it was all I could find ) became speckled and grainy . Is that how it’s supposed to be?
Hi Patricia! No, generally it is not grainy. It could be because of the low fat but it could also be the brand of the ricotta and how it was processed.
Made on the fly on a busy night. Ended up making the marinara sauce too with another of your recipes. It was a big hit.
Happy to hear that this recipe was a huge hit!
Natasha…not the other..gheez. my fingers i think had some of your ziti on them…lol sorry.
NatNatas.i just love you. I made this and it is delish. I had some leftover homemade spaghetti sauce I had frozen and wanted to use up. It pretty much had the same ingredients but no marinara. I am so impressed. This is wonderful and a great comfort food for these cold fall days.
Hi Linda, thank you for your great comments and feedback. We’re glad you love this recipe!
If you are not using meat and just ziti in the recipe how much ziti should I use to accomodate for the beef?
Hi Shanta, I have not tried that version to advise but feel free to do an experiment!
I make a batch (well, 1/2 batch actually) for my wife to bring to her parents when we visit. I can make it head of time and it transports easily for the 1 1/2 hour drive. They are both in their 80’s and love this dish.
Here at home it’s become a family staple meal.
Yes this is a great make ahead recipe, so glad that you share this to your family!
Amazing! A hit for the whole family! Used store-bought marinara but followed recipe as written and everyone loved it. This was followed by your apple pie recipe as well (also a huge hit!). Thank you – can’t wait to try more recipes.
So glad it was enjoyed! Thank you for the review. I hope you’ll find many more recipes to enjoy!
This was fantastic. I did swap italian sausauge for the hamburger though..
Thank you so much for sharing that with me.
I have pesto on hand. Could I stir it in instead of using fresh basil? If so, how much would you recommend I use?
Hi Susie! That could work, you’ll have to experiment with the amount.
Made your Ziti recipe this weekend, only I used rigatoni and added a couple of links of sweet Italian sausage. It was delicious. My only complaint was that it made so much. Next time, will have to make it in two batches and freeze one for later. Thanks for the recipe!! (I will have to add it to my list of favs from you, Spatchcock chicken being my all-time favorite)
Thank you for sharing that with us, Peggy! That’s wonderful.
Made this for dinner tonjght, with a couple of changes. I only had rigatoni I added 2 links of Italian sweet sausage. It came out solo good delicious!! Thanks for the recipe!!
Hello Peggy, good to know that it was a success! Thank you for your comments and feedback.
I used one jar of regular marinara and one jar of roasted garlic marinara (I was in a hurry) and regarding the ricotta, I used only 3/4 of the 15 oz container and added an additional 1/2 cup of mascarpone. It was a beautiful-tasting dish.
Nice to know that you liked the result!
Hello I’m Lisa If I don’t have the stuff for homemade Marinara sauce what sauce jar can I use instead would love to make this today for dinner for the first time seeing everyone raving about it and looks so good I’m ready to eat now..but if you can suggest any good jar that would go prefect with this please let me know soon thanks so much.
Hi Lisa. You can purchase a marinara sauce or pasta sauce. I like the ones that have roasted garlic or notes of basil in them but anyone would be fine.
Thanks so much will try that out I appreciate your recipes so much your always making great flavors I love it
Thank you! So glad you enjoy them. 🙂
Looks delicious…will give it a try. Thankyou, your recipes always look wonderful!!!
Thank you! I hope you’ll love all the recipes that you will try.
I made this dish last night but used Italian sausage instead of beef. Everything else was just as the recipe said. It was awesome; a huge success for my group. It’s undoubtedly the best ziti I have ever tasted, and all thanks to you! Thanks for a great recipe, next time I’ll use beef just to compare.
That’s wonderful! So glad it was enjoyed, Robert.
I made this and it was amazing taste is so good and very easy to prepare. I usually make Lasagna for Thanksgiving week when I have lots of company. I am going to change and bake this as it takes much less time to prepare!! Love your recipes
I’m so happy you’re enjoying my recipes, Christine! That’s so great!
Your Baked Ziti recipe is fabulous! It’s so flavorful, especially when made with basil, fresh from the garden. 👍👍👍
Hello Caty, that’s awesome feedback. Thanks for sharing!
I made this last night and it was delicious! The recipe is simple and easy to follow and it was a hit in the house, everyone loved it! I would definitely make this again, I found a keeper!
So glad to hear that, Kayla!
Absolutely delicious! I used Italian sausage instead of hamburger but, followed the rest of the recipe exactly as written. My husband went back for seconds and kept saying how wonderful dinner was. Thank you for sharing this great recipe!
You’re very welcome! Thank you for the feedback.
I typically just wing it with baked ziti, but I decided to give your recipe a try and am so glad I did. It is delicious. Your marinara sauce is such a great base, especially with the fresh basil from my garden. I will definitely make it again.
Thank you! So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Nancy.
Very nice recipe. However, ricotta is listed in ingredients and is not in baked ziti.
This recipe was delicious! My family loved it. I will be making a double batch to freeze one casserole in the future! Liked the flavors and enjoyed it! Your videos are great!
I’m so happy this was a hit with your family, Lori! That’s just awesome!
you are amazing! I will be making this recipe 05/15/2022
for my son first communion celebration. <3
Thank you Natasha!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Elena!
I recently retired and my wife went back to work. I started cooking more and one day found out about your videos. So thankful I did! This baked ziti is my favorite! I could cook it every week. Best wishes to you and your wonderful family.
I’m so glad to hear you found my blog and a favorite new recipe, Richard That’s just awesome! I hope you get to try more soon!
Made this tonight. Added 1tsp of Italian seasoning to the meat instead of the basil (didn’t have any) and used my favorite store bought pasta sauce. Soooooo good. Very kid friendly!!!
Good to hear that you loved the result, Lizzy!
Natasha you always amaze me- this baked ziti was out of this world! I brought some to my friends and her granddaughter said “ this is awesome”- and it is! Thank you so much- I will make this over and over
That’s so great to hear, Jan! Thanks a lot for sharing that with us.
Delicious. Used ground turkey next time I’ll add some zucchini.
I’m so happy you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing that with us, Jill!
Tried your recipe for baked ziti.
Absolutely easy to make and very scrumptious. This recipe is a keeper.
Hi Carol! So happy you found a keeper! Thank you for the review!
I made this recipe (tripled) for our small group meeting last night. It was a hit!! So so good!! Used penne for the pasta and mild Italian ground sausage instead of beef.
That sounds wonderful! So glad it was a hit. Thank you for sharing.
I just made this tonight, family loved it. The only con was the color of the sauce was very pink adding in the ricotta which didn’t look very appealing but it was still very delicious, thank you.
Glad you enjoyed it, Lisa. Not sure why it turned out very pink, that never happened to me before.
I just made this tonight and it was fantastic! I’m especially happy because my husband doesn’t like lasagna because of the ricotta. Well, he didn’t know it was in there and he raved about it! Thanks!!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Sue!
Novice in the kitchen decided to give this a try as it looked wonderful. Came out great decided to add some sausage and did cheat by using store bought Marinara, regardless was awesome. Thank you very much for sharing
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Alex!
Definitely a “10”. We loved it!!
Thank you! Easy, quick, delicious!!
Yay! Thanks a lot for the perfect score, we appreciate the review!
Hi, can i substitute ricotta with cream cheese or cheddar cheese?
Hi Chin, cottage cheese may work also. I haven’t tested this but one of our readers also made this with cream cheese to substitute for ricotta.
Made this last night, should have taken a picture. I made it with a mixture of ground beef and mild italian sausage, everything else the same. It was a “10”! So easy and so delicious. Thanks for your great recipes
That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review!
Hi Natasha……..my wife loves mushrooms…..her family is Ukranian …..so would the mushrooms be a good fit
Thanks from Ontario Canada
Love your (my go to) recipes and web site!!!
Hi Bob, I bet that would be a delicious addition! I hope you love it!
I was wondering if I could make this recipe in a clear casserole dish?
Hi Emily, if it’s oven safe, I bet that could work. Ensure it’s a nice deep one.
Made this last night with whole wheat Penne Pasta and substituted cottage cheese for the ricotta. Everyone loved it! will never make lasagna again!
Thank you so much for sharing your talents!
Yum! Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Patricia! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
I want to thank you for teaching me how to make baked ziti. I was a bit intimidated at first, but after watching your video, and following your instructions step by step, I was able to make this and it came out so good! Thank you for all that you do 🙂
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Kenya!
Hi Natasha, this pasta looks delicious. If I double the recipe, do I need to double the bake time?
Hi Meredith, not necessarily. If you have 2 casserole dishes in the oven together (assuming the oven is large enough to accommodate them), I would base the bake time on visual cues but it would be about the same bake time, possibly 5 minutes longer. When it’s done, the cheese should be melted and you’ll see the sauce bubbling a little bit at the edges.
Hi! Has anyone tried substituting cottage cheese for ricotta? I’m wondering if I can still make this with what I have and avoid the grocery store haha
Hi Inna, I haven’t tried this with all cottage cheese but that should still work. You might drain well and then mash up the cottage cheese for a similar texture
Made this for the first time tonight for my father’s birthday…AMAZING! I generally do not like baked pasta because it tends to get very dry but this was amazing! I have yet to find a recipe on your website that wasn’t great! Thank you so much!
That’s awesome feedback, Lindsay. Thank you for sharing that with us!
for years ive tried to make baked ziti. i could never get the sauce to cheese to pasta ratio right. then there is the whole to add an egg or not to add an egg opinion. i made this last night and WOW perfect!!! i used my homemade sauce and it was the best baked ziti ive ever made or tasted!!
That’s awesome feedback, Susan. Thank you so much for sharing that with us! Glad you tried this recipe and you found the perfect recipe that you were looking for!
Made this last night and it was amazing, we have about half of it left and was wondering a good way to reheat it, thank you 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Tami! Yes, leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated but not for too long.
I reheated in the microwave covered in plastic wrap (one piece at a time) for 2-2.5 minutes, then let it stand covered with the wrap to let it continue to heat though. It was really good!
If we are going to use your homemade marinara sauce, do we still add the addition onion and garlic when browning the ground beef? Also, I’ve loved all the recipes I’ve tried of yours!
Hi Keri, Yes I would still add it to the beef too. Hope you love all the recipes that you will try!
Thank you for a great meal!! Followed recipe exactly and turned out delicious! I just have to add I love to collect recipes but never make them because I’m an inexperienced cook and don’t really enjoy it to be honest. Glad I took a chance on this! The step by step video was so helpful as were all the tips-even the simple ones! Thanks for helping my first homemade meal a success!!!
I’m so glad you took this change too, C! Yay for a successful homemade meal!
👋🏻hi , quick question for us newbies at cooking is there a marinara sauce that I can buy that will taste good or will it kill the whole recipe? Thanks in advance
Hi Bianca, this recipe will work with both bought and homemade marinara sauce.
Real baked Ziti does not have any meat in it. Originally came from Amandos in Brooklyn Heights, where murder incorporated use to meet.
Thanks for the info. This is the version that we actually tried and loved but thank you so much for sharing that with us!
Made two of these yesterday for lunch today: one with half ground beef and half Italian sausage and the other with half ground turkey and half Italian sausage. Both were fantastic! We used chickpea pasta and it worked great. It was so nice to just throw it in the oven before my son’s birthday party today. We made the marinara sauce Thursday so the flavors mixed nicely. Oh and the birthday cake was your red velvet cake with cream cheese icing! So thanks Natasha for catering our whole meal:)
I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing your great review, Paige!
I made this for dinner this evening and my husband raved on how much he enjoyed it. His all time favorite ethnic food is Italian. I had a eggplant I needed to cook, so I cubed it, roasted it and layered it with the noodles, sauce and cheese, it was delicious!
Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Patty!
Hi Natasha! My sister and I made this recipe for dinner today. We absolutely loved it! Our family and us tore it up. It was so divine! We used penne pasta, instead of ziti. That’s what we had on hand for today. Beefy, saucy, and cheesy. Thanks for the recipe Natasha!
I’m so happy to hear this was a hit! Thank you for sharing your great review, Zoie!
We loved this recipe! Followed the recipe and it come out delicious with lots of leftovers!
That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Shelly!
Hi Natasha I have a quick question: you refer to your casserole dish as a 9×13 dish and on your amazon link, it lists as a 13×9 so is it the same? I have a 13×9 baking dish (pyrex) and have found it is quite different. Thanks!
Hey Stephanie, 9×13 or 13×9 is the same size. Some pyrex dishes are taller than others, and this one is taller. We used this one HERE that can also be found in our Amazon Affiliate Shop HERE.
Thank you Natasha! I ordered this dish in rustic ivory and I appreciate the feedback!
I noticed the recipe for the Baked Ziti calls for 5 cups marinara sauce. The recipe you suggest for your homemade marinara sauce makes 3 cups. Any suggestions, or do I need to double the marinara sauce recipe?
Hey Jean, you can double it up, that’s what we do 🙂
Has anyone tried this with whole wheat pasta? Making some dietary changes as we age and for my husbands health. I’ll be trying it this week with whole wheat penne and half/half ground beef/turkey. I’ll keep ya posted! Love all your recipes.
Hi Anita, I peeked at the comments, and I’m not seeing anyone mention whole wheat pasta. I bet that would work here though, if you happen to experiment, I’d love to know how you like this recipe!
I made this tonight with your marinara recipe and it was delicious! I have made several of your recipes and all of them are outstanding. I love knowing that if I see a recipe you share, that appeals to me, it’s going to be really great. Thanks!!
Hello Nancy, that is a fantastic review and feedback! Thank you so much for sharing that with us.
Can you add half of pound of italian sausage instead of just using ground beef?
Hi Wendy, I imagine that should work. If you do an experiment, please share with us how it goes.
Can I use cheddar cheese instead of permassan ?
Hi Bruria, we prefer it with parmesan but that may work. If you experiment I would love to know how you like it!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
This turned out excellent. My tips: I boiled the pasta halfway, like 4 minutes; it came out perfect after baking. Second, I used 2 pounds of meat, Italian sausage only.
Nice, thank you for your tips, John!
MADE YOUR BAKED ZITA. NY GRANDDAUGHTER,AGE 12 SAID “IT WAS BUSTING”
Would like more low carb dishes
Hi Laurie, we have a Keto category although it isn’t all-inclusive since we recently started building out this category on our site.
I thought this baked ziti was the best I’ve ever tasted. Superb!
That is fantastic feedback. Thank you, Pam!
I have made this before and it was delicious! I am having company and would love to make this but they do not eat meat. Can I make this without?
Hi Donna, I think that would work but you would have to do an experiment on that as I haven’t tried that yet to advise.
I have made it without the meat and everyone loved it.
I’ve seen other videos that don’t thaw out the chicken. Is this wise for the instapot? Also, what is the recommended time frozen chicken should be eaten? Thank you!
Hi Kristine, we prefer thawing it, but I bet that could work.
OMG I love this every recipe i have tried so far is def restaurant quality means !!this was incredible I added sweet peas lol to mine and made it even better ..Thank you
Yum! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.
So how do we measure 5 cups of marinara sauce correctly? In a dry cup or wet cup?
Hi Judy, that is a great question. I would use a wet measuring cup. This post on measuring goes into more measuring tips and tricks.
Hi! Can I make this with Italian sausage instead of beef?
Hi Mary, I imagine that should work. If you do an experiment, please share with us how it goes.
I have 2 questions if that’s ok
Can we use low skim mozzarella ?
where do we buy the ricotta?
Hi Pressley, we purchase it at our local grocery store, it’s usually by the cheese section.
do you use whole milk or part skim ricotta cheese? i don’t think this part of the question was answered.
Hi Lisa, I use whole milk ricotta and it adds a nice richness but I think a low-fat one would still work if you wanted a leaner Ziti casserole.
Another winner. Your videos are as entertaining as they are informative.
Thank you for that wonderful compliment!
If I can’t broil at the end, should I leave it in the oven for longer? If so, how much longer?
Hi Ashley, we have always broiled it but a few more minutes should do it.
Can I make it up ahead of time and bake it just before I need it for supper
Hi Susan, yes you can. Please check this portion in the recipe “Can I Make this Pasta Casserole Ahead?”
Made this tonight for my family. Was so easy and delicious. My grandbabies who are 2 and 1 ate every bit. Definitely a keeper
I’m happy to hear that, Mary Jane. Thank you for your great comments and feedback!
If I can’t broil at the end, how much longer should I bake it for?
Hi Ashley, you can add a few extra minutes to make sure it looks golden at the top.
Another new (to me) Natasha recipe; another home-run winner. Easy to make, and loved by every one at the table. Lasagna-type “fullness” but … lighter, somehow. Thanks for another great find!
You’re welcome! I’m happy you enjoyed this, John!
Hi Natasha! I will be making this tomorrow night for dinner. To make ahead, is it better to make the night before or the morning of? I couldn’t find ziti, is this better with rigatoni or penne?
Hi Sandra, I haven’t tested this, but our readers have with both penne and rigatoni. We like it best fresh, but you can reheat it.
Made this tonight and it was so good! We added mushrooms to it and it was great! Will definitely make this again and again!
Hi Julie, I’m glad to read your comments and review. Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback!
Made this tonight for our Valentines dinner, and my husband went back for seconds, so it was a huge hit! Thank you so much for your wonderful and easy recipes, Happy Valentines Day to you!
That’s wonderful! I”m so happy you loved this pasta bake.
Wow! Wow! Wow! I made this tonight, and I realized I’m making Baked Ziti All Wrong! Lol! Your method is way better! Cheesy ,Easy and So Tasty! My Husband went back for seconds! And he doesn’t like Italian! Lol! I did add a can of Crushed tomatoes to the sauce. And I add a little water around the whole 13×9 inch pan! It keeps the pasta soft and doesn’t dry out! Thanks so much Natasha! Love All your Recipes! And uplifting Personality! God Bless you and your Family! Happy Cooking and Baking! ❤️
You’re welcome, Chris! It sounds like you have a new favorite!
Hi! Do you drain the fat after the beef is cooked? Will try this soon can’t wait!
Hi Angela, we did not. I hope you love this recipe.
This calls for 5 cups of marinara sauce, but the recipe you linked only makes 3 cups of sauce. Assuming I need to double the marinara recipe and just not use it all?
Hi Stephanie, yes, that is correct. If you want to use a homemade marinara, you would want to increase the recipe.
I have made this several times and it’s so easy and delicious! I was was wondering what would happen if one substituted chicken for the beef? If so, still a pound? Breast or thigh meat? Would it even work?
Hi Greg, that should still work to change up the protein. You could even make this without any meat and it would still work.
I made your baked ziti tonight and it was a hit! The family loved it. Thanks for another great recipe!
You’re welcome, Sandra! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
hi natasha, can i use pasta sauce (tomato, herb, basil) instead of marinara?
and also i cant find ricotta cheese (even cottage cheese) here in our town, can i use cream cheese as a substitute?
Hi Zarina, cream cheese should work. I haven’t tried that yet to advise. I have a marina sauce recipe that you might want to try instead.
Easy and delicious
I’m gonna give this recipe a try in the next court days. Thank you for sharing..
I hope you love this recipe, John!
Made the Mariana sauce and it turned out delicious. Thank you.
I love all of your recipes! I want to make this but have 1% cottage cheese, not ricotta. Do you think this will still work? If not, I will wait until our next grocery run (our town is in lockdown). Thanks 🙂
Hi Amy, I haven’t tried this with all cottage cheese but that should still work. You might drain well and then mash up the cottage cheese for a similar texture.
I have made this several times….this time my grocery store was completely sold out of ricotta…(i know right!) Any way i tried 8oz of cream cheese softened with a bit of cream and OMG was so good….this is for sure a family favorite
I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing your great review, Jessica.
Hi Jessica, the recipe calls for 15oz of ricotta, but based on your comment it appears you used only 8oz of cream cheese instead. Did you reduce the recipe in half? I am looking for a lower cholesterol substitute. I want to use low fat cream cheese and just trying to figure out how much.
I usually prefer lasagna over baked ziti but my husband loves baked ziti. I followed your recipe for baked ziti and it was so delicious. Thank you 😋
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Pam!
I love your beautiful casserole dish with the wide handles on each side. Where did you get it or what brand is it? I would love to try your recipe with this casserole dish.
Hi Tina, all of our favorite tools and dishes can be found in our Amazon Shop Here or our Blog Shop Here! I hope that helps! I used the 9×13 dish.
I made this tonight with you marinara sauce…. it was amazing! I will be making this again!
That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review!
Your recipe looks amazing! I use ground Italian sausage when I make ziti and it is so flavorful! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and videos!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you’re enjoying our recipes!
Hi Natasha, this was sooo good. I know you recommend freezing unbaked but could I still freeze leftovers? Would it be good ?
Thank you, Susan. Yes, leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated but not for so long. I would recommend freezing before baking. Tightly cover and freeze unbaked casserole up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bake at 350˚F covered in foil for 10 minutes to bring it to temperature. Uncover and finish baking as directed in the recipe.
I’m making this in (2) 8×8 pans and freezing it. Will I still cook it the same way as the frozen directions? Or should it be cooked less since the pan is smaller?
Hi Sara, you might bake a few minutes less since the volume of two 8×8 dishes will be slightly more spread out than a 9×13.
Will do, thanks!
I made this tonight and it was outstanding!! I’ve also made your chicken parm., asparagus casserole and the smashed parm. potatoes. Every recipe is wonderful— thank you for sharing!!
Hi Diana! It sounds like you enjoyed an amazing dinner! That’s so great!
The sauce is so delicious you could use it in so many ways. My family loved this, feeds an army too. The addition of the basil is not to be skipped.
That’s so great, Carol! Thank you for that wonderful review!
I haven’t made baked ziti in a long time. Natasha, your recipe was delicious. Very cheesy, the way I like it. My husband liked it too. Thank you.
I’m glad you and your husband enjoyed it, Pam. Thanks for sharing!
Made it tonight and it was great!
Awesome! Thanks for your good feedback, Jessica.
This looks great! What brand of 9×13 deep dish is that? Trying to find one but many are clear….
Hi Dawn, all of our favorite tools and dishes can be found in our Amazon Shop Here or our Blog Shop Here! I hope that helps! I used the 9×13 dish.
Hi Natasha The baked ziti i made is Delish I loved it me and my family.
This was very tasty and the leftovers were just as good.
Thanks Natasha! Another winner.
So great to hear that! Thank you, Debra!
Hi – where do I find the white casserole dish you are using for the baked ziti? I went under shop and it is not in there.
Hello Donna, all of our favorite tools and dishes can be found in our Amazon Shop Here or our Blog Shop Here! I hope that helps! I used the 9×13 dish.
Thanks for responding back to me Natasha. If you had to choose one of the cheeses that your family would not notice too much which one would you choose. Thank you
Hi Elizabeth, our family’s favorite cheese is a low moisture, part-skim mozzarella. It’s hard to resist that melty cheese pull.
What’s the best way to reheat this dish? It’s delicious.
Hi Marilyn, it would depend if you are reheating from frozen or no. But yes, leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated in the oven until heated through. I would recommend freezing before baking. Tightly cover and freeze unbaked casserole up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bake at 350˚F covered in foil for 10 minutes to bring it to temperature. Uncover and finish baking as directed in the recipe.
Hi Natasha. I really want to try this receipe but most of my family are not fans of ricotta, cream cheese or cottage cheese. What if any can I substitute with instead? Thank you
Hi Elizabeth, all the cheese that you mentioned are mostly the cheese being used for this recipe. I have not tried any other substitute yet to advise,
I made it with sour cream instead of ricotta and it was amazingly delicious.
Thank you for sharing that with us Yvonne!
I made this with ground Italian sausage and cut everything, except the mozzarella, in half. It came out great. Thank you so much.
Glad you enjoyed it, Judy! Thank you for sharing.
This was so awesome, but a lot for 2 people. Can leftovers be frozen?
Hello Carmen, yes, leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated but not for so long. I would recommend freezing before baking. Tightly cover and freeze unbaked casserole up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bake at 350˚F covered in foil for 10 minutes to bring it to temperature. Uncover and finish baking as directed in the recipe.
I made this tonight and it was so delicious! Easy enough to make, and it bakes in 25 minutes or a little less!
Yay, fantastic! Thank you for sharing that with us, Barbara.
What is the best way to reheat?
Hi Marilyn, it depends on how much of it you are reheating. You can reheat a portion in the microwave or the full casserole in the oven.
I was you all the time! Just made your ziti! Absolutely delicious! Thank you so much.
You’re most welcome, Vicki. I hope you enjoyed it!
Made this subbing mezze rigatoni for the ziti and added extra garlic. Came out absolutely phenomenal! My dad couldn’t stop raving about it. Thanks Natasha!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it!
Can I use a 9 by 13 pan instead?
Hello Martyna, yes that should be good!
I’d like to make this vegetarian and add zucchini. Since I’m leaving out the hamburger-can you suggest how much zucchini I should mix into this recipe?
Hi Cathy, this is often made vegetarian so you can add zucchini based on your preference but I would sautee it first before mixing it with the sauce.
Can I use cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese?
Hi Carol, I haven’t tried this with all cottage cheese but that should still work. You might drain well and then mash up the cottage cheese for a similar texture.
so if you need 5 cups of sauce your basically have to double the sauce receipe because it only make 3 cups…correct?
Hi Debbie, I would increase everything proportionally and use 2 casserole dishes.
So easy to make and it tasted amazing!
I’m so glad you enjoyed that Liya!
For people asking about what to use instead of ricotta, or cottage cheese, I used 1/2 cup sour cream and added it to the meat sauce.
I’m glad to hear that worked! Thank you for sharing Sandy!
We made this for lunch today and it was absolutely delicious!!!
The whole family loved it!!!
Hi Natasha, I’ve tried so many of your recipes, and loved them. Question baked Ziti can the sauce be switched with Alfredo my granddaughter docent like red sauces.
Hello Susan, I’m glad you’re enjoying my recipes. I honestly haven’t tried using alfredo sauce to advise but I imagine that will work too. If you do an experiment, please share with us how it goes!
Damn,this is really good, and I didn’t really expect it since I’m not much of a lasagna fan!! And simple is an under statement. If you make the sauce in advance, this is a week night throw together
Isn’t it so great! I’m happy you enjoyed this recipe Bill!
Made ziti tonight based on your recipe. Except added a bit of hot sauce for the portion I did for my husband. He said this is the best ziti he ever had. And my kids loved the non spicy version. Thank you. Love your recipes!
Wow! That’s so great! Thank you for sharing this awesome feedback with us!
Hi Natasha, I would love to try this receipe but my family are not a fan of Ricotta cheese. Can I substitute another kind of cheese in its place?
Thanks Betty Anne
Hi Betty, cottage cheese may work also. I haven’t tested this but one of our readers also made this with cream cheese to substitute for ricotta.
Hi Natasha! What casserole dish did you use?
Hi Melanie, all of our favorite tools and dishes can be found in our Amazon Shop Here or our Blog Shop Here! I hope that helps!
Where is the link for the cheese grater please x
Hi Glynis, you can find our favorite kitchen tools in our Amazon Affiliate Shop HERE.
I made the baked ziti last night and it was so delicious I’m having some for breakfast now. I love your recipes. Thank you so much!
Thank you for the glowing review, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’ve found myself having Ziti for breakfast.
Hi Natasha! Ever since I came across your FB page I started loving your videos. You’re so cute making it entertaining and being funny I tried your lasagna and first time I made lasagna and my kid loves it! I used cream cheese though coz ricotta and cottage cheese is hard to find in supermarkets here in Phils. Would it be nice to add bechamel sauce on top? You have a recipe for it? Thanks!
Hi Christine, I do not at this time but that is a great thought! Thank you for sharing that with me.
Made this tonight, it was such a hit with my family! My kids loved it! Thank you Natasha!
Aww! That’s so great! Thank you for the wonderful review!
I saw your recipe on your page. And went to see if I had everything and I actually! So I made baked ziti on Wednesday and it was a hit and family enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing 😊
That makes to so happy to hear, so glad your family enjoyed the recipe!
Made this tonight, it was such a hit with my family! My kids loved it! Thank you Natasha!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed that!
Natasha, I love your recipes. I just copied the ZITI recipe. You said the recipe for the sauce would be with the recipe but I didn’t see it. I would love it and any other reference you made. Thank you
Hello Lydia, are you referring to this marinara sauce?
Made this tonight. The flavour was very good but mine was a little dry. I used a box of 454g Barilla penne. I also used Kraft parmesan cheese rather than grated so that may have made a difference. I think next time I will half the recipe because it made so much.
Hello Susan, the cheese could have made the difference too. Maybe test it next time using less pasta and more sauce if you like.
The best baked ziti EVER!!
Thank you for that, Stephanie. That is so sweet of you!
Lovvveeedd your Baked Ziti recipe ..
Awesome! Thanks for your excellent review, Annette.
I am going to try this recipe tomorrow night, I’m sure it will be delicious just as all of your recipes are! Only issue I have is finding fresh basil… can I skip this step or use a different herb? Dry basil maybe??
Hi Julia, I haven’t tested this to advise on the outcome but dried basil make work! If you experiment I would love to know how you like that.
Can you make without meat? If so do I add remaining ingredients? What’s the recipe ingredients with out meat
Hi Samantha, I haven’t tested this without meat to advise. If you experiment I would love to know how you like that!
This is a great recipe. Made it and it is sooooo good, Natasha!
Thank you, so much!
btw – where are those oven mitts are from, they are so cute!
You’re welcome, Alexandra! All of our favorite tools can be found on our Blog shop HERE and in our Amazon Shop HERE!
Made this for my family tonight and it is a new favorite! Thank you for all of your recipes! Everything we have tried has been amazing! You’re the best!
You’re welcome Brooke! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe!
Making this tonight! Cannot wait to try it! Love all your videos
I really hope you love this recipe, Kristen!
The best Ziti we have ever had. Love all of your recipes , Thank you so much !!!
You’re welcome, Nancy! I’m so happy you’re enjoying our recipes!
Omg i made this for my boyfriend and i and we loved it it was so creamy and good and i and i put it in my fridge so for dinner the next day we could have it again
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Alice! Thank you for the wonderful review!
I am getting your recipes and have saving them to try this fall. Your recipes are easy to understand and down to earth which I like very much. Thank you so much.
You’re welcome, Judy! I’m so happy you’re enjoying our recipes!
what can I use instead of ricotta?
Hi Dana, cottage cheese may work. I haven’t tested this but one of our readers also made this with cream cheese to substitute for ricotta.
I love your casserole dish. Where can I find one?
Hi Carol, all of our favorite tools and dishes can be found in our Amazon Shop Here or our Blog Shop Here! I hope that helps!
Can you freeze before its cooked.
Hi Gloria, yes, please see freezer ziti instructions in the post.
So stink’n good! I substituted the ground beef for the turkey like you suggested and it was fantastic! Thanks!
I’m so happy you enjoyed that Stephanie!
This is my kind of comfort food! Adding this to my dinner line up next week; looks too good to pass up!
Hi Sara, I hope this pasta casserole becomes a new favorite for you!
Oh goodness this looks amazing…can’t wait to make it! Thanks for all of your yummy recipes and your hard work! Have a happy day
I hope you love this recipe Tammy!
This recipe was so easy and delicious it made for a perfect family dinner. We could not get enough of it!
I’m so happy you enjoyed this Lily!