This easy Baked Ziti recipe features tender pasta, a delicious meat sauce, and creamy cheese layers in this family favorite recipe.
If you love easy, hearty dinners, I think you’ll love this easy baked ziti recipe. It reminds me of my pasta with spaghetti sauce and my best lasagna recipes. All of them are recipes that my family loves and are great make-ahead and freezer-friendly dinner recipes.
Table of Contents
How to Make Easy Baked Ziti Recipe
Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.
- Pasta – the recipe calls for ziti pasta, but in a pinch you can use penne or rigatoni.
- Meat – My family prefers ground beef for the meat in this recipe. You can also use a blend of two types of meat, such as ground beef and ground pork, or substitute with ground chicken or ground turkey.
- Onion – a diced onion is cooked until tender for a flavorful addition.
- Marinara sauce – I love to use my homemade marinara sauce, but a good-quality store-bought sauce is also delicious.
- Cheeses – this recipe uses four different cheeses: Provolone cheese, Ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
- Prep. Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Cook the ziti. Cook the ziti pasta until al dente, drain, and set aside.
- Cook the meat sauce. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef and onion. Stir in the marinara sauce and reduce the heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Assemble the baked ziti. Layer 1/2 of the cooked noodles, then 1/2 of the meat sauce, then the provolone cheese, then the ricotta cheese. Repeat with the remaining ziti, meat sauce, and then top with mozzarella and parmesan.
- Bake. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve.
Meal Prep Tip!
Portion out the Baked Ziti to enjoy for dinner, then once during the week, and then freeze the remaining portions for a freezer-friendly meal to enjoy within two months!
To store. Store leftover baked ziti in the refrigerator covered tightly with wrap or in an airtight container. Properly stored, baked ziti will last in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
To make ahead. Baked ziti makes a great make ahead meal. You can prep it ahead without baking or baked. Store it in the refrigerator covered tightly with wrap or in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days.
To freeze. You can freeze unbaked or baked ziti. Unbaked provides the best results. Simply prepare your baked ziti in a freezer-safe, oven-safe baking dish without baking. Freeze for up to two months. To freeze baked ziti that has been baked, cool the dish completely and then store the pan of baked ziti in a freezer-safe, oven-safe baking dish covered tightly with plastic wrap topped with foil or in individual freezer-safe, airtight containers for up to two months.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can replace the Ricotta cheese in this baked ziti recipe with cottage cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, and even cream cheese.
Properly stored, baked ziti lasts for about two months in the freezer.
Here’s my easy Baked Ziti recipe. I hope you love it!
Easy Baked Ziti Recipe
- 1 pound ziti pasta
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 medium onion, diced (optional)
- 5 1/2 cups marinara sauce, or 2 (23.5-ounce) jars store-bought
- 1 (8-ounce) package provolone cheese, sliced
- 2 cups Ricotta cheese, or Greek yogurt, sour cream, or cottage cheese
- 1 (8-ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- fresh basil, (optional)
- Prep. Preheat oven to 350º F. Coat the interior of the baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
- Cook the ziti. Cook the ziti pasta according to the package directions until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Cook the meat sauce. Meanwhile, cook the ground beef and onion in a skillet over medium heat until the beef is browned and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the marinara sauce and reduce the heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Assemble. Add 1/2 of the cooked ziti to the prepared baking dish. Spoon 1/2 of the meat sauce over the ziti. Top with provolone and ricotta cheese. Repeat with the remaining ziti and meat sauce and top with the mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Bake. Place into the oven and bake until the cheese are fully melted and bubbly, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.