Baked Ziti Recipe

This Baked Ziti Recipe turns our perfect every time! The right ratio of sauce, cheese and seasoning makes this cheesy baked ziti a family favorite!

This cheesy pasta is perfect for a Sunday meal, weeknight dinners or bringing to a friend’s house for a potluck or game day! We love serving this dish with a crisp Caesar Salad and loads of Garlic Bread!

baked ziti recipe on a red and white checkered table cloth

An Easy Baked Ziti Recipe For The Books!

There are some recipes that you keep going back to over and over again. Maybe because they are delicious, easy to make, make ahead recipes, and a big bonus if the whole family likes it.

This Baked Ziti Recipe is one of these recipes. It actually fits all of the above criteria! We’ve use this easy baked ziti recipe as a base for so many different variations of baked ziti and it comes out perfectly every single time.

Make this pasta recipe for Sunday dinners, meal prepping during the week, for holidays and definitely on game days. Everyone seems to like this cheesy pasta recipe, adults and kids alike, especially if it’a made as delicious as this one is!

ingredients for a baked ziti recipe

What Ingredients Are In Baked Ziti?

Obviously ziti, or penne. Doesn’t really matter, it’s just how the ends of the pasta are shaped. But really you can make baked ziti with just about any tube shaped pasta! Rigatoni works too, what you want is a pasta with a hole in the middle so that all the sauce and cheese get trapped inside.

So we kept this ziti recipe basic, just mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta cheese along with our homemade marinara sauce, fresh parsley and an egg. All those ingredients in just the right proportions will make this recipe turn out perfect every time you make it!

We know you’re going to ask, so yes, you can use your favorite store bought pasta sauce instead of making the marinara sauce from scratch, but it’s really SO easy to make and it makes a big difference in the flavor!

baked ziti in a casserole dish with tomatoes

Do You Really Need A Recipe For Baked Ziti?

I have to say OMG yes. Come on now, we’ve all been to restaurants or even to someone’s house that makes baked ziti literally by mixing pasta together with tomato sauce or jarred marinara sauce, tops it with mozzarella cheese and bakes it. Blah. So blah.

Anyone can do that…yes and I guess then you don’t need a recipe for that kind of baked ziti. That’s not the pasta dish that everyone is going to rave about and ask you for the recipe. But this one is.

You need seasonings, ricotta cheese, the fresh flavor the parsley adds and an egg to bind it all together so it isn’t a runny, goopy mess. 

Baked ziti on a spoon with cheese dripping down

What Other Ingredients Can I Add To This Ziti Recipe?

Like I said, this is a base recipe and even without anything added it’s so delicious and full of flavor you really don’t have to put anything else in here. But there are a lot of other options that we add to this pasta all the time!

  • Italian Sausage
  • Ground Beef
  • Shredded Chicken
  • Spinach
  • Chopped Broccoli
  • Peas

How Far In Advance Can I Make Baked Ziti?

You can make this pasta dish a day or two ahead of time, but the more it sits in your fridge the dryer it might be when you cook it. The pasta will absorb the sauce the longer it sits so if you need to make it two days in advance, just serve it with extra sauce.

One day in advance is perfect, the flavors actually blend together better so we usually do it the morning of or the day before.

Can You Reheat Baked Ziti After It’s Been Cooked?

Sure you can, but again it might be a little dry. Leftovers are not something we take lightly at our house though, we don’t like wasting food so if it’s there we eat it! Usually we microwave it with just a little more sauce and/or cheese on top and it comes out just fine.

Looking For More Pasta Recipes?

Baked ziti on a spoon with cheese dripping down

Baked Ziti Recipe

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x

This easy Baked Ziti Recipe is always a hit for dinner, holidays or at potlucks! You can make this recipe ahead of time and bake it when you’re ready!



  • 1 pound ziti
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • For The Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

For the Ricotta Cheese Mixture:

  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Add the oil to a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onions for 7-8 minutes until softened, stirring often so they don’t burn.
  2. Add the garlic and cook another minute, then stir in the tomato paste. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and water then stir to combine.
  3. Season the sauce with the salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano, stir and partially cover. Turn the burner down to low heat and let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the skillet from the heat and take off the cover to let cool.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, cook the ziti according to the package directions, drain and pour into a large bowl.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Mix the ingredients together for the ricotta cheese mixture and then add to the cooked ziti along with 2 cups of the marinara sauce and 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and pour into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.
  7. Cover the top of the ziti with another 2 cups of sauce along with the mozzarella cheese and the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake the ziti for 25 minutes, uncovered or until heated through.

Recipe Notes

This sauce recipe makes about makes 5 cups of sauce. You might have a little extra depending on the size of your baking dish. Serve any extra sauce on the side.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

You Might Also Like:

3 Responses
  1. Cathy

    Delicious! I added ground hamburger and sausage to the sauce. I cooked the ziti 8 minutes instead of 10. I didn’t want my ziti to turn out too soft when in the oven Great recipe. I will definitely make this one again!

Leave a Reply

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Cocktails and Drinks

Side “Bar”

Try some of the cocktails and drinks we’re mixing up this week!