Baked Ziti

If you’re in search of a comforting, crowd-pleasing dish that’s easy to prepare and bursting with flavor, look no further than our Baked Ziti recipe! This classic Italian-American favorite combines tender ziti pasta with a rich, meaty tomato sauce and a creamy blend of ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses. The result is a hearty, cheesy delight that’s perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or any gathering where you want to impress without spending hours in the kitchen. The layers of pasta and cheese bake together to create a bubbly, golden top that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

What sets this Baked Ziti apart is the balance of flavors and textures. The homemade meat sauce, simmered to perfection with aromatic herbs and spices, infuses every bite with savory goodness. The ricotta mixture adds a creamy, luxurious layer, while the mozzarella and Parmesan provide the perfect cheesy finish. Plus, this dish is incredibly versatile – you can easily customize it with your favorite ingredients or make it vegetarian by omitting the meat.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)


1 – Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

2 – Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ziti pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

3 – In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef or Italian sausage and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks.

4 – Add the diced onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

5 – Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Stir in the dried basil, dried oregano, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper. Let the sauce simmer for about 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

6 – In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella, grated Parmesan, lightly beaten egg, and chopped parsley (if using). Mix until well combined.

7 – In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked ziti pasta with the prepared sauce, stirring to coat the pasta evenly.

8 – Spread half of the pasta and sauce mixture in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Dollop the cheese mixture over the pasta and spread it out as evenly as possible.

9 – Top with the remaining pasta and sauce mixture. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese over the top.

10 – Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

11 – Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

12 – Let the baked ziti cool slightly before serving. Garnish with additional fresh parsley if desired.

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