Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti in Pan

When it comes to feeding a hungry family, this Baked Ziti has definitely stood the test of time. My kids were raised on this budget-friendly pasta dish! I originally posted this recipe back in 2011 and it’s still one of our favorite meals.

I sometimes switch it up and use plain hamburger instead of Italian sausage or even cut up meatballs. Add plenty of mozzarella cheese or a combination of mozzarella with Asiago and/or Parmesan. The only problem I sometimes have is if I’m short on time and use the pre-grated cheese. It’s convenient, but it’s also coated with a fine powder (typically potato starch and powdered cellulose) to keep it from sticking together in the package. This also tends to keep it from melting as nicely as your own freshly grated cheese. But, hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! It will still taste great!

What You’ll Need for Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti is a fairly straight-forward dish that’s very easy to make and is always a satisfying dinner. A few basic ingredients are all you’ll need; then you can relax while it bakes in the oven. Serve with a salad, crusty bread and a glass of wine or your favorite beverage.

  • ziti
  • Italian sausage
  • onion
  • garlic
  • ricotta cheese
  • egg
  • oregano
  • salt & pepper
  • spaghetti sauce
  • Italian cheese blend
  • dried basil

Simple Steps for Perfect Results

It might seem a bit convoluted at first, but trust me, this Baked Ziti recipe is easy.

Step 1. Cook pasta al dente.

Step 2. Brown sausage with onion and garlic; drain and set aside.

Step 3. Whisk together the ricotta cheese, egg, oregano, salt & pepper, and 1 jar of the spaghetti sauce. Stir in the sausage mixture and pasta.

Step 4. Put a little sauce in the bottom of baking pan before adding the first layer of pasta. Layer pasta, sauce and cheese; repeat. Finish with a sprinkle of dried basil.

Step 5. It’s ready to bake!

Freeze Baked Ziti for a Quick Lunch or Dinner

I always freeze at least a couple of servings of Baked Ziti. It’s great to have on hand for those times when I don’t feel like cooking or one of my boys comes home hungry. Make sure the pasta is completely cooled, then cut into squares – about what you’d want for a single serving and wrap in plastic wrap. Put wrapped servings in a freezer safe plastic container or a zip top bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Reheat Baked Ziti slowly. I usually use the defrost function of my microwave, then when it’s defrosted, I heat on low setting until hot. If you plan ahead, you can take out one of your squares of Baked Ziti and put it in the refrigerator the night before. It will be defrosted when you’re ready for dinner and all you’ll have to do is give it a quick heat-up in the microwave.

Baked Ziti in Pan

Baked Ziti

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Tags: casserole, dinner, pasta


  • 1 lb. dry ziti pasta
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, large
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 26 oz spaghetti sauce, jars, divided
  • 10 oz Italian cheese, blend, shredded
  • 1 tsp. dried basil


Preheat oven to 350° F.

    Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.

    • Fill a large pasta or stock pot with water; salt generously. Bring to a full boil. When the water comes to a rapid boil, add the ziti; stir and bring back to a full boil. Cook uncovered until the pasta is al dente, usually about 8 – 10 minutes; stirring occasionally. Drain, but do not rinse.
    • While the pasta is cooking, brown and break up the sausage in a large skillet. Add chopped onion and garlic, cook until onions are tender and translucent. Drain fat and set aside.
    • In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, egg, and oregano. Stir in the sausage mixture, 1 jar of the spaghetti sauce, and the drained pasta. Season with salt and pepper.
    • In the greased baking dish, pour 1/3 of the second jar of spaghetti sauce and spread to coat bottom of dish. Layer 1/2 of the ziti mixture on top of the spaghetti sauce. Top the pasta with 1/2 of the sauce remaining in the jar and 1/2 of the shredded Italian cheese. Repeat layers with remaining pasta and spaghetti sauce; top with remaining shredded cheese. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with dried basil.
    • Cover tightly with lightly greased aluminum foil. Place on sheet pan and bake about 20 minutes; until heated through. Uncover and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
    Tried this recipe?Mention @Debbie_Net or tag #DebbieNet!

    Some of Our Other Favorite Recipes

    Ancho Chile Beef Stew on top of mashed potatoes in a blue bowl.
    Ancho Chile Beef Stew
    Authentic Spanish Flan
    Glass of Horchata
    Authentic Horchata
    Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread loaf and slices, with butter.
    Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating


    Please Like & Share