Baked Ziti with ricotta is true comfort food. Ziti pasta loaded with ground meat, marinara, and ricotta and topped with cheese. It’s a baked casserole recipe loved by kids and adults alike.

Baked ziti in a white casserole dish topped with fresh chopped greens and black pepper.

We just love pasta dinners. From the popular chicken scampi to the simple cajun pasta with a kick or even our new favorite, the goulash!

Baked Ziti Recipe-

Baked ziti pasta is a popular Italian-American dish made with ziti pasta, a meaty tomato sauce and loaded with cheese. This dish is like taking a classic lasagna recipe and bolognese and combining the two.

Baked ziti with ricotta cheese on a white casserole dish next to a rag and shredded cheese.

Serve with-

There are so many different side dishes that go with the baked ziti. Aside from the classic breadsticks or an easy salad, here are some of our favorite options:

Step by step collage on how to make  homemade baked ziti recipe.

How to Make Baked Ziti-

A baked casserole doesn’t get any easier than this one!

  1. Cook pasta– Cook the pasta al dente!
  2. Brown meat– Saute the meat with onions. Add the garlic and season.
  3. Add marinara– Stir in the marina and tomatoes.
  4. Combine– Add the cooked pasta to the meat sauce.
  5. Casserole dish– Transfer half the mixture to the casserole dish. Spread half of the ricotta cheese, then add half the mozzarella and parmesan. Repeat with the second layer.
  6. Bake– Cover the dish with foil. Bake the ziti and enjoy.
Step by step collage on how to assemble the baked ziti in a white casserole dish.

Frequently asked questions-

Can I add vegetables?

Yes, definitely. Cubed bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms or zucchini will all work great. Just add when sautéing the meat.

What other meat can I use?

Italian sausage, turkey or chicken will all work great instead of the beef. You’ll want to just season to taste.

Can I use a different pasta?

We used the classic ziti for the recipe but you can substitute for penne or rigatoni.

Can I substitute ricotta cheese?

You can substitute for the ricotta with small curd cottage cheese.

A spoon full of baked ziti with ground beef, cheese and sauce.

Made ahead-

This is a great dish to make ahead. Completely make the recipe up to 2 days in advance. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Then, just bake per instruction.

storing-

  • How long will it last? Once baked, refrigerate in an airtight container, the ziti will last 4 days. Reheat to serve.
  • Freezing baked ziti– To freeze the baked ziti, you’ll want to prepare per instruction but do not bake. Cover tightly and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake per instructions.

More Pasta Recipes to Try-

Baked Ziti Recipe (with Ricotta)

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5 from 7 votes
Homemade recipe for baked ziti with ricotta. Ziti pasta loaded with ground meat, marinara and ricotta and topped with cheese. It’s a baked casserole that is true comfort food the whole family will love.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp iItalian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 32 oz marinara sauce
  • 14.5 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 16 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded shredded
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a skillet, brown the ground beef with the finely chopped onion on medium heat. Mix and break apart the meat with a meat chopper while cooking.
  • Once the meat is cooked add in the minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper and mix until combined.
  • Add in the marinara sauce and crushed tomatoes to the meat and bring to a light simmer. Add the pasta into the meat mixture and mix until fully combined.
  • In a 9×13 casserole dish add a layer of the pasta mixture and top with half of the ricotta cheese by spreading all over the pasta. Then top with half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the parmesan cheese.
  • Repeat again with second layer of the pasta mixture and cheeses.
  • Cover the baking sheet with foil and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes covered. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes uncovered, until the cheese is bubbly.
  • Enjoy.

Nutrition

Calories: 694kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 41gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 1495mgPotassium: 941mgFiber: 5gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 1275IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 535mgIron: 4mg
(The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)