The Best Baked Ziti (+Video)
This easy baked ziti is a huge family favorite. Creamy, cheesy alfredo pasta topped with a beefy spaghetti sauce! Then topped with melted cheese!
A DELICIOUSLY EASY BAKED ZITI RECIPE
This is one of my favorite comfort food pasta dishes. This one along with my Baked Spaghetti (Spasagna) is the ultimate comfort food for me. Serve it with some Garlic Bread and a salad and I am a happy camper!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
I usually use penne pasta because it has those little ridges in it. And those little ridges are really good at hanging onto the pasta sauce. But if you prefer the Ziti pasta, then use that instead of the Penne. This recipe is versatile and you can use almost any other pasta noodle you prefer.
When I make this, I usually purchase an extra jar of spaghetti sauce so we can pour extra sauce over the top when serving.
Absolutely! Or you can try using different flavored alfredo sauces – like garlic or basil.
Yes, of course. Whatever you prefer. Ground pork can also be used.
Want an extra kick? Try adding some ground Italian sausage to the mixture!
INGREDIENTS FOR BAKED ZITI: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)
- ground beef
- spaghetti sauce
- alfredo sauce
- penne, ziti or rigatoni pasta
- shredded mozzarella
HOW TO MAKE BAKED ZITI:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Prepare pasta according to directions. In a medium sauce pan, brown ground beef with onion (if using.) After beef is browned and crumbled, drain excess grease.
Put back in pot and pour in one jar of spaghetti sauce. Keep mixture on low until pasta is done.
When pasta is finished, drain well. You want the pasta as dry as possible. Put pasta back in large pot (with heat off) and pour in jar of alfredo sauce. Combine until thoroughly coated.
Pour pasta mixture into bottom of 9×13 dish.
Cover pasta with spaghetti sauce mixture.
Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. I like to spray the inside of my foil with nonstick spray so the cheese doesn’t stick to it. Or you could use nonstick aluminum foil. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Let rest for about 5 minutes after taking out of oven.
LOVE THIS PASTA RECIPE? HERE’S MORE!
The Best Baked Ziti (+Video)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 32 ounce jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
- 16 ounce jar alfredo sauce
- 1 pound penne pasta (or ziti or rigatoni)
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9"x 13" baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Prepare pasta according to directions.
- In a medium sauce pan, brown ground beef with onion (if using).
- After beef is brown and crumbled, drain excess grease.
- Put back in pot and pour in one jar of spaghetti sauce. Keep mixture on low until pasta is done.
- When pasta is finished, drain excess water from pasta. You want the pasta as dry as possible.
- Put pasta back in large pot (with heat off) and pour in jar of alfredo sauce. Combine until thoroughly coated.
- Pour pasta mixture into bottom of 9"x 13" dish.
- Cover pasta with spaghetti sauce mixture.
- Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let rest for about 5 minutes after taking out of oven.
- Serve portions onto plates, and pour additional paghetti sauce on top (optional)
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
Originally published: May 2011
Updated and republished: February 2020
This by far one of the best ziti recipes! Love it!
My family absolutely loved this! And my husband usually hates pasta, so that is a big win. Only changes I made were using mild Italian sausage instead or ground beef and I didn’t have any onion so I did a little onion power. So easy and so delicious! Thanks for the great recipe.
Woo hoo – we won the hubby over! Ha! Love hearing that Brandy – thanks SO much!
can you add ricotta cheese?
Sure I don’t see why not!
to make this gluten free I did the following changes. I used tinkyada rice spiraled pasta. cooked the pasta for 5 minutes. drained added the Alfredo sauce per the instructions. I did the meat mixture with one jar of pasta sauce. Topped with the meat mixture added a 2nd jar of pasta sauce. The extra sauce will help cook the pasta since it’s barely done. If you cook the pasta according to the package and it’s tender you will have a pile if glue like substance instead of baked ziti. I increased the baking time to 45 minutes. Pasta was tender and not a pile of mush.
Love this recipe! Have made it several times. The last time I made it I substituted some frozen cheese ravioli (cooked it like you do the pasta before assembling) and it was great! Loved that little bit of extra cheese in the ravioli!
I love hearing that Judy! Thank you so much!!
Love love love this recipe. It’s in my regular rotation!
Love this receipe! Do you have suggestions on how you would freeze this dish to make a freezer meal?
Hi Julie! You sure can! Prepare as directed but don’t bake. Cover well with plastic wrap then cover well with aluminum foil. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. Then when you’re ready to cook, remove the plastic wrap. Put the aluminum foil back on and back. You’ll probably have to add on an additional 10-20 minutes to the cooking time. 🙂
I made this last night and it was so good! I only add Italian seasoning and some garlic salt to it. So easy and delicious! Thank you for the recipe!
This was absolutely delicious and will be my go-to Baked Ziti recipe from now on. My husband loved it and he doesn’t even like Alfredo sauce. LOL There’s just the two of us, so I cut everything in half and baked it in an 8″ x 8″ dish. It didn’t even need any extra sauce. Thanks for the recipe! I wouldn’t have thought to use the two sauces together.
This is a great recipe….easy, tasty and filling. My family of 5 loves it. It be challenging to find something everyone enjoys.
This was excellent and quick to make. Thank you
Fantastic! Rich and satisfying. I feel like a real Italian chef. A crowd pleaser. I have shared the recipe with all my friends! THANK YOU!
I am going to make this tonight and I am so excited. My question is what is a serving considered? Would a serving be 1 cup? Thank you!
Hi Cassie – I would say that is about right. 🙂
I read the recipe ingredients and it states only 1 jar of spaghetti sauce, but in the recipe #12 it says to add in a second jar?????
It’s optional. We like a lot of sauce but not everyone does.
I made this a while back based on your recipe and love it!! I came back and realized the picture is different now and there is only one spaghetti sauce jar instead of two? Also in the ingredients – but the instructions call for two as well. So I’m just confused and wondering if that has changed or are you just using a bigger jar of sauce? Wanting to make this for a crowd to trying to figure out exact measurements!!!
I updated the photos and didn’t add that second can in there but I still kept it in the recipe because I like extra sauce but I know some people may not want it. So if you have always made it and enjoyed it with the two cans – keep doing that! 🙂
This has replaced my family’s favorite ziti recipe that I’ve used for many years. It is so easy and filling. And the leftovers are even better! Thanks Brandie! Your recipes make up over half of the ones in my collection.
I made this dish and it was great! Next time I’ll add 2 tsp Italian seasoning!