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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!


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!

Fully cooked pasta shown on a small white plate with extra sauce dolloped on top and a casserole dish in the background


Do I have to use ziti pasta noodles?

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.

What if I like a lot of spaghetti sauce?

When I make this, I usually purchase an extra jar of spaghetti sauce so we can pour extra sauce over the top when serving.

Can I make my own alfredo sauce?

Absolutely! Or you can try using different flavored alfredo sauces – like garlic or basil.

Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef?

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!

The Best Baked Ziti recipe from TheCountry Cook. Closeup photo of finished pasta dish serving on a white plate


  • ground beef
  • spaghetti sauce
  • alfredo sauce
  • penne, ziti or rigatoni pasta
  • onion
  • shredded mozzarella
ground beef, spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, penne pasta (or ziti or rigatoni), yellow onion, shredded mozzarella cheese


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.

cooked and crumbled ground beef in a skillet with a wooden spoon

Put back in pot and pour in one jar of spaghetti sauce. Keep mixture on low until pasta is done. 

spaghetti sauce added to cooked ground beef in a skillet

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.

alfredo sauce added to cooked pasta in a large copper colored pot

Pour pasta mixture into bottom of 9×13 dish.

alfredo sauce coated ziti pasta spread into a casserole dish

Cover pasta with spaghetti sauce mixture. 

ground beef spaghetti sauce evenly spread on top of pasta in casserole dish

Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese.

shredded mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top of spaghetti sauce and creamy pasta

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 foilRemove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

baked penne pasta topped with melted cheese scooped up with a large spoon

Let rest for about 5 minutes after taking out of oven.

silver fork inserted into penne pasta and spaghetti sauce


The Best Baked Ziti recipe from The Country Cook

The Best Baked Ziti (+Video)

This easy baked ziti recipe is a huge family favorite. Creamy, cheesy alfredo pasta topped with a beefy spaghetti sauce! Topped with melted cheese!
4.66 from 174 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Baked Ziti, best baked ziti, Easy Baked Ziti
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 368kcal


  • 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)



Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 287mg | Potassium: 317mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 205mg | Iron: 2.8mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“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.

Did you make this recipe?Share it on Instagram @thecountrycook and mention us #thecountrycook!

Originally published: May 2011
Updated and republished: February 2020

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Hey Brandie, I made this for dinner tonight and wanted to thank you! It was very good!! It makes a lot so we will be enjoying leftovers! Again…Thanks!!

  2. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and have been using it for years now, I love your site, there hasn’t been one recipe here that my family doesn’t love! Whenever I say I’m baking baked ziti the boys (hubby and son) lol are very happy about it 🙂 I’ve made it for my sister’s family of 6 a few times and her picky little ones gobble it up! I always refer back here whenever I make it and since I’m about to make it now I thought “why haven’t I left a comment?” Five stars!!

    1. Hey Erinn!! I am SO happy to hear that – yay!! Thank you! That amount is per serving. However, I always tell everyone (I even have a DISCLOSURE on my site here) that you should use your own trusted nutrition calculator. My recipe card does it automatically but should not be used for dietary or health purposes.:)

  3. 5 stars
    This is a family favorite! I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit. I use ground Italian sausage instead of the ground beef and I add sautéed mushrooms. We also made it with grilled chicken instead of the ground meat. All have been delicious but the ground sausage is our fave!

  4. 5 stars
    This is a big hit in our house! I’ve been making it a few times a month for the last year. I have VERY picky boys and they LOVE this recipe. Thank you for sharing!

      1. I think the confusion is with the bag of cheese. At first glance, it does look like a box of cream cheese but it is actually the bag of mozzarella that contains a bit of Philadelphia cream cheese.

  5. 5 stars
    This was a thumbs up from everybody! My 11 year old can be a little picky and he raved about it! i had some shredded chicken left over and i used it instead of the ground beef and I omitted the onion This will definitely become a go to meal especially on soccer nights because it is so easy! Thank you for posting!

  6. I am a little confused. Your list of ingredients only mentions one jar of spaghetti sauce, yet in the directions, it refers to two jars of spaghetti sauce in addition to the alfredo sauce.

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you for this amazing recipe!! This turned out fantastic. Even my son who is INCREDIBLY picky ate his entire plate full. I didn’t add extra sauce but could see how it would be good with it on there. My oldest said it tasted a bit like lasagna. I did put a layer of cheese between the noodle mixture and meat mixture. I will definitely be making this again real soon.

  8. 5 stars
    The recipe was easy enough, my family liked it. I really didn’t care for it. But then, I’m not big on Italian food either.

  9. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. I have made several times. Do you think I can make in the crockpot? Wanted to take for a potluck. Was going to double everything and add right to the crockpot and not cook the noodles first. Do you have any other suggestions?

  10. 5 stars
    Made this last night for dinner and I have a picky crowd. My family doesn’t like to try new things as I do. I made it axacly the same that shows in picture besides added more spaghetti sauce based on other comments which I think it needed and did 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 spicy Italian sausage. I was a big hit! Definitely a keeper. Thank you it was was delicious!

  11. 5 stars
    How many servings do you get? I’m having 6 adults. And 3 very young kids. They love ziti and I want to make enough.

  12. 5 stars
    Brilliant idea to use Alfredo. Makes it so creamy. I have made so many ziti recipes and they always turn out dry. I also have never thought to use extra sauce for the top. Great idea. This will definitely be a regular on my menu. Delicious!

  13. 5 stars
    We have had this several times now, and absolutely love it! I’ve switched the ground beef to a pound of ground Italian sausage, and added fresh sliced mushrooms on top of the pasta before pouring the spaghetti sauce on! Yum! This is a definite keeper! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Hello this recipe looks so yummy. I was wondering do you use any spices . Thanks…. I was going to make this tonight. I can’t wait to try!!!!

  15. 5 stars
    Made this recipe once before and it was so delicious. Making again this week. Everyone loves it, made exactly as you posted.
    Thank you for this amazing recipe.

  16. 5 stars
    Not bad for an easy bake ziti recipe. I mix Italian sausage into the meat mix. Going to keep this recipe in my rotation.

    1. 5 stars
      I made this last night in the hopes that this would finally be the baked ziti my husband liked (he’s typically not a fan). He loved it! We both very much enjoyed it and are having the leftovers tonight. Super quick and easy for this busy mom, too!