The Best Easy Baked Ziti

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The Best Easy Baked Ziti – This baked ziti with ricotta & Italian sausage recipe is so easy because there is no layering.

Bowl full of baked ziti

Easy Baked Ziti

This recipe is full of traditional flavors – ziti, Italian sausage, pasta sauce, ricotta cheese, Mozzarella, and parmesan.  However, most baked ziti recipes call for layering the ricotta, pasta, and sauce like a lasagna.  Not this recipe.

The ricotta is mixed in with the Italian sausage and pasta sauce making the most amazing creamy sauce ever.

How To Make The Best Baked Ziti Recipe

Note:  The full printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post.

  • Add olive oil to a large skillet or soup pot over medium-high heat. *This makes a lot of sauce so I use a 12 inch high-sided skillet.
  • Add onion and Italian sausage.
  • Break the sausage apart and cook until browned.
  • Add ricotta cheese, Italian seasoning, and salt.

Skillet full of Italian sausage and ricotta cheese

pouring pasta sauce into a skillet with Italian sausage and ricotta cheese

  • Stir until the sauce is well combined.
  • Cook and drain ziti pasta.
  • Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta.
  • Stir well to coat the pasta in sauce.

Large pot full of cooked ziti pasta in meat sauce

  • Transfer the pasta and sauce to a large baking dish. *I use a 13×9 inch high-sided baking dish because this makes a lot of pasta.  If you don’t have a big enough dish, leave a few cups of the pasta out so it doesn’t bubble over in your oven.

Baking dish of ziti in meat sauce

  • Sprinkle the top of the pasta with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  • Cool slightly before serving.

Large baking dish full of baked ziti covered in cheese

Can You Make This Baked Ziti With Sausage Ahead Of Time

Yes.  Assemble the pasta in the baking dish according to the directions.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Remove the dish from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap.  Let the dish come to room temperature as the oven is preheating.  You may need to add 5-10 minutes to the bake time to get the center warmed through.

Can You Freeze This Baked Ziti With Ricotta

Yes.  Assemble the pasta in a freezer friendly baking dish and cover with foil.  Freeze.

Transfer the dish to the refrigerator to thaw 24 hours before you want to bake it.

Remove from the refrigerator and remove the foil.  Let the dish come to room temperature as the oven is preheating.  You may need to add 5-10 minutes to the bake time to get the center warmed through.

Try These Other Easy Pasta Recipes

Watch The Step By Step Recipe Video For The Best Easy Baked Ziti In This Post

Find more of my recipes on TikTok

Bowl full of easy baked ziti

The Best Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

5 from 5 votes
The Best Easy Baked Ziti - This baked ziti recipe with ricotta and Italian sausage is so easy because there is no layering.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Video

Servings 10 servings
Calories 507 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 lb. dry ziti pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 (24 oz.) jars pasta sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a high-sided 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Cook the ziti pasta according to its package directions.
  • Place a large soup pot, or a large high-side skillet* over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, and onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the Italian sausage to the skillet. Break the sausage apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 10-11 minutes, until the sausage is browned, stirring occasionally. Drain off the excess fat if necessary.
  • Add the ricotta cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir until the ricotta is smooth.
  • Add the pasta sauce to the meat. Stir to combine. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water from the cooked pasta and return the pasta to the hot pot. Add the meat sauce to the cooked pasta. Stir until the pasta is completely coated in sauce.
  • Transfer the pasta to the baking dish**. Spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Notes

*I use a 12 inch high-sided skillet for this.
**If you don’t have a 9x13 inch baking dish with high sides, you may want to leave out a couple cups of the pasta mixture out so that it doesn’t bubble over in your oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/10th of the recipe | Calories: 507kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 1402mg | Potassium: 737mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 900IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 264mg | Iron: 3mg
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Keyword baked ziti recipe, easy baked ziti
Cuisine American, Italian
Author Amanda Finks
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Totally awesome! I can’t imagine that this actually makes 10 servings since I halved it and still had easily four to six servings left over BUT delicious, worth it, and I’m not terribly mad about the leftovers since my husband liked this enough to go back for seconds. I might just quarter it in the future if I don’t feel like eating baked ziti for the next two days, lol. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    This really turned out awesome!!!! Im a single Dad of a 16 year old son, Trying to put some rotation in my meals…

    REALLY good, Son loved it…… Left overs are a staple at my house…. Need to add a little more sauce when re-heating. Thanks,,,, Trying your Chili this weekend.

  3. 5 stars
    Oh man! This is one of our favorite dinners of all time! We love baked ziti, and this made making it so quick and easy!

  4. Boy does this baked ziti look good. I think what I like best about your recipes is that they often seem “do-able” to a single guy like myself who is easily intimidated with cooking, particularly for others. Thank you!

About Amanda Finks

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Zionsville, IN. I’m an avid cook, travel nerd, & lover of good food! I’m trained in Food Science & recipe development. It’s my mission to bring you the BEST recipes your whole family will love!

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