This delicious stuffed Manicotti recipe is made by rolling a delicious cheese filling inside a noodle and topped with an easy homemade red sauce. This meal is quick to make, and is always a family favorite!

If you need a few more fun dinner ideas, be sure to try my Meatball Subs, Harvest Bowls, or Pot Roast!

Two stuffed manicotti noodles served on a plate.

Why I love this recipe:

  • Method: Instead of buying thin manicotti shells from the store, this genius method uses no-boil lasagna noodles, giving the dish a more authentic taste and better noodle to cheese ratio. Plus, it’s much easier to roll-up the filling, then to try and “stuff” it inside manicotti shells.
  • EASY Homemade Red Sauce that tastes amazing and balances all the flavors in this dish perfectly!
  • Cheese Filling is fresh tasting with three different types of cheese and fresh chopped herbs. It is delicious and makes this dish really shine!

How to make Manicotti:

Make my easy homemade marinara sauce that uses basic pantry ingredients and is ready in about 15 minutes! The taste is incomparable to store-bought (but I wont judge if you’re in a pinch and need to use the jarred stuff).

Homemade red sauce in a saucepan.

Prepare Cheese Filling by combining ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese.  Add eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs; set aside.

Manicotti cheese filling ingredients added to a bowl and then mixed together.

Assemble Manicotti: Add very hot water to a casserole dish. Soak the oven-ready barilla pasta in the hot water until it’s pliable. Lay each noodle on a flat surface and scoop about ¼ cup of cheese filling onto the short end of the pasta, closest to you. Roll the filling tightly in the noodle and place seam-side down on top of the sauce in the casserole dish.

Cheese filling add on a noodle, rolled up and placed in a baking dish to make manicotti.

Bake: Pour the rest of the sauce over the noodles, being sure to completely cover the pasta. Bake manicotti for about 40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top. Bake again for a few minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Manicotti with homemade red sauce, and cheese sprinkled on top, ready to bake.

Serve with homemade breadsticks and a salad!

Manicotti vs Cannelloni:

Cannelloni is a classic Italian dish that is very similar to manicotti.  Both are made by stuffing a large tube of pasta with filling, covering it in sauce, and baking it. Manicotti is the Italian American version, and the pasta used is just slightly different.

A pan of manicotti with a shell removed.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: This baked Manicotti can be prepped and kept in the refrigerator until ready to bake for up to 3 days!

To Freeze: Prepare Manicotti pasta up until the baking step then cover with a sheet of parchment paper, wrap in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 day before baking. To bake, remove parchment, replace with new aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 ¼ hours.

Recipe Variations:

  • Manicotti with Meat: You can cook 1 pound of ground beef or sausage and add it to the red sauce if you’d like.

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Recipe

Two manicotti rolls on a plate.
Prep 20 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 1 hr

Ingredients
 
 

Manicotti:

Cheese Filling:

  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large eggs , lightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley leaves , chopped (or 2 ½ teaspoons dried parsley)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves , chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)

Instructions
 

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Make the sauce. My easy homemade marinara uses basic pantry ingredients and is ready in about 15 minutes! The taste is incomparable to store-bought (but I wont judge if you're in a pinch and need to use the jarred stuff).
  • Cheese Filling: In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs; set aside.
  • Prepare noodles: Pour 1 inch boiling water into a large casserole dish . Add dry noodles, a few at a time, allowing them to soak until pliable, about 5 minutes. Use a fork to help separate the noodles if needed, to prevent them from sticking together. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on a plate.
  • Assemble: Spread bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish evenly with 1 ½ cups red sauce. Place one pliable noodle in front of you and scoop ab out ¼ cup cheese mixture in a line along the bottom short end. Roll all the way up into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. (You should be able to fit 8 manicotti in each row, allowing all 16 to fit in the dish).
  • Bake: Pour remaining red sauce over the filled pasta. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 40 minutes, until bubbly. Remove cover and sprinkle on remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Manicotti– I think the barilla no boil noodles make it more authentic, but you could use store-bought manicotti shells.
Make Ahead Instructions: Make the recipe up until baking, then cover and refrigerate for 1-3 days ahead of time. Remove from fridge for 30 minutes before baking. 
Freezing Instructions: Prepare Manicotti up until baking and cover and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 day before baking as instructed.

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 17gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 589mgPotassium: 471mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 655IUVitamin C: 10.6mgCalcium: 328mgIron: 2.4mg

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I originally shared this recipe October 2018. Updated March 2022.

Recipe inspired by America’s Test Kitchen and Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. I was unable to find No-boil noodles at my store, so I got regular lasagna noodles. Any recommendations on how to adapt the recipe to use regular lasagna noodles? Should I boil them to be fully cooked?

    1. No problem! I’d just boil them until al dente. According to the package instructions.

  2. Can we add the meat into the cheese mix to get a meat stuffing? I feel like if I add it to the sauce, the kids may not pick it up and eat as much of it…..

  3. 5 stars
    i cannot wait to make the manicotti ..your recipe looks so delicious .. i am going to make it this week

  4. 5 stars
    I teach 7 developmentally challenged individuals on zoom and they were a little bit hesitant about making this dish. They all made the dish and were quite proud of them selves that they were able to make it and they stated it tasted good. We used manicotti noodles.

  5. 5 stars
    Awsome reciepe made with my sauce. Cheese mix is perfect added 1/2 c spinich.
    Men in my life loved it.
    Its a keeper they say.
    Thank you.

  6. 5 stars
    What a great tip to soften noodles in hot water first. I never like messing with lasagna noodles but this was so simple.
    I had a little leftover ricotta cheese filling so I added it to my sauce before the pour over. Extra cheesy goodness 🙂

  7. To night will be my first meal from your page since I had stumbled across it. I only have one comment/suggestion sides, sides, sides, I find that figuring out which sides to pair with a meal are extremely difficult for me, so if you get board or need a new topic for your page this would really help me out! Thank you so much for creating such a beneficial article. I am a single mother of 4 and this paired with Walmart pick up have tremendously removed a monumental burden from my life!

    1. I’m so glad you found my site! I usually list accompaniment suggestions just above the recipe card. You can also find all my side dishes here!

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve been excited to try this since you shared it and finally made it for sunday dinner. It was soo good and my family loved it. Thanks for another winner!