My family LOVES this easy and delicious Baked Ziti recipe, and I love that it’s made all in just one pan! It’s as fast and delicious as comfort food gets and ready in less than 30 minutes!
Sometimes all I need in the world is a bowl filled with warm cheesy comfort food, like Chicken Noodle Casserole, Meatball Casserole, or Lasagna Soup! But Baked ziti is always the first to come to mind when I think about satisfying this craving.
What we LOVE about this recipe:
- 30-Minute Meals! This is one of many quick and easy 30 minute recipes that also happens to be super family friendly.
- One pan dinner. One Pan meals are appealing to everyone because the entire meal is made using just one pan! This One Pan Baked Ziti accomplishes my goal of an easy homemade dinner– only using one pan from start to finish! It’s these type of meals that qualify you as rock-star mom status in my book 🙂 It’s cheesy, sauce-y and totally delicious!
- Adaptable. This recipe can be varied a lot depending on the ingredient you have or any dietary restrictions. See suggestions below in the post.
How to make Baked Ziti:
Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:
To make ahead: Yes, to make it ahead of time, follow the directions up to step 4. Don’t add and cook the noodles yet because you don’t want them to get soggy or to soak up too much of the liquid. Continue with step 5 just before you want to serve it.
To freeze: Prepare the recipe up until the baking step. Cover with a double layer of aluminum foil sprayed lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or, bake from frozen, covered in foil for 1 hour and 15 minutes, and uncover and bake 20-30 minutes longer, or until bubbly and warmed through.
Recipe Variations and Adaptations:
- The skillet: You can make it in any type of LARGE skillet, as long as it’s oven proof. A simple cast-iron skillet would work great.
- The noodles: If you can’t find ziti noodles at the store, buy them online, or substitute penne, farfalle, or other type of bite-size pasta.
- The meat: we love the flavor of ground sausage but feel free to substitute ground beef or turkey.
- The cheese: substitute any type of shredded cheese if you don’t have mozzarella or parmesan.
Check out all my 30 Minute Meals! Some of my favorites include:
- Taco Soup
- Creamy Tomato and Spinach Tortellini
- Crispy Bean and Cheese Burritos
- Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta
- Thai Basil Chicken
- Creamy Tomato and Spinach Tortellini
One Pan Baked Ziti
- 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage (I use 'hot)
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 5-6 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil (or ½ cup fresh basil leaves but add it at the end)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 3 cups water
- 12 ounces ziti pasta (or similar pasta)
- 1/2 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
- Add olive oil to a deep, 12-inch or larger oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add sausage cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, dried basil and oregano. Stir well. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the water and dry pasta. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a low boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until noodles are tender.
- Stir in the half and half, and parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly on top.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and browned, about 5 minutes. Enjoy!
- I love to serve this with easy Homemade Breadsticks!
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*I originally shared this recipe February 2015. Updated November 2018.
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