This easy Crock Pot Baked Ziti recipe only takes 10 minutes to prep using uncooked noodles layered in cheese and marinara sauce. Delicious comfort food for any busy night!
Why I love this recipe:
- Quick Prep – All you need is 10 minutes to place the ingredients in the slow cooker and dinner will be done on time!
- One Pot – A true dump and forget meal. It’s completely hands off cooking, and no mess!
- Delicious – This three cheese ziti is a crowd pleaser, and my kids are always asking for more!
How to make Crock Pot Baked Ziti:
Make Cheese Layer: Add cream cheese, sour cream, and ricotta to a mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixers until smooth. Stir in garlic and basil.
Make Sauce: In a large bowl, combine both jars of pasta sauce, tomato sauce, and water.
Assemble: Add 2 cups of sauce to the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with ⅓ of the uncooked penne, then dot half of the ricotta mixture and spread with a spoon. Top with grated parmesan cheese.
Repeat Layers, then pour remaining uncooked penne on top followed by the remaining sauce.
Cook: Cover and cook on HIGH for 2-2 ½ hours or LOW for 3-4 hours or until pasta is tender.
Top with Cheese: During the last few minutes, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and return the lid to allow it to melt. You can place it under the broiler in the oven for 2 minutes to make the cheese golden and bubbly if you’d like.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:
To Make Ahead: The riccotta cheese mixture and the pasta sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge in separate airtight containers until ready to assemble and cook.
To Freeze: Leftovers from this crock pot ziti can be frozen in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. Let thaw in the fridge completely before reheating. The pasta may be a little softer than when it was freshly made.
- Oven Baked Ziti
- Add Meat: Add 1 pound cooked ground beef or ground sausage to the red sauce before layering.
- Add veggies: sautéed veggies, chopped small and layered over the red sauce would make a delicious addition. Try adding zucchini, spinach, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms.
- Pasta: Penne pasta could also be substituted.
Serve Baked Ziti with:
- Easy Homemade Breadsticks
- Cheesy Breadsticks
- Garlic Knots
- Apple Pecan Salad
- Spring Pea Salad
- Orange Pomegranate Salad
- Mixed Green Salad with Berries
- French Green Beans (Haricots Verts)
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Crock Pot Baked Ziti
- 2 24 ounce jars marinara pasta sauce or two batches of homemade marinara
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 16 ounces UNCOOKED ziti pasta (or penne)
- 4 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves , chopped
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Fresh basil, for topping optional
- Make Cheese Layer: Add cream cheese, sour cream and ricotta to a mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixers until smooth. Stir in garlic and basil.
- Make Red Sauce: In a large bowl, combine both jars of pasta sauce, tomato sauce and water.
- Assemble: Add 2 cups of sauce to the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with about ⅓ of the uncooked penne. Dot on half of the ricotta mixture and use a spoon to gently spread it out evenly. Top with ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese.
- Add another 2 cups of sauce. Top with ⅓ of the uncooked penne. Add remaining ricotta mixture and spread. Sprinkle on the remaining ¾ cup parmesan cheese. Add the remaining uncooked penne. Top with the remaining sauce. Make sure the ziti noodles are covered by the sauce so they cook appropriately. Top with mozzarella cheese.
- Cook: Cover with lid and cook on HIGH for 2 – 2 ½ hours, or LOW for 3 ⅓ -4 hours, or until pasta is tender. Serve garnished with fresh basil, if desired.
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I originally shared this recipe September 2017. Updated May 2022.