Baked Ziti is one of my favorite comforting pasta dishes of ALL TIME! Packed with flavorful meat sauce and layers of cheesy goodness, you will enjoy each flavorful bite. This delicious dinner feeds a lot of people and is super filling and hearty. It is a great meal to freeze and bake at a later time, too!
The first time I made this delicious Baked Ziti recipe was what seems like a lifetime ago. I made it for a bunch of my skydiving friends back in those carefree, pre-marriage, pre-kid days. I remember everyone RAVING over it. The pasta, cheese and meat all in the same easy dish had people freaking out (in a good way) after a long day of jumping out of airplanes. Since that day, I have tweaked the recipe and made it approximately 200 times. I’m not kidding. And you can
This is my go-to dish when I make a meal to bring to a friend who needs a night off from making dinner. People love this baked ziti and I get requests for the recipe all the time. It is hearty, comforting, easy, delicious and packed with texture and flavor.
WATCH THIS QUICK VIDEO TO SEE HOW EASY IT IS TO MAKE BAKED ZITI!
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HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BAKED ZITI PASTA RECIPE
I have been making this Baked Ziti recipe for years. It’s a staple. It’s delicious. It’s easy. Here’s how to make it!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and coat a 9×13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add a 16-oz. box of ziti pasta and cook until al dente; drain and set aside.
Chop 1 onion and finely mince 3 cloves of garlic.
In a large skillet, add: onion, garlic and 1 pound lean ground beef.
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the ground beef is no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper.
Add two 28-oz. jars of spaghetti sauce or make your OWN delicious Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce to the skillet and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Layer the baking dish as follows: Half of the cooked ziti, 8 slices of provolone cheese, 12 oz. sour cream, half of the sauce mixture, remaining ziti, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, remaining sauce and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
RECIPE TIPS: HOW TO MAKE SURE THIS IS THE BEST DINNER EVER!
Replace the sour cream with ricotta cheese for an extra cheesy dish!
Use homemade pasta sauce for an added touch of flavor!
Replace ground beef with ground Italian sausage for extra flavor.
Sometimes I replace a portion of the spaghetti sauce with marinara sauce, so feel free to try this yummy trick if you have a jar sitting in your cupboard!
For a touch of spice, add 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the spaghetti sauce (YUM).
This is the perfect meal to make one day and bake the next. It is also a great meal to freeze. This is my go-to dish to make for people who are in need of a meal.
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE BAKED ZITI
By making this dish ahead of time, you’ll be able to save yourself a ton of time when you are ready to bake! Simply layer the dish as stated in the recipe, cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. When you are ready to bake, remove the foil and bake as directed (add 5 minutes if you bake immediately after pulling out of the fridge).
To freeze this dish, layer ingredients in a disposable aluminum baking dish. Wrap it tightly in foil after layering and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake, remove the pan from the freezer and thaw completely before baking.
MEALS TO MAKE FOR NEW PARENTS
The last thing new parents want to think about after bringing their brand new baby home from the hospital is DINNER. Dropping off a homemade dinner for a new parent is something they will be forever grateful for. Here are a few ideas for meals to drop off:
I know that you will enjoy this comforting Baked Ziti, my friends! Let me know how it turns out for you..
Best Baked Ziti
- 16 oz ziti pasta
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 56 oz spaghetti sauce jarred
- 8 slices provolone cheese
- 12 oz sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- flat-leaf parsley for topping
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add ziti and cook until al dente; drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, add the onion, ground beef and garlic. Cook, stirring over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and layer as follows: half of the ziti, provolone cheese, sour cream, half of the sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Let cool for 10 minutes, top with fresh parsley and serve!