If you are looking for a hearty dish of comfort food, this baked ziti with ricotta is it! Tender ziti pasta is layered with ground beef, two types of cheese, and a simple pasta sauce. Add a pinch of fresh basil to the top and you have a meal your kids will fight over!
Summer is here and I’ve been looking forward to a change of pace after a busy school year. Not that it will slow down much though – between summer camps, beach trips, long 16-hour drives to Grandma & Grandpa’s house, home renovation projects, and more, summer always flies by far too quickly!
This summer, I’m looking for recipes that are tasty, easy to make, and will bring my family together. Like this baked ziti with ricotta!
Baked Ziti with Ricotta
This easy baked ziti is a hearty pasta dish that I’ve been making for longer than I can remember. With simple ingredients, this kid-friendly dinner takes about 20 minutes to prepare (with another hands-free 45 minutes in the oven), but it tastes like I’ve spent hours cooking on the stove!
My whole family loves baked ziti and I love that this recipe makes a LOT. It makes enough to easily feed my family of six for two meals. An easy meal for two nights that everyone gobbles up? (Even my sometimes picky children?!) It’s a winner for any family!
Baked Ziti with Meat
As delicious as this meal is, it’s also filled with good-for-you protein too. This recipe calls for 2 pounds of ground beef, and that’s how I (and my family!) like it best. But, if you are trying to be a little more healthy conscious, you can swap it out for ground turkey or chicken.
I’ve also tried this baked ziti with meat using ground sausage and it was delicious!
If you want to stretch your grocery budget a little, you can also cut down on the meat used. Instead of 2 pounds of ground beef, using just one works fine too.
The Perfect Freezer Meal
I have to add that because this is such a tasty, easy to make dinner, this is my go-to recipe whenever I make a meal for someone in need. Whether it’s a family with a new baby or a friend recovering from surgery, this pasta dish is always well received. I will even bring two of these sometimes – one frozen version and a baked one so they have two meals at their disposal!
This baked ziti with ricotta also works well as a freezer meal. I will often double, or triple the recipe when I make this for my own family too, particularly if ground beef is on sale.
Should you freeze baked ziti before or after baking?
Baked ziti, just like any pasta casserole, should be frozen after you assemble the dish but before baking. So, layer the dish as described in the recipe card below, then instead of putting it in the oven, put it in the freezer. Easy peasy!
How to Make Baked Ziti with Ricotta
I’ll show you just how easy it is to make this tasty recipe.
(Note: this recipe makes a lot, so you can half the ingredients and use an 8×8″ pan for a smaller amount.)
Start by cooking the ziti pasta according to the package directions.
Cook the ground beef over medium heat until it’s fully cooked and no longer pink.
Stir in the pasta sauce and warm for a few minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, mix the eggs, ricotta cheese, 1.5 cups of mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl.
Drain the pasta, add to the cheese mixture, and gently toss. (The hot pasta will melt the cheese together.)
Spoon a third of the meat sauce into the bottom of a 9x13x2″ baking dish.
Top with half the pasta mixture.
Spoon half of the remaining meat mixture on the pasta.
Top with the rest of the cheesy pasta.
Add the remaining meat sauce and spread on top, leaving a little room at the edges.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and bake for 5-10 more minutes until it’s melted.
Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving, and enjoy!
More Dinner Recipes to Try:
- Easy Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
- Tasty Chicken and Rice Casserole
- The Best Easy Taco Pizza Dinner
- Easy Beef and Bean Enchiladas
Simply Baked Ziti
A hearty family favorite meal that’s great for any time of the year, Simply Baked Ziti is easy to make and simply delicious.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 65
- 16 ounces ziti pasta
- 2 pounds ground beef*
- 2 (24 oz each) jars of pasta sauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 carton (15 oz) ricotta cheese
- 2.5 cups (10 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- fresh basil (optional)
- Start by cooking the ziti pasta according to the package directions.
- Cook the ground beef over medium heat until it’s fully cooked and no longer pink. Stir in the pasta sauce and warm for a few minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
- In the meantime, mix the eggs, ricotta cheese, 1.5 cups of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Drain the pasta, add to the cheese mixture, and gently toss. (The hot pasta will melt the cheese together.)
- Spoon a third of the meat sauce into the bottom of a 9x13x2″ baking dish and top with half the pasta mixture. Repeat layers, topping with meat sauce last, leaving a little room at the edges.
- Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and bake for 5-10 more minutes until it’s melted.
- Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- *You can use 1 pound of ground beef to save money
- Serving Size: 10
Pin the image below to save this recipe for later!
I love baked ziti but it’s been awhile since I’ve made it. I think I’ll make it this weekend!
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
That sounds delicious. I can’t wait to make this for my family!
Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says
That looks simply fantastic! The thing I love abut baked ziti is that it’s essentially lasagna that’s much easier to eat. Yum!
Have never put eggs in my baked ziti, will have to try it. You also layer it like lasagna also a neat idea.
Lena Burkut says
Oh yum! I am hungry and could so go for this right now
I absolutely love a good baked ziti and the fact you used bertolli… YUM!!!! It’s on my list of dinners for next week.
We eat a lot of pasta at our house! Going to have to try this baked ziti! Looks simple yet delicious!
Nicole B says
This baked ziti looks so delicious in your pictures. I’m sure it tastes good too. My family loves pasta, I’ll give this recipe a try.
Amber Edwards says
Oh how I adore Bertoli sauce! And this baked ziti just looks absolutely delicious! I want a bit right now!
Danielle H says
This looks amazing. My girls and I are pasta-holics, haha. This would definitely get devoured in our house.
Ann Bacciaglia says
This looks so delicious. I have never made anything like this before. I will have to try this recipe this weekend. I am sure the kids will love it.
Debi- Lifestyle Blogger says
That looks so good. I love baked pasta. I cold eat it every night.
Cathy @ Our Mini Family says
Your baked ziti looks bomb!! Gotta try it–pinning for later!
Im new to cooking. If i want to make this the day before, at what point do i put it in the refrigerator? Is it fine (considering eggs and all) if i stick it in the fridge rather than oven and pop it in the oven the next day? Also would cooking time be the same if its been in the fridge and cold? Please help!
Prepare it all, just don’t bake. Put it in your frig till the next day. I would say, take it out of the frig 30+minutes at least to just sit on your counter. Then bake it. Depending how cold it is, going in, it might take a bit longer. I made it tonight and its delish. Good luck learning to cook 🙂 This is a very simple recipe to follow
. Your family/friends will be impressed!
Thank you so much for your reply ! Iam preparing the ingredients now 🙂
Made this tonight. Its very yummy. The only thing I did different, I used 1 lb ground beef with about 1/2 lb Italian sausage. Its creamy, not dry. Husband said he liked it because it’s cheesey. Thanks for the recipe. It will be my go to recipe for Ziti. 🙂
I actually made this recipe as opposed to most who review and did NOT! Pet peeve…sorry.
Great ziti recipe, kind of like lasagna really, but easier. I did use homemade meat sauce that had shrooms and bell peppers, it turned out delicious. And, I froze a tray for another time.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Tammy! Thanks for leaving your feedback 🙂