This yummy baked ziti recipe makes enough to feed a crowd or to portion out for leftovers!
45 Minutes or Less - Dinner - Dinner Casseroles - Pasta - Vegetarian

Simple Homemade Baked Ziti

Last updated on January 1, 2021 by Liza Hawkins

Simple homemade baked ziti is one of the most delicious, ooey-gooey cheesy, comforting recipes out there! There’s this little neighborhood pizzeria about two miles from one of our old houses in Maryland that has the best baked ziti recipe I’ve ever eaten.

I don’t claim to be a baked ziti expert, but I know a good Italian recipe when I taste one. And what I loved most about their baked ziti is that it’s simple; it doesn’t taste fussy or overdone.

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This yummy baked ziti recipe makes enough to feed a crowd or to portion out for leftovers!

Just the right amount of fresh basil and fresh mozzarella, a sauce and ricotta ratio near to perfection, and barely a touch of their light marinara on top.

Did I mention ooey, gooey fresh mozzarella?

This yummy baked ziti recipe makes enough to feed a crowd or to portion out for leftovers!

Over the weekend I decided to roll up my sleeves and take a stab at making baked ziti at home in one of my favorite casserole dishes (get the link below in the recipe card).

I mean, it’s not difficult, and the ingredients are really no secret.

And I, too, kept it simple — although I was lacking some of the fresh ingredients I would have preferred.

Still, we were all pleased.

This yummy baked ziti recipe makes enough to feed a crowd or to portion out for leftovers!

By the way, my easy homemade Italian bread (made the same afternoon) went perfectly!

You’re welcome.

This yummy baked ziti recipe makes enough to feed a crowd or to portion out for leftovers!
Yield: 6

Baked Ziti

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This baked ziti is simple to make and so yummy!


  • 1 23.5oz jar organic marinara sauce
  • 3-1/2 cups dry ziti or penne pasta
  • 1 8-ounce fresh mozzarella ball OR 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil OR 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt + 2 tablespoons for the pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Bring water and 2 tablespoons of salt to boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and cook it to al dente. Drain.
  3. Mix the marinara, ricotta, 3/4 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the basil together in a large bowl. Add the pasta, stirring gently to coat completely.
  4. Coat the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish with olive oil. Spread the pasta mixture evenly in the dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the baked ziti is bubbly and golden brown on top.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 487Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 1280mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 27g

Hi, I'm Liza — a self-proclaimed word-nerd who loves getting lost in whimsical stories and epic movies. I have laid-back, practical attitude towards life and am always on the hunt for good eats, easy recipes, binge-worthy shows, relaxing road trip destinations, the perfect fizzy gin cocktail, and time to finish my novel!

28 Comments on “Simple Homemade Baked Ziti

  1. I went and bought the ingredients today after seeing this on Pinterest. Can’t wait to make it for dinner tonight!

    1. Jana – I’m so happy to hear that! I’m making it again soon to. 🙂 The leftovers (if you have any) reheat very well.

    1. Hi Susan! The ingredients list “1 jar” of marinara. Specifically, I use the 23.5oz jar, which is pretty standard. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks! I generally put together my own sauce, so I’m ignorant about how jar sauce comes. Tried this yesterday and the family loved it!

  2. I love this recipe! I am wondering if you have ever frozen portions of this? I was hoping to make double and freeze some for when I am out of town so my family can have it then.

    1. Yes! You could freeze it after you put it together, but before you bake it. Or, you can bake it and then freeze it (just be sure it cools completely before you cover and put it in the freezer) — I’ve done this with ziti and lasagna, and freeze it in single portions in zip top bags. Makes for a great one person meal on an odd night, or to bring into work for lunch. Enjoy!

    1. If it’s a thick, plain Greek yogurt, that might work. Softened plain cream cheese could be another alternative. I’d be afraid that sour cream would be too thin, but you could give it a go!

  3. Cooking time needs to be revised. It’s 20 minutes in the oven, after we boil water and cook the pasta. Since the recipe starts with “dry pasta”, this time needs to be calculated in as well, and can easily add another 15 minutes, almost doubling the amount of time we need to allow for this recipe.

    1. Hi Joan! I considered the 10-ish minutes it takes to boil the dry pasta part of the “Prep” time, not the “Cook” time, so a total of 35 minutes between Prep and Cook is correct. I could see how it could be viewed the other way, though. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. This is amazing! And it makes so much sense to toss everything together. A stroke of genius in my opinion. After trying numerous recipes and finding none that I liked, this version was a surprise. I froze my leftovers, and every time I reheated, the ziti came out just as if I had just made it. Thank you!

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