One Pot Baked Ziti
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This One Pot Baked Ziti is a faster, easier way to make classic baked ziti. This pasta bake recipe is a family favorite for quick and easy weeknight dinners!
Baked ziti is a classic pasta dish made with ziti pasta, marinara sauce, ricotta and mozzarella cheese. This one pot baked ziti is every bit as delicious as the classic recipe, but much easier to make. You’ll also have less dishes to wash since everything cooks in one pan!
I love making one pot pasta recipes because the pasta soaks up so much flavor as it cooks in the skillet with the sauce and other ingredients. This easy baked ziti starts with browned ground beef or Italian sausage. Then the pasta cooks right in the same pan with the meat and sauce.
For the finishing touch, you’ll stir in creamy ricotta and sprinkle on mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Pop the skillet in your oven until the cheese is melty and the sauce is bubbling. No one will be able to resist this cheesy baked ziti!
Your family will love this comforting one pan meal, and you’ll love how easy it is to prepare. Serve your one pot baked ziti with garlic bread, roasted broccoli or roasted green beans, a green salad and some crusty bread.
Why You’ll Love this One Pot Baked Ziti Recipe
- With pasta, marinara sauce, ground beef and cheese, kids and adults alike will enjoy this easy dinner.
- This recipe takes just 15 minutes of active prep time and is ready in 45 minutes start to finish.
- You’ll only have one pan to wash at the end!
- Ground Beef: You can also use Italian sausage, which will make the pasta dish even more flavorful.
- Garlic: I use 4 cloves, and if you love garlic you can use even more.
- Marinara Sauce: A jar of store-bought marinara sauce saves effort and adds flavor. Choose one of your favorite jarred sauces because the pasta will soak up the flavor or make my delicious marinara sauce recipe.
- Italian Seasoning: If you don’t have Italian seasoning you can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Or, stir in 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil when you stir in the ricotta.
- Pasta: Any short pasta shape will work. If you can’t find ziti pasta, try penne or rigatoni. Both whole wheat and white pasta work well.
- Cheese: This baked ziti is made with three cheeses. Ricotta adds creaminess, mozzarella gets nice and melty and Parmesan adds a salty bite.
How to Make One Pot Ziti
To make this easy one pot ziti, you’ll start by browning some ground beef in a skillet. Be sure to use an oven-safe skillet because later you’ll transfer the dish to the oven. Once the meat is browned, add minced garlic to the skillet and cook for just 30 seconds.
Next you’re going to add the marinara sauce, water, pasta and Italian seasoning to the skillet. Save 3/4 cup of the marinara sauce to spoon on top of the pasta later. You can use the empty pasta sauce jar to measure the water. Fill the jar almost to the top and that will be 3 cups of water, which is just the amount you need.
Put a lid on the skillet and let the pasta cook in the sauce for 15 to 18 minutes, until the pasta is just tender. The sauce should be simmering a bit during this time. Stir the pasta every few minutes to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Once the pasta is cooked turn off the heat. Stir in the ricotta cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese. Spoon the reserved marinara sauce over the pasta – this keeps the pasta on top from drying out in the oven. Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese.
Finally, put the skillet in the oven, uncovered. After 10 to 15 minutes your baked ziti will be hot and bubbly and the cheese on top will be lightly browned and melty. Be very careful when removing the skillet from the oven and when serving since the handles will be very hot.
How to Reheat Baked Pasta
The easiest way to reheat individual servings of baked pasta is to use the microwave. You can also reheat baked pasta in a 350° F oven. If desired, add a little extra marinara sauce to keep the pasta from drying out. Cover the dish and heat until the pasta is hot.
More Pasta Recipes:
- Slow Cooker Baked Ziti
- One Pot Chicken Pasta
- Vegetarian Chili Mac
- Chicken Broccoli Pasta Bake
- Chicken Florentine
- Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Chicken Parmesan
- Chicken Cacciatore
- All Pasta Recipes
One Pot Baked Ziti
- 1 pound lean ground beef, or mild Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 25 ounce jar marinara sauce, divided
- 3 cups water
- 1½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 12 ounces (4 cups dry pasta shapes) ziti pasta, or other short pasta shapes such as penne
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and brown, crumbling, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Drain off any excess grease.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring.
- Reserve ¾ cup of the marinara sauce and add the rest of the sauce to the skillet. Fill the empty marinara sauce jar with water, almost to the top, and add the water to the skillet (this will be about 3 cups of water, the jar makes it easy to measure).
- Add the Italian seasoning and ziti to the skillet. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook at a simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is just tender, about 15 to 18 minutes. There may be a little bit of liquid left in the skillet and this will be absorbed later. Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the ricotta and ¼ cup of the Parmesan. Spoon the reserved ¾ cup marinara sauce on top.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining ¼ cup Parmesan on top. Place the skillet, uncovered, in the oven. Bake until the cheese has melted and browned and the sauce is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes.
Ingredients list says 4 oz (1 cup) mozzarella divided. What is the correct amount?
1 cup of shredded mozzarella is equal to 4 ounces by weight. So you can either measure using a 1 cup measure or by weight using a kitchen scale. I’ve just removed the word divided because originally I had mixed part of the cheese in and sprinkled the rest on top, but decided it was best putting all of the cheese on top.
Delicious! I used penne and it was just fine☺️
If I only have 1/2 pound of hamburger and add no ricotta, how would I adjust the recipe?
Thanks, excited to make it for my family.
You can make this recipe using 1/2 pound of ground beef and without the ricotta, without any other adjustments. If you want you can stir a little extra mozzarella cheese into the pasta in place of the ricotta, but you don’t have to.
I also used penne, it turned out great, I made for 2 people so I cut the recipe in half. Hubby liked it. I mixed in some mozzarella with the other cheese and rest on top. Definitely going to make this again. It’s a keeper.?
I don’t have an oven proof skillet so what size pan should I use in place of it ? Thank you for your time and have a sweet day my friend. Rhonda
You can use any 12-inch skillet or large pot on the stove, and then transfer it to an oven-safe baking dish, such as a 13×9-inch baking dish, when you are ready to bake in the oven. I hope you enjoy!
I was skeptical and was going to precook the pasta at first but then trusted your recipe. It turned out great. I loved it & so did my family. I also found it to be a very forgiving recipe which means a lot in my books.
I happened to have some hot Italian sausage but used rotini instead of ziti because that’s what I had in the cupboard. I stirred in about 2/3 cup of sour cream to sub for the ricotta cheese. Then I piled a mixture of mozzarella, cheddar and monterey jack on top because I had bits and pieces of them left over in the fridge.
The pan came out looking and tasting very yummy and satisfying. What a great comfort dish and so easy. Served with a salad it’s a great meal for family and guests alike. Thanks for this recipe, it’s a keeper.