Easy Baked Ziti

This Easy Baked Ziti is a great Italian casserole recipe for feeding a crowd filled with pasta, sausage, and cheese.Easy Baked Ziti pasta on a plate

This Easy Baked Ziti is a great Italian casserole recipe for feeding a crowd filled with pasta, sausage, and cheese. This is my go-to recipe when I have to entertain company.

For the first year of our marriage whenever I cooked I instinctively made enough food for ten people at least without even thinking about it. I was just used to cooking for a ton of people being from such a large family.

Back then John could almost kill a whole 9X13 pan of food by himself…but things change. His metabolism has slowed down and he doesn’t eat nearly as much as he used to. As for me…I’m still trying to find my metabolism from those days. It must be hiding in a closet somewhere with my pre-birthing hips!

My mom’s house is still the gathering place on Sunday. Every Sunday my mom still makes enough food for around 40 people. Sometimes only 10 people come over, sometimes a huge crowd. Although I live thousands of miles away from her now, on Sundays I still tend to cook big meals.

I am always looking for recipes to feed a crowd since we like to have friends over to our house for dinner often. This easy Baked Ziti recipe is great because both the kids and the adults will like it. It’s also a great take in meal for someone who is sick or just had a baby.

Add a salad and some garlic bread and you’re set. This easy Baked Ziti recipe makes a heaping 9X13 casserole so if you are just feeding your little family you should half it. The sour cream and Provolone give it great flavor. It has a similar taste to lasagna without all the hard work!

Tips for How to Make Baked Ziti:

  1. It’s important to cook your pasta al dente. The pasta continues to cook when you bake it and you don’t want the ziti to be soggy.
  2. The recipe calls for Italian sausage but using a hot sausage will give it a lot of flavor if you like a little heat.
  3. If you want to make ahead of time and freeze, this Baked Ziti freezes well.
Easy Baked Ziti
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Christy Denney
  • 1 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 1 pound Italian sausage ( or ground beef...I like sausage better)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
  • 2 jars (26 ounces each spaghetti sauce ( I used one Garlic and Onion and one Sausage))
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese , sliced ( 9 rounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese , shredded
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, brown onion and sausage (or beef ) over medium heat. Drain the fat. Add minced garlic and cook for a minute or so. Add spaghetti sauce and Italian seasonings, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, 1/2 sauce mixture, Provolone cheese, sour cream, remaining ziti, remaining sauce mixture and then mozzarella cheese. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted. You may want to cover it for the first 20 minutes with foil and then let the cheese melt and brown for the last 10 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Source: adapted from Allrecipes

baked ziti

Speak Your Mind



  1. one pound hot italian sausage or one pound ground beef?

  2. My family will love this one!! Thanks for the great recipe:)

  3. Lindsey,
    Oops thanks for the correction. The original recipe calls for ground beef but I used sausage because I think sausage adds so much flavor. I have corrected it in the instructions.


  4. I’m not a sausage lover, so could you replace it with chicken?

  5. Alanya,
    I actually think chicken would be awesome in it. Some people left the meat out all together (on Allrecipes’ reviews) and they said it was still good.


  6. I’ve been using this recipe for a few years now. So good and comforting.

  7. I love baked pasta. Have you tried using a homemade sauce? YUM!

  8. Nice, like really nice. Ziti is one of those meals that is easy to prep, yet, fills the soul (and stomach). Great job and awesome pic-

  9. I just discovered your blog… and I’m in LOVE!!!! I want to try every single recipe you have posted! And your pictures are just amazing. I’m adding you to my favorite’s list! 🙂

  10. I couldn’t find my baked ziti recipe and saw this on my rss feeds the night I was supposed to make it = CLUTCH! Tasty, thanks! I think my sauce was a little too watery (didnt simmer long enough probably >.<) so it was kinda messy to serve, but oh well, we were happy. What's a little sauce and cheese makeover of the table?

  11. Made this last night and it was the best baked ziti I’ve ever made! We used mild sausage so our toddler could eat it without the spice. It was so flavorful! I can’t imagine how much even better it would be with hot sausage. I wasn’t sure about the provolone and sour cream since I’d never done that before but it was so very yummy!! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Made this for dinner last night and it was Ohhhh Soooo Delicious! I only used the sour cream on my half of the pan because my hubby hates it…. but had I kept that little part a secret, he never would have known what it was….. It really made the dish! It really does make a lot, and my hubby can eat….. we still have half a pan left, but I’m sure it will be even better today! A definite keeper!!

  13. Made this for dinner tonight and oh my goodness.. this was Amazing!!!! My husband said this was now his new fave meal.. which says a lot!! I did make it was mild sausage and left out the onions to make it more kid friendly.. I have to make a dinner for a family next week and I am definitely going to make this! Thank you!!

  14. Made this for dinner tonight and oh my goodness.. this was Amazing!!!! My husband said this was now his new fave meal.. which says a lot!! I did make it was mild sausage and left out the onions to make it more kid friendly.. I have to make a dinner for a family next week and I am definitely going to make this! Thank you!!

  15. Yum Yum! Husband and Toddler approved. Doesn’t get much better than that!

  16. This was definitely a hit with my family! Thanks for the recipe!

  17. I loved this recipe! Thanks for sharing! Your blog is the best!

  18. This. Was. Fantastic. It did make a huge pan even though I halved it but my kiddos and husband ate every last bit of the leftovers. This is a keeper. I used sweet italian sausage.

  19. hmmm. you give an idea what recipe to cook this coming weekend. Thanks:)

  20. My husband and I really enjoyed this meal! The Italian sausage was a nice switch from the typical ground beef…and I did leave out the sour cream. We don’t touch the stuff 🙂 I think what I liked most about it was that the proportion of sauce to meat to cheese to noodles was spot on!

  21. Yummy. I just made this and I love it. Next time I may add some sauteed mushrooms as well. So good though and I love that it makes so much, but keeps well in the fridge for leftovers.

  22. Do you know how much 1 pan can serve? I have to cook dinner for 12-15 people Sunday and i’m trying to find some good recipe.

  23. Rayna Lynn,
    This serves about 10 people. I love making it for company!

  24. That picture should be illegal. It is food porn! haha. I want that ziti and I want it NOW! lol. Can’t wait to try this…literally!

  25. If I half the recipe, what size pan should i use? There is only 2 of us.

  26. @Laura,
    If you half it then use a 9X9 pan. Good luck!

  27. Is it supposed to be 2-26 oz jars each or two jars totaling 26oz?

  28. @Amanda,
    You need two 26 ounce jars – 52 ounces total. Sorry if that was confusing.

  29. This dish looks yummy!I’m making this for dinner tomorrow night!!

  30. So what is your go to brand for jar sauce???

  31. @azbaby24,
    I use Prego. Sometimes the sausage garlic flavor or three cheese. It really doesn’t matter.

  32. This looks delish. I was looking for something to take to a tailgate on Friday, and I’ve found it. Thanks so much!

  33. This may be a dumb question but ground sausage right??

  34. Kathi Hoffman says:

    This sounds very good. I make something very similar to this. Next time I want to make that, I am going to try this! Thanks for the recipe!

  35. Just made this tonight.. it is fantastic!! I have made a few different recipes and most of them called for ricotta but this honestly is MUCH MUCH better!! Thank you for the recipe!! It is a keeper for sure!

  36. I love this recipe! I like to sub mushrooms for the meat. Shiitake and dried boletes have really nice, hearty flavor but are expensive. I use half button and half “gourmet” to keep it reasonable. My husband doesn’t even miss the meat! And he is a meat lover!!!

  37. rachel halpern says:

    what cheese can i substitute for provolone?

  38. I love this recipe.

  39. Do you think I could make this up the night before and just add cheese and bake the next day?

  40. Sorry if this is a silly question but you drain the fat from the meat and onions right? Thanks!

  41. This recipe is AMAZING! Quick question though – Could you divide the recipe and freeze half of it?

  42. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! I made this yesterday to serve tonight, and it was just delicious. The only change I made is that I added half a cup of red wine (Merlot) to the meat sauce, and let it simmer down for an hour or so. Four adults and two little ones scarfed down the entire pan in record time! Thanks again!

  43. Ashley mauldin says:

    I want to make this for about 40 ppl. How many does this recipe feed?

  44. could you just add the sour cream into the sauce to kind of hide it? my husband is not a hug fan of sour cream.

  45. Love this recipe. If I was to freeze it (after asembly) how long would it take to bake?

  46. Lisa Jennings says:

    Would leftovers freeze and reheat well? I’m now feeding less people than planned so I may have to just do half a recipe and try and find a smaller pan.

  47. I made this last night for dinner and it was a hit! I’m cooking for girls camp this year and want to add this to the line up. I need to feed about 145 people. At the very least, I will precook the meat at home. How do you think it would work if I made the sauce and simmered it the 15 minutes and then froze it? Then at camp, I could boil the pasta and simply assemble the dish and bake it. I don’t have the freezer room to make them all completely up ahead of time.

  48. This recipe is amazing, the best baked ziti I have ever had. I love the flavor of the sour cream in it, I never would have thought of that! It is now in my weekly rotation. I half the recipe since it is only my boyfriend and I, and we use the leftovers for lunches. Thanks for the great recipe!

  49. Can you thaw in fridge then cook ( reheat later in day .?

  50. Christina Crosby says:

    Thank you for sharing. This is a hit in my household and my family goes crazy over it. Comforting and filling with a punch of taste on your pallet. Love this and share with all my friends.

  51. I don’t eat meat. Have you tried it without meat and do you think it will still be good.
    Making tomorrow using homemade sauce.