Crockpot Baked Ziti is a delicious and easy recipe that you can make in your slow cooker. This recipe only takes a few minutes to prepare, and it's a great weeknight dinner option.
- Made in a crockpot/slow cooker
- No need to pre-cook pasta
- Family friendly and hearty
Crockpot recipes are perfect for those days when you don't have time to cook or don’t even want to think about what to make the family for dinner. They're also good if you want to get all of the cooking out of the way before guests arrive so that there's nothing else left to do but enjoy!
A Crockpot is perfect for this dish because it cooks the ziti without drying out or sticking together in a clump. You'll love coming home to this comforting meal after a long day at work!
Crockpot baked ziti is perfect for family dinners with its hearty tomato sauce, creamy ricotta cheese, and melty mozzarella and parmesan cheese topping.
You can also customize this dish with your favorite meats or vegetables. For example, try adding ground Italian sausage, mushrooms, or spinach to the sauce for a little extra flavor and nutrition.
Crockpot baked ziti is a great way to use up leftover dry pasta from earlier in the week, so be sure to add it to your meal plan! This recipe makes a large batch, so there will be plenty of leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.
Dump & go - this baked ziti couldn't be easier to make as you just dump all of your ingredients into your slow cooker and let it do the cooking for you. No need to cook pasta in a separate pot! You can have dinner on the table in about 3 hours with this recipe.
Filling - with the pasta, cheese, and sauce, this slow-cooked baked ziti dish is incredibly hearty and filling. You can serve it with a side of garlic bread or a salad, and you will be full and satisfied for hours.
Kid-friendly - kids absolutely love saucy pasta, and this delicious baked ziti is no exception! Your kiddos may also love to help you dump the ingredients into your crockpot and have fun tasting a meal that they helped to make themselves.
Versatile - with a base of noodles, sauce, and cheese, this crockpot baked ziti is so versatile as you can add any other extra ingredients that you like. For example, try adding some of your favorite veggies, pizza toppings, extra cheeses, and more.
Love pasta? Try my Baked Spaghetti Casserole!
Pasta - you cannot have a baked ziti dish without the pasta! However, there is no specific type of pasta required for this meal. Feel free to use your favorite kind of pasta, including gluten-free varieties.
Ricotta cheese - if you are not a huge fan of cottage cheese, you could use 16 ounces cottage and 16 ounces ricotta cheese, if preferred. You could also replace the ricotta with cottage cheese entirely if you wish.
Marinara sauce - use your favorite brand of marinara or pasta sauce for this dish. You can also use homemade sauce if you like. Just make sure that it is a tomato-based sauce.
Always start with clean hands, work area, and kitchen utensils.
Step One: In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, dried herbs, and salt and pepper and stir until well combined. In another bowl, combine marinara sauce and tomato sauce, stir. Coat the inside of the slow cooker/crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.
Step Two: Add a third (about 2 ⅓ cup) of the marinara sauce to the bottom of the crockpot. Add a third (about 1 ⅓ cup) uncooked penne pasta over the sauce, evenly. Try not to overlap pasta. Add half of the ricotta mixture (about 1 ⅓ cup) over the pasta layer. Spread evenly to the edges of the crockpot. Top ricotta with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Step Three: Repeat the process by adding another 2 ⅓ cup marinara sauce, another 1 ⅓ cup uncooked penne, remaining ricotta mixture, parmesan and mozzarella cheese, and remaining penne pasta, and the last of the marinara sauce.
Step Four: Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours, or until all the pasta is tender. Remove lid and top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Replace the lid and serve once the cheese has melted.
- Use your favorite marinara or tomato-based pasta sauce.
- Use low-fat ricotta cheese, if desired.
- Use 16 ounces cottage and 16 ounces ricotta cheese, if preferred.
- Shredded provolone will work in place of mozzarella, or try a combination.
- Use pre-cooked or fresh pasta for an even quicker meal. Reduce cooking time to about an hour to an hour and a half.
How to serve crockpot baked ziti
Spoon your pasta onto a dish and serve it as is, or you can enjoy it with some sides such as garlic bread, breadsticks, or salad.
This meal is great for company because it makes a nice, large portion. It's also great for potlucks.
I like to make this on vacation so the family can have a nice hot meal after a day sightseeing, skiing, or swimming at the lake.
Storage and reheating
Store your baked ziti covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze your ziti in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
To reheat from refrigerated: reheat your ziti in the microwave until heated through. To reheat it in the oven, bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until hot.
To reheat from frozen: while I suggest thawing your ziti in the fridge overnight before reheating, you can microwave the ziti or reheat it in the oven from frozen as well. You will just need to add a bit more cooking time.
Yes, you can! There is no need to pre-cook pasta before cooking it in your slow cooker. Just make sure you have enough liquid in your crockpot to cook the pasta enough so that it is soft.
For this slow-cooked baked ziti recipe, you'll want to cover your crockpot with the lid and cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours, or until the pasta is tender. Since slow cookers vary, always check for doneness before serving.
Ziti is a tubular type of pasta and has a curved or circular shape. Baked ziti is ziti pasta that is cooked with a combination of sauces, fillings, and cheese.
More crockpot/slow cooker recipes
Crockpot Baked Ziti
- 32 ounce container ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs large, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 (32 ounce) jars marinara sauce
- 15 ounce tomato sauce
- 16 ounce penne pasta uncooked or other short cut pasta
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, dried herbs, and salt and pepper and stir until well combined.
- In another bowl, combine marinara sauce and tomato sauce, stir.
- Coat the inside of the slow cooker/crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add a third (about 2 ⅓ cup) of the marinara sauce to the bottom of the crockpot.
- Add a third (about 1 ⅓ cup) uncooked penne pasta over the sauce, evenly. Try not to overlap pasta.
- Add half of the ricotta mixture (about 1 ⅓ cup) over the pasta layer. Spread evenly to the edges of the crockpot.
- Add ½ cup parmesan cheese and ½ cup mozzarella cheese over the ricotta layer.
- Add another 2 ⅓ cup marinara sauce. Spread to the edges.
- Add another 1 ⅓ cup uncooked penne.
- Add the remaining ricotta mixture. Spread to the edges.
- Top with ½ cup parmesan cheese and ½ cup mozzarella cheese.
- Add the remaining penne pasta.
- Top with the remaining marinara sauce.
- Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours or on low for 6 hours, or until pasta is tender.
- Remove lid and top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Replace lid and serve once cheese has melted.
Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.