Crock Pot Baked Ziti

4.43 from 1003 votes

This easy Crock Pot Baked Ziti recipe is a great recipe to feed a crowd! It’s super easy to make and even the noodles cook right in the crock pot.

This Easy Crockpot Baked Ziti gets RAVE reviews. Everyone loves this when I make it! So simple to assemble and you don’t even have to cook the noodles first! #crockpotbakedziti #ziti #pasta #slowcooker
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This baked ziti recipe is so easy to prep and will feed a crowd. Even the noodles cook right in the slow cooker.

I love that the slow cooker does all the work for me with just a few minutes of prep work. Normally when making a pasta dish, I would spend extra time dicing up onion and garlic to get that extra depth of flavor.

For this baked ziti crock pot recipe I didn’t add any extra spices (except fresh basil) and it was so good! Ready for the step by step? I’ll show you just how simple it is! (full ingredient amounts are included in a recipe card at the bottom of this post).

ingredients to make baked ziti

Ingredients & Notes

  • Jarred pasta sauce: go for a good quality pasta sauce for the best flavor
  • Tomato sauce
  • Uncooked penne pasta: yes, the pasta will go in raw. No need to boil it at all first!
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Eggs
  • Freshly chopped basil: I don’t suggest leaving this out or substituting it. The fresh basil really makes the flavor of this dish!
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese

How to make crock pot baked ziti

Step 1: Add 15 oz of ricotta cheese, basil, and 2 eggs to a bowl. Mix it up until it looks like what is pictured below. Fresh basil really adds a lot of flavor, so don’t leave this part out!

Step 2: Mix together the pasta sauce and tomato sauce in a bowl and divide your penne pasta into three equal amounts. Now it is time to assemble the baked ziti.

penne pasta, ricotta filling, and pasta sauce

Before beginning, spray your crock pot with cooking spray. This will help cleanup be a lot easier!

Step 3: Measure out 2 and ⅓ cups of sauce mixture and pour it into the bottom of the crock pot. Next, measure the penne into three equal amounts and add ⅓ of it to the top of the sauce.

I have eye balled it in the past and usually mess it up, so it’s worth taking the extra minute to divide evenly into three bowls before you begin layering.

Step 4: add half of the ricotta/egg/basil mixture. You can either add the ricotta in dollops, or spread in an even layer.

Step 5: add half of the parmesan cheese in an even layer.

Step 6: repeat the steps for the next level: another 2 and ⅓ cups of sauce, ⅓ of the uncooked penne, the remaining ricotta mixture, and the remaining parmesan cheese.

Add the rest of your penne on top. And lastly, the rest of your sauce! Spread it out as evenly as you can, so that the noodles on top cook properly.

Step 7: Place the lid onto your crock pot and cook the baked ziti on high for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

I have tested this recipe several times, and the perfect amount of cook time appears to be right around 2 and a half hours, before the noodles get too soft. After the 2 hours and 15 minutes, it should look like this image below.

Step 8: Time for the last step which is the mozzarella cheese on top!

I have used both asiago and mozzarella, and both are delicious. Basically any italian cheese you can get your hands on will be great!

Several readers have commented with their substitutions that turned out to be delicious. After the remaining 15 minutes of cook time, the cheese will look all melted and amazing like this.

It’s time to eat! One note: this makes enough to feed a crowd, so you will need a 6 quart or larger slow cooker.

baked ziti recipe

The flavor of this crockpot pasta is just out of this world delicious. If you have never made pasta in a crock pot, this is a great recipe to start with!

This is a family favorite in our house, and I can always count on it coming out perfect every time! I have tested this recipe to perfection and it gets RAVE reviews every time I make it.

Serving idea

We like serving ours with roasted veggies and garlic bread! My favorite is pairing it with my oven roasted frozen broccoli. Super simple and delicious dinner with barely any cooking!

This Easy Crockpot Baked Ziti gets RAVE reviews. Everyone loves this when I make it! So simple to assemble and you don’t even have to cook the noodles first! #crockpotbakedziti #ziti #pasta #slowcooker

The layers of pasta and cheese are so good. I love getting the bites of fresh ricotta and basil. And the noodles cook in the sauce so they soak up all the yummy flavor!

Can I substitute the ricotta cheese?

Cottage cheese is a commonly used substitute for ricotta in baked ziti as it has a similar texture. You could also try using cream cheese in place of the ricotta.
Reader Dee says, “Cottage cheese works just fine, the eggs act as a binder. Cream cheese also works well. I’ve made this recipe many times.”

How to store

Leftover baked ziti can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

crock pot baked ziti
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baked ziti in the crock pot
4.43 from 1003 votes

Crock Pot Baked Ziti

By: Joy Shull
This easy crock pot baked ziti is always a crowd pleaser and so simple to make!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total: 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients 

  • (2) 25 ounce jars of pasta sauce
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 pound UNCOOKED penne pasta
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • cup freshly chopped basil
  • 2 cups of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions 

  • Combine the ricotta, eggs, and basil in a bowl and stir well
  • In a large bowl, combine both jars of pasta sauce and the tomato sauce together.
  • Grate the Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  • Grease the inside of a 6 qt slow cooker
  • Add 2 ⅓ cups of pasta sauce to the bottom of the slow cooker
  • Add ⅓ of the uncooked penne.
  • Dot on half of the ricotta mixture and spread out evenly.
  • Add half of the Parmesan cheese (1 cup)
  • Add another 2 ⅓ cups of sauce mixture
  • Add an additional ⅓ of the uncooked penne.
  • Dot on the remaining ricotta and spread out.
  • Sprinkle on the remaining parmesan cheese (1 cup)
  • Add the last ⅓ of the uncooked penne.
  • Top with the remaining 2 ⅓ cups of sauce mixture
  • Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or until pasta is al dente (we cooked ours for around 2 ½ hours)
  • During the last few minutes, add the mozzarella cheese to the top and allow to melt
  • Serve alone or topped with red pepper flakes and served with garlic bread
  • Enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 377kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.003g, Cholesterol: 77mg, Sodium: 644mg, Potassium: 314mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 696IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 403mg, Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




351 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love that this has ricotta and that the pasta bakes in the slow cooker without boiling first. I didn’t have enough tomato sauce, so substituted with tomato juice and pizza sauce. I’m not sure I had enough liquid doing that but the ziti cooked well. Did need spraying with olive oil first – worked well. I’m going to make it again soon and have ALL my ingredients ready (and use Rao’s tomato sauce products!).

  2. I made a double batch for a holiday party and it got rave reviews. My guests all took some home and raved about it for a week!

    Most slow cooker versions don’t use ricotta. including that ingredient elevates this recipe. I added ground beef meatballs but other than that I followed the recipe exactly. Thanks!

  3. I am making this now as a test run- but want to make it for a buffet New Year’s Party. I can’t find anyone who says they’ve been able to leave it on warm (or even turn it off) once it’s don’t cooking, so that it’s warm and not soggy for a few hours for grazing. Should I take the crockpot insert out? Should I remove it all to another bowl? Any info on what I should do is appreciated!

    1. Honestly I’m not sure. In my experience it would be best to have it be done cooking at the time that your guests will be starting to eat.