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Crock Pot Baked Ziti

This easy crock pot baked ziti recipe is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The perfect slow cooker pasta dinner recipe!

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

This crock pot baked ziti is a crowd pleaser!

This baked ziti recipe is so easy to prep and will feed a crowd. Even the noodles cook right in the slow cooker. Everyone loves this recipe!

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 Needed

  • Jarred pasta sauce: we like Raos brand
  • Tomato sauce
  • Uncooked penne pasta
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Eggs
  • Freshly chopped basil
  • 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.

baked ziti with ricotta and mozzarella cheese

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!

crockpot baked ziti

Have any doubts? Just read the tons of readers below who have tried and loved this one! Here’s what you guys have been saying.

Crockpot baked ziti reviews

From Deborah: Made this as a vegetarian option to the oven baked ziti I was making for a family get-together. Everyone liked this one MORE, even without meat. Super easy, too. Thanks for the recipe.

From David: This dish is brilliant and has become my go-to for pot lucks and easy family meals. It is extremely easy to make, serve and clean up. Thanks for sharing this great dish!

From Ame B: Turned out amazing. My very picky family each had 2 servings! Very simple and tasty.

slow cooker ziti recipe

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.

How to serve this Baked Ziti

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

I was so ready to eat this from the amazing smell in my house that we ended up eating our dinner at 4:30 p.m. I’m not even sorry!

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!

Storage Instructions

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

Baked Ziti FAQs

What’s the difference between baked ziti and lasagna?

Baked ziti and lasagna are both Italian pasta favorites, but the difference is in the type of noodles used to prepare these dishes.
Baked ziti is commonly used to describe any pasta dish using penne or ziti pasta.
Lasagna is made using similar ingredients like ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and pasta sauce, but instead uses layers of large flat lasagna noodles.

What can I use instead of ricotta cheese in baked ziti?

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.”

What is ziti vs penne?

Like ziti, penne is a tubular pasta, but it has diagonal cut ends. Ziti and penne are both commonly used in baked ziti dishes.

How do you make ziti not dry?

Always cover your ziti with a final sauce layer before adding the cheese on top. This helps to coat the pasta and prevent it from drying out.
Watch your ziti carefully when cooking and do not overcook it. This will ensure that the pasta is al dente and saucy instead of dry and mushy.

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Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a star rating below!

crock pot baked ziti

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baked ziti in the crock pot

Crock Pot Baked Ziti

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

This easy crock pot baked ziti is always a crowd pleaser and so simple to make!

Ingredients

  • 2 (25 ounce) jars of pasta sauce
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 pound UNCOOKED penne pasta
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup freshly chopped basil
  • 2 cups of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

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

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 278Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 803mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 18g

Did you make this recipe?

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Stephanie

Sunday 31st of December 2023

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!

Joy Shull

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

So glad you enjoyed it!

JuliAnn Angelone

Thursday 14th of December 2023

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!

Joy Shull

Wednesday 27th of December 2023

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.

Sharon

Monday 27th of November 2023

Can this be cooked on low?

Joy Shull

Wednesday 27th of December 2023

You should be able to cook it on low for 3-4 hours

Eva

Saturday 4th of November 2023

Made this today for a crock pot themed block party. Didn't have basil so I mixed a quarter cup of store-bought pesto into the ricotta. Substituted a can of crushed tomatoes for the tomato sauce (who knew there is a difference between pasta and tomato sauce?). Used ziti instead of penne. It came out GREAT! I found the pasta held its firmness for a long time during transport and while waiting for the party to begin. I could have a forth layer of pasta/ricotta/parmesan/sauce in my crock pit and wish I did because it was a popular dish!

Joy Shull

Sunday 5th of November 2023

So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

George Curtis

Sunday 22nd of October 2023

Once it’s cooked.how long Can you keep it on warm before it gets too soft or mushy

Joy Shull

Saturday 28th of October 2023

I recommend you try to serve it as soon as possible, the noodles will continue to cook if you let it sit

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