This easy crock pot baked ziti recipe is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The perfect slow cooker pasta dinner recipe!
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).
- Jarred pasta sauce: we like Raos brand
- Tomato sauce
- Uncooked penne pasta
- Ricotta cheese
- 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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
Leftover baked ziti can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Baked Ziti FAQs
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.
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.”
Like ziti, penne is a tubular pasta, but it has diagonal cut ends. Ziti and penne are both commonly used in baked ziti dishes.
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.
More Pasta Recipes You Will Love
- Million Dollar Baked Ziti
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta
- Three Cheese Baked Ziti
- Veggie Lover’s Baked Rigatoni
- Vegetarian Baked Spaghetti
- Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta Bake
- Three Cheese Lasagna
- One Pot Sweet Potato and Spinach Pasta
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a star rating below!
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- 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
- Combine 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
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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