This Easy crock pot baked ziti recipe is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The perfect slow cooker pasta dinner recipe!
This crockpot Baked Ziti with Ricotta will change your life!
Crockpot pasta is one of my very favorite ways to make an easy dinner.
Your slow cooker is not just for chili my friends!
So I have something to tell you guys.
Something that will change the way you make pasta!
Well if you read the title of this post, you know that the recipe is for Easy CrockPot Baked Ziti.
Yes, ziti in a crockpot! And the best part?
It’s ridiculously easy to throw together (you don’t have to cook anything first!) and makes your house smell amazing while it cooks!
Can You Cook Pasta in the Crock Pot?
Yes, yes you can!
While I love a good Vegetarian Baked Ziti, sometimes I just want the slow cooker to do the work for me.
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).
Ziti Recipe ingredients
- Jarred pasta sauce
- Tomato sauce
- Uncooked penne pasta
- Ricotta cheese
- Freshly chopped basil
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
How to make crock pot Baked Ziti
- First, add 15 oz of ricotta cheese and 2 eggs to a bowl.
- Mix it up until it looks like this picture:
3. Just use a fork or spoon to mix it together, no need to break out any mixers.
4. Chop up some fresh basil and add it to the mix!
5. Fresh basil really adds a lot of flavor, so don’t leave this part out!
6. Mix it all together and you’re ready to start assembling!
Before beginning, spray your crock pot with cooking spray. This will help cleanup be a lot easier!
First, mix together both pasta sauces and the tomato sauce.
I just pour mine into a mixing bowl and give it a quick stir.
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.
Next, add half of the ricotta/egg/basil mixture.
You can either dollop this on (as pictured), or spread in an even layer (this is a little trickier to do.)
Next up, add half of the parmesan cheese in an even layer.
Time for the next layer!
First up, another 2 and ⅓ cups of sauce.
Another ⅓ of the uncooked penne.
Follow with the rest of your ricotta mixture.
Next, the remaining parmesan cheese.
Add the rest of your noodles 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.
Place the lid on and cook 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:
See those yummy browning edges? GOLD.
Slow cooker ziti for the win!
Time for the last step which is the 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!
Are you drooling yet?
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 good.
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 Easy 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!
One warning…if you are home while this is cooking the smell may torture you.
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!
Best Baked Ziti Recipe storage
Leftover baked ziti can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Baked Ziti Recipe with Ricotta 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!
Crockpot Pasta Recipe
Best Baked Ziti Recipe with Ricotta
This easy crock pot baked ziti is always a crowd pleaser and so simple to make! The best penne dinner pasta recipe for the slow cooker.
- 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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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 278Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 803mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 18g
Monday 10th of April 2023
Can you make this for a large crowd in a roaster? How long will it take and what temperature should I cook it?
Friday 5th of May 2023
I have not tried making it in anything other than a slow cooker.
Sunday 26th of March 2023
Can I cook this on low? If so how long.
Tuesday 21st of March 2023
Can I add hamburger after its layered and stirr or no?
Thursday 2nd of March 2023
How long would I cook in an Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker? Would the recipe need to be altered? Thanks!
Friday 5th of May 2023
This would not translate directly to the instant pot.
Friday 7th of October 2022
This is a top notch recipe. I love it so much; thank you! I dance for joy every time I am making this and eating it. So good!