This easy sausage baked ziti is the ultimate comfort food. Pasta, Italian sausage, ground beef, sauce, and lots of cheese this ziti sausage bake is perfect for feeding a family.

serving Sausage Baked Ziti

Is there a more perfect comfort food than a good baked ziti? Homemade meat sauce, pasta, and lots of cheese baked until it’s golden and bubbling. That’s my idea of comfort food.

This ziti recipe is easy to pre-prep which makes it perfect for a weeknight dinner. It’s also super easy to customize and change to fit your mood or tastes. You can’t go wrong with this dish!

If you are a pasta fan (and who isn’t?) you will definitely want to check out our chicken alfredo lasagna roll ups, lasagna rolls ups, spinach and ricotta stuffed shells, and slow cooker sausage and ravioli.

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ingredients for Sausage Baked Ziti

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Ziti pasta – If necessary, you can sub with penne, rigatoni, or macaroni noodles.
  • Olive Oil – Olive oil is the best oil to use when cooking this dish.
  • Ground Italian Sausage – We use a pork sausage but you can substitute with a chicken or turkey sausage if you prefer. Just make sure it is Italian so it has the correct seasonings.
  • Ground Beef – We use a 90/10 ground beef to cut back on fat. You can sub this for ground turkey or ground chicken as well.
  • Onion – White or yellow onion would work best for this recipe.
  • Garlic – The recipe calls for two cloves but use as much as you like. There is no such thing as too much garlic!
  • Pasta Sauce – Use your favorite store-bought brand of marinara sauce or make your own.
  • Whole milk ricotta cheese – You can usually find this in the dairy aisle near the sour cream and cream cheese.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese and Shredded mozzarella cheese – We give you a measured amount, but feel free to use more if you want your dish extra cheesy.
  • Spices: Kosher salt, crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning
  • Egg – This helps to bind everything together.

Depending on your personal taste, you can also add some fresh basil, thyme, extra oregano, or cloves of garlic to your dish.

Sausage Baked Ziti in black dish

Instructions for baked ziti with Italian sausage

Step 1 – Preheat. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 2 – Cook pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the ziti. Cook according to package instructions. The average time to cook pasta al dente is approximately 10 minutes. Once it is cooked pour the ziti into a strainer to drain the water. Sit to the side until needed. 

adding sauce to Sausage Baked Ziti

Step 3 – Cook ingredients. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and the chopped onions and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the ground Italian sausage and ground beef. Once the meat is browned remove from heat and drain grease.

Step 4 – Make sauce. Add cooked meat back to the pan along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and 28 ounces of pasta sauce. Stir together and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

ricotta and cheese mixture for Sausage Baked Ziti

Step 5 – Make cheese mixture. In a large bowl combine the ricotta, grated parmesan, 16 ounces of shredded mozzarella, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1 large egg. Stir together until combined.  

Sausage Baked Ziti with sauce

Step 6 – Layer ingredients – Start by adding your cooked pasta to the meat sauce and stirring together.

Layer half of the pasta and sauce into the bottom of your casserole dish.

Now scoop out the cheese mixture with a tablespoon and dot the cheese all over the pasta (you’ll use about half).

Layer the rest of your pasta on top of that and follow with the remaining cheese mixture.

Top with 4 ounces of regular pasta sauce (not meat sauce).

Step 7 – Bake – Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 25-35 minutes.

Step 8 – Add more cheese – Remove foil and sprinkle the remaining 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella over the top. Continue to bake for 20 minutes more or until sauce is bubbling and dish is heated through.

Step 9 – Let it sit and serve – Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

serving Sausage Baked Ziti
Do you boil ziti before baking it?

For this baked ziti recipe yes you need to boil your ziti before baking it.

There are recipes where you don’t have to boil your pasta before baking it. However it requires more liquid in the dish to cook the noodled as the casserole bakes and we find that the results aren’t as consistent. It also adds a lot of extra cooking time.

Since you have to cook your meat anyways we suggest boiling the noodles while you brown the sausage and ground beef to save time.

Do you put egg in baked ziti?

Yes. The egg is a binder. In this case it helps bind all of the cheese filling to the pasta and meat so that it doesn’t ooze out as it bakes.

Should baked ziti be covered when baking?

Yes, covering the ziti for the first half of the baking process helps to prevent the pasta from drying out. It also helps hold the heat in so that the dish heats all the way through.

We remove the foil for the second half of the baking time and add cheese on top. Removing the foil allows the cheese to become melted and browned making the perfect topping for your baked ziti.

How do you know if baked ziti is done?

When the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is fully melted and slightly browned on top, your ziti is done! You can also use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of the center. If fully cooked, your dish should be approximately 165 degrees F in the center.

Sausage Baked Ziti on a black plate

What do you serve with ricotta baked ziti?

Simple sides to pair with your baked ziti include our delicious Texas toast garlic bread or cheese twists, and a side salad. We like Panzanella salad, cucumber and tomato salad, or a simple caser salad.

You can also pair this with a good red wine!

How to store your leftover ziti sausage bake

Place your leftovers in an airtight container, wrap them in plastic wrap, or put them in a resealable plastic bag. I like to store mine in individual portions so they can be reheated easily for a quick lunch or dinner.

Refrigerator: Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Freezer: Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to Reheat Sausage Baked Ziti

Microwave: Reheat the baked ziti in the microwave cooking a single portion for approximately 2 minutes.

Oven: Set the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the ziti in an oven-safe dish and heat for 5-7 minutes for a single slice or 30 minutes for the entire casserole.

Note: If you are reheating frozen ziti we recommend letting it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

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Servings: 10
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Let Rest: 10 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 40 mins

Sausage Baked Ziti

This easy sausage baked ziti is the ultimate comfort food. Pasta, Italian sausage, ground beef, sauce, and lots of cheese this ziti sausage bake is perfect for feeding a family.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces Ziti pasta
  • 1 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 pound Ground Italian Sausage
  • ½ pound Ground Beef
  • 1 small Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 32 ounces Pasta Sauce
  • 16 ounces Whole milk ricotta
  • 2 ounces Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 20 ounces Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 large Egg

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the ziti. Cook according to package instructions. Once it is cooked pour the ziti into a strainer to drain the water. Sit to the side until needed.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and the chopped onions and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the ground Italian sausage and ground beef. Once the meat is browned remove from heat and drain grease.
  • Add cooked meat back to the pan along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and 28 ounces of pasta sauce. Stir together and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • In a large bowl combine the ricotta, grated parmesan, 16 ounces of shredded mozzarella, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1 large egg. Stir together until combined.
  • Add your cooked pasta to the meat sauce and stir together.
  • Layer half of the pasta and sauce into the bottom of your casserole dish.
  • Scoop out the cheese mixture with a tablespoon and dot the cheese all over the pasta (you’ll use about half).
  • Layer the rest of your pasta on top of that and follow with the remaining cheese mixture.
  • Top with 4 ounces of regular pasta sauce (not meat sauce).
  • Cover the dish with aluminum then bake for 25-35 minutes.
  • Remove foil and sprinkle the remaining 4 ounces of shredded mozzarella over the top. Continue to bake for 20 minutes more or until sauce is bubbling and dish is heated through.
  • Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 685kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 40g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 141mg, Sodium: 2153mg, Potassium: 687mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1092IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 478mg, Iron: 3mg
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Author: Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked ziti with Italian sausage, ricotta baked ziti, sausage baked ziti, sausage pasta bake, ziti sausage bake