Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce is an easy and delicious dinner recipe using ground beef and mozzarella cheese. The ultimate comfort food, you don’t want to miss this classic Italian recipe.
Nothing brings people together like a delicious meal. This Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce fits the bill for sure! Easy to make and so tasty, it’s the perfect meal for a casual get together, Sunday supper, or weeknight dinner. Even my Italian grandmother approves of this dish!
The flavors of this Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce mimic lasagna, but is a lot easier to make. You can prepare the entire dish ahead of time and just bake before serving. The sauce is so delicious by itself you could could even make a double batch and freeze some for later to serve over spaghetti!
I like to serve this dish for brunches, birthday parties, and showers. I’ve also done this for baptisms since you could cook it and keep it warm in the oven while you are away.
Simple and delicious, try out this recipe and be sure to comment below!
How to Make Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce
To make the sauce, cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat until cooked through. Use a wooden spoon or angled silicone spatula, like this Zyliss Silicone Stir Fry Spatula from Amazon, to break up the meat while it cooks. Add in the onions and cook until softened. Stir in the garlic and seasonings and cook for a minute longer.
Pour in the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for at least 30 minutes. The sauce needs time to develop flavor, so the longer you let it cook the better! But if you are short on time, half an hour works great.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a separate pot, cook the ziti, penne, or rigatoni pasta. It doesn’t matter what specific type of pasta you use, any tube-shaped pasta works. Add the sauce to the pasta and stir in the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
Pour into a large casserole dish or 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle on remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes covered. If desired, remove foil and broil for 2-3 minutes to get golden and bubbly. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Be sure to try these other delicious baked pasta recipes:
- Baked Ravioli with Chicken and Broccoli is the perfect make ahead dinner.
- Baked Tortellini Casserole is a great no-boil meal that comes together fast.
- Chicken Broccoli Alfredo recipe is perfect for entertaining and another make ahead meal option.
Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup diced onion about ½ an onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (like McCormick)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 28 ounce can tomato sauce
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- Heat in the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Crumble in the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, using a spoon to break up the meat. Add in the onions and cook for another 5 minutes, until onions are softened. Stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes and bring to a low simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- While the sauce cooks, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil the penne short of 2 minutes of the recommended cooking time so that it is very al dente. Drain the pasta. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, meat sauce, parmesan, and 1 ½ cups of mozzarella. Toss to combine and pour into casserole dish or 9 x 13 baking pan. Top with the remaining ½ cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes until bubbly. If desired, broil for 2-3 minutes to brown top slightly. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Beth Brunner Lee
I used ground Italian Sausage in place of the ground beef. Also did not have can tomatoes so used an additional 28 ounces of tomato sauce. It was delicious. An excellent recipe!! Making tonight for guests.
You drain the meat after cooking before adding in the sauce to simmer?
No. I don’t drain it.
Restaurant quality, my wife told me. I do all the cooking for the two of us. Excellent recipe. Thank you a ziti-million times – Jesus Saves. God bless the Peacemakers.
Thanks for the great comment. So happy you all loved it!
Excellent! I had some leftover homemade beef based spaghetti sauce and this was the perfect recipe to use it for ! 🙂 Thank you
So happy you loved it!
Made a doubled batch and everyone who had it said it was delicious!
Thanks for the comment Emma! I’m so happy you all loved it!
This was delicious great recipe
Thanks Marisa! Happy you liked it
If I want to freeze 1/2 of this what are the steps?
Transfer the ziti to an airtight container or freezer bag. You can split into smaller portions or freeze the entire 1/2 pan. When you want to serve, just place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake until warmed through.