5 Ingredient Meatless Baked Ziti (Kraft Copycat Recipe) is an easy weeknight dinner! This three-cheese comfort food comes together quickly and serves a crowd. A perfect meal for busy weeknights and back to school!
The weather is beginning to cool down and I am all about cozy comfort food. This recipe is my take on the Classic Kraft Baked Ziti recipe. With a few slight changes, I have made this recipe a family favorite!
After enjoying this Roasted Tomato and Corn Pasta Salad ALL SUMMER LONG, I knew that I needed a go-to winter pasta and this 5 Ingredient Baked Ziti is it! Pair this ziti with this Simple Brussels Sprout Salad for the ultimate fall dinner!
5 Ingredient Baked Ziti Details
Flavor: Because this baked ziti only has 5 ingredients, use a flavorful marinara sauce as the sauce will give your pasta all of the flavor! I like to use one with basil and garlic.
Time: 40 minutes including prep and bake time!
Level of Difficulty: Simple! This meal is so simple to make, I recommend it to even the most basic cook.
5 ingredients is all that it takes to make this ziti casserole!
- Ziti Pasta: Substitute ziti noodles for penne pasta or rigatoni noodles.
- Pasta Sauce: Use a high quality sauce! I like to use Rao's or a homemade sauce.
- Ricotta Cheese: Substitute cream cheese which is what the Kraft recipe calls for. You can also substitute cottage cheese for a creamy baked pasta!
- Mozzarella Cheese: Use pre-shredded mozzarella or a sliced mozzarella log.
- Parmesan Cheese: Grate your own cheese or use a freshly shredded parmesan cheese for the best flavor.
- Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook noodles to al dente (2 minutes less than minimum cook time).
- While the pasta is cooking, add pasta sauce and ricotta cheese to a large saucepan over low heat. Stir together the make a pink sauce.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain pasta and put back into the large bowl. Pour the ricotta sauce mixture over top of the pasta. Stir together to coat noodles.
- Pour half of the pasta mixture into the casserole dish. Top with one cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Pour remaining pasta on top. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
- Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until cheese melts. Turn broiler on and broil for 2 minutes until the top becomes golden.
- Remove baked pasta from the oven and let pasta dish sit for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the sauce to set and sink into the noodles.
Cook pasta in boiling water for 2 minutes less than the package instructions.
On the stove over medium low heat, mix together tomato sauce and ricotta cheese.
Mix pasta with ricotta mixture. Place half of the mixture in a 9x13 casserole dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
Add remaining noodles as a second layer in baking dish.
Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
Bake in oven until cheese is melted about 25 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes on high until cheese is golden.
This is a very simple baked ziti recipe! Try one (or all) of these variations for more delicious dinners.
- Add more protein while still keeping the recipe meatless by using Chickpea Pasta. Chickpea Pasta has high protein and high fiber making it a very healthy alternative to traditional pasta.
- Sneak in some vegetables! Sauté some spinach in olive oil and mix the spinach into the ricotta sauce mixture.
- Add some meat! Cook Italian sausage, lean ground beef or chicken and add to the tomato sauce to make a meat sauce.
The most basic kitchen equipment is needed to make this creamy baked ziti!
- Large Pot: to boil the noodles
- Large Saucepan: to make the cheesy sauce
- 9x13 Baking Dish: to bake the ziti
Store baked ziti refrigerated in airtight container for 3 days.
This 5 Ingredient Baked Ziti freezes well! You can freeze leftovers or make a tray of ziti to freeze!
I often will bake one small ziti and use the remaining ziti as a freezer dinner. Simply follow the recipe instructions until the ziti needs to go into the oven. Be sure to put pasta in a freezer-safe baking dish. Allow ziti to cool to room temperature. Tightly cover with aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months.
To bake, dethaw ziti overnight in the refrigerator. Before cooking, bring ziti to room temperature. Bake as directed.
When baking a previously frozen baked ziti, make sure that the center of the ziti is hot before removing it from the oven. This is a heavy pasta dish and can take time to dethaw. It may take longer to bake in the oven. If the ziti is not hot in the center, cover the ziti with aluminum foil to prevent the top from browning and return to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Good substitutes for ziti noodles are penne pasta or rigatoni noodles. Rigatoni is my favorite! It is a larger tube pasta with ribs. The ribs help to hold the cheese sauce mixture on the noodles.
Serve baked ziti with a green salad, garlic bread or crusty bread with butter. You could also serve with a side of meatballs for some extra protein!
Baked Ziti is a pasta dish that is tossed with a cheesy sauce mixture and cheese. Lasagna is made by layering pasta noodles, sauce and cheese. Baked Ziti is easier to make than lasagna because you can mix the ziti mixture and pour into the pan as opposed to layering the ingredients with lasagna.
Looking for other main dish recipes? Try one of these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with pasta dishes:
5 Ingredient Meatless Baked Ziti (Kraft Copycat Recipe)
- 16 oz Ziti
- 15 oz Ricotta Cheese
- 24 oz Pasta Sauce
- 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Cook pasta until al dente (about 2 minutes less than directed on the package).
- In a pot over medium low heat, stir to combine tomato sauce and ricotta cheese for about 5 minutes.
- Once pasta is cooked, add the pasta to the cheese/sauce mixture. Stir to combine.
- Place half of the pasta in the 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Add the remaining pasta to the dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Turn oven to broil. Broil baked ziti until the top is golden.
- Remove from oven and let ziti sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.