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One Pot Baked Ziti

One Pot Baked Ziti - An incredibly easy, no-fuss baked ziti - even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan!

An incredibly easy, no-fuss baked ziti – even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan!

One Pot Baked Ziti - An incredibly easy, no-fuss baked ziti - even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan!

When I was living in New York city, my dad and I would walk around the corner to the pizza place and always get the same order – two cheese pizzas and a baked ziti. Back then, a slice of pizza was just a $1, and then they’d wrap them up in a giant brown bag and we’d walk back home. I could barely eat half of a pizza then but I’d always stuff my face in the baked ziti. With cheesy, marinara baked pasta, how can any 6-year old resist?

One Pot Baked Ziti - An incredibly easy, no-fuss baked ziti - even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan!

One Pot Baked Ziti - An incredibly easy, no-fuss baked ziti - even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan!

One Pot Baked Ziti - An incredibly easy, no-fuss baked ziti - even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan!

One Pot Baked Ziti - An incredibly easy, no-fuss baked ziti - even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan!

One Pot Baked Ziti - An incredibly easy, no-fuss baked ziti - even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan!

Now I’ve tried to recreate this amazing childhood ziti but as much as I loved the homemade version, it was just too much work for something I could easily buy at the local pizza parlor for $9.99. But with my recent one pot meal obsession, I’ve actually discovered a one pan baked ziti. It’s unbelievably easy, and even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan!

One Pot Baked Ziti - An incredibly easy, no-fuss baked ziti - even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan!

All you need to do is ground up some sausage, add in your tomatoes and pasta, and of course let that mozzarella just melt right in. Easy peasy, right? And if you really want to save up on some dishes, I recommend eating right out of the pan.

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One Pot Baked Ziti

An incredibly easy, no-fuss baked ziti – even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan!

10 minutes35 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 12 ounces ziti pasta
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a simmer until slightly thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in pasta and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-16 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in Parmesan and heavy cream. Top with mozzarella and cover until cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with basil, if desired.

Adapted from Pink Parsley.

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  1. Rated 4 out of 5

    After doing some modifications to this recipe it was damn delicious!

    Ground chicken instead of sausage
    Canned diced tomatoes instead of crushed (undrained)
    1/4 cup heavy cream instead of 1/2 cup
    1 teaspoon oregano
    1 teaspoon basil
    1 cup of Bertolli tomatoe and basil pasta sauce

    I experimented with the 3 cups of water as directed for 16 minutes covered along with the recommended amount of pasta. I was left with a lot of water left in the pan. I drained it out and it was where I wanted it to be. I didn’t have any red sauce to begin with so I added 1 cup of Bertolli’s “tomatoe and basil” pasta sauce. Let me tell you, this gave it life and flavor along with the cream, mozz cheese, parm cheese and seasonings. My hubby and I went for more and had it for lunch the next day! Amazing!

    I’ll try to add 1 1/2 cup water next time to see what happens. If it continues to be watery, I’ll add in 1/2 cup less each time until I find the perfect amount. I know this is supposed to be a one pot meal but if anyone is frustrated with the pasta situation, just cook and strain separately and return it to the rest of the pan ingredients. Might save all the hassle.

  2. I’m confused as to why it says “baked ziti” when I cannot find in the recipe where it says to bake it. Nonetheless, great and easy recipe!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    So good! I love how the lentils and veggies don’t get too soft so there’s some bite to the soup. My whole fam loved it!

  4. Making this for a dinner party tonight and was planning to double the recipe. Any things to know except for just doubling all of the ingredients? Will 6 cups of water be too much if the pasta is also doubled?

  5. Rated 4 out of 5

    Made this as directed except cooked only on stovetop. Didn’t realize my mother was cleaning the oven lol. Still it tasted really good the whole family and our neighbor really enjoyed it. I devoured the little bit of leftovers the next day. 🙂

  6. I love your recipes and this one looked like a winner. Unfortunately, it merely placed. My fault. I used a 28 oz.jar of Bolognese Sauce because I didn’t have a can of diced tomatoes. Although the taste was delicious, the sauce was so soupy the mozzarella disappeared into it. I had to add some slices on top and put it in the oven, hoping the sauce would become less liquid. It didn’t. At least the flavor was good. I used 2 chicken sausages and 2 Sicilian chicken sausages which gave off some spice. I highly recommend this duo. Thanks, anyway. Next time I’ll use canned tomatoes.

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    I feel like a chef

  8. Flavorful with garlic, red pepper and heavy cream however to liquidy next time I’ll try using quarter of a cup of heavy cream not a half cup

  9. Um, am I the only person in all these years this recipe has been posted and commented on to notice that those… aren’t… ziti pasta? That’s Fusilli! 😀

    Regardless, this recipe looks pretty delicious. 🙂

  10. I don’t have crushed tomatoes. What can I use to substitute? Wonder if of Italian tomatoes would be good in this.

    • Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

  11. Excited to try this. That is rotini in your photo– ziti is tube-shaped. Does either pasta work for this recipe? 

  12. I had pinned this ages ago and never made it. We are at the beach and I needed an easy meal that didn’t dirty of a lot of dishes. It did seem to have a little too much water at the end so I may add a little less and watch it. This was really good and my toddler enjoyed it. I will definitely make again!

  13. Changes: Halved. Lean ground beef instead of sausage. Half-n-half instead of heavy cream. No basil.

    This was wonderful and easy! Love the one pot meals. I am a long time fan of baked ziti and while this is different than the standard (no ricotta as an example), this felt lighter and still had a very lush flavor and texture. This is a good base recipe that you can add your favorite flavors to (spices and veggies). I served it with the slow cooker garlic herb mushrooms which was a very decadent combo.

  14. Hello, I made this recipe a few weeks ago and it was excellent! I am in love with your blog! I am making it again tomorrow and am wondering if it is possible to freeze into portions for the next few days and/or what oven temp you would reheat it at from frozen or refrigerated? Thank you for sharing all these awesome recipes!! 🙂 

    • Unfortunately, I cannot answer this with certainty as I have never tried freezing this myself – there were no leftovers left to freeze! Please use your best judgment for freezing and reheating.

  15. I had some ground beef to use up and was looking for an easy recipe, so I adapted this one. I didn’t have any fresh basil, so added some dried along with some oregano, as there wasn’t the flavour from the Italian sausage. It was so simple to cook and tasted amazing. I’ve tried a few recipes from this site and they’ve all been wonderful.

  16. The recipe calls for crushed tomatoes but the pictures look like tomato sauce? Are my eyes deceiving me? Thanks for the awesome recipes!

  17. I’d like to make this recipe on our camping trip. I was wondering if I could precook the sausage and garlic at home and add the rest later and microwave it?

  18. Parmesan, heavy cream and mozzarella? You can bet we’ll try that one!:) Amazing dish Chungah! Certainly Damn Delicious!:) And the way you present those steps in your photos is really helpful. Great work!

  19. this is my first time ever to write a review. My husband and I both loved this dish and showed some restraint only so we could have it again tomorrow night! What we had tonight was a little “soupy” but nothing a loaf of Italian bread could not take care of. What was refrigeratated for tomorrow night looks just like the pictures. Maybe we should have let it sit a bit longer. Definitely will make this again.

  20. Making this for the 2nd time tonight. We love it. Thanks for posting it!

  21. This is going on my recipe list for next week. Looking forward to trying it out!

  22. This was soooo good! I cooked the ziti a little longer to make sure it was tender, and it was wonderful. Even better the second day. There was none left for the third day.

  23. Heya I’ve been looking at your one pot recipes but I am wondering about how well the pasta cooks? I’m super picky about all my pasta being al dente and I’m a little skeptical about it cooking properly using these recipes. I think the recipe looks great and I really want to try it but like I said having properly cooked pasta is kind of a deal breaker for me so I’m not quite sure about it.

    Regardless thank you for the recipes they look great and your pictures are awesome.

    • Dylan, the pasta cooks through completely in these one pot recipes. However, if you are super picky about the texture of your pasta, you won’t really know how you like it (or dislike it) in these one pot meals until you try it!

      • Thanks for the reply, I guess I’ll just have to give it a shot and see how it turns out. Although now that I have seen your asian inspired recipes I think those might be first on my list of things to try. Thanks =D

  24. I love this ziti..I end up using 2-3 pans for the pasta evrry time and this sure seems easier..will try a vegetarian version of this soon.

  25. This was just incredibly delicious! I had an early evening appointment so I prepared this dish up until adding the cream, cheeses, and basil. I refrigerated it in the pan. When I came home, I just needed to heat to boiling, add the remaining incredients and done! I will be making this often and will add it to my list of favorites. Thank you.

  26. Made this for dinner tonight and it was a hit! Quick and easy weeknight meals are the best. Swapped the sausage for some ground turkey I had already cooked in the freezer and used greek yogurt instead of the cream. Will definitely be making again

  27. Found this on Pinterest and made it tonight! The only thing I did different was put it under the broiler for a minute after adding the mozzarella, so it had that baked bubbly, brown top like baked ziti. Damn delicious!

  28. My daughter and I made for dinner last night and we loved it! Used skim milk as it’s all I had on hand and it was still delicious. My fry pan didn’t look big enough so we used a 6-qt Dutch Oven and it worked perfectly. Looking forward to wonderful leftovers!

  29. I’m going to make this for guests this Friday. Can I make it ahead of time and then add cheese and reheat? Will the cream hold up ok?

  30. Pingback: One Pot Baked Ziti from Damn Delicious

  31. Thank you so much for your fantastic one-pot recipes. They have become family favorites for us. My son even went back for seconds of the Chilli Mac (he NEVER does that). I’m trying this one tonight, but wanted to take a minute to express my gratitude to you for sharing you recipes with us. You are very appreciated.

  32. Let me start off by saying I knew I loved your blog the moment I read your name, “Damn Delicious”… LOVE IT!
    This recipe rocks!!! I’m kind of anal about dirtying dishes, love to cook – hate to do the dishes, so I’m always trying to cook in one pot/as few as possible! Thanks so much for this recipe, it’s a crowd pleaser fo sho! 😉

  33. I found this link on Pinterest and made it tonight for dinner. Let me just say it was quick, easy, and amazing!!! My husband was blown away!!! I am definitely a new fan to this blog!!! Thanks again for the outstanding recipe 🙂

  34. I didn’t have luck with this recipe. There was way too much water between the tomatoes and the 3 cups you add later – where is that 3 cups supposed to go? Was I supposed to drain the tomatoes?

    I’m going to try it again with different tomatoes.

  35. Pingback: quick meals : easy meals : healthy easy meals

  36. I made this tonight and it was delicious – loved by all. I’m curious as to why you used Rotini for the photos instead of ziti. Is it just personal preference?

  37. Made this twice so far because first time around was so good. I also have picky eaters and they really liked this.

  38. omg! this really looks yum amd so easy to make. i will definitely try cooking it tonight for dinner. I saw it in pinterest and pinned it right away! Thanks for sharing!

  39. I love this stove top version and I particularly love the fact that you are using plain crushed tomatoes instead of pre-made tomato sauce! Tastes better and no extra junk!

  40. Pingback: Menu Plan Monday Feb 17 | Mama Sonshine

  41. Just made this for dinner… Yummy! I used a jar of spaghetti sauce instead of tomatoes. And used cream cheese instead of heavy cream and mozarella. The husband and the 2 yo both loved it.

  42. We made this dish for dinner last night and really enjoyed it! Delicious! As our daughter is a vegetarian, we made a separate dish for her replacing the Italian sausage with Great Northern Beans ~ added some Italian spices, warmed the beans in olive oil until this were soft and then followed the rest of the recipe ~ turn out awesome! Great recipe that our family will enjoy again.

  43. I made this last night and it was delicious! My boyfriend loved it and it was super easy. I substituted hot turkey sausage and substituted 1/2 cup skim milk with a little cornstarch beat in for the heavy cream and it came out great. I maybe would have stuck it in the broiler for a minute or two once I put the mozzarella on to crisp it up a l a little on the edges. Overall -great recipe!

  44. This dish was a big hit with the family. It was a big hit with me because it was easy and quick to make. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for the recipe.

  45. I saw this on Pink Parsley and made it too the other week – it was really good! Love that you don’t dirty too many dishes while preparing

  46. Just made this tonight. It was easy and very tasty. I was skeptical about the pasta getting cooked thoroughly enough right in the pot but it was great and very flavorful; such a terrific time saver. Even my picky daughter enjoyed it. Thanks so much!

  47. Made this tonight! It was delicious and so simple! Definitely making this again! Next time, I’ll probably chop the sausage up into smaller pieces next time before I cook it though as I found it difficult to crumble the sasuage in the pan. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  48. Looks delicious. I’m all about less dirty dishes. Pinning. 🙂

  49. My super mega fussy 2 year old loves it!! Thank you 🙂

  50. Yummy!!!!

  51. Great week night meal! This ziti looks amazingly yummy!

  52. According to the title, it’s a baked ziti. I read through the recipe and don’t see anywhere (unless I missed it) about baking the ziti. Can’t wait to try this!

    • Candice, this is an easier, no-fuss version of the traditional “baked ziti”. This does not get baked but if you’d like, you can pop it in the oven after trooping with mozzarella to get that cheesy crust.

  53. I’m a new follower via Bloglovin’ and I don’t know if you’ve tried making lasagna in the crock pot, but I’ve done that twice recently with outstanding results. The pasta is softer and has no hard brown edges like baking produces. Sauce, then noodles, then cheese; repeat, and I also add pepperoni slices in my layers. I add a little extra water because the large lasagna noodles will soak up so much liquid. I don’t use ricotta in it because Hubs won’t eat it if I do, but it would be fine. Mozzarella is all that I use. Now I’m going to investigate your one pot Mexican skillet pasta!

  54. I love the idea of a one pot dinner because it is easy and most importantly, there are less dishes to clean up!

  55. I’m such a sucker for baked ziti and all things one-pot!! What a great memory you have of childhood – pizza, nyc, and baked ziti!! Sounds like a child’s dream!! This pasta…..i wanna plant my face into it and never leaveee!

  56. I just made this and used 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and it was delicious and incredibly easy. My daughter just gave me a high five- so it got a big thumbs up from her!

  57. This looks delicious! And I love that it really is all in one pan!! Looks so comforting as well, I could do with some of this at the moment, stuck at home with flu!

  58. I’m so glad you liked this, thanks for linking up! I need to make it again soon – as a matter of fact, I haven’t made traditional baked ziti since I first had this skillet version!

  59. Wow! Love that this ziti is made in one pan. Perfect weeknight (or any night) meal!

  60. I love ziti, this is perfect for a busy weeknight!

  61. Another winner! I’m loving these one pot meals.

  62. This one pot ziti is magical! I love ziti so much!

  63. I’m seriously obsessed with your one-pot-meals!! This one is no exception. Awesomeness in a skillet 🙂

  64. I love one pot meals like this, especially pasta! Great job, it looks and sounds terrific 🙂

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  65. Oh man, this recipe looks amazing and I would LOVE to win the raffle!

  66. Looks amazing! I was wondering what the heavy cream is for. Could it be omitted?

  67. Love the idea of cooking the pasta right into the sauce – saves some dish washing which I am all for!

  68. I am in love with this ziti! One pot, carbs and melty cheese? Hellllooooo get in my belly!

  69. this looks SO delicious and easy! thanks for sharing..I have always wanted a Kitchen-aid mixer too btw lol..Love to bake..thanks for the chance to win!

    Joey J.

  70. I love your one-pot pasta obsession, it’s been on my list of things to try! This looks so comforting!