Cheesy Manicotti

8 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Cheesy Manicotti is the easiest kid-friendly Italian dinner. Baked pasta stuffed with ricotta and Parmesan cheese, smothered in mozzarella!

This cheesy Manicotti Noodle Bake is the perfect weeknight Dinner Recipe that is sure to impress the whole family. For more crowd-pleasing Italian dishes, try Ultimate Meat Lasagna and Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Cheesy Manicotti on plate close up end view

This amazing Three Cheese Manicotti Dish will quickly become a favorite recipe in your house. The Parmesan and ricotta filling and melty mozzarella cheese on top make it an instant hit with any cheese lovers. Along with the cheesy goodness, you also get classic Italian flavors from the Marinara Sauce, garlic, parsley, and Italian seasoning. It’s the ultimate Italian comfort food!

If you haven’t cooked with manicotti pasta before, you’ll love how simple this recipe is. After combining the ricotta cheese filling all you have to do is pipe it into the tubes of pasta. Then bake it all with the sauce, no need to cook the pasta first. The pasta is cooked in the oven, so once it’s done you’ll have the perfect dish with melty cheese, tender pasta, and flavorful sauce ready to serve.

Cheesy Manicotti Ingredients in mixing bowls collage

The Cheese Manicotti recipe looks impressive with its bubbly cheese topping, and seasoned cheese filling. It tastes and looks good enough to serve at an Italian restaurant, but it’s easy enough to enjoy with your family on a typical weeknight. It’s hearty and filling so you don’t need to make sides, but you can always serve with a batch of Easy Dinner Rolls to soak up all that extra cheese and pasta sauce.

You can even prepare this pasta dinner ahead of time and bake it the next day for a quick and easy dinner on busy nights. Simply stuff the shells and cover in sauce, cover dish with plastic wrap and foil. Refrigerate for up to 3 days unbaked and remove plastic wrap before covering again with foil and baking as usual. Freeze baked Cheesy Manicotti for up to 3 months and reheat in the oven until heated all the way through, too!

Cheesy Manicotti pasta tubes stuffed with cheese on cutting board side view

More Easy Italian Pasta Dinner Recipes

Cooking Tips

  • Prep: A few minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and find a 9×13 inch baking dish with high sides to use for the recipe.
  • Cheese mixture: Add the Italian parsley, minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to a large bowl. Add the ricotta and Parmesan cheese. Use a wooden spoon to fold the ricotta mixture until combined.
  • Fill Pasta: Transfer the cheese filling to a resealable plastic bag. Cut an inch-long opening on one of the bottom corners. Pipe the mixture into each of the uncooked manicotti shells.
  • Assemble: Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over the base of the casserole dish. Place the stuffed shells in a single layer over the prepared baking dish. Pour the remaining marinara sauce evenly over the top.

Cheesy Manicotti unbaked in pan with cheese

  • Baking time: Cover the dish in tin foil, and bake for 45-50 minutes until the manicotti noodles are tender and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Broil: Remove the dish from the oven and top it with grated mozzarella cheese. Set the oven to broil and return it to the oven uncovered. Broil until the melty mozzarella cheese is slightly browned.
  • Serve: Take the dish from the oven and give it at least 5 minutes to cool before serving. The filling is extremely hot, so you want to give it a little time so that it won’t burn you.

Cheesy Manicotti baked in pan with spatula


  • Seasonings: You can add any of your favorite spices or herbs to the cheese mixture. Fresh basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, onion powder, or celery salt would all taste great.
  • Meat: We’ve made this recipe without any meat, but you can easily add lean ground beef, ground turkey, or ground sausage to the filling mixture. Cook ground meat in a skillet over medium-high heat before starting the rest of the recipe. Break it apart and stir to make the meat brown on all sides. Drain grease and combine with the Parmesan and ricotta for a cheese-meat mixture.
  • Vegetables: You can add your favorite veggies to the cheese mixture like a medium onion, spinach, bell pepper, or diced mushrooms. Saute the veggies first and pat dry to remove any excess moisture before stirring into the cheese filling.
  • Cheese There are lots of variations you could try in the cheese mix for this recipe. When it comes to the cheese topping, try swapping provolone cheese, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, or cheddar cheese for 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese. For the cheese filling, try replacing half the ricotta with fresh goat cheese, cottage cheese, or cream cheese.

Cheesy Manicotti on plate with fork

Easy Italian Side Dishes

How to Store

  • Serve: This Manicotti Noodle Bake can stay good at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it should be stored.
  • Store: Let any leftovers cool down, then cover the dish in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to store in the fridge for 3-5 days.
  • Freeze: You can also freeze the Cheese Manicotti recipe for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen or thawed, in a dish covered with foil, in the oven set to 375 degrees until warmed through.

Cheesy Manicotti on plate close up end view

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Cheesy Manicotti

Cheesy Manicotti is the easiest kid-friendly Italian dinner. Baked pasta stuffed with ricotta and Parmesan cheese, smothered in mozzarella!
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1/4 cup parsley , minced
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese , whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese , shredded
  • 8 ounces Manicotti shells
  • 4 cups Marinara Sauce , or 30 ounces of jarred sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to a large bowl.
  • Fold in the ricotta and Parmesan cheese.
  • Put mixture into a large ziplock back and cut a 1" long opening into the bottom corner.
  • Pipe filling into manicotti shells.
  • Spread 1 cup marinara evenly on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
  • Add the stuffed shells and top with the remaining sauce.
  • Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes until the shells are tender and the filling is bubbling and melted.
  • Remove from oven, uncover and top with mozzarella cheese.
  • Turn the heat in the oven up to broil.
  • Put the baking dish back in the oven and broil until cheese is melty and lightly browned.
  • Let cool 5 minutes before serving, the filling will be very hot.


Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 1030mg | Potassium: 569mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1110IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 303mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword: Cheesy Manicotti

Cheesy Manicotti on plate close up end view collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. Made this recipe for dinner tonight with your marinara sauce and it turned out great. I loved not having to cook the noodles before stuffing them with the cheese filling.