Easy Skillet Baked Ziti made in just 30 minutes with beef, ricotta and mozzarella cheese is an easy, hearty, cheesy dish your family will love!
We love easy pasta recipes, especially as summer ends including this Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti, Ultimate Meat Lasagna and Ricotta Stuffed Shells.
Easy Skillet Baked Ziti
Baked Ziti without the long baking time and in an easy skillet recipe is basically the weeknight answer to your “whoops I didn’t meal prep this week” dilemma!
We love Baked Ziti and we love prepping it ahead of time but we find that no matter how much extra liquid we add in the hopes that when we bake it later it will be cheesy and saucy we always end up with somewhat dry pasta. This ends now.
How to Reheat Ziti Leftovers
This skillet pasta is easy, full of delicious baked ziti flavors and totally kid friendly. Plus when you pack up leftovers for later you can just add ¼ cup of pasta sauce into the container first, top with the pasta and when you microwave it just add a wet paper towel over the top of the pasta.
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What to serve with Baked Ziti:
We love serving this baked ziti with garlic bread, caesar salad and steamed vegetables like broccoli and carrots.
Baked Ziti Ground Beef Substitutes:
We love ground beef and use 85/15 to minimize fat, but you can use ground chicken or turkey with no issues. You can also substitute a leaner game meat but be sure to add some type of fat to the pan before browning.
Once the ground meat is added to the marinara sauce you’ll find the lower fat content won’t negatively affect the recipe.
Substitutes for Ricotta Cheese:
The ricotta cheese in the ziti is a flavorful addition we LOVE but if you simply aren’t a fan of it you can substitute fresh mozzarella, cream cheese or even cottage cheese. If you do use cottage cheese just use a small food processor to create a smooth texture before adding it to the pasta.
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Baked Ziti Recipe:
If you’d like to bake this recipe to make a traditional baked ziti I would suggest doubling the marinara sauce and adding 2 cups of shredded mozzarella between the layers, 1 cup of sour cream and instead of the cubed mozzarella in the skillet version.
Put a layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan, add half the pasta, half the meat sauce, half the ricotta, sour cream, half the mozzarella and then repeat with the top layer (a copy of the first layer except no sour cream).
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes until the top is browned and bubbly.
What sauce is best for Baked Ziti:
We love using Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce but you can use and pasta sauce you like for the recipe. Some other popular sauces include Alfredo Sauce, Vodka Sauce, Ragu Sauce (not to be confused with the brand ragu, a ragu sauce includes a slow cooked meat that’s shredded) and even fresh tomato sauces that are not cooked for a long time on the stovetop.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 8 ounces uncooked ziti pasta
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- Add the beef and onions to a large heavy cast iron skillet and cook until browned and the onions (about 5-6 minutes) are translucent before adding in the garlic and stirring.
- Add in the marinara sauce, tomato paste, water, oregano, basil and pasta and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer and cooking, covered, for 18-20 minutes.
- Uncover, dot with mozzarella and ricotta cheese before serving.
One of my go-to’s!
What would be the serving size for this meal?
This recipe is not only super simple but absolutely delicious. I switched out the ground beef for ground veggie crumbles and it was absolute perfection. My entire family enjoyed it and there were no leftovers to be seen. I highly recommend adding this to your dinner rotation!
I see it says baked but were do you find that option?
It’s in the post above.
What could I sub in for ricotta? I don’t have it and am not adding any meat either. Thanks!
Hey! I plan on trying this can you use shredded mozzarella instead of cubed?
I try your Baked Ziti, my family love it! Now I read this skillet baked ziti, you use ricotta cheese instead of sour cream, what is the taste different? Can they be interchangeable, or do you need to adjust the other ingredients inorder to balance the final dish outcome?
The sour cream, when not baked is pretty potent. The ricotta has a milder flavor when added to the skillet. You can of course use the sour cream, just expect the punch of flavor you know from sour cream. Also, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the baked ziti!
Easy, and yummy
I forgot to ask what size pan do you use for the oven baked ziti?
I want to make the oven baked ziti but the recipe didn’t say how much ricotta cheese. Do you use 1/2 cup like the skillet baked ziti and do you layer the ricotta cheese? It also says to double the sauce so do you double the ziti too?
If you want to make the oven version, I would double everything. 🙂
Any meal with pasta and cheese is a winner for my family! Yum!
This looks AMAZING! Baked ziti is one of my favorites!
This looks incredibly delicious! This couldn’t look any more perfect!
I could eat that entire skillet. I know I can! Can not wait to make this…when my husband is away, far far away ?. Thanks for this recipe.
Haha, sometimes it’s just hard to share!!
We can’t get enough pasta in our lives so this is 100% going down ASAP!!
Pasta is always a great go to for us too!
Looks so yummy!
It looks so good I just want to try it .I’m new to your blog and even if I usually speak french I understand everything because you give us a lot of informations. I have a question for you…We see always a video from your other recipes but I would like to watch the video of your recipe you present today so where can I see it? Thank you!
Welcome! I’m so glad you found the site!!
I’m in the process of working on having videos come out a lot quicker it’s just going to take a bit of time to coordinate it all. I really appreciate your patience.