Easy Skillet Baked Ziti

6 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

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 SpaghettiUltimate Meat Lasagna and Ricotta Stuffed Shells.

Skillet Baked Ziti 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.

Baked Ziti in a skillet

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.

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.

Baked Ziti

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Skillet Baked Ziti

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!
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Dish, pasta
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • pound  ground beef
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • cups  marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 1/2  cups  water
  • teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 8 ounces uncooked ziti pasta
  • 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.


Calories: 526kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 820mg | Potassium: 750mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 865IU | Vitamin C: 10.2mg | Calcium: 289mg | Iron: 3.5mg

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. 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!

  2. 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?

    1. 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!

  3. Hi Sabrina,
    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?
    Thank you,

  4. 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.

  5. Hi Sabrina
    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!

    1. 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.