Olive Garden Five Cheese Ziti al Forno (Copycat)

8 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Olive Garden Five Cheese Ziti al Forno copycat recipe made with marinara, alfredo, mozzarella, fontina, romano and parmesan cheese baked together with a crispy panko topping.

This baked ziti recipe is a huge hit with crowds and potlucks just like my super popular Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti and Ultimate Meat Lasagna.

Olive Garden Ziti al Forno Copycat Olive Garden Five Cheese Ziti al Forno (Copycat)

This Ziti al Forno is like the best baked ziti recipe you’ve ever had kicked up about ten more notches. A mixture of marinara and alfredo sauce along with five (yes, I mean five) additional cheeses maked this dish an over the top extravagant recipe you won’t have to wait for a trip to Olive Garden to enjoy.

This baked ziti is different than the traditional baked ziti which is made with marinara sauce, mozzarella and ricotta cheese. With a mix of two sauces and five cheeses you’d think that all the flavors would be muddled, but they work so well together that you’ll find yourself routinely mixing marinara sauce and alfredo sauce even when making a simple spaghetti dinner.

Can you make this ziti al forno lasagna?

YES and I love the way you think. We had a girls night in recently and experimented with this recipe as lasagna. Let me tell you, it was probably the best lasagna I’ve EVER eaten. We did add ground beef to the recipe because it needed more substance than just cheese. We also definitely added the crispy topping.

This Olive Garden recipe is vegetarian but you can absolutely add meat or seafood to the dish. Adding shrimp is a fantastic option, sliced and seared chicken would be great too.

Ziti Al Forno Recipe

Can you freeze/reheat Ziti al Forno?

Yes, sort of. We tried this a couple of times and ended up with dry pasta. Then we tried something we’ve seen in frozen pastas and cooked the pasta, freezing it on a sheet in a single layer. Once frozen we made the recipe as directed.

Why freeze the pasta you ask? Pasta has this annoying quality where it sucks up all the liquids in a dish when there are leftovers. This means the next day your pasta is all dried out. By freezing the pasta before assembling we prevent the pasta from acting like a sponge.

Looking for more Copycat pasta recipes?

Let me know if you have any copycat recipe requests. I have a lot more coming, some from Olive Garden in fact! If you have a recipe you’d like to see let me know in the comments below.

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Olive Garden Five Cheese Ziti al Forno

Olive Garden Five Cheese Ziti al Forno copycat recipe made with marinara, alfredo, mozzarella, fontina, romano and parmesan cheese baked together with a cripy panko topping.
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Author Sabrina Snyder




  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup romano cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 cloves garlic minced


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cook the pasta one minute shy of the directions on the box and drain.
  • In a large metal bowl add the pasta, marinara sauce, alfredo sauce, ricotta cheese and fontina cheese and mix well.
  • Add to a large oven safe skillet or 9x13 pan.
  • Mix the mozzarella, panko, romano, parmesan and garlic together and add the topping over the pasta.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes uncovered until golden brown and bubbly.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 534kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1431mg | Potassium: 581mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 900IU | Vitamin C: 8.8mg | Calcium: 325mg | Iron: 2.4mg
Keyword: Olive Garden Five Cheese Ziti al Forno copycat
Olive Garden Ziti Al Forno
Ziti Al Forno

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 upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being 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. Absolutely delicious, and LOVE the fast Alfredo recipe too. I would recommend people budget 2 hours for this dish, or make your sauce ahead of time. Thank you for a great meal. 🙂 Lisa

  2. This was probably one of the best pasta dishes I have ever had! It is just like olive garden’s I love love love it

    1. Yes! Baked Ziti is the perfect make-ahead meal to either refrigerate and bake the next day or to assemble and freeze. Assemble and refrigerate. Enjoy!

  3. I’m in the process of making this for the first time but trust that it will be delicious.
    BUT – is anyone else as frustrated as I am with buying food in jars or containers and there being less than the packaging says!? I bought the jar sauce. On the Alfredo sauce, it says it is 16 oz.,1 lb. – which would be 2 cups. There was actually a little less that 1 3/4 cups of sauce! I really hope this won’t make a difference. If the jar had said it was 14 oz. I would have bought 2! Grrrrr!!

    1. Alfredo sauce is really easy to make…melt a stick of butter add 2cups of crème..heat on low as you mix in grated parmesan cheese until thickened..add black pepper and salt to taste…always a hit at my house!!!

  4. We’re moving to a town where the nearest Olive Garden is overlap two hours away, so I NEEDED this recipe!

    Now, could you figure out how to make Mei Wei’s Thai Coconut Soup?? I’ve been trying, but my turns out too sour or too sweet.

  5. Just made this recipe for my husband and I and Oh My God!! It is so good and maybe even better then olive garden.LOVEEE. Definitely saving this recipe. Thank You!

  6. I did this recipe a long time ago for a family reunion and everyone loved it!!! I did enough big portions (we are Cubans…) and it finished and people wanted more!!! There was about 20 people and I did enough for like 60 people thinking some of us could bring home some…DID NOT HAPPEN!!!

    1. I added the breadcrumbs on the very top and kinda mixed it into the cheese. I only cooked it for 30 minutes and it gave it a very nice crunch but not burnt.

  7. This is such a good recipe! I’ve never had the actual Olive Garden version but tried this recipe because of the pictures. Such an easy meal to throw together after a busy day, and tastes like hours were spent working on it. I cannot say enough good things about this recipe!

      1. This is amazing! So, so, good. My daughter requested for her birthday. Do you think it could be adapted to slow cooker??

  8. What I did – I made it all the night before without baking. Made the marinara, alfredo, boiled the noodles, shredded all the cheeses, mixed the “topping” ingredients together.
    The next day when you’re ready to cook it… You just mix up the noodles and sauces, add the ricotta and fontina, pour into a pan, top with the topping i already had mixed up.

    1. I prefer to serve it immediately but if you want to reheat it, I’d add more sauce to it at that time to help keep it moist. Enjoy!

  9. Making this right now as I type it’s in the oven. I was throwing it together for a quick dinner so i got jar sauce. I could not find fontina cheese only the mixed Italian cheese blend (says it had fontina) so hopefully that works as well. This is my favorite dish from Olive Garden and I’m hoping it turns out great.

  10. Made this last night for the first time, making both the marinara and the Alfredo sauce from scratch using the linked recipes. This is every bit as good as what I order at the restaurant, delicious! It makes a lot, though…the recipe says 8 servings, but my husband and i together only made a small dent in the total. Next time I make it will be when we have company for dinner…whenever we’re able to do that again!

  11. This was very good. Did the freezing method you suggested and I was surprised it worked. My family loves sauce so I made extra to serve on the side.
    I have been trying for years to obtain the recipe for POLLYS back burner soup,
    Any chance you would have a copycat of it?

  12. Every recipe I have “copied”.from you has been fantastic! I let my grand kids help grind the cheeses ! Each cheese separate bowl. They both were so excited they could not wait to eat. They ate well are aged (B) 5
    (G) 4. We made the 5 cheese ziti
    I doubled the sauce put it in jars
    Thank you. Delicious easy to follow

  13. I’m interested in making this for a family meal. I have a couple of meat lovers attending and I’m wondering if I can add ground beef to it. If so, when would I incorporate the ground beef? When I mix the pasta and sauces together?

    1. I wouldn’t use ground beef I would use ground sausage, spicy or mild depending to your preference. Brown it cut it up into small pieces and drain it, mix it in with the sauce portion of this meal and cook as advised.

  14. Before baking, we mix the cheeses and pasta up versus just pouring on top and it really works great for us. Thank you for the great recipe.

    1. Bummer! You can substitute with a mild provolone, gruyere and gouda. Good luck on your search!

  15. I made this for my daughter. She would have never tried it (incredibly picky) if she didn’t know it was an Olive Garden copy cat. She loved it. We all loved it. This will definitely be a family favorite!!

  16. I made this for my daughter-in-law, she loves Olive Garden’s Baked Ziti. It was delicious and easy to make. I will definitely make this again (maybe tomorrow!!)

  17. I made this recipe exactly as written EXCEPT added some shredded rotisserie chicken…. It was delicious! The kids (and especially) the husband loved it! And it’s fairly easy. This will be in the regular dinner rotation. Thank you!

  18. Amazing! Loved this recipe, even better than Olive Garden! Thank you!! Looking forward to making more of your dishes!

  19. Looks delicious! I’ll be making it for New year’s Eve tomorrow! Do you make yours in a baking pan or glass casserole dish? Will it make a difference?

  20. I made this for our Christmas dinner this year and my family gave raving reviews. It’s such a simple recipe for everyday but my family thought it was so good they want it for Christmas every year! I used store bought sauces and made no recipe alterations and it was BOMB dot com! Thank you so much Sabrina!

  21. I have been making this kopy Kat recipe for years (since this is my favorite O.G. dish!)! I do exactly as you have, but I love cottage cheese in all my Italian dishes, just like the flavor better than ricotta, I use a little less Alfredo to avoid a chef-boy-r-dee flavor lol, and sometimes I use a little olive oil when I mix the topping. This is one of my families favorite recipes and pairs wonderfully with breaded chicken (they insist on meat so I add it to the SIDE!)!! ?

  22. This sounds amazing! Can I leave out the ricotta or substitute it with something else? My husband and I don’t like ricotta. Thanks!

    1. I haven’t substituted anything for ricotta in this recipe, but I know you can substitute cottage cheese or mascarpone in most recipes. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you do!

      1. I’ve substituted cream cheese and it works great! I don’t always have ricotta, but I do always have cream cheese in the fridge. In a pinch, give it a try. Delicious!!

  23. Baked this beauty copy cot today . Only substitution we did was gouda cheese for Fontina cheese . Delicious ?. Thank you

    1. Yum!!! I added Italian sausage and did a pre-grated blend of 6 Italian cheeses! Turned out great!

    1. Oh no! I’m able to find it at any local grocer around here. You can use a mild provolone, gruyere, or gouda cheese to substitue if needed. Good luck!

      1. Can I freeze this? Should I bake first or freeze before baking? Can I make ahead (like in the morning) and

        1. Yes, I would freeze it unbaked. When you’re ready to serve it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and bake the next day.

  24. What is the green stuff sprinkled on top? I notice that ingredient in the recipe posted but I see it in the photo!

    1. I just sprinkled a little parsley on top for presentation. Totally optional. I hope you enjoy the dish.

  25. Fontina cheese is not readily available to me as I am located in another part of the world. Would this recipe still work without it? I’m not fussed about replicating Olive Garden’s recipe, but instead, I want it to still taste good.

    1. Yes, it would work to leave out but you could also substitue with a mild provolone, gruyere or gouda cheese. Enjoy!

    2. I absolutely love Olive Garden’s ziti and this tastes exactly like it. It’s a family favorite and we’ve had it probably bout 4 times now in the past couple months and we’re making it again tonight! Thank you!

  26. You have some really great recipes. I see you listed servings and calories but I have the carbs. I am diabetic and I am on a stick diet. I have to know every carb so I can adjust my insulin. Can you please list carbs. I love these recipes!

    1. I’m so glad you’re loving the recipes. 🙂 All of the nutritional content comes from a computer plug in not a nutritionalist. I would suggest calculating on your own to be sure it’s completely accurate since it has to be so precise.

    2. I’m a Type2 diabetic. I’ve just made it using chickpea pasta (ziti, available at Target, $3 for 8oz box,, other shapes available as well), very good protein and fiber numbers to overcome what few sugars are present. Prego makes a no-sugar added pasta sauce that works very nicely. All that being said, my timer for letting it set up after coming out of the oven just went off, and if it tastes half as good as it smells, this is a real keeper.

  27. Hi! Is there a specific brand (or recipe) of marinara and alfredo you use? Mine didn’t come out quite right and I think it’s because of the sauces I used. Thanks!

  28. I just made this for company and everyone absolutely raved about it! I added sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, and tomatoes. Thank you for a fantastic recipe!

  29. I made this recipe for a few of my friends and it was a huge hit!! Everyone went back for seconds and wanted to take some home. I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who loves a good 5 cheese ziti!! It tastes very similar to the Olive Garden 5 cheese Ziti al Forno!!

    1. I would suggest making it all up to step 4 and then right before baking, complete step 5 and bake. Hope this helps!

    1. No, I’m sorry but that would completely change the recipe and it would no longer be a copycat of Olive Garden.

  30. What??? You tease us with reassurances that this drool-worthy dish can be turned into lasagna then give no specifics for added ingredients or changes in directions? Please, please give some details, or even a whole recipe. Thanks so much!

      1. Yay! In hopeful anticipation, I had added Dinner Then Dessert to my Bloglovin’ feed. I already know that 3 out of the 4 of us will love this, and the to-come lasagna. (My older son doesn’t like cheese! I know, right?) Anyway, have a fantabulous rest of the week.

  31. This sounds so terrefic and I can not wait to get started

    on it. Sounds as if it is right up my alley