A pan of baked ziti fresh from the oven. Creamy melted cheese is on top with noodles coated in a salmon colored sauce are visible underneath.

Easy Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti is one of those classic Italian-American dishes that’s available in almost every Italian style restaurant I’ve ever visited. This easy version is perfect for our pantry challenge because, except for the cheese that you put on top, it’s made completely with shelf stable ingredients.

This version of Easy Baked Ziti is vegetarian, though you could add some cooked Italian sausage to the pasta along with the sauces if you like. The recipe is far from an authentic version of baked ziti, but you’ll love how quickly this recipe comes together. It’s perfect for a busy weeknight since there are only four ingredients.

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What you will need to prepare Easy Baked Ziti

From the Pantry:

  • Ziti Pasta
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Alfredo Sauce

From the Refrigerator:

  • Mozzarella Cheese

Before we continue, I have a confession to make. If you look closely at our photos, you’ll discover that I used Penne instead of Ziti. That was because our local market didn’t have any Ziti, or much of any kind of pasta right now, so I used what I had on hand. I’m sharing this with you, so you’ll realize that you can make this dish with pretty much any shape of pasta you have on hand. It doesn’t really matter. This could be baked Elbows, or Baked Rotini. I would just avoid stick shaped pasta like spaghetti, fettuccine, and linguine.

How do you prepare Baked Ziti?

The first step is to boil your water and cook your pasta. Once that’s done, drain the pasta and pour it into a 9X13 inch baking dish that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Cooked Ziti has been poured into a baking dish.

Open the marinara sauce and the Alfredo sauce, and pour them on top of the pasta.

A blob of Alfredo Sauce is poured over top of a layer of Marinara sauce on top of the pasta.

Use whatever brands of sauce you like. Because we’re not adding any additional seasoning, I like to use a sauce that has some added flavors rather than plain marinara. I chose a sauce with added basil and garlic.

A jar of Tomato Basil and Garlic Pasta Sauce

The sauces we had in our house were from Aldi. I like these sauces because they’re very inexpensive. The Marinara sauce is only $0.98 for a 24 ounce jar, and the Alfredo Sauce is only $1.49 in our area.

A jar of Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce

Carefully stir the sauces into the pasta. Carefully, because the pan is pretty full, and you don’t want to spill. Keep mixing until there’s only one color to the sauce, and all of the pasta is coated. (If you’re not lazy like me, you could mix it all together in a bowl and then pour it into the baking pan, but I didn’t want to wash any extra dishes.)

The ziti has been combined with both sauces in the pan.

At this point, the hard part of preparing this meal is finished. Sprinkle the top with the Mozzarella cheese.

The baked ziti is ready for the oven.  It's been topped with shredded cheese.

Cover the pan loosely with foil and stick it into the oven. Allow it to bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and return it to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

A pan of baked ziti fresh from the oven. Creamy melted cheese is on top with noodles coated in a salmon colored sauce are visible underneath.

When it comes out of the oven, it will look and smell delicious. Allow it to rest for an additional 10 minutes before serving. You can use those 10 minutes to make a salad or some garlic bread before you serve up dinner.

A serving of baked Ziti on a plate. The noodles coated in the salmon colored sauce are visible under a layer of stretchy and melted cheese. The top has been garnished with curly green leaves.

We had the Baked Ziti with a salad and some garlic knots from the freezer. Everyone in our house loved this dish. As the person who’s responsible for getting dinner onto the table, I really appreciated how simple it was to prepare. The cooking time on the recipe is long, but my actual hands-on time was probably around ten to fifteen minutes.

A plated portion of ziti noodles in a creamy orange colored sauce topped with melted cheese.  Some green leaves are sprinkled on top for color.  This 4 ingredient Easy Baked Ziti Recipe only cost $5.43 to prepare.  It's vegetarian, and very delicious.

What do you think of our vegetarian version of Baked Ziti? Do you think that you’ll make it? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Baked Ziti

This simple meal comes together quickly and is very economical to prepare. The total cost for the ingredients for this recipe is $5.43 or about $0.68 per serving
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Resting 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 342 kcal


  • 1 (1 pound) package Ziti Pasta ($0.98)
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce ($0.98)
  • 1 (15 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce ($1.49)
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded ($1.98)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Spray a 9X13 inch baking dish with non stick spray.
  • Pour cooked, and drained, pasta into the sprayed baking dish.
  • Pour the marinara and Alfredo sauces on top of the pasta and mix together.
  • Stir until the two sauces are well incorporated and all of the pasta is coated. The sauce will be one solid color.
  • Sprinkle the top with the shredded Mozzarella cheese.
  • Tent the pan with foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove foil from pan and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted to your liking. If you prefer, you can allow it to brown a bit on top.
  • Remove the pan from oven and allow pasta to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

The following nutrition information was calculated for one-eight of the recipe prepared according to the recipe above.

Disclaimer:  Nutritional information is calculated using online tools such as those available at cronometer.com or verywellfit.com.  We make every attempt to ensure that the information is calculated correctly, but this information should be considered estimates.   Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe.  In addition, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition-fact sources, databases, and the algorithms used.   You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.  Under no circumstances will PattyCakesPantry.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information provided. 

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