If time is short and a hungry mob is closing in, then this hearty Baked Ziti With Ricotta is the perfect choice. This tiktok dinner recipe went viral in a hot trending minute this year. And its not a surprise as week night casseroles are one of the quickest things a mom can make during the week – which also make second day lever overs easy peasy.
We’ve all been there. Between dance class, soccer practice, and homework, dinner somehow has to magically appear. That’s why this Viral Baked Ziti has become a weeknight staple in my house.
It’s so incredibly easy, and it’s always a crowd pleaser.
Maybe it’s the savory, meaty sauce.
Most likely it’s the bubbly, cheesy, baked-to-perfection golden top of mozzarella and Monterey jack.
And this quick meal is not just for weeknights, either. This classic Italian Baked Ziti is perfect as a potluck dish, BBQ side, or even for a funeral reception. It can be made in advance and frozen, and keeps well for leftovers. Just add this next to the viral baked feta pasta and you can eat and enjoy dinner all week long!
Is TikTok Baked Ziti with Ricotta actually good?
This recipe was all over trending social media channels because we all love carbs. Here are two amazing baked ziti recipes we tested out in our home:
Our opinion is that while it IS good as is, we do think this would be so much better if the recipe used Italian Sausage. Bob Evans makes it in a roll and it’s incredible. Swap that for the burger and it will burst with flavor!
Baked Ziti With Ricotta is also really versatile.
Change the meat to ground turkey, chicken, Italian sausage, or even use a plant-based meat for a vegetarian dish. Get creative and make your own alfredo and tomato sauces and top with fresh basil for a more gourmet affair.
However you choose to make it your own, your family will want you to make this tiktok famous recipe again and again!
What kinds of pasta can I use instead of ziti?
The best pastas to use with this recipe are short pastas that can hold the cheese and the sauce. If you want to veer away from ziti and try something a bit different, I suggest using
- Penne rigate
Gluten-free pastas will work equally well in this dish. Whatever pasta you choose, be sure to cook it al dente, as it will become mushy in the oven if it is overdone to start.
Can I add veggies to Baked Ziti With Ricotta?
Of course! Just like a classic lasagna, vegetables can be a great addition to Baked Ziti, making it healthier while also bulking it up. My choices of vegetable would be a combination of:
- Zucchini/Summer squash
- Bell pepper
- Fresh Basil
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt, toss, then roast the veggies (all but the basil) in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. You can then toss the veggies with everything before baking, or layer them in.
They will add some heft to your dish, so you can reduce the amount of pasta used, or just bake it all in a larger casserole dish. If using fresh basil, tear and garnish your Baked Ziti after removing it from the oven.
Veggies can easily be prepped in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days before using.
This recipe BURSTS in the Dish
I thought I could dump almost everything into the 9×13 pan and just mix it up, and I did. But it’s bursting! So it can be done but needs to be done carefully. Otherwise, use a BIG mixing bowl to mix it together, then spread it into the 9×13.
How do I freeze and thaw Baked Ziti?
Follow the recipe as normal, let cool and cover, first with plastic wrap, then with aluminum foil. Baked Ziti With Ricotta will keep in the freezer for as long as two months.
To rewarm, you can defrost overnight in the fridge and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or place the frozen dish in the oven but bake it for longer, about 50-60 minutes.
Remember to remove the plastic wrap before re-baking, but leave in place the aluminum foil until the last 10 minutes of cooking.
What is the best way to brown the cheese?
Top layers on casseroles do always look so super appetizing with that golden brown topped layer. Just melting regular cheese on top will result in…well…melted cheese. If you want a brown layer, use the broiler.
Just remember that broiling any dish requires care and paying attention, as it only takes a minute or two on a hot broiler to brown a dish. It is very easy to BURN the top of cheese without supervision.
What are the best sides to serve with Baked Ziti With Ricotta?
Because this is such a filling, savory dish on its own, I like to pair Baked Ziti with salads.
Here are a few great options from our side dish recipe blog:
Of course, garlic bread or bruschetta is a great side:
Or, try some delicious vegetable sides: