Slow cooker baked ziti recipe is a cheesy and delicious one pot meal perfect for busy nights. Your family can enjoy a great meal with little work but tons of flavor.

Slow cooker of baked ziti with a wooden spoon.

Crock Pot baked ziti recipe

You can enjoy everything you love about traditional Ziti in this easy slow cooker recipe. You will save on clean up and everyone will absolutely love this recipe.

It is so nice coming home to dinner ready to enjoy. The entire meal is so simple.

There isn’t any need for a separate pot for the pasta because that goes in the crock pot too. Seriously, this is the easiest recipe but oh so delicious.

It is so cheesy and tasty for the best comfort food. The blend of ground beef and sausage make this meal so hearty and delicious.

This recipe is a must try for sure. Your entire family will love it and it is so easy to make. Plus, it is very frugal.

Slow cooker of baked ziti with a wooden spoon.
Ingredients for recipe: ground beef, ground sausage, onion, minced garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, beef broth, penne, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese.

Ingredients for Crock pot Ziti

  • ground beef
  • ground sausage
  • onion
  • egg
  • minced garlic
  • salt
  • Italian Seasoning
  • diced tomatoes
  • crushed tomatoes
  • beef broth
  • penne or ziti pasta
  • ricotta cheese
  • mozzarella cheese (hand shredded)
Bowl of crock pot baked ziti.

How to make crock pot baked ziti

  • First, cook the ground beef and onion in a large skillet until browned. You will need to break up the meat as it cooks.
  • Then, remove the pan from the heat and mix in the crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, salt, Italian seasoning and beef broth. Make sure to stir everything really good so that it is well combined. You can use a large bowl if your pan is not big enough.
  • Next, use a small bowl and stir together the ricotta cheese, egg and parmesan cheese.
Two photos of meat sauce in skillet and a bowl of cheese mixture.
  • Then spread a little bit of the meat mixture into the bottom of the crock pot. You want the entire bottom to be covered.
  • Next, top with this mixture with ½ of the pasta and then pour ½ of the remaining sauce on top of the pasta.
  • Finally, put spoonfuls of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the sauce and sprinkle ½ of the mozzarella cheese on top of that.
Three photos of pasta going into crock pot, topping with ricotta and adding shredded cheese.
  • Finally, top with the remaining ingredients. Layer the pasta, meat sauce, ricotta mixture and remaining mozzarella on top.
  • Now just cover and cook the uncooked ziti. You can cook on high for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours or until the pasta is tender. You want the pasta to be al dente so it does not get mushy.
  • Place the lid on for the cheese to melt. About 10 to 15 minutes cook time should do the trick. Enjoy.
Crock pot of slow cooker baked ziti.

Can you put raw pasta in slow cooker?

Yes, you can. Plus, it is great because it means one less pot to clean. Less clean up is always a great thing.

Just be careful not to over cook the pasta or it will become mushy. It is best to cook it al dente.

Crock pot of slow cooker baked ziti.

What to serve with baked ziti

  • We like to serve it with a simple side salad or Easy Grilled Broccoli.  Both of these are very simple and go great with this dish.

How to store leftovers:

Place leftovers inside an airtight container in the fridge. It will last up to 5 days.

If you need it to last longer, freeze the leftovers up to 3 months. Just make sure to use a really good freezer container that seals tightly.

When ready to serve, allow it thaw in the fridge overnight. Then reheat in the microwave until heated through.

Crock pot of slow cooker baked ziti.

Baked Ziti Tips

  • I recommend buying block mozzarella cheese and grating it by hand for this recipe. It will melt better and will not be as greasy. The cheese melts smoother and all around tastes better.
  • Cook the pasta al dente. You do not want to over cook the pasta or it will be mushy.
  • Use a crock pot liner. These are so handy and make clean up so easy. If you don’t have any, try spraying your crock pot with cooking spray. This will also help with clean up.

Bowl of slow cooker baked ziti.

Variation ideas:

  • Meat. Ground beef, ground turkey or ground Italian sausage will work in this recipe. You can use the one you prefer. I have even mixed some of these together.
  • Tomato sauce. If you prefer a thinner consistency add a can of tomato sauce to the recipe. You could also used diced tomatoes.
  • Veggies. Bell peppers add even more flavor. You can add it to the meat as it browns or just toss them in the slow cooker.

    They get really tender and if you diced them fine the kids won’t even notice. I think mushrooms would also be delicious.
  • Pasta. You don’t have to use penne pasta. Anything will work. Some ideas include: elbow, bow tie, rigatoni or whole wheat pasta.
  • Try using a jar of pasta sauce instead of tomatoes if you find you are out. This meal is just so versatile.
  • Cottage cheese is a really good substitute for ricotta in dishes like this. In fact, I often combine the 2 and they make a really creamy and delicious mixture for the pasta dish.

Print this Crock pot Ziti recipe below:

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti Recipe

5 from 10 votes
Slow cooker baked ziti recipe is a delicious one pot meal perfect for busy weeks. Your family can enjoy a great meal with little work but tons of flavor.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 15 mins
Servings 6
Cuisine Italian
Course Main Course
Calories 759
Author Eating on a Dime

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (You can also use ground sausage or ground turkey)
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 3 cans crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 16 oz ziti pasta
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, cook ground beef and onion until browned. Break up the meat as it cooks.
  • Remove from heat and then mix in crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, salt, Italian seasoning and beef broth. Stir to combine all the ingredients together.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, egg and parmesan cheese.
  • Spread a small amount of the meat mixture into the bottom of the crock pot and make sure that the entire bottom is covered.
  • Top with this mixture with ½ of the pasta and then pour ½ of the remaining sauce on top of the pasta.
  • Place spoonfuls of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the sauce and sprinkle ½ of the mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Then top with the remaining pasta, meat sauce, ricotta cheese and remaining mozzarella on top.
  • Cover and cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours on high until the pasta is tender.
  • Then top off the crock pot sit for 10-15 minutes. Then serve warm and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*I recommended buying block mozzarella cheese and grating it my hand. It will melt better and will not be as greasy.
*Store the leftovers in an air tight container for up to 5-7 days.  

Nutrition Facts

Calories 759kcal, Carbohydrates 75g, Protein 42g, Fat 32g, Saturated Fat 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat 2g, Monounsaturated Fat 11g, Trans Fat 1g, Cholesterol 134mg, Sodium 1209mg, Potassium 1110mg, Fiber 7g, Sugar 12g, Vitamin A 963IU, Vitamin C 20mg, Calcium 446mg, Iron 6mg

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More Crock Pot Pasta recipes:

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families.

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Comments

  1. Hi Carrie! I noticed the ingredients list doesn’t list an egg but the directions do. I’m assuming it’s one egg for binding. I’m going to try this tomorrow, thanks for all the great recipes!

  2. Yes, I use 1 large egg and mix it with the parmesan cheese and ricotta cheese for binding. I have updated the recipe in this post. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi! Should you stir it at anytime. I’m noticing the outside noodles are so dente, but the middle ones are not. Do I just keep adding time?