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Crockpot Baked Ziti

close up overhead shot of crockpot baked ziti in a crockpot
This crockpot baked ziti is just as good as the oven baked ziti and takes much less preparation! This family favorite is full of tender pasta, rich meaty sauce and ooey gooey melted cheese.
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Table of Contents
  1. CROCKPOT BAKED ZITI INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS CROCKPOT BAKED ZITI RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. FAQ
  6. More Recipes You'll Love
  7. JUMP TO RECIPE

Crockpot baked ziti is a delicious, rich hearty pasta dish with an amazing cheese topping that is so easy to throw together. Loaded with tender noodles, ground beef, seasoning, sauce, and three kinds of cheese, this simple dinner requires little work thanks to your slow cooker!

For a few more crockpot meals try our crockpot meatloaf, crockpot crack chicken and crockpot chicken and gravy.

close up shot of crockpot baked ziti topped with cheese in a crockpot being picked up with a spoon

MORE CROCKPOT RECIPES:
Crockpot Orange Chicken | Crockpot Ranch Pork Chops


CROCKPOT BAKED ZITI INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 (24-ounce) jars of pasta sauce (or make your own homemade pasta sauce)
  • 1 (16-ounce) box of baked ziti, uncooked
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided into 2 one-cup servings
  • Chopped fresh parsley

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

MEAT: If you don’t want to use ground beef, you can switch it out for different meats such as Italian sausage for some spice. You could also use ground chicken or ground turkey or you can leave out the meat to have a delicious vegetarian dish.

MEATBALLS: If you’re leaving out the meat in the slow cooker, you could make our homemade meatballs to serve on the side for those that want them.

PASTA: You could use rotini or penne pasta in place of the ziti noodles for this recipe. You could also substitute gluten-free pasta for anyone with a sensitivity. Whole wheat pasta would also work fine in this easy slow cooker recipe.

SPICE: Add a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes for some heat if you like things spicy.

VEGGIES: You could add mushrooms, squash, bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach to this easily.

SAUCE: Any type of tomato sauce would work well in this recipe. You can experiment with different options or make your own.

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HOW TO MAKE THIS CROCKPOT BAKED ZITI RECIPE

STEP ONE: Brown ground beef in a large skillet with the onions over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink. After cooked, drain meat if needed.

crockpot baked ziti process shot of meat being cooked

STEP TWO: Add in the garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper then stir it all together. Cook in the added ingredients for about 1 minute more, stirring it constantly.

crockpot baked ziti process shot of ingredients being cooked

STEP THREE: In the same pan, stir in 1 of the jars of pasta sauce into the ground beef mixture.

STEP FOUR: Using the remaining jar of pasta sauce, pour half a jar in the bottom of the slow cooker.

PRO TIP: Before adding anything into the slow cooker, spray it with cooking spray to make clean up easier or use a slow cooker liner.

STEP FIVE: Add half of the uncooked pasta on top of the pasta sauce.

crockpot baked ziti process shot of pasta being put in

STEP SIX: Pour half of the meat mixture on top of the uncooked ziti pasta.

STEP SEVEN: Top the meat mixture with ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

STEP EIGHT: Add the remaining half jar of pasta sauce on top of the cheeses.

crockpot baked ziti process shot of ingredients being put in

STEP NINE: Add another layer of uncooked ziti pasta on top of the pasta sauce.

STEP TEN: Cover the uncooked ziti pasta with the remaining meat mixture.

STEP ELEVEN: Place the lid on the crockpot. Cook this on the low setting for 6 hours.

PRO TIP: You can also cook on high for three hours, but I think it tastes best on low for longer.

STEP TWELVE: The last 15 minutes before serving add the last 1 cup of mozzarella to the top. Place the lid back on the slow cooker and let the mozzarella cheese melt before serving.

crockpot baked ziti process shot in a crockpot

STEP THIRTEEN: Serve and enjoy!

HOW TO SERVE

Serve this tasty pasta dish with a Caeser salad and cheesy pull-apart bread or garlic bread on the side and this meal will be a total winner. Sprinkle some extra parmesan or Reggiano cheese on top for an even more cheesy flavor.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: Refrigerate the cooled cheesy baked ziti in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. You can reheat it in the oven or microwave. Add a little water or milk when reheating if the pasta looks like it needs a bit of added moisture.

IN THE FREEZER: Cover cooled slow cooker ziti with a double layer of heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, toss it in the oven for about an hour.

crockpot baked ziti with cheese and parsley on a white plate

In my opinion, crockpot baked ziti is just as good as the oven-baked ziti and the best part is that it takes much less preparation! I love making anything I can in my crockpot because I can throw it together with only a few minutes of prep time, set it, and go! It’s an easy dinner that the whole family will gobble up.

FAQ

Can I freeze this pasta dish?

You can freeze the leftovers of this pasta dish. This pasta dish is great to make ahead and freeze to bake later as well. It will last up to three months in the freezer.

Can I double this recipe?

You can double this baked ziti recipe as long as all of the ingredients will fit in your slow cooker.

Why did my mozzarella cheese not melt properly?

If you are using pre-shredded cheese, it comes coated with an anti-caking agent. It is best for this recipe to shred your own cheese. 

More Recipes You’ll Love

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close up overhead shot of crockpot baked ziti in a crockpot

Crockpot Baked Ziti

5 from 5 votes
This crockpot baked ziti is just as good as the oven baked ziti and takes much less preparation! This family favorite is full of tender pasta, rich meaty sauce and ooey gooey melted cheese.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ cup onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced (2 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 48 ounces pasta sauce or make your own!
  • 16 ounces baked ziti uncooked
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cup mozzarella shredded (divided into 2 one cup servings)
  • chopped fresh parsley

Instructions
 

  • Brown ground beef in a skillet with onions until cooked through. Drain meat if needed.
  • Add garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper then stir together. Cook for about one minute, stirring it constantly.
  • Stir in 1 of the jars of pasta sauce into the ground beef mixture.
  • Take the second jar of sauce and pour half in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Pour half the uncooked ziti pasta on top of the sauce pasta.
  • Pour half of the meat mixture on top of the uncooked ziti pasta.
  • Top the meat mixture with the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
  • Add the remaining half jar of pasta sauce on top of the cheeses.
  • Add the other half of the uncooked ziti pasta on top of the pasta sauce.
  • Cover the uncooked ziti pasta with the remaining meat mixture.
  • Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on low six hours.
  • Fifteen minutes before serving, add the last cup of mozzarella cheese on top and replace the lid until everything melts.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

TIP: Before adding anything to the slow cooker, spray it with cooking spray to make clean up easier or use a slow cooker liner.
TIP: You can also cook on high for three hours, but I think it tastes best on low for longer.

Nutrition

Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 344mg | Potassium: 397mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 375IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 300mg | Iron: 2mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

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    • Nessa says

      5 stars
      If you do want to add spinach, mushrooms, and bell peppers which part will you add? When your cooking the meat with the onions or uncooked when layering the ingredients in crockpot? I do know mushroom and spinach cook quickly so just want to know when. I do add them do I cook them with the meat or add them uncook?

      • Layne Kangas says

        Hi, Nessa – bell peppers could be cooked with the meat. For the spinach and mushrooms – some people add in their layers right at the start and others stir them in for the last hour of cooking. Hope you enjoy!

  1. Felicia Cary says

    5 stars
    This looks like a very good recipe and it was very well laid out and explained. Also used everyday ingredients that everyone has access to and offered alternatives if you want to change it up. I will be trying this soon.

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