This Slow Cooker Baked Ziti is actually made completely in the crockpot — even the pasta! It is so much easier than the traditional version but packs all of the same flavor!
I know. I’m not even 50 words in and I’ve cheated already.
This Slow Cooker Baked Ziti is obviously NOT baked. Though I suppose if you were really set on it you could stir in an egg and some ricotta (although Serious Eats isn’t upset my recipe’s lack of it), spread it into a baking dish and bake it.
I, however, am not.
And I can celebrate National Pasta Day any which way I want! (And if you’re looking for more ways to celebrate this momentous occasion — check out some bonus recipes from friends down below!)
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that figuring out how to cook pasta in the slow cooker was pretty life changing for me.
I have one other confession: my Ziti is not Ziti. It’s Penne.
But you know what? Ziti is not that easy to find around here, and since my “Baked” Ziti isn’t all that traditional in the first place, why cause a big fuss about it?
I’ve got two little girls who cause a big fuss about enough things that a slight change in the shape of a pasta noodle doesn’t rank very high on my list. You know??
Do you know what I love most about slow cooker dinners?
That moment, often around 5:00, when you would normally be all like, “Riiiiiiiight…… dinner…..”, but instead you’ve got things totally under control. How much do you feel like a rockstar in that moment?
- I used my trusty 4 qt slow cooker for this recipe and it was pretty full, but it worked. If you have a bigger one, it’s maybe not a bad idea to use that!
- Once again, these Slow Cooker Liners are lifesavers. I hate cleaning my crockpot!
- Feel free to swap out the sauces, herbs, and cheese for those of your choice — it really is easy to customize to your tastes!
See how easy it is to make!
- 1 lb ground beef, turkey or Italian sausage
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 650ml jar pasta sauce (about 2½ cups)
- 2½ cups water or chicken broth
- 1 375g box Penne or Ziti (or other short) pasta (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- In a large skillet, cook ground beef and onion until browned. Stir in garlic and salt and cook 1 minute.
- Add beef mixture, basil, parsley, tomatoes, pasta sauce and water to a 4qt (or larger) slow cooker. Stir.
- Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
- Add pasta and stir until combined. Cover and continue cooking for 20-45 minutes (depending on how hot your slow cooker is) -- check and stir at the 20 minute mark.
- Sprinkle with cheese and cover for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.
More pasta recipes from the Food Holiday Bloggers!