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Baked Ziti For One

Single serving version of classic Italian American comfort food. Ziti pasta immersed in ground beef, tomato sauce, and plenty of cheese. Easy to make and incredibly delicious!

Baked ziti topped with melted mozzarella cheese in a small baking dish garnished with parsley on a metal tray with a glass and a bottle of red wine

If you've got a craving for lasagna but don't want to go through all the hassle, this easy baked ziti recipe is for you.

This single serving baked ziti is ideal for anyone cooking for themselves and might also be enough for two people if served with a side dish.

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What Is The Difference Between Baked Ziti and Lasagna?

Lasagna and baked ziti share many of the same ingredients but baked ziti is so much easier to put together.

Baked ziti is very much like a classic lasagna casserole, however there is no layering of noodles. The ingredients are mixed together, then spooned into a small baking dish and topped with a hefty amount of melted cheese.

What Is Baked Ziti?

Baked ziti is a simple casserole made with a zesty meat sauce, tender pasta, creamy ricotta, and mozzarella cheese.

Typically, the pasta is cooked separately while the meat sauce is being prepared. Then, cooked ziti is combined with the sauce and other ingredients, topped with cheese and baked in the oven.

A forkful of a baked ziti casserole with melted cheese hanging from the fork.

Ingredients

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  • pasta
  • olive oil
  • chopped onions
  • garlic
  • ground beef
  • Marinara sauce
  • ricotta
  • mozzarella cheese
  • salt
  • Parmesan cheese

How To Make Baked Ziti For One

  1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet with the chopped onions and garlic. If you have a lot of oil left in the pan after cooking the ground beef, then transfer the cooked beef to a paper towel lined plate to drain, remove the oil from the pan and continue with the steps in the recipe. If you use ground beef with a low fat content, you won't have much, if any oil to remove (a little is ok).
  2. Stir in the sauce and cooked pasta.
  3. Combine the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, some of the mozzarella cheese, and salt in a small bowl. Fold into the ground beef/pasta mixture.
  4. Spoon 2 tablespoons of Marinara sauce into a small lightly greased baking dish; top with half of the pasta/meat mixture. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella over the noodles.
  5. Add the rest of the meat sauce and noodles and top with 2 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
  6. Cover and bake in a 350 degree F oven (177 degrees C) for 20 minutes.

Variations

  • You can use ground turkey, ground pork, or any combination instead of ground beef.
  • Feel free to use a different type of pasta in this baked ziti recipe. I would recommend using a similarly shaped pasta such as penne or rigatoni. But truly, just about any type of pasta will work.
  • Other cheeses work well in this recipe and feel free to add additional cheese if you'd like a cheesier baked pasta dish. Creamy fontina, smoked gouda, and sharp cheddar all work well.
  • Stir in a handful of fresh spinach into your meat sauce mixture or add sliced mushrooms.
  • You can make a vegetarian baked ziti by leaving out the meat and substituting other vegetables such as chopped zucchini.
An overhead view of a small baked ziti casserole baked in a small baking dish on a metal tray with a glass and bottle of red wine and parsley

Can You Assemble Baked Ziti Ahead Of Time?

Yes. Prepare the baked ziti with ricotta up until you are ready to bake it. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bake according to the directions when ready.

How To Freeze Baked Ziti With Ricotta

Freeze for up to a month in a tightly sealed dish. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking. Bake as directed in the recipe.

This single serving baked ziti recipe can easily be doubled to make two casseroles.

What To Do With Leftover Ingredients

Other Single Serving Pasta Recipes

Consider using any leftover dried ziti in these easy recipes:

Baked ziti topped with melted mozzarella cheese in a small baking dish garnished with parsley on a metal tray with a glass and a bottle of red wine

Best Dish To Use In Baked Ziti For One

For this recipe I use a 10-inch skillet to cook the meat and sauce. I bake the ziti in a 5-inch baking dish which has an area of 25 square inches. For best results, use a pan of similar size.

If you would like additional information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

baked ziti in white baking dish

Baked Ziti For One

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cool: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keywords: casserole, pasta
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 703kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dried ziti (or penne pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 4 ounces ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt , divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup Marinara sauce or tomato sauce (plus 2 tablespoons for the bottom of the dish)
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 6 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese , divided
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese , divided

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). While the oven is heating, bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender. Drain and set pasta aside.
  • Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, ground beef, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is cooked through and no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the Marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, stir in the cooked pasta and set pan aside.
  • Combine the ricotta, 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Fold into the pasta/meat sauce mixture.
  • Spoon 2 tablespoons of Marinara sauce into a lightly greased 5-inch baking dish; top with half of the pasta/meat mixture. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella over the noodles.
  • Add the rest of the meat sauce and noodles and top with 2 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover and bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before eating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 703kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 62g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 2176mg | Potassium: 1362mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 1908IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 862mg | Iron: 6mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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About The Author

6 thoughts on “Baked Ziti For One”

  1. I’m am not a fan of ricotta cheese. Would one of the other cheeses ( fontina, Gouda,cheddar)you mentioned be a good substitute?

    Thanks

    1. If you have a lot of oil left in the pan after cooking the ground beef, then transfer the cooked beef to a paper towel lined plate to drain, remove the oil from the pan and continue with the steps in the recipe. If you use ground beef with a low fat content, you won’t have muchh, if any oil to remove (a little is ok).

  2. 5 stars
    Looks yummy! One of my favorites – Baked Ziti, nice to see your recipe, easy to follow, will cook this weekend. Thank you!

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