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Baked Ziti For One

Baked Ziti is classic comfort food made with ground beef, tomato sauce, and plenty of cheese. Easy single serving recipe.

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

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.

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Why This Recipe Works

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.

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

Ingredient Notes

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

  • Pasta: I use ziti noodles but you can also use penne instead. Ziti is a tube-shaped pasta that is great for baked casserole dishes and holds on to sauces well.
  • Olive oil: I use extra virgin olive oil in this baked ziti recipe as well as in every other recipe on One Dish Kitchen that calls for olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed form of olive oil. It is an unrefined oil and the highest-quality olive oil you can buy. Because of the way extra virgin olive oil is made, it retains more true olive taste. It also contains more of the vitamins and minerals found in olives. It's my favorite type of olive oil to use but you may use a lighter olive oil instead.
  • Onions and garlic: Chopped onions and garlic add quite a lot of flavor to this casserole, definitely don't leave them out.
  • Ground beef: You may use ground turkey instead for a lighter version.
  • Marinara sauce: This recipe calls for using 1 cup of sauce. Use you favorite brand of Marinara sauce or make a small batch of tomato sauce with our sauce recipe. See below for ways to use leftover ingredients.
  • Cheese: Ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese are all used in this recipe which helps make this dish extra cheesy and creamy.
  • Salt: To help flavor the ground beef.

How To Make This Recipe

  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.

Expert Tips

  • 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

Frequently Asked Questions

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 Do You 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 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 Size Baking Dish Is Best To Use For A 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.

What To Do With Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients left over from this baked ziti recipe, you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch 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

If you’ve tried this baked ziti or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

If you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see!

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: baked ziti, 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

How To Video

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.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • 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.

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

10 thoughts on “Baked Ziti For One”

  1. I made the Baked Ziti for one tonight and it was delicious with enough for another meal.
    I substituted cottage cheese for the Ricotta and it was great.
    I did not have any Marinara sauce so I used tomato sauce with a smidge of Italian seasoning and some powdered garlic added to it.
    This is really good and I will be marking my printed recipe with 3 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  2. 5 stars
    I tried this baked ziti for lunch now and it was so delicious! (I used the leftover mozarella, ricotta and Parmesan cheeses from the one dish baked lasagna I made a couple of weeks ago). It was so creamy due to the ricotta cheese and the recipe is very easy to follow. Love.. love.. love!

  3. 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).

  4. 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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