Cheater Baked Ziti – Quick and Easy Recipe

Cheater Baked Ziti

Cheater Baked Ziti is a delicious and easy-to-make pasta dish that combines the flavors of classic baked ziti with a few shortcuts to save time in the kitchen. It is a comforting and cheesy casserole that is perfect for a weeknight dinner or a gathering with friends and family. The dish features cooked ziti pasta, marinara sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

To make this Cheater Baked Ziti, you can use store-bought marinara sauce or make your own if you prefer. The dish can be customized by adding cooked Italian sausage, ground beef, or even veggies like bell peppers and onions. The pasta is cooked until al dente, then mixed with the marinara sauce and half of the mozzarella cheese. It is then transferred to a baking dish and topped with the remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. The dish is baked until bubbly and golden brown on top, then served hot and gooey.


The Cheater Baked Ziti recipe requires the following ingredients:

  1. Pasta – 1 pound of ziti pasta is needed for this recipe. You can also use penne or rigatoni if desired.
  2. Ground Beef – 1 pound of ground beef is required to add heartiness to the dish.
  3. Marinara Sauce – 3 cups of marinara sauce is needed to create the base of the ziti.
  4. Ricotta Cheese – 2 cups of ricotta cheese is used to add creaminess and richness.
  5. Mozzarella Cheese – 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese is required to create that delicious cheesy topping.
  6. Parmesan Cheese – 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese is used to enhance the flavor of the dish.
  7. Garlic – 3 cloves of garlic are needed to add a savory taste.
  8. Italian Seasoning – 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning is used to add a fragrant and herby flavor to the ziti.
  9. Salt and Pepper – To season the dish to taste.

These ingredients can easily be found at your local grocery store and are the key components for creating a delicious Cheater Baked Ziti.

Preparation of Cheater Baked Ziti

Preparing Cheater Baked Ziti is a simple and straightforward process, requiring only a few steps. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make this delicious dish:

  1. Gather all the necessary ingredients for the recipe, including ziti pasta, pasta sauce, shredded cheese, and ground beef or sausage.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and lightly grease a baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
  3. Cook the ziti pasta according to the instructions on the package, usually boiling it in salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
  4. In a skillet, cook the ground beef or sausage over medium heat until browned. Drain any excess grease.
  5. Once the meat is cooked, add the pasta sauce to the skillet and stir until well combined. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  6. In the greased baking dish, layer half of the cooked ziti pasta. Pour half of the meat sauce over the pasta and spread it evenly. Sprinkle a layer of shredded cheese on top.
  7. Repeat the layering process with the remaining ziti pasta, meat sauce, and cheese.
  8. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  9. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes to allow the cheese to brown slightly.
  10. Once cooked, let the Cheater Baked Ziti cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired, and enjoy!

By following these simple steps, you can easily prepare a delicious and comforting Cheater Baked Ziti that will satisfy your cravings.

Tips from Professional Chefs for Making Cheater Baked Ziti

When it comes to making Cheater Baked Ziti, professional chefs have some handy tips that can take your dish to the next level. Here are a few expert suggestions to ensure your ziti is flavorful and perfectly cooked:

  1. Use high-quality ingredients: To elevate the taste of your Cheater Baked Ziti, opt for high-quality ingredients. This includes using fresh mozzarella, flavorful Italian sausage, and a good quality marinara sauce. These ingredients will add depth and complexity to your dish.
  2. Don’t overcook the pasta: It’s important to cook the pasta until it is al dente, which means it should still have a slight bite to it. Overcooking the pasta can result in a mushy texture. Remember to follow the cooking instructions on the package and taste the pasta for doneness before draining.
  3. Layer the ingredients: To ensure an even distribution of flavors, layer the ingredients in your baking dish. Start with a thin layer of sauce at the bottom, followed by a layer of pasta, cheese, and then repeat. This will give each bite a balanced combination of flavors.

Following these tips will help you create a delicious Cheater Baked Ziti that will impress your family and friends. Remember to have fun in the kitchen and make it your own by adding different ingredients or toppings to suit your taste preferences.


The Cheater Baked Ziti recipe is an absolute game changer for anyone looking to make an easy and delicious dinner. As a busy professional, I am always on the lookout for quick and straightforward recipes that don’t sacrifice flavor. This dish exceeded all my expectations!

First of all, I loved how simple the recipe was to follow. The instructions were clear, and I had all the ingredients on hand. The best part? It only took about 30 minutes from start to finish! I could hardly believe that such a flavorful dish could be made so quickly. The combination of the ziti noodles, ground beef, and marinara sauce created the perfect comfort food.

The final result was a cheesy, gooey, and absolutely mouthwatering baked ziti. The flavors melded together beautifully, and each bite was bursting with deliciousness. The dish was the perfect balance of creamy, tangy, and savory. I also appreciated that it made enough for leftovers, which I happily devoured the next day for lunch.

All in all, I highly recommend the Cheater Baked Ziti recipe. Whether you’re a novice cook or an experienced chef looking for a quick and tasty meal, this recipe is a winner. It’s become a staple in my weeknight dinner rotation, and I can’t wait to make it again!

The Cheater Baked Ziti is a delicious dish that I recently tried, and I must say it exceeded my expectations. As someone who loves pasta, I am always on the lookout for new and interesting recipes, and this one definitely caught my attention. The combination of flavors was simply fantastic, and it was incredibly easy to make.

What I loved most about this recipe is that it is a cheat version, meaning it takes much less time to prepare compared to traditional baked ziti. The recipe calls for store-bought marinara sauce, which saves a lot of time without compromising on flavor. The addition of Italian sausage adds a nice kick to the dish, and the melted mozzarella cheese on top gives it a gooey and satisfying finish.

I highly recommend trying this Cheater Baked Ziti recipe if you’re looking for a quick and easy meal that will please your taste buds. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, your family, or even guests, this dish is sure to impress. It’s a perfect comfort food option that will leave you feeling satisfied and wanting more. I can’t wait to make it again!

As someone who loves Italian food but doesn’t always have the time or patience to make complex dishes, I was thrilled to come across the recipe for Cheater Baked Ziti. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical at first. How could a simplified version of a classic dish like baked ziti live up to my expectations? But I was pleasantly surprised!

The recipe calls for just a few simple ingredients, most of which I already had in my pantry. The key to its simplicity is using jarred marinara sauce instead of making it from scratch. This saved me so much time and effort, without sacrificing any flavor. The addition of Italian sausage gave the dish a savory and slightly spicy kick, which I really enjoyed.

The best part of this recipe, however, is the addition of ricotta cheese. It added a creamy and cheesy element that took the baked ziti to a whole new level. I loved how it melted and blended with the other ingredients, creating a rich and indulgent dish. The final touch of mozzarella cheese on top created a golden and bubbly crust that was simply irresistible.

I highly recommend trying this Cheater Baked Ziti recipe for a quick and delicious weeknight meal. It’s perfect for those times when you’re craving comfort food but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

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