Baked Ziti Recipe With Ground Beef and Italian Sausage

Baked ziti with ground beef

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
815 Calories
43g Fat
50g Carbs
57g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 815
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 43g 55%
Saturated Fat 18g 90%
Cholesterol 290mg 97%
Sodium 899mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Protein 57g
Calcium 494mg 38%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This delicious baked ziti casserole is similar to lasagna, but it's not as time-consuming. The ziti is cooked and tossed with the ricotta and meat sauces, and then it's layered with more sauce and cheese.

Lean ground beef and Italian sausage are combined with the onions and cooked together for this dish. This ideal blend of meats adds extra flavor and not only tastes great but helps the dish to stay moist during cooking. 

This hearty pasta bake makes a fabulous meal with a simple salad and crusty garlic bread.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (at least 85%)
  • 1/2 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (whole milk)
  • 3/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (grated, divided)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded, divided)
  • 8 ounces ziti pasta
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for ziti with ground beef
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  2. Heat the oven to 350 F / 180 C / Gas 4. Lightly grease or spray a 2 1/2 to a 3-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

    Grease baking pan
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  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, sausage, and onion. Cook, stirring until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is translucent.

    beef, sausage, and oil in pan
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  4. Add the garlic to the meat mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer.

    Add the garlic
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  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 to 12 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.

    Add crushed tomatoes
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  6. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, the egg, and 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese. Stir until well blended.

    Add the ricotta
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  7. While the sauce is simmering, cook the ziti in boiling salted water following directions on the package. Drain well.

    Cook the ziti
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  8. Add the hot drained pasta to the bowl with the ricotta cheese mixture. Toss lightly to blend.

    Add hot drained ziit to bowl
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  9. Add 2 cups of the meat sauce to the ziti mixture.

    Add meat sauce to pasta
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  10. Transfer half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.

    Transfer mixture to baking dish
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  11. Spread about half of the meat sauce over the pasta, and then top with the remaining Parmesan cheese and half of the remaining Mozzarella.

    Spread meat sauce and add cheese
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  12. Top with the remaining pasta mixture.

    Top with more ziti
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  13. Then finish with the remaining meat sauce and remaining Mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

    topping dish with cheese
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  14. Bake for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly around the edges.

    baked ziti dish
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  15. Serve with garlic bread and a tossed green salad or Caesar salad.