Enjoy all of the goodness of baked ziti with a fraction of the prep work! You don’t have to boil the noodles or brown the meat, just layer it up and bake it to perfection.
If you love baked pasta meals like lasagna and baked ziti, but hate the effort of putting them together, you are in the right place!
This recipe lets you skip the boiling and browning, that saves time and dirty dishes! You can have this family friendly dinner on the table looking like a rock star with very little prep.
Have you tried making no boil pasta recipes? It isn’t a fully new concept, I remember using no boil lasagna noodles as a kid.
But we still browned the meat. To be perfectly honest we boiled the pasta most of the time too.
Then a couple of years ago a blogging friend introduced us to no boil macaroni and cheese. We were instantly hooked.
Earlier this year I took it a step further and made a cheesy no boil Italian sausage pasta casserole with raw sausage. No boiling, no browning.
That got me thinking that it would be easy to convert some of our favorite recipes the same way. Mimi’s baked ziti has always been a favorite, but we only make it a couple of times a year because of the preparation involved.
Don’t get me wrong, it really isn’t a complicated recipe. But after a long day the thought of boiling pasta, browning meat and layering it all to bake can seem like a bit much.
If you can cut the steps to just layering and baking it seems much more doable when you are already tired. Guess what… it works fabulously!
You can really just put it together and bake it. You can kick your feet up while it bakes.
Then just toss together a salad or roast some broccoli and make some garlic bread while it rests. You will be extra popular at the dinner table and nobody will know you took a shortcut.
Easy alterations or substitutions
This recipe is easily made meatless by just omitting the ground beef. Then it’s a great meal for Lent or vegetarian friends.
You can also use water or vegetable broth instead of the chicken stock. Just make sure you get the right amount of liquid in there, the pasta will soak it right up.
If the sour cream seems strange, I assure you it’s good. This has been our favorite baked ziti recipe for years.
However you could easily use ricotta cheese instead of the sour cream. Or use cottage cheese if that’s your preference. Any of those options will work great.
Do you have to boil pasta before baking?
No, with enough liquid and a long enough bake time, there is no need to boil it first. This no-boil baked ziti is easy to make because you just put the ingredients in the pan and bake it until it’s ready to go.
More great no boil pasta ideas
Turn leftover ham into a delicious meal with a no boil macaroni and cheese and ham. It’s a comforting and easy meal that is kid friendly.
No boil recipes can be made in the slow cooker as well. Crock pot beef and noodles is a great example of that.
There are fun no boil side dish ideas as well. We love slow cooker macaroni and cheese with corn. It’s like two side dishes in one crock pot and it is delicious with barbecue or for an easy party side dish.
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No Boil Baked Ziti
- 24 oz jar spaghetti sauce
- 3 cups chicken broth or water if making vegetarian
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 16 oz uncooked ziti pasta
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1½ cups sour cream
- 8 oz provolone cheese slices or shredded
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425° F and grease a 9×13-inch pan.
- Spread half of the pasta in the bottom of the pan.
- Distribute the provolone cheese and sour cream over the pasta. Break the ground beef into small pieces, then distribute half of them over the casserole.
- Top with remaining pasta and ground beef.
- In a large bowl mix together the spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, garlic powder and oregano. Pour over top of the casserole.
- Tightly cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. The pasta should be close to al dente and the meat should look cooked.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the casserole and return to the oven uncovered. Bake 10-15 more minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned to your liking.
- Let rest 10 minutes before serving.