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This Easy Gluten Free Baked Ziti is the perfect gluten-free comfort food meal. It’s made with perfectly cooked noodles drenched in a hearty tomato sauce and layered with three kinds of cheese.

Easy Baked Ziti recipe hot from the oven.

Gluten-Free Baked Ziti with Ricotta

There is nothing more comforting than digging into a giant tray of baked ziti. I mean, it’s cheesy, saucy, beefy, flavorful, and so hearty. It really doesn’t get better than that! 

This Gluten-Free Baked Ziti is a family favorite. This recipe makes a ton and can easily be prepped ahead of time for an easy meal prep option. 

Just a few basic ingredients and 15 minutes to prep!

making pasta for baked ziti recipe with ricotta

Ingredients Needed

  • Pasta: We like to use Tinkyada or Jovial for gluten-free, but feel free to use whatever brand you prefer.
  • Ground Beef: If you’d rather, use ground turkey for a lower-fat option.
  • Store-bought Marinara Sauce: Grabbing a store bought marinara saves time
  • Cheeses: You’ll need ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan.
  • Seasonings: We spice our dish up with a blend of Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder.
  • Olive Oil: To enhance the texture and flavor of the sauce. We use it to sauté the aromatics and brown the beef before assembling the sauce.
  • Aromatics: We use freshly minced garlic and finely chopped onion to create a flavor base for the sauce.
  • Eggs: To help bind the ricotta mixture.

Can I Use Penne Instead of Ziti for Baked Ziti?

You sure can, except then it wouldn’t be called baked ziti. 😉 

You can really swap in any short pasta shape you like! Keep in mind that different pasta shapes require different cook times.

Making gluten free easy baked ziti

How To Make Baked Ziti

This hearty dinner takes a quick 15 minutes to prep! 

  1. Cook the pasta: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook al dente according to box directions. Drain, then add back into the pot with a splash of oil.
  2. Make the sauce: In a large dutch oven, heat oil, then add onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in ground beef and cook until no pink remains. Add in the marinara and seasonings, then simmer for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Prep the ricotta: In a bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan, garlic powder, eggs, salt, and black pepper. 
  4. Assemble: Combine the pasta and sauce, then transfer half to a 9×13” baking pan. Layer on a scoop of ricotta, top that with mozzarella, then repeat the layers. Finish with parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake: Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, then bake at 400ºF until the cheese is bubbling and golden.

Do You Cover Baked Ziti While Baking?

Nope! Leaving the dish uncovered is what allows the cheese to get deliciously golden. 

If you do notice the cheese burning before the casserole is cooked through, cover the top with foil and continue to cook.

How Do I Make Ziti Not Dry?

Just use plenty of sauce! While baked pasta is sometimes at risk of drying out, we never have an issue with this recipe. The pasta to sauce ratio is perfect!

Easy gluten free baked ziti

Tips and Notes

  • Cook the pasta al dente. When you boil the pasta, cook it for 1-2 minutes less than what’s listed on the box. If you cook it fully, it can become overcooked in the oven.
  • Simmer the sauce longer. I list just 10 minutes of simmering time, but the longer the better! More time gives the flavors time to really come out.
  • Add veggies. Bulk your baked pasta up by sautéing more veggies with the onion and garlic. Try chopped bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, you name it. 
  • Swap the pasta. Ziti is great, but you can also use another short pasta shape you like—gluten-free or not.
  • Use another protein. Swap the ground beef out for ground turkey or make it vegetarian with crumbled tempeh or a meatless variety of ground beef.
  • Make it eggless. While the eggs do help bind the ricotta mixture together, you can leave them out if preferred. The texture will just be slightly different.

Serving Suggestions

Baked ziti is delicious on its own, but we love to round out our meal with a couple of side dishes. Here are a few favorites:

Making Ahead of Time (Some For Now, Some For Later!)

Baked ziti is a great make-ahead meal! It can easily be stored in the fridge or freezer.

To prepare ahead of time for the freezer:

Assemble the casserole up until the point of baking. Cool completely, then wrap in two layers of plastic wrap. Store overnight in the fridge or for 1-2 months in the freezer.

When you’re ready to bake:

Defrost in the refrigerator overnight if frozen, then bake for 30-35 minutes or until hot all the way through.

How to Store

Leftover baked ziti will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Once it’s baked, I don’t recommend freezing it because the texture of the cheese won’t hold up when thawed.

To reheat, cover with foil, then bake at 350ºF in the oven until heated through (about 15-20 minutes).

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Easy gluten free baked ziti

Gluten Free Baked Ziti

5 from 6 votes
This Easy Baked Ziti is the perfect gluten-free comfort food meal. It’s made with perfectly cooked noodles drenched in a hearty tomato sauce and layered with three kinds of cheese.
Servings 8 -10
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 24 ounces ziti or penne gluten-free or not
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 pound grass-fed ground beef or ground turkey
  • 2-24 oz. jars good quality marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes more to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 16 oz. container ricotta
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  • Pre-heat oven to 400ºF and set a 9 x 13” baking pan on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente—about 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions state. Drain the pasta through a colander and return to the pot and mix together with a splash of olive oil.
  • Make the meat sauce: Heat oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Once hot add onions and garlic cook for 3-4 minutes. Add meat and cook until no pink remains, about 7 minutes. Add marinara sauce, italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to the pan and combine. Bring sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. The longer you can let simmer, the better! Taste and adjust spices as desired then remove from heat.
  • Prepare ricotta mixture: in a medium bowl by combining ricotta, ¼ cup parmesan, garlic powder, eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  • Combine the cooked pasta and the meat sauce.
  • Transfer half of the ziti in the 9x13 pan. Then dollop in scoops of the ricotta mixture and sprinkle over 1 cup of the mozzarella. Repeat another layer with the pasta, followed by the ricotta and then the reamaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbling and golden in spots.
  • Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with additional parmesan cheese if desired


Calories: 477kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 43gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 531mgFiber: 5g
Course: Dinner
Method: Baking
Author: Lexi

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This recipe turned out awesome. Plenty of moisture and creamy. I followed the recipe exactly(even the brand of pasta). We like seasoning so I doubled the italian seasoning and added an extra clove of garlic.

  2. Hi Rachel – looks so good. What GF pasta would you say holds up the best for this dish. I use Jovial pasta typically, as many of the other brands are all corn/white rice. Also, you mentioned in another recipe “fresh” GF fettucine – which brand is that?


  3. 5 stars
    This was another simple, easy, delicious meal! I also cut recipe in half, and used almond milk “ricotta” and dairy free cheese– still came out great! Also added some chopped basil in the ricotta mix for additional flavor.

  4. Hi, this looks delicious! I have a question, I like to use chickpea pasta (Banza) or Tumminia wheat pasta (Papa Vince), how do you think it will hold up? Thank you!

    1. I think the chickpea pasta would be ok. Cook about 3 minutes less than package directions say. I can’t speak for the other!

  5. 5 stars
    LOVE this recipe! We’ve made it multiple times. I make half the recipe and still have tons of left overs! Will you by chance be posting the nutrition facts for this dish?