Baked Ziti

An Italian classic made gluten-free and every bit as delicious! Recipe from my grandmother, it's beyond easy to make and always a crowd pleaser!

gluten-free baked ziti #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree
Baked Ziti

Simple, Cozy and Delicious!

I can’t believe I haven’t shared our recipe for gluten-free Baked Ziti!

It’s a classic Italian recipe from my grandmother– made gluten-free of course!–  and we make it all the time!

It’s easy, cozy, crowd-pleasing and fills up hungry teens!

Plus it’s one of those meals that looks impressive but is crazy easy to whip together!

We still call it Baked Ziti even though we’ve never seen a gluten-free ziti — just penne. So we make it with gluten-free penne, which is similar just a slightly different shape.

And it’s super easy to make!

All you need is:

your favorite gluten-free penne (we tend to use Barilla gluten-free for this recipe)




parmesan cheese

tomato sauce (below is our recipe for a simple one!)

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And it comes together quickly.

We always start with the sauce. You can use a pre-made sauce but coming from an Italian family, we always make our own sauce.

We have many different recipes but below is a simple tomato sauce that works perfectly here!

All you need is:

olive oil


plain tomato paste

boxed or canned strained tomatoes or tomato puree (we use Pomi)


salt & pepper.

And it assembles in minutes, then simmers as quickly as 30 minutes.

 Baked Ziti gluten free #glutenfreerecipes

Once you start making your own sauce, you’ll never go back!

When ready to assemble the baked ziti, bring your pasta water to a boil and cook your pasta al dente — it will continue to cook as it bakes.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, mix the ricotta and egg.  We use anywhere from l lb ricotta to 1  1/2 lbs if we want it creamier.

And add in a bit of the hot pasta water (anywhere from a spoonful or two to 1/4 cup) to thin out the ricotta/ egg mix to a desired texture and creaminess.

gluten-free baked ziti #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree

Then add the cooked pasta directly to the ricotta mix and stir to combine and cover all the pasta. Add in the mozzarella and parmesan and mix to combine well too.

Then add the pasta mix to your baking pan (already generously covered with a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce)

Top with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese and bake!

gluten-free baked ziti #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree

That’s it!

Pro Tip: Depending on how crisp you like the top of your baked ziti, you can bake it covered in foil for part of the baking time.

gluten-free baked ziti #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree

So who wants a big scoop?

gluten-free baked ziti #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree

Hope you love it as much as we do!

And we made this with Barilla gluten-free penne. To see all the gluten-free pastas we love, click here.

Scroll down to see the recipe and leave a comment if you make it.


Baked Ziti
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A classic Italian recipe from my grandmother, made gluten-free and every bit as delicious! Super easy and always a crowdpleaser!
Recipe type: Dinner, Pasta
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian
Serves: 4-6 servings
Baked Ziti:
  • 1 - 1½ lb part skim or whole milk ricotta (1½ lbs makes it creamier and whole milk makes it creamier)
  • ½-1 cup diced mozzarella (more or less depending on taste)
  • 1 egg
  • Parmigiana reggiano for sprinkling
  • Tomato sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 12 oz box gluten-free penne
Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 6oz Plain tomato paste (we tend to use Muir Glen tomato paste -- be sure to use plain, not seasoned)
  • 1 Tomato purée or strained tomatoes (we use Pomi Strained Tomatoes, 26.46oz)
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons dried basil (I use approximately 1½ tablespoons)
  • Salt to taste (I tend not to use)
  • Pepper to taste (I use approximately ¼ teaspoon)
Baked Ziti:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta until al dente, reserving ½ cup pasta water & drain.
  3. Meanwhile in a big bowl mix ricotta & egg. A tablespoon at time, add hot salted pasta water to make creamier and get desired texture-- I usually end up using about ¼ cup pasta water.
  4. Add cooked pasta & several large spoonfuls of sauce and mix well.
  5. Add in mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan.
  6. Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with sauce and transfer pasta mixture to dish.
  7. Cover with sauce to taste.
  8. Sprinkle liberally with parmigiana reggiano.
  9. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges. Pro tip: At 20 minutes, cover with foil if you don't want a crisp top.
  10. Place extra sauce in a bowl for serving .
Tomato Sauce:
  1. Heat olive oil under medium heat
  2. Sauté garlic until just starting to brown
  3. Add tomato paste & stir in with olive oil
  4. Add tomato puree & stir together (If you want to make more or less, stick with ratio of 1 paste:1 puree)
  5. Add 1 cup of water or more till desired thickness (pro tip, fill the tomato puree box or can with water and swirl to get all the tomatoes out at the same time)
  6. Add lots of dried basil (I use approx 1½ tablespoons)
  7. Add pepper to taste (I use approx ¼ teaspoon)
  8. Add salt to taste (I tend not to use)
  9. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better
  10. Add water as needed
  11. Save any extra sauce in a sealed container in the refrigerator for another day.


gluten-free baked ziti #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree

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