Cheesy Baked Ziti with Sausage

This baked ziti is packed with Italian sausage, Romano and mozzarella cheeses, and will become a staple at your family dinners. The perfect baked pasta dish!

Cheesy Baked Ziti with Sausage - this will become a staple at your family dinners. The perfect baked pasta dish! |

I have been making this baked ziti recipe for nearly 10 years now and it has become one of my favorite go-to pasta dishes. Not only do I make it throughout the year, but it’s also a staple at our family’s Christmas Eve dinner each year. I’ve always adored baked pasta, and this is by far my version… it’s full of Italian sausage and mozzarella and Romano cheeses. If you love pasta and comfort food, this baked ziti recipe will be right up your alley.

Cheesy Baked Ziti with Sausage - this will become a staple at your family dinners. The perfect baked pasta dish! |

I typically top the baked ziti with shredded mozzarella (always shredded off the block, never the pre-shredded cheese!), but I had a ball of fresh mozzarella in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I laid slices on top of the ziti this time around. Either one works!

The key to the super cheesiness of this baked ziti isn’t just the cheese on top, but I cut a block of mozzarella cheese into very small cubes and mix it into the pasta, which creates little pockets of gooey cheese throughout the pasta. And if all that cheese wasn’t enough, the sausage totally puts this over the top.

Cheesy Baked Ziti with Sausage - this will become a staple at your family dinners. The perfect baked pasta dish! |

This baked ziti recipe is the perfect dish for cozy fall dinners, holidays with lots of family, or for stashing away in the freezer if you (or someone you know) is expecting a little bundle of joy. Throw in a salad and either crusty bread or garlic bread and you have a fantastic meal.


Cheesy Baked Ziti with Sausage - this will become a staple at your family dinners. The perfect baked pasta dish! |

This recipe was originally posted on May 13, 2007.

Four years ago: How to Make a Rainbow Cake

Baked Ziti with Sausage

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A cheesy baked ziti recipe packed with Italian sausage and lots of cheese.


1 pound ziti pasta
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3 cups your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 cup grated Romano cheese, divided
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced small
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish; set aside.

2. Cook pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Drain and put into a large bowl.

3. While the pasta is boiling, cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until cooked through.

4. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the pasta.

5. Toss the pasta and sausage with the sauce, sausage, ½ cup of the Romano cheese, and the diced mozzarella.

6. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup Romano cheese and the shredded mozzarella.

Make-Ahead Note: At this point, you can tightly cover the pan with foil and refrigerate for up to one day or freeze for up to 2 months. If frozen, place in the refrigerator the day before you plan to bake and then bake according to the directions below.

7. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted. Uncover, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until sauce and cheese are bubbling.


53 Responses to “Cheesy Baked Ziti with Sausage”

  1. Anonymous on May 18, 2007 at 8:15 am

    I tried this recipe last night and it was GREAT!!! I followed the link to your blog from a post you did on The Nest. I am going to try several other recipes I saw here. Thanks so much. Keep posting these recipes!!!!


  2. Kayte on June 29, 2007 at 8:25 am

    i somehow missed this new spaghetti sauce recipe! it looks great. i will have to try it this way the next time i make sauce.


  3. Izzah on February 15, 2010 at 8:07 am

    where is the speghetti sauce? i havent seen any link.. 😀


  4. Michelle on February 16, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Hi Izzah,

    My apologies for the omission, here is the link to my spaghetti sauce recipe:

    Enjoy! 🙂


  5. Robin S. on April 2, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Ziti is my signature dish…I’ve gotten rave reviews every time I made it over the years and its sooooo easy to prepare….I love it and I make it all the time. That’s real comfort food drenched in cheese and sauce. It doesn’t get any better. I use a mixture of hot and mild sausages and at least 3 different kinds of tomato sauces and cheeses…I season it really well and wait for it to get all bubbly.
    Think I’ll make some tomorrow…Yummmmm!


  6. Michelle on April 21, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Baked Ziti is my claim-to-fame in our family. Next time try adding some Ricotta – it is to die for! Loving your site by the way!


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  19. Bella B on September 14, 2015 at 12:34 am

    This looks like total comfort food! yum!

    xoxoBella |


  20. Kari on September 14, 2015 at 1:27 am

    Mmmmm…yum! Perfect for a warm fall dish.


  21. Tori on September 14, 2015 at 6:37 am

    Baked pasta is the best! This is so happening for dinner this week!


  22. Carolyn @ Cabot on September 14, 2015 at 6:55 am

    This is the perfect family meal!~Carolyn @ Cabot


  23. Kara @ Just A Canary Bird on September 14, 2015 at 8:08 am

    This looks so warm and comforting! I have never thought to use sausage, I usually use hamburger in my version! I’ll have to try this one at the next family gathering… it looks like it could feed an army!


  24. Christine from Cook the Story on September 14, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Baked pasta dinners are pure comfort food as far as I’m concerned. Yours looks so easy to make, too!


  25. heather @french press on September 14, 2015 at 10:15 am

    this is good old fashioned comfort food at its BEST!! looks delicious


  26. cupcakes on September 14, 2015 at 10:37 am

    the cheese look well done on this recipe and thanks for the spagetti link that great too


  27. Cathleen on September 14, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Tonight I made a “clean the fridge” pasta bake before I sat down to look at your site. Turned out eerily similar your post. Now I feel like a star!
    Oh, btw, my family is crazy over your Hummingbird Cake where even picky adults have tasted and liked it.
    Thank you so much for all your hard work! Love your recipes.


  28. Donna McAree on September 14, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Add I lb ricotta cheese and 1 egg for a very creamy delicious baked Zitti!


  29. Joan M on September 15, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Do you remove the skin from the sausage when you cook it? Or do you cook it whole and then just mix the slices with the pasta? Definitely want to try this. I’m sure my family will love it. Thanks


    • Michelle on September 16th, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      Hi Joan, If I use simple marinara sauce, I remove the skins and break up the sausage quite a bit. If I use meat sauce, then I leave the casing on the sausage, cut it into chunks and cook it that way.


  30. oodles_or on September 15, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Made this last night and it was absolutely delicious. DH almost made himself sick by eating too much…LOL!


  31. Emily on September 17, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Oh, god.. This looks like to die for seriously. I haven’t made pasta for quite some time now because I got sick of it at some point. But these pictures definitely changed my mind – the cheese, the sauce – everything looks perfect. Making this today for dinner!


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  33. Angie on September 19, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Looks great!


  34. Rebecca on September 20, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Just pulled this out of the oven and YUM! Perfect warm and cheesy dish for a fall Sunday. I used quinoa pasta to keep it gluten free and it was so delish… Next time I’m just adding more cheese 😉


  35. Peggy S. on September 21, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    I have been itchin’ to make this ever since it was featured last week. I’m thinking of having it for supper tomorrow night. Can’t wait to dig into this!


  36. Peggy S. on September 22, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    OUTSTANDING!!! I made this for supper tonight with crusty bread and a Caesar salad. It was exquisite! I loved how the casserole got crunchy on the sides and bottom, and the browned and bubbly cheese really put it over the top. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any Italian sausage on hand so I had to use ground beef instead. It was still very, very good. I highly recommend this recipe. Brown Eyed Baker is my go-to site now for dinner ideas.


  37. Christine on September 29, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Delicious! Used as a guide last night along with your sauce recipe – subbed Italian chicken sausage and whole wheat pasta. It was the perfect comfort food.


  38. Faye on September 29, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Just a quick question Michelle, for some reason where I live you can’t buy ziti pasta, just wondering if I can sub it with penne? Sometimes living in the UK is frustrating : )


    • Michelle on October 1st, 2015 at 6:46 pm

      Hi Faye, Yes, absolutely! Any short tube pasta would work 🙂


  39. Faye on October 6, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Me and my daughter have just had this for our tea, she couldn’t stop saying how good it was and that the sausage made it taste awesome!
    Yet again Michelle you provide your readers with great, tasty recipes that turn out as excellent as you say and show, thank you : )
    P.s. On a seperate note would love to see some more slow-cooker recipes, quite a few of yours are firm favourites in our house.


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  41. Chris on November 7, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Man, what a picture! I tried to take a bite from the spoonful you were holding out to me. Stupid screen kept getting in the way! This looks great! All that cheese definitely would make a difference. I’ve had so many zitis where the maker scripts on the cheese. It’s the best part. I’m sure this would be good with seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken too, hey maybe all three.


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  49. Lorraine. E.R on September 5, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Do you think this would still taste good if I made it the same minus the Sausage, & would you suggest any tweaks to the recipe if I were to do so? It looks so yummy. Thanks!


    • Michelle on September 6th, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      Hi Lorraine, I think it would be fine without the sausage! No need to tweak anything.


  50. CAROLYN WALDEN on October 23, 2016 at 5:56 am

    Do you do the meat sauce or meatless with this recipe?


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