This delicious Gluten Free Baked Ziti Casserole is the comfort food you have been waiting for. Everything about this easy-baked ziti recipe is perfect, from the al dente gluten free pasta to the gooey cheeses! I also share several ways to meal prep this recipe.
My family loved this dinner so much; I barely got any photos for you. Apologies, I had hoped to get those beautiful pictures of this gluten free dinner recipe, but hopefully, you will get the idea from the pictures I did get.
This gluten free baked ziti has all of the delicious flavors of lasagna but with half the work. You can’t help but get hooked when you taste the gluten free ziti noodles with a sauce filled with meat, garlic, onions, basil, and peppers. It’s seriously so amazing!
If you want more delicious kid-approved gluten free dinner ideas, don't forget to check out my delicious dinner recipes on the blog.
Why This Recipe is Great:
- It's easy to make: Ziti casserole is a simple recipe requiring minimal preparation. Mix the pasta with the sauce and other ingredients, layer it in a casserole dish, and bake it in the oven.
- It's versatile: This gluten free ziti casserole is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your tastes. You can use different types of pasta, sauces, cheeses, and meats or vegetables to create a variety of flavors and textures.
- It's comforting: My ziti casserole is a comforting and hearty dish that can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a larger meal. Combining al dente pasta, rich sauce, and melted cheese creates a warm and satisfying meal perfect for chilly evenings.
- It's great for feeding a crowd: Ziti casserole is a great dish for large gatherings or potlucks. It can be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd, and leftovers can be reheated for a quick and easy meal later in the week.
If you ever struggle with overly soft pasta, find out how to cook gluten free pasta to avoid mushy pasta.
- Ground Beef - You can also use ground turkey or vegan meat.
- Gluten Free Pasta - I used Jovial gluten free pasta, but use any pasta brand you have.
- Onions - I recommend yellow onions.
- Peppers - I used Italian red sweet peppers, which aren’t hot in this recipe. They are sweet, just like their name, and have almost a fruity flavor.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic or jarred garlic is good.
- Tomato Sauce - I used plain tomato sauce.
- Ricotta Cheese - I used Galbani brand.
- Mozzarella Cheese - Regular or skim is okay.
- Parmesan Cheese - You can use straight parmesan or a three-cheese blend.
- Seasonings - Dried or fresh basil and oregano.
If you love Italian, you will also love this Gluten Free Cheese Manicotti.
- If you don’t have gluten free ziti noodles on hand, don’t worry. You can also use gluten free rigatoni or gluten free macaroni. You could even use gluten free lasagne noodles if you have them! You can’t go wrong because this recipe is so versatile.
- Swap out the red sauce for this thick, creamy, Gluten Free Alfredo Sauce!
- If you don't have roasted red peppers, use bell peppers.
This is a great pan for everyday use. It holds a lot of food, and it cleans up easily. It is dishwasher safe.
Recipe Step-By-Step Directions:
The stars of this recipe are the Italian Sweet Peppers. They add a delicious flavor to the meat sauce, with a very slight hint of spice. Again, feel free to substitute red bell peppers if you can't find the Italian sweet peppers.
Step 1: Put a pot of water up to boil.
Step 2: Add ground beef, onion, garlic, and peppers to a frying pan and cook on medium heat until the meat is browned. Use a large wooden spoon to break up the meat into small pieces as it cooks.
Step 3: Add tomato sauce and seasonings once the ground beef is mostly cooked. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low.
Step 4: Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes. Cook the pasta according to the package directions BUT cook it for 2 minutes less than what the package says for cooking time.
Step 5: Remove the pasta pot from the stove and pour the pasta into a colander. Next, add half of the cooked gluten free ziti to a casserole dish.
Step 6: Layer the ricotta cheese over the gluten free pasta.
Step 7: Top a layer of the sauce, then repeat with another ziti, ricotta, and sauce layer.
Step 8: Top with parmesan and mozzarella cheese and bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.
Can this recipe be meal prepped?
Yes, assembling baked ziti ahead of time is super easy and makes it the perfect dish for meal prepping. Here are three ways to meal prep this gluten free baked ziti:
- You can either assemble the baked ziti and put it in a casserole dish, refrigerate it for up to 3 days, then bake it when you are ready to eat.
- Another option is to freeze the baked ziti casserole and then cook it. If frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator the day before, and you can bake it as directed.
- You can bake ziti casserole ahead of time and then save the leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Reheat it in the oven or microwave. Either way, it’s just as yummy as the first day! Perfect for a leisurely lunch or quick dinner too.
Yes, you can put meatballs in baked ziti casserole, which is divine! Use one of these delicious gluten free meatballs recipes, or make my Gluten Free Ricotta Meatballs.
Covering any baked pasta dish for the first ¾ of the cooking time is important for the best results. Then the last quarter, go ahead and remove the aluminum foil to finish it up.
Why? Because if you leave it uncovered the entire time, the top will burn before the center has time to cook properly. Lightly spray the aluminum foil before placing it on top of the ziti casserole so it doesn’t stick.
Traditionally, ricotta is not made with gluten products and should be gluten free. That being said, ALWAYS read the label to ensure the product is safe.
More Gluten Free Dinner Recipes:
You'll love this baked ziti casserole, and I hope you will check out some of my other gluten free pasta recipes:
- Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese - If you love cheese, this is the ultimate comfort food!
- Easy Creamy Ricotta Garlic Parmesan Pasta - This makes a wonderful family-friendly meal.
- Savory Gluten Free Pasta Sauce With 3 Types Of Meats - This three-meat pasta sauce is amazing if you love a meat sauce!
- Chicken Feta Pasta - Everyone loves this recipe. It is my take on the viral TikTok pasta recipe.
Gluten Free Baked Ziti Casserole
- 12 ounces One box/package gluten free pasta cooked
- 6 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 pound ground beef
- 30 ounces tomato sauce
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan
- ¼ cup Italian sweet peppers or bell peppers
- 1 medium onion use yellow onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a large 9x13 pan, add the olive oil, ground beef, onion, garlic, and pepper.
- Cook on medium heat until the ground beef is cooked.
- Add seasonings and tomato sauce to the pan. Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375º F.
- Spray a casserole dish with olive oil.
- Add ½ of the cooked ziti to the casserole dish.
- Top with ½ of the ricotta spread over the pasta.
- Pour half of the meat sauce on top of the pasta.
- Add another layer of pasta, ricotta, and sauce.
- Top with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
- Bake 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the flavors all cook together.
- Gluten free pasta brands are all so different. Please cook your pasta according to the directions on the box.
- This casserole will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn't test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.
Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.
This post was updated from an older May 2019 post with more recipe details.
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I loved this dish! I realized last minute that I’d forgotten to buy ricotta, so I used cottage cheese and it was fine. I also used quite a bit more mozzarella and also increased the amount of bell peppers. I also added mushrooms and cooked them with the peppers and onion.
I love the idea of using cottage cheese. I bet that would make this a lot lower in fat. Thanks for the tip!
I have made “pizza noodles “ for years but when my kids were small I would just make individual plates based on their appetites and top with cheese then pop them in the microwave. Much quicker.
That sounds wonderful, Therese!
Made this the other night to have for the week and it’s going to work out great! I’m always looking for quick recipes that fit my dietary restrictions and this one really fit the bill. I do have a few questions about amounts on ingredients: what size can for the sauce 15 or 28oz? And on the pasta, can you also offer up an amount? because I think my bag was larger than what you had. I just want to be sure I had the proportions correct. Thank you!
I am really glad you liked it. The pasta sauce I used was 24 oz, but you really can use any amount of sauce you like.
Hi I noticed it says bake 30 mins in the top directions with the pictures and on the bottom where the recipe is it says bake 20 mins. Which one would you recommend?
Hi Amanda, I think 20 minutes is sufficient unless you use a deep dish and have cheese layered throughout the dish.
What size casserole dish do you recommend? Could you also cook it in a metal baking dish or is glass better?
Hi Amanda. I use a 9x13 sized metal baking dish. Enjoy 🙂