Chicken Baked Ziti

Main Dishes  |  Published Feb 14, 2020  |  Updated Sep 6, 2020  |  By Tawnie

baked ziti in a white casserole dish topped with cheese and fresh basil

Creating this Chicken Baked Ziti

Mmm…Chicken Baked Ziti!

You guys know I love a good pasta recipe. The Italian in me just can’t resist it!

Growing up, my mom made a version of this recipe. It was our go-to easy pasta recipe for busy weeknights.

All of us were busy with sports and after school extracurricular activities so we thrived off of meals just like this.

To make this meal even easier I like to have the chicken and pasta cooked in advance so all of you have to do is pour all ingredients in the baking pan and bake!

ziti casserole in a white bowl topped with basil and parmesan cheese

Ingredients you will need for Chicken Baked Ziti

  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts is what I typically use. Cube the chicken into bite sized pieces to make it easy to eat!
  • Ziti pasta: A 1lb. box is what I typically use! If you can’t find ziti pasta, another pasta shape such as Rigatoni or Penne works as well. I always recommend to cook until al dente.
  • Olive oil: Just a little bit will be used to cook the chicken in.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning to season the chicken. Red pepper flakes can also be added too if you like some spice!
  • Marinara sauce: I use a 32 oz. jar. I typically open up a second jar for leftovers the next because the noodles soak up all of the sauce, so I recommend buying 2 jars if you like saucy noodles!
  • Cheese: I use a blend of Ricotta Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese and Parmesan Cheese in this recipe. SO good!
  • Basil: Chiffonade the basil by stacking leaves, rolling them tightly, then slice the leaves perpendicular to the roll.
chicken and red sauce in a black cast iron skillet

How to make Chicken Baked Ziti

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove to cook the ziti noodles according to package directions. Be sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add in the cubed chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through. If there is any excess liquid in the pan, you can drain and discard.
  3. Add in the marinara sauce and reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer.
  4. Then, add the chicken and sauce mixture to an oven safe glass baking dish. (Large Pyrex 4.8 quart (10×15) recommended, needs to be fairly large to fit everything!)
  5. Pour the cooked ziti noodles on top, followed by the ricotta and basil. Mix all of this together.
  6. Top with mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes with the foil on, and then remove the foil and broil for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese get slightly browned and bubbly.
  7. Garnish with more basil and serve with any remaining red sauce you have on hand if desired. Enjoy!!
ziti casserole in a white baking dish topped with basil

FAQ

How long can chicken baked ziti last in the fridge?

Properly stored, cooked baked ziti will last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator! Perfect for meal prep.

Can I freeze baked ziti?

Yes! To freeze, let the baked ziti cool completely, then cover with an airtight lid. If no lid is available, cover with plastic wrap and then a double layer of tin foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. How to bake from frozen: Take casserole out of freezer and remove lid or any plastic wrap. Cover with foil and let it sit on the counter while the oven is preheating. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour, remove foil and continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until center is bubbly. Enjoy!

Do you bake ziti covered or uncovered?

For this ziti recipe, you will bake covered and then remove foil at the end to broil.

ziti casserole in a white baking dish topped with basil

This recipe serves at least 8. I hope you love it!

Which type of pasta do you prefer?

PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback! You can also follow me on Pinterest or InstagramSign up for my email list, too!

baked ziti in a white casserole dish topped with cheese and fresh basil
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Chicken Baked Ziti

Chicken Baked Ziti: An easy and comforting casserole recipe made with Parmesan, Ricotta and Mozzarella! It's a delicious weeknight pasta the whole family will love. Be sure to watch the video to see how simple it really is!
4.88 from 25 reviews
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 460kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ziti pasta, cooked (reserve 1/2 cup pasta water)
  • 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper chili flakes (optional)
  • 32 oz. marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan
  • 1 bunch basil, chiffonade

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove to cook the ziti noodles according to package directions. Be sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add in the cubed chicken and seasonings and cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through. If there is any excess liquid in the pan, drain and discard it.
  • Add in the marinara sauce and reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Then, add the chicken and sauce mixture to an oven safe glass baking dish. (4.8 quart/10×15 recommended, needs to be fairly large to fit everything!)
  • Pour the cooked ziti noodles on top, followed by the ricotta and basil. Mix all of this together.
  • Top with mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan. Cover with foil. (Pro tip: spray foil with non stick spray so the cheese doesn't stick to the foil). Bake for 20 minutes with the foil on, and then remove the foil and broil for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese get slightly browned and bubbly. Garnish with more basil and serve with more red sauce if desired. Enjoy!!

Video

Notes

  • Serve with a salad or your favorite vegetable dish. 
  • Can use Italian Sausage in place of chicken if you prefer. 
  • Make this dish in advance: After you top with cheese and cover with foil you can place in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. Note, bake time will be a little longer than 20 minutes since dish is now cold. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, remove foil and broil 3-4 minutes. 
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Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 460kcal

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23 Comments
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Nicole
8 months ago

Made this for dinner tonight, it was absolutely delicious! My whole family loved it, served with a side Caesar salad and garlic bread. I did not have the amount of mozzarella the recipe called for, but at least a little more than 1/3 of the recipe. Still great!

Jacob Smith
1 year ago

Did you really use 16 oz of ziti?? I did and it made it really hard to mix in the 3 qt dish (seemed liked a lot more than what I see in your video). Other than that, I just pulled it out of the oven and it’s delicious! My kids love it too. Well done!

Jacob Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Krolls Korner

Thank you! It’s the gift that keeps on giving because the leftovers are great too! I think I’ll mix everything in a bowl and then put it in the casserole dish as I think that would be easier for me personally. I’m assuming that would be fine? 🙂

Rona Diamondstein
2 years ago

Can I assemble this casserole, put it in the refrigerator and bring it somewhere the next day to cook?? I think my grandkids would love it!!
Thanks so much…. 😊

Jackie
2 years ago

Hi
Where is the video of this recipe?

Jackie
2 years ago
Reply to  Krolls Korner

Hi
I clicked on jump to video, I still don’t see the video.

Jackie
2 years ago
Reply to  Krolls Korner

Hi
What browser are you using, when I click on jump to video, all I see is the word video, nothing else.

Brian
2 years ago

Is there a reason the video does not show adding the reserve pasta water? Is that a necessary step?

Heidy
2 years ago

This recipe looks amazing! I can’t wait to make this chicken and baked ziti for the family I bet they love it.

Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
2 years ago

This looks like the ultimate comfort food, it sounds delicious!

Raquel
2 years ago

One of my favorite recipes! Yours looks pretty incredible. Add a side of crusty, warm garlic bread and I’m sold;)

Dannii
2 years ago

This is my favourite type of comfort food. We batch cook it for the freezer too.

Alyssa
2 years ago

Mmmm…this reminds me so much of my favorite dish from our local Italian restaurant. I love the combination of chicken with the ziti. Perfection!

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