This cheesy casserole is one of our favorite ziti recipes!
❤️ Why you'll love it
- Easy casserole to prep in advance and make in big batches.
- Melty cheese + savory sausage + al dente pasta = the perfect dish!
- Diced tomatoes with chilies give an Italian classic a Southern twist.
Be sure to bookmark this hearty, easy baked ziti recipe because you will crave it weekly!
The deliciously aromatic casserole will lure your entire family to the kitchen as it bakes—you won't even have to call out "dinner!"
This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the green recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
This is an overview of the instructions. Full instructions are in the green recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Over medium heat, cook the onion and sausage. Add the diced tomatoes.
- Melt butter in a large skillet and cook the flour in it.
- Stir in the milk, soup, seasoning, and cheese. Toss with cooked pasta.
- Top (or mix) the sausage with the sauced ziti and bake.
Leftovers from last night mean easy lunch today!
You can keep leftover baked ziti with sausage in the fridge (in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap) for 3 to 4 days.
Heat it in a microwave-safe dish until warmed to your liking.
To make your leftovers last longer, transfer them to a freezer-proof storage container. You can keep frozen leftovers for up to 3 months.
Let them thaw in the refrigerator before reheating for the best results.
Sausage baked ziti is a fantastic recipe to prep ahead of time—I think the sweet flavor of the sausage helps enrich the sauce even more as it sits!
Simply prepare the recipe as indicated. Then, cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Be sure to let the dish thaw in the refrigerator (if frozen) and then let it come almost to room temperature before baking as directed!
- Sausage Swaps: Use hot Italian sausage, sweet Italian sausage, turkey sausage, ground beef, or ground turkey.
- Oodles of Noodles: The texture of Ziti is perfect (the dish is named for it, after all) but you can substitute penne or rigatoni if you have it.
- Cheese, Please: I love the delicate combo between Parmigiano and Mozzarella cheese, but you can use another mild cheese mixture if you prefer. Classic parmesan cheese is fine if you can't find Parmigiano.
- Fun Flavor: If you like extra spice, mix some red pepper flakes into your pasta casserole. You can also add bell peppers to your sauteeing onions if you have some to use up.
- To-may-to, To-mah-to: If you can't find Rotel diced tomatoes, you could swap in a can of crushed tomatoes or a small jar of chunky marinara sauce.
- Pots and Pans: Brown the meat in a skillet or dutch oven instead of a large saute pan. Then, you can make the roux and combine/bake the ziti right in the same pan (instead of a large casserole dish.) We love using as few dishes as possible in my house!
💭 Things to know
Expert Tip: Since the pasta is cooked in salty water, sausage is generally quite salty, and the butter and condensed soup both contain salt, don't add any more salt while cooking. However, you can taste test before baking and add salt at that time to fit your personal preference.
- Whole-milk mozzarella tastes best in this recipe. Bonus points if you shred it yourself! (Pop the ball of cheese in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to make shredding super easy!)
- Don't over-boil the ziti. Pay attention to the package directions, and watch the pasta carefully. It'll cook juuust a bit more during baking, and if it's too soft coming out of the water, it'll be mush after baking.
Baked ziti is a classic pasta bake, with origins in traditional Italian-American cuisine. It's made with ziti pasta, savory tomato sauce or meat sauce, and mozzarella.
In this baked ziti with sausage, I omit the ricotta in place of a creamier, homemade cheese sauce. I find it gives the final dish an irresistibly ooey-gooey taste that pairs perfectly with the tender cooked sausage. Give it a try—I know you'll agree!
Golden mushroom condensed soup has a beefy, tomato-y flavor that gives our homemade roux a beautiful depth of flavor. I buy a few cans at a time because it's just that good. If you cannot find golden mushroom soup, use regular condensed mushroom soup plus a few tablespoons of tomato paste.
You can! However, subbing 100% heavy cream will make your baked ziti sauce too thick. I'd use ¾ cup water mixed with ¾ cup heavy cream in place of the milk if you need a substitute.
📚 Related recipes
- With hearty layers of beef, tortillas, and beans, Cheesy Mexican Lasagna is 90% Tex-Mex and 10% Italian—but 100% delicious.
- Hamburger Noodle Casserole is a tasty twist on everyone's favorite cookout food, but is easy enough to make once (or twice) a week!
- There's just something special about tangy tomatoes, creamy cheese, and flavorful sausage—there's something even more special when all three come together in addictive Rotel Sausage Dip.
- We love this easy, one pot taco spaghetti for busy weeknights.
🍽️ Serve with...
Here are 70 more great ideas for what to serve with baked ziti!
📞 The last word
This is old fashioned comfort food. It's perfect for feeding a crowd of hungry people.
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need. Don't forget that you can click on "add to collection" to save it to your own, private recipe box!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Baked Ziti and SausagePrint Pin Recipe Save Go to Collections
- 16 ounces Ziti pasta, cooked
- ½ cup onions, chopped
- 1 pound breakfast sausage
- 10 ounces Rotel diced tomatoes with Green Chilies, drained
- 1 cup Mozzarella, shredded
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup tall-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup milk
- 10.5 ounces Golden Mushroom Condensed soup
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup Parmigiano cheese, grated
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- Cook pasta according to the directions on the package.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Oil a 9x13 baking dish. Set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmery. Turn heat down to medium.
- Put the onion in the hot oil and cook for 2-3 minutes - until just starting to get transparent.
- Add the breakfast sausage.
- With a wooden spoon, cook and break into pieces until completely cooked, no more pink, approximately 8-10 minutes.
- Spoon the cooked sausage and onion into the prepared 9x13 baking dish.
- Pour the Rotel evenly over the sausage.
- Sprinkle the cheese over the tomato. Set aside.
- You can sprinkle the cheese on top of the pasta as well, but the mixture of the cheese with the sausage makes every bite even more ooey-gooey. Remember the pasta will be covered with a sauce.
- In the skillet, over medium heat, add the butter and melt completely.
- Scrape the side to bring all the leftover pieces of sausage and onions down into the butter.
- Once the butter is all melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until you have a paste.
- Slowly add the milk while whisking.
- Once the milk is added, add the Golden mushroom soup. Whisk until blended.
- Add the spices and mix. You will have a nice thick sauce, you may need to reduce the heat to medium-low - don’t boil the sauce!
- Add the Parmiggiano and mix until all ingredients are blended.
- Add the cooked pasta into the sauce, mixing in between scoops to make sure it's all covered in sauce.
- Place pasta over the sausage in the casserole dish and cook in the preheated oven for 15 minutes - or until heated through.
- You could add some cheese on top if you want, but the sauce and the cheese already in the mixture are a perfect blend.
Don't add salt to this recipe. The pasta is cooked in salt water, there is a lot of salt with the salted butter, and mushroom soup. However, you can adjust the salt once it is all cooked and together.
Always shred the cheese from a black rather than using he pre-packed shredded cheese.
You can mix sausage and pasta all together before baking if you like.
If you want a really meaty casserole, double the sausage.
I love this casserole as I can prepare it ahead of time for busy nights.
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