September 13, 2021

Baked Ziti with Meatballs

Baked Ziti with Meatballs is a delicious and easy family-friendly meal with flavorful meatballs, ziti pasta, tasty tomato basil sauce and of course, lots of cheese!

This post is a collaboration with Michigan Beef Industry Commission on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own. 

Meatball Baked Ziti

It's back to school season which means that parents are looking for family-friendly meals that they can get on the table quickly without much effort. This Baked Ziti with Meatballs is a cook once eat twice kind of meal in our family because it makes a lot of food and the leftovers heat up really easily. Baked Ziti with Meatballs uses simple ingredients- many which you probably have on hand and kids love it.

baked ziti with meatballs

This meal takes awhile to cook but doesn't require a ton of hands on time which is nice. When the weather gets cool, you can let it bake and heat up the kitchen a bit while you help your kids with their homework or pack lunches for the next day (my least favorite part of back to school).

scoop of meatball baked ziti

The meatballs are really easy to make with 93% lean ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning and chopped garlic. To save time, I cooked them in a skillet instead of in the oven. I chose to use lean ground beef in this recipe because beef is loaded with protein, iron, zinc, choline and B vitamins. Plus, my family loves it so it is a win-win. The nutrients in beef can help kids grow and develop through childhood by helping to build healthy bodies and brains. 

Marinara sauce with meatballs

All year round, we focus on good nutrition but especially during the school year, I want to make sure that my kids get the nutrients that they need to do well in school. My kids are active with running, playing on the playground and doing all kinds of crazy movement all day long and beef helps to support a healthy lifestyle for my family. It gives us the strength we need to get through all of these activities.

Ziti pasta with meatballs
September is also Family Meals Month and I am a huge supporter of family meals. My family eats together every night and it is such an important part of our day. Growing up, we ate all meals together with my parents and siblings and now, I do the same with my kids. This meal is a great one for family meals. 

Baked ziti with meatballs

Baked Ziti with Meatballs Ingredients

  • Ziti pasta
  • Lean ground beef
  • Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Italian seasoning
  • Chopped garlic
  • White onion
  • Jar of marinara sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil (optional)
  • Fresh parsley (optional)

My family loved this meal! It is cheesy, saucy and so delicious. I used a ton of sauce because I didn't want the dish to dry out. It is family friendly and makes great leftovers also. You can skip the pasta part and just make the meatballs with sauce to use on meatball subs. It is super delicious that way too.

Baked Ziti with Meatballs

Meatball Baked Ziti
Yield: serves 7-8 

Baked Ziti with Meatballs

Baked Ziti with Meatballs is a delicious and easy family-friendly meal with flavorful meatballs, ziti pasta, tasty tomato basil sauce and of course, lots of cheese!

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Total time: 45 minutes


  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 1 pound 93% lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
  • 2 (24 ounce) jars of pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese


  1. Fill a large pot with water and boil water. Cook pasta according to instructions and drain water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, Italian seasoning and garlic. Mix well and form into about 1 inch meatballs with your hands- the meatballs are fairly small and this method will make 30 meatballs.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook meatballs until all sides are browned which takes about 4 minutes total. Add garlic and onions to pan and cook for 2 minutes until onions are softened. 
  4. Stir in pasta sauce to the meatballs and heat until sauce is boiling. Add in the pasta, parsley and basil.
  5. Dump the pasta and meatball mixture into a large baking dish and top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

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Baked Ziti with Meatballs recipe

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