Easy Baked Cheese Manicotti is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal. Plus, it’s always a hit with your family and friends.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that cheese makes everything better. And this is the best manicotti recipe I have had, yet it is so simple and unassuming. Featuring a creamy ricotta and mozzarella filling, this pasta dish is simple to make and absolutely delicious.
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Three Cheese Manicotti
This is an easy recipe that uses three different kinds of cheeses, ricotta cheese, Mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese that are stuffed into a tube-shaped pasta then covered with a rich tomato sauce.
It’s perfect for a family dinner or special occasion. Serve with a crispy salad and garlic bread, and you’ll have a dish your family will love.
P.S. you don’t have to go out to fancy Italian restaurants to enjoy this delicious meal. Make this stuffed pasta dish right at home with budget-friendly ingredients.
How Do You Fill Manicotti Pasta with Cheese Filling?
There are two methods that I have tried.
The first method is to use a small spoon and fill each tube of pasta. I fill one half, then flip the pasta and fill the other side.
The second method is to fill a piping bag or a gallon size plastic bag with the cheese mixture and snip a large hold on the end. Pipe the filling into each shell.
I have found that each pasta shell holds about two heaping tablespoons of the ricotta cheese mixture.
If they don’t look perfect, it’s okay. The pasta shells will have melty cheese oozing out and be covered in the hot and bubbly tomato sauce anyway.
This is a good recipe to have your whole family help out with as they practice stuffing the pasta.
Easy Manicotti Recipe Pro Tips
When making this easy baked cheese manicotti recipe, there are a few things that will help make this recipe better and easier for you to prepare.
Slightly undercook the pasta. Having the pasta shells a bit firmer will help the pasta tubes retain their shape and not split while filling with the cheese mixture. Therefore, cook until just al dente.
Jarred pasta sauce. You can make your own tomato sauce; however, most of the time I use jarred sauce to save on time. Since this is the star of the show with the cheesy filling, I make sure to get the kind that my family loves the most.
Make this recipe ahead of time. Assembly this dish up to 8 hours ahead of time. Just cover the container with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. When you are ready to bake, bring to room temperature about 15-20 minutes before baking in the oven.
Add sausage. If you want a bit heartier meal, just cook up a pound of hot or mild sausage breaking it apart. Cool and add this to the cheese mixture.
Add spinach. Cooked spinach is a nice addition to the cheese filling. Just make sure to cool it to room temperature and chop finely before adding to the cheese filling.
Cheese. I always use mozzarella and parmesan. However, beyond that, I often switch up the cheese with what I have on hand these other cheese varieties work well too: provolone, asiago, fontina, and Romano. If you are not able to find ricotta cheese, go ahead and use cottage cheese in its place.
Can You Freeze Manicotti?
Yes, this is a great make ahead freezer meal. Since this is a hearty pasta, it will hold up well to freezing. Just assembly the ingredients, place in a freezer-safe container. It will keep for up to 4 months.
When you are ready to make this dish, you can either thaw and bake or bake from frozen. If you plan on baking from frozen make sure that your container is freezer to the oven friendly. Just add an additional 40 minutes onto the baking time if baking from frozen.
What to Serve with Manicotti?
This Easy Baked Cheese Manicotti Recipe is a delicious family meal when rounded out with a crisp salad or vegetables. Don’t forget an easy and simple dessert too.
You don’t have to wait for special occasions to make this easy manicotti recipe. It is a great recipe for busy weeknights meal or even make ahead freezer prep meals.
Easy Baked Cheese Manicotti Recipe
- 8 Ounces Manicotti Pasta uncooked, my box had 14 manicotti in it.
- 48 Ounces Tomato Sauce jarred pasta sauce
- 15 Ounces Ricotta Cheese 1 container
- 2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
- 1 Cup Provolone cheese Shredded
- ¼ Cup Parmesan cheese Grated
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- In a kettle of boiling water, cook pasta until it is just a bit undercooked. Drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, dried parsley, salt, and pepper.
- In a prepared 9 x 13 baking dish add 24 ounces of the tomato pasta sauce.
- Stuff the pasta with the cheese mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the baking dish.
- Cover with the remaining 24 ounces of pasta sauce. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes.
Your Own Private Notes
Can You Freeze Manicotti?Yes, this is a great make ahead freezer meal. Since this is a hearty pasta, it will hold up well to freezing. Just assembly the ingredients, place in a freezer-safe container. It will keep for up to 4 months. When you are ready to make this dish, you can either thaw and bake or bake from frozen. If you plan on baking from frozen make sure that your container is freezer to the oven friendly. Just add an additional 40 minutes onto the baking time if baking from frozen.
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