I think of Baked Ziti as sloppy lasagna. Kind of like an Italian take on sloppy Joes - Sloppy Giuseppe, perhaps?
Ahem. Sorry. Where was I? Oh, right, sloppy lasagna. Baked ziti has all the main ingredients of lasagna - pasta, meat, tomato sauce, cheese - but instead of careful layering, we’re dumping it all in a baking dish. Sure, you don’t get the wonderful layers of flavor you get in lasagna. But on a busy weeknight, with the help of a pressure cooker, you can have baked ziti on the table in about an hour.
And, with a pressure cooker, it’s even easier. I cook the pasta and the sauce together in the pressure cooker, making this into a one pot, one baking dish recipe.
I do like to finish my baked ziti in the oven. It is “baked” ziti, after all, and I want the melting and browning I get from baking. (Also, I like serving it in squares cut from the pan, instead of scooping it out of the pot in big hunks.) But, if you want to skip the baking steps and serve straight from the pressure cooker pot (LIKE AN ANIMAL) see the Notes section.Print
Pressure Cooker Baked Ziti
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 3 quart pan of Baked Ziti 1x
Pressure Cooker Baked Ziti recipe, in one pot (the pressure cooker) and one pan (the baking dish.)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 12 ounces ziti pasta
- 3 cups water
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese (1 tub)
- 6 ounces grated parmesan
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella
- Minced fresh parsley, basil, or rosemary (optional, for garnishing)
- Sauté the aromatics: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat (Saute mode adjusted to high in an electric pressure cooker) until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt, the Italian Seasoning, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
- Cook the sausage: Add the Italian sausage to the pot. Cook, stirring often and breaking up the sausage until it just loses its pink color, about 5 minutes.
- Start the oven: While the sausage is cooking, set the oven to 350°F to start preheating.
- Pressure cook for 4 minutes with a quick pressure release: Stir in the the ziti pasta, then pour in 3 cups of water and the crushed tomatoes. Sprinkle in the ¾ teaspoon of salt, then stir. Poke down any pieces of ziti sticking up out of the water – if they’re not submerged, they might not cook. Lock the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 4 minutes in an electric or stovetop PC, then quick release the pressure in the pot. Carefully open the lid – away from you, please, the steam in the pot is boiling hot!
- Mix in the cheeses: Lift the pot liner out of the pot and set on a heat proof surface (or take the stovetop pressure cooker off the stove). Stir in the 8 ounces shredded mozzarella, the ricotta, and the grated parmesan, and keep stirring until the ricotta is spread throughout the pasta. Pour the entire pot of ziti into a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish, and then sprinkle the remaining 8 ounces of mozzarella over the top.
- Bake the ziti: Put the baking dish in the oven and bake until the cheese melts and starts to brown at the edges, about 20 minutes.
- Serve: Let the baked ziti stand for about 5 minutes to cool down, then sprinkle with the minced parsley and serve.
- Don’t feel like using the oven? Skip the “pour the entire pot into a baking dish” step, and sprinkle the remaining 8 ounces of mozzarella over the top of the pot. Put the pot liner back in the pressure cooker base over “keep warm” (or the stovetop pot back on the stove), and put a non-pressure lid on the pot. (Or, close but don’t lock the lid.) Let sit until the cheese on top melts, about 10 minutes, then serve straight from the pressure cooker pot.
- The leftovers freeze beautifully - I store them in 2-cup containers for microwave sized lunch servings.
- Want to double this recipe? Use an 8 quart pressure cooker, and you can make enough ziti to have a second baking dish to freeze for later.
- Want to freeze and reheat later? Stop right before step 5 - Bake the ziti. Cover tightly with foil and freeze. Reheat straight from the freezer in a 350°F oven until bubbling in the center, about 90 minutes.
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker)
- Flat edged wooden spoon
- 13-inch by 9-inch Baking Dish (aka “3 quart” baking dish)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Weeknight Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Italian-American
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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My other Pressure Cooker Recipes
My other Pressure Cooker Time Lapse Videos
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I’ve made this several times with great success but tonight I realized I don’t have ricotta cheese. any ideas for substitutes? Still good without it. I have the other cheeses and will use them. Thanks for being a great resource for pressure cooker recipes!
Very good. I used a hearty Marinara sauce so I left out most of the seasonings in the recipe (did add some salt and crushed pepper and sprinkled an Italian blend with Mozzarella topping). Used about 3/4 lb mild Italian sausage. Carefully weighed the pasta, used the 3 cups water and followed cooking times. Highly recommend taking the time to bake. Gotta love this very cheesy ziti!
Hi. Will I have to lower the minutes for 10 qt XL if I am only making half of their baked ziti recipe
Mike Vrobel says
Nope. Same cooking time.
Can I use pasta sauce instead of crushed tomatoes and water?
Mike Vrobel says
Instead of tomatoes, yes - but I think you will need the water or the pressure cooker will scorch the bottom before it comes up to pressure.
Great recipe! Did everything but the sausage. Came out great and took no time. I would definitely take the 20 mins to finish in the oven. Thank you!
You're the best! What a great idea for making a tasty dish without jarred sauce! Can't wait to try this ?
Thanks for adding at what point you can freeze. With only two of us, I’ll freeze some and serve some.
Love this idea, thank you!!!