Slow Cooker Baked Ziti – A Healthy Slice of Life

Say hello to a new weeknight meal that will fill up the family with minimal effort and only one pot! In less than a 10 minute set up for a delicious, hearty, warm family-friendly meal. This slow cooker baked ziti is working its way into our regular rotation.

There are a million variations on how you could make this: adding more veggies, using Italian sausage, layering the ziti and ricotta instead of mixing for a lasagna-like effect, adding red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick, adding fresh herbs and parmesan, etc. Adjust to fit you preferences!

For purposes of making this meal as simple and approachable as possible for the weekday mom, I kept things easy. Most recently I made this meal midday on a Saturday and instead of spending money out, we came home after an afternoon of basketball games to a hearty and homemade dinner that everyone (most importantly, the kids) devoured.

Plus, only one pot to clean afterwards!

I use my Instant Dutch oven as my slow cooker and I love that it’s an all-in-one appliance. I can sauté my meat and onions in it, the switch to to slow cook (or the manual setting) for the rest of it. Once it cooks, it switches automatically to keep warm.

I hope this slow cooker baked ziti recipe gives you another easy meal in your arsenal for a delicious and easy weeknight dinner!


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Throw this meal together in less than 10 minutes and a few hours later you’ll have a hearty, satisfying dinner dish ready to feed the whole family.

1 lb ground beef

1 small onion, diced (optional)

2 (25 oz) jars of marinara

16 ounces ziti pasta

1 c water

15 oz ricotta cheese

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp garlic powder

1 c shredded mozzarella, divided


In your IDO (or in a pan stovetop), brown the ground beef. Add the diced onion and cook together for 3-4 minutes until meat is cooked through and onions are tender. 

Transfer meat and onions to a slow cooker. Add one jar of sauce, water, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and pasta. Mix well. 

Add the ricotta and a half cup of the shredded mozzarella, mix until combined. Top with the remaining jar of marinara and sprinkle the remaining half cup of shredded mozzarella over the top. 

Set on low for 3 1/2 hours (on the IDO, you can set to manual 190 degrees). Serve right from the slow cooker; enjoy!

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