Slow Cooker Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage

 This baked ziti recipe is loaded with Italian sausage, gooey cheese and slow cooked to perfection for a fabulously easy and flavorful meal.

When pasta can be topped with gooey cheese that melts into every crevice, it’s a meal I want every day. And I want this slow cooker baked Ziti with Italian sausage every day in December.

Spoonful of cheesy baked ziti with Italian sausage

I’m having a cheese issue, which I’ve alluded to multiple times throughout this blog. Why  must I love CHEESE so much? I mean, is there crack in it or something? Because I’m certainly addicted.Slow Cooker Ziti Collage

Besides making this baked Ziti recipe with Italian Sausage, I also recently made homemade Mac-n-Cheese. Not your typical Kraft Mac-n-Cheese made for kids, but homemade Mac dripping in luscious cheeses. It was heavenly!

The Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese for Grownups! One pinner said it's the best mac-and-cheese she's ever had!

And, I also indulged in these Supreme Nacho Libre Nachos, which were incredibly divine as a Midnight snack while watching Pride and Prejudice. Yes, I did stay up until 3:00 in the morning watching the old time Pride and Prejudice (not the one with Keira Knightly). Oh my gosh, I laughed and laughed at Mr. Darcy’s acting skills. Absolutely ZERO personality so it was hard to believe Lizzie could fall in love with such a lifeless, stoic, and unhappy soul; but, alas, she did (must’ve been his money–LOL) and lived happily ever after.

Supreme Macho Nachos with ground beef, cheddar cheese, olives, black beans, chopped tomatoes and more. |

So where did I find time to fit in all of these cheesy dishes when there was Thanksgiving to prepare for? Hey, when it comes to cheese, I can always find room to fit it ALL in…holiday or no.

Any-who, I was in need of an easy meal while preparing ahead for Thanksgiving and this baked ziti recipe with Italian sausage was it. With just 10 minutes of prep time, you can whip up this meal in no time by throwing in all of the ingredients into a Crock Pot and slow cook until a deliciously fabulous meal transforms right before your very eyes.

Bon appetit!

Platful of baked ziti with Italian sausage and a loaf of homemade French bread.

Oh, and if you’re looking for the perfect French bread to accompany this dish, try this easy homemade French bread recipe! It’s da bomb,

This recipe for french bread is an easy recipe. It's soft and rises nice and fluffy. Make it with toasted sesame seeds to give it extra flavor or if you prefer, make it without. Either way, it's delicious. |

5.0 from 5 reviews
Slow Cooker Ziti with Italian Sausage
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
  • 1 1/4 pounds Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) box uncooked ziti pasta
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped parsley
  1. Grease the inside of a 5-quart slow cooker.
  2. Cook the sausage, onion, and cloves in a large skillet over medium heat until sausage is browned and cooked through. Drain and set aside.
  3. Mix together ricotta cheese, egg whites, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and oregano in a medium size bowl.
  4. Evenly spread 2 cups of spaghetti sauce to the bottom of the prepared slow cooker. Layer with 1/2 of the sausage mixture, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/2 of the uncooked pasta, 1/2 of the ricotta mixture; repeat. Top with remaining sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Cover and cook on low 4 to 5 hours or until pasta is tender.

Recipe adapted from

About Jen

Jen is owner, author, and creative mind behind Bakerette. Jen eats a vegan diet and recently converted Bakerette to a plant-based website that offers a smattering of healthful recipes! Jen is author of the cookbook Festive Feasts: Meals and Memories from Halloween to Christmas, which can be purchased online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


  1. Do you think I could add spinach to this?I wonder if frozen or fresh would work best…

  2. Can you prepare the crockpot the night before with everything layered already?

    • Hi Cynthia. I haven’t tried that before. I guess the only ways it to try it. If you do, let me know how it worked out for you.

  3. I want to cut down the cooking time. Can I boil the pasta on the stove and then follow the rest of the recipe using a crock pot?

  4. Mommy of 2. says:

    Okay, I just made this for dinner tonight with complete fear that it wouldn’t be good because I DO NOT like ricotta and have NEVER had a ziti that I liked. However, since my husband loves both and I had some Italian sausage about to go bad with no recipe to put it to use with, I decided to try this one. I must say, this is THE BEST Ziti I have EVER tasted and my husband agrees. After being cooked, the ricotta looses that awful texture I can’t stand and has wonderful flavor. Plus I used my one and only spaghetti sauce Ill ever use (Emeril’s roasted garlic) and made up a side of mozzarella stuffed garlic butter cresent rolls. It was just fabulous. This just became a must do recipe at least once a month. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  5. Do you think you could substitute hamburger meat for the sausage?

  6. hey there! Could this be made into a freezer meal?

  7. I have this in my crockpot now as my grandkids will be here for dinner tonight – just hoping that using an oval crockpot will still work as more spread out than high?

  8. What’s your garnish? Parsley or basil?

  9. I am skeptical with this recipe because of the uncooked pasta in it. Does it ever get crunchy on the outter edges with just the sauce and no other juices? It looks yummy and i want to try it but my family is so picky when it comes to pasta dishes in the crockpot.
    Thank You!

  10. any idea how it would work throwing everything in the crockpot uncooked and leaving it on low all day (~8 hours). One of my favorite things about the crockpot is just throwing stuff in with little to no prep.

  11. Jordan Baronette says:

    Hi, I want to make this tonight but I have no way of getting to the store to buy more cheese, is it possible to do this recipe with cheese slices? I have some block cheese but not enough. Do you think it will turn out gross if I attempte using cheese slices?

    • Hi Jordan, Although I haven’t used cheese slices before, I think it would work out fine to use slices. I would mix all of the ingredients together except the Mozarella cheese and then layer as directed with putting the cheese on top of each layer. Hopefuly that makes sense. Good luck and I hope it works for you.

  12. Katie Brummell says:

    I made this for the young adult ministry I lead for my church and I got two marrige praposals for the food! Thanks for the recipie.

    • LOL! Now THAT’S a first I’ve read on this blog. I’ll be sure to put that in my bio :) So happy to hear it worked out fantastically.

  13. Kariana says:

    I wanted to try this tonight but I will be pressed for time, can i put it on high in the crockpot for 2 hours?

    • Two hours may be too short. I haven’t made it that way before, so I really can’t give you an answer. If you try it on high for 2 hours, let me know how it works.

  14. Have you ever doubled or tripled this for a crowd? Thinking of using a roaster?

    • I haven’t made it in a roaster, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. You would need to adjust the timing and temperature.

  15. lexie smith says:

    Trying this soon. Is it shredded parmesan or grated?

  16. Martha says:

    Is the Parmesan cheese fresh and grated or the kind in a jar that you shake over spaghetti? Thanks.

    • Good question Martha. You can do fresh or the powdered in the jar, but I prefer the freshly grated, so that is what I used in this recipe.

  17. I love all things pasta, Italian, and cheese. My boyfriend however doesnt like ricotta cheese due to texture. Is there something you would recommend for a substiute? Or do you think he won’t even notice the ricotta?

    • Hi Alicia, you can substitute cottage cheese in place of ricotta cheese. I do that all the time when I’m in a pinch.

  18. hello. would it be possiblr to cut this recipe in half? for a smaller crockpot?

  19. Can I do this without ricotta?

  20. What kind of spaghetti sauce do you recommend? Making this tonight! :)

  21. I approached this recipie with a skeptical eye at first but decided to give it a try. I needed a hearty dish that could feed between 4-8 people(as that was yet to be determined). This recipe not only turned out to be great baked ziti, but it was the best ziti I’ve had in a very long time. This is my new go-to for parties or long distance dinners where the crockpot can shine while everyone else waits to heat their dish in the oven. Give it a try! Awesome!

  22. Danielle says:

    For now it’s just the kids and I…do you think there would be any problem if I halved this? As much as I love pasta, cheese, the whole nine yards, my kids are not fans of leftovers (they’d honestly rather go to bed without dinner…and have). I’d rather not be eating the same thing for a week, so I’m thinking of trying a half portion of this recipe. Thoughts?

    • There’s no problem halving it. I would put it in a smaller crock pot if you do or keep a close eye on it.

  23. Tracey Golding says:

    All set! Thanks!

  24. Mrs. Laura says:

    This is Super easy & some of the best I have ever had in a crock pot!!! TYSM. :D

    • Yay! So glad you loved it and I really appreciate you stopping by to let me know!

      • kathy s says:

        Make this today for work meeting/potluck was a great hit. Modified to almost double batch instead of pork used hamburger and petite tomatoes in addition to cooked for 3 and 1/2 hours turned off and let it finish on my way into work was perfectly done and very affordable to feed work and home

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