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The 6 Best Pasta for Baked Ziti

There is nothing quite like a good baked ziti.

The combination of creamy cheese, flavorful sauce, and al dente pasta makes for an irresistible dish.

But what type of pasta should you use to make the perfect baked ziti?

The answer depends on your preferences – some people prefer thicker noodles while others prefer thinner ones.

In this article, I’ll be discussing the six best types of pasta for making delicious baked ziti.

From penne to rigatoni, these are sure to please even the pickiest eaters!

Read Also: Baked Ziti Wine Pairing – The Best Wines for Baked Ziti

What is Baked Ziti?

Baked Ziti

Baked ziti is an Italian-American pasta dish that consists of cooked ziti noodles, a tomato-based sauce, and cheese.

It is usually made with ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.

The ingredients are combined in a baking dish and then baked until the top layer of cheese melts and turns golden brown.

Baked ziti can be served as a main course or side dish.

The flavors of baked ziti come from the combination of the tomato sauce, cheeses, herbs (such as oregano or basil), garlic, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper.

The texture comes from the al dente noodles mixed with creamy ricotta cheese and melted mozzarella on top.

This classic comfort food is hearty enough to serve as a main course but also makes for an excellent side dish at any gathering or potluck dinner.

The 6 Best Pasta for Baked Ziti

Baked ziti is a delicious and easy-to-make dish, but the right type of pasta can make all the difference.

Here are six types of pastas that will bring out the flavors of this classic Italian dish:

1. Penne


Penne is a type of pasta that is shaped like short tubes with ridges on the outside.

It comes in two varieties, penne lisce (smooth) and penne rigate (ridged).

The ridges help the sauce cling to the pasta better, making it ideal for dishes like baked ziti.

Penne can be made from wheat or durum flour and water, but some brands also offer whole-wheat versions.

It’s a great choice for dishes where you want to keep the shape of the pasta intact, such as casseroles or salads.

Penne is also versatile enough to be used in soups and cold dishes.

Taste: Penne has a slightly chewy texture and nutty flavor that pairs well with creamy sauces or chunky tomato sauces. Its ridged surface helps it hold onto more sauce than other types of pasta, making it an excellent choice for baked dishes like ziti.

2. Rigatoni


Rigatoni is a type of pasta that is tubular in shape with ridges along the sides.

It is larger than penne and ziti, making it perfect for dishes where you want to showcase the sauce or other ingredients.

The ridges also help to hold onto sauces better than smooth-sided pastas like spaghetti or linguine.

Rigatoni can be used in any recipe that calls for ziti, but its larger size makes it ideal for baked dishes like lasagna and casseroles.

Its texture holds up well when cooked in the oven, so it won’t become mushy or overcooked like some other types of pasta.

Plus, its ridges make it great at trapping all those delicious flavors from your favorite sauces!

Taste: Rigatoni has a slightly chewy texture and mild flavor that pairs well with almost any sauce. Its large size allows it to absorb more flavor than smaller pastas, making it an excellent choice for hearty dishes like baked ziti.

3. Ziti


Ziti is a type of pasta that is similar to penne, but slightly larger.

It has ridges on the outside and a hollow center, which helps it hold onto sauces and other ingredients.

Ziti is often used in baked dishes like ziti al forno or ziti casserole because it holds its shape well during baking.

Taste: Ziti has a mild flavor that pairs well with many different types of sauces, from tomato-based to cream-based. The ridges on the outside help it absorb more sauce than smooth pasta shapes like spaghetti or linguine, making it ideal for baked dishes where you want all the flavors to meld together.

Texture: When cooked properly, ziti should be al dente—firm but not crunchy—with just enough bite so that each piece stands out in your dish. The hollow center also helps keep the pasta from becoming too soft when cooked in liquid or sauce.

4. Lasagna Noodles

Lasagna noodles

Lasagna noodles are flat, wide strips of pasta that are used to make lasagna.

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the traditional long sheets to short, square pieces.

Lasagna noodles can be made with either wheat or egg-based dough and can be purchased fresh or dried.

If you’re craving baked ziti but don’t have any ziti noodles on hand, why not try it with lasagna noodles instead?

Lasagna noodles are similar in shape and size to ziti so they will work just as well in your dish.

The only difference is that lasagna noodles tend to be thicker than ziti so you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

You can also use lasagne sheets if you prefer; just cut them into smaller pieces before adding them to your dish.

5. Farfalle


Farfalle is a type of pasta that is shaped like small bows or butterflies.

It’s also known as bow-tie pasta and is available in both regular and whole wheat varieties.

The name comes from the Italian word for butterfly, farfalla.

Farfalle is a great choice for baked dishes because it holds its shape well when cooked, making it ideal for dishes like baked ziti.

The ridges on the surface of the pasta help to hold onto sauces and other ingredients, so you get more flavor in every bite.

Plus, the unique shape makes it fun to eat!

Taste: Farfalle has a mild flavor that pairs well with many different types of sauces and ingredients. It can be used in creamy dishes or light tomato-based sauces; either way, you’ll find that this versatile pasta will bring out the best flavors in your dish.

6. Fusilli


Fusilli is a type of pasta that is shaped like a corkscrew or spiral.

It is made from durum wheat semolina and comes in both short and long varieties.

The shape of the pasta helps it to hold onto sauces, making it an ideal choice for baked dishes such as ziti.

Fusilli can be used in place of other types of pasta in many recipes, including soups, salads, casseroles, and stir-fries.

When using fusilli instead of another type of pasta, you may need to adjust the cooking time slightly since fusilli takes longer to cook than some other shapes.

Taste: Fusilli has a mild flavor that pairs well with almost any sauce or topping. Its texture also makes it great for holding onto creamy sauces and cheese toppings when baking dishes like ziti.


In conclusion, there is no shortage of pasta options when it comes to baking ziti.

The best six types of pasta for baking ziti are penne, rigatoni, ziti, lasagna noodles, farfalle, and fusilli. Each of these pastas have a great texture and hold up well in the oven.

Using the right type of pasta will ensure that your ziti comes out perfectly cooked and full of flavor.

So, the next time you’re making ziti, reach for one of these pasta substitutes and see how it turns out.

Baked Ziti

The 6 Best Pasta for Baked Ziti

As an Italian food lover, I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy classic dishes. In this article, I'm sharing my top 6 pasta choices for making the perfect baked ziti. I'll provide a brief overview of each type of pasta and why it works well in this dish, as well as tips for how to properly cook and combine the ingredients for maximum flavor.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 366 kcal


  • Penne
  • Rigatoni
  • Ziti
  • Lasagna Noodles
  • Farfalle
  • Fusilli


  • Pick your favorite type of pasta from this list.
  • Prepare the rest of your tasty meal, and enjoy in no time!
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.