This easy Cheese Manicotti recipe is the ultimate comfort food! Pasta stuffed with 3 kinds of cheese and herbs then baked in pasta sauce. It will become a family favorite for sure!
I never really realized how easy it was to make manicotti at home. I thought it was something you had to go to a fancy Italian restaurant to eat. Well, I am here to tell you, it is very easy to make right in your own home for a fraction of the cost.
My family loves pasta dishes and there are quite a few pasta recipes on Countryside Cravings! The top pasta dish happens to be Homemade Hamburger Helper. We also really enjoy this Slow Cooker Lasagna. It’s easy to make and can also be made ahead of time!!
Why You Will Want To Make This Cheese Manicotti
- filled with 3 gooey delicious kinds of cheese
- easy to make
- perfect for serving guests
- can be made in advance
- freezer friendly
RICOTTA, MOZZARELLA, PARMESAN: The stars of the show. I like to use full-fat cheeses but you can use low-fat.
MANICOTTI: Cook these shells 2 minutes from being fully cooked. This helps prevent mushy pasta.
HERBS AND SEASONING: I am using Italian seasoning, basil, garlic powder, and onion powder.
PASTA SAUCE: Use your favorite jarred pasta sauce. Or make a homemade pasta sauce.
How To Make Cheese Manicotti
PASTA: Boil the manicotti pasta until 2 minutes before al dente. This helps prevent soggy pasta. The pasta will finish cooking while baking in the pasta sauce.
CHEESE FILLING: In a large bowl combine the ricotta, 3 cups mozzarella, 3/4 cup parmesan, herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, and egg. Scoop into a plastic ziploc or piping bag.
FILL AND BAKE: Fill each partially cooked pasta shell with ricotta mixture. Place in a baking dish and top with pasta sauce. Sprinkle with reserved cheese and bake for 35 minutes.
Yes! Make the manicotti and instead of baking cover the dish well and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before baking.
Yes! Assemble manicotti and instead of baking cover well with heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before baking.
Store cooled leftovers cooled in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Tips and Suggestions
- instead of onion powder and garlic powder add minced onion and minced garlic
- replace dried herbs with 1/4 cup fresh
- use cottage cheese in place of ricotta
- add cooked ground meat to the pasta sauce
Make sure to cook the pasta 2 minutes before al dente. This is important if you don’t want mushy pasta! Also, be sure to salt your water when cooking the pasta. It adds a lot of flavor!
- 1 (25 ounce) (722g) jar marinara sauce
- 8 ounces (227g) manicotti pasta
- 1 (15 ounce) (425g) ricotta cheese
- 16 ounces (452g) shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup (100g) grated parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, garlic powder, and onion powder
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish; set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and manicotti pasta and boil 2 minutes before pasta is al dente. Drain water.
- In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, 3 cups mozzarella, ¾ cup parmesan, egg, herbs, onion powder, and garlic powder. Spoon into a large ziploc plastic bag or piping bag.
- Fill each partially cooked pasta shell and place into prepared baking pan. Pour remaining sauce over pasta. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses and bake for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.