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Italian Pasta Bake

Italian Pasta Bake is a hearty and delicious comfort food meal made with simple ingredients for a quick and easy dinner on busy weeknights. Made with ground beef, marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese for a simple dish that is full of flavor.

This is the perfect dish to take to your next potluck, family gathering or any social event.

Serving of Italian Pasta Bake on white plate.

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My family loves just about any kind of pasta dish. Here are a few of our favorites that you might like to try.

  • Pizza Pasta Bake - This pizza pasta bake has pepperoni and sausage for lots of extra flavor!
  • Baked Ziti - Made with ground beef and Italian sausage with ricotta and mozzarella cheese.
  • Baked Lasagna Garlic Bread Bowls - If you are looking for something different. This is it. These are so good!

This recipe is family friendly and kid approved at our house! It's easy cheesy and delicious!


See printable recipe card below for all ingredients, specific measurements, and complete instructions.

  • Ground Beef - I like to use lean ground beef but you can use what you have on hand.
  • Onion - Use white or yellow onion finely chopped.
  • Marinara Sauce - Use your favorite store bought marinara sauce. You can also make this delicious homemade spaghetti meat sauce.
  • Diced Tomatoes- You will need one can of diced tomatoes undrained.
  • Italian Seasoning - Use your favorite Italian seasoning blend to add flavor.
  • Pasta Shells - I like to use medium pasta shells cooked al dente since they will continue cooking in the oven.
  • Cheese - Shredded Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

How To Make Italian Pasta Bake

Browned ground beef and onion in large saucepan.
Marinara sauce, diced tomatoes and Italian seasoning added to ground beef in large saucepan.

Cook Ground Beef: To cook the ground beef place it and the diced onion in a large skillet and stir to break-up and cook over medium-high heat until the meat is browned and the onion is soft. Drain any excess fat.

Add Marinara Sauce Seasonings: Stir in the marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Add Parmesan cheese and reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Parmesan cheese added to meat sauce in large saucepan.
Pasta shells added to meat sauce in large saucepan.

Cook Pasta: While the meat sauce is simmering cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and then add the pasta to saucepan with meat sauce. Stir to combine.

Mozzarella cheese sprinkled over top of  pasta and meat sauce in white baking dish.
Italian Pasta baked in white baking dish.

Bake: Transfer to an ungreased 13"x9" baking dish and sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and place in oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly and heated through.

We like to serve this with a simple salad and Homemade Bread or these Buttery Homemade Dinner Rolls.

A serving of Italian Pasta bake on large spoon.

How To Store Leftovers

You can store any leftovers in the refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Recipe Variations and Substitutions

This is a good basic recipe that you can build on and change to make your own. It's easy to swap out ingredients and add in additional flavors that your family prefers.

  • Replace the diced tomatoes with Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles for a little spiciness.
  • If you don't have pasta shells you can use rigatoni, penne pasta or ziti.
  • Add extra flavor by using Italian sausage or a combination of ground beef and Italian sausage.
  • You could easily add in sautéed spinach, mushrooms and roasted red peppers if you like.
  • Make is creamier by adding some ricotta cheese.
  • If you like it extra saucy use a larger size jar of the marinara sauce and add as much you need to get your desired consistency.
Serving of Italian Pasta on round white plate.

Recipe FAQs

Does it matter what pasta you use in a pasta bake?

Short-size pastas work best. This recipes calls for medium pasta shells. You can use penne, rigatoni, ziti, rotini or fusilli.

Can I freeze this pasta dish before baking?

Yes you can. To freeze follow directions and assemble casserole as directed but do not bake. Allow the pasta and sauce mixture to completely cool then place in a 9x13 freezer-safe dish, cover tightly and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baking. If using glass be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions for freezing and baking to prevent the dish from shattering or breaking due to temperature changes.

I hope you enjoy this easy Italian Pasta Bake recipe! If you try it, please come back and rate it and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from you!

Serving of Italian Pasta Bake on white plate.

Italian Pasta Bake Recipe

Author: Judy Wilson
Italian Pasta Bake is a hearty and delicious comfort food meal made with simple ingredients for a quick and easy dinner on busy weeknights.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8
Calories 335 kcal


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 14½ ounces diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups cooked medium pasta shells (cooked according to package directions)
  • cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cook the ground beef and onion in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain excess grease.
  • Stir in the marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a light boil. Add Parmesan cheese and reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While meat sauce is simmering cook the pasta. In a large pot with salted water cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Once meat sauce is done simmering add the cooked pasta to beef mixture in saucepan and stir to combine.
  • Transfer to an ungreased 13"x9" baking dish. Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese over the top.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes until the cheese has melted and it is bubbly and heated through.
  • Remove from oven and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!


Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 


Calories: 335kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 22gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 747mgPotassium: 571mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 584IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 288mgIron: 3mg
The nutritional information provided is approximate and should only be used as a general guideline. It is an estimate that will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Saturday 3rd of February 2024

this sounds super yummy I love italian cooking. I believe this will please the family. thanks for sharing come see us at

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