Crock Pot Pasta is the easiest, most comforting way to enjoy pasta. This recipe for Slow Cooker Ziti features a homemade sauce, tons of cheese, and noodles that are cooked to perfection right in the slow cooker. This is one easy hands-off meal that is PERFECT for busy days!
My most favorite comforting meal as a child was my mom’s pasta and her homemade tomato sauce. When I came home from school and smelled the tomatoes and oregano, I knew dinner would be good!
I turned my Mom’s pasta into a one-pot, easy, slow-cooker meal by making my homemade tomato sauce in the slow cooker, and then adding pasta and cheese at the end.
YES, you heard me right! You can cook your pasta in the slow cooker! Your life is changed for the better now!
Crock Pot Baked Ziti is beyond simple, only dirties up one dish, and flavors are reminiscent of lasagna.
- Tomato Sauce: I start his dish out with a version of my homemade tomato sauce. You can use any jarred spaghetti sauce your family likes, just be sure to follow the recipe modifications if using jarred sauce. add in an additional 1 cup water for pasta to have something to absorb while cooking. And you still need to let the sauce heat up before adding the pasta. I would cook on low for at least 1 hour.
- Pasta: Shape and size of pasta matter for this recipe. I have tried this Crock-Pot Ziti with ziti, rotini, rigatoni, and elbow noodles with success. Spaghetti, linguine, and bow-tie pasta is not recommended. Gluten-Free pasta does not cook well in the slow cooker either.
- Cottage Cheese: Cottage cheese adds the perfect creaminess and texture to this baked ziti, but you can use ricotta instead.
- Cheese: Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese add the perfect cheesy touch.
- Meat (optional): This crock-pot pasta makes a hearty meatless dish, however, feel free to brown sausage or ground beef and add to when you add the pasta to the slow cooker.
How to Make Slow Cooker Pasta
- Mix together all the ingredients for the homemade tomato sauce.
- Slow cook for several hours on low for the sauce to develop its flavor and the tomatoes to mellow out.
- Once the sauce has cooked, turn the heat to high. Stir in the pasta, cottage cheese, and mozzarella cheese.
- Cook for 30-45 minutes for whole grain pasta and 15-20 minutes for white pasta, or until the pasta is tender.
- Top with Parmesan cheese, and let warm through before serving.
More Comforting Pasta Recipes
- Creamy Chicken Casserole
- Homemade Lasagna
- Easy Taco Pasta
- Instant Pot Creamy Italian Pasta
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
Make this Slow Cooker “Baked” Ziti and get dinner done without the hassle!
Slow Cooker Ziti
Homemade Tomato Sauce
- 28 ounce can tomato puree
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 3 cups water, divided
- 1 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
For the Crock-Pot Ziti
- 16 ounce package whole grain rotini or ziti
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese freshly grated
- Mix together tomato puree, tomato paste, 2 cups water, oil, honey, and spices together in slow cooker. Set to low and cook for 4-5 hours.
- Turn slow cooker to high and mix in 1 cup water, pasta, cottage cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Cover and let cook for about 45 minutes for whole grain pasta and 25 minutes for white pasta, or until pasta is tender, stirring half-way through.
- Once the pasta is tender, finish with Parmesan cheese.