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Baked Rigatoni

Rich tomato sauce, stringy, gooey mozzarella cheese, and crumbly crispy beef combine with perfectly al dente pasta in this hearty, easy-baked rigatoni.


    homemade bake rigatoni  in a 9x13 casserole dish
    Photography by Gayle McLeod

    The Easiest & Most Delicious Baked Rigatoni Recipe

    In little over an hour, you’ll have a bubbling, golden brown, saucy baked rigatoni with cheese. It’s simple enough to throw together in a pinch as you might even have all the ingredients at home. It would even make a great recipe for the kids to help with! This rigatoni pasta recipe is one of our best crowd-pleasing dishes - crumbly bites of sausage and beef sautéed with onions and garlic steal the show and will make your house smell absolutely delicious. If you’re looking for an easy, delicious, and quick pasta bake, this is the recipe for you.

    rigatoni, italian sausage, ground beef, onion, marinara, tomatoes, spices, butter and mozzarella in bowls

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    What Is Baked Rigatoni Made Of?

    Baked rigatoni consists of a tomato-based sauce (we love a good marinara!), ground beef, lots of golden-brown cheese, and rigatoni noodles mixed together and popped into the oven! It’s our go-to when we have a crowd coming over at the last minute or on a rainy weekend with the family when we are all craving something comforting. In our baked rigatoni recipe, we use jarred marinara for a quick fix but if you have time, we suggest trying your hand at our homemade marinara sauce for a more elevated take. We also brown Italian sausage alongside the ground beef for a richer, deeper flavor.

    ground beef, italian sausage, marinara butter and spices in a soup pot for making baked rigatoni
    ground beef, italian sausage, marinara butter, spices and rigatoni in a soup pot for making baked rigatoni

    How Long Do You Cook Rigatoni For?

    In other words: How do you bake pasta without drying it out? There are two steps we like to follow to ensure our recipe for rigatoni isn’t overbaked or dry.

    1. We cook our pasta al dente according to the package - this means that the pasta is almost fully cooked, but it still has a bite to it! By doing this, it’ll finish cooking in the sauce so it isn’t overbaked.

    2. It bakes for 25 minutes covered and then the last 10-15 minutes, uncovered. This helps keep the moisture in and prevents drying out while still getting that golden brown cheesy crust we all love! And, use more sauce than you’d think – It might look like too much but, we promise, when combined and baked, the pasta will cook a little more in the oven and suck up a little sauce!

    rigatoni with marinara sauce, italian sausage and ground beef in a 9x13 casserole dish

    What Is The Difference Between Baked Ziti And Baked Rigatoni?

    Well first, what is rigatoni? Rigatoni pasta noodles are medium size tubes with ridges. In comparison, ziti noodles are a bit longer, skinnier, and don’t have ridges down the side. They’re similar, but we like to use rigatoni for its ability to hold onto the sauce! You can always swap out ziti for rigatoni but make sure you check the cooking times. When it comes to baked ziti versus baked rigatoni, they’re both made from cheesy, tomato-based sauces with ground beef.

    rigatoni with marinara sauce, italian sausage and ground beef topped with shredded mozzarella in a 9x13 casserole dish

    We Know You’re Wondering What To Serve With This Rigatoni Pasta Recipe!

    While baked rigatoni is a satisfying dish that can be served by itself, pasta lends itself to light vegetable-forward dishes such as Caesar Salad, Maple Roasted Squash Salad (perfect during the fall!), Antipasto Salad, or even a Simple Italian Salad. We of course couldn’t forget the Garlic Bread to scoop up all that leftover sauce and cheese. Kids, and adults alike, will also go crazy over Homemade Mozzarella Sticks for a quick and easy appetizer. If you’re looking for another amuse bouche, Stuffed Mushrooms will be sure to impress and align with your menu. If you’re wanting to add another easy pasta dish to the menu, our Baked Mostaccioli is a great place to start.

    homemade baked rigatoni in a 9x13 casserole dish made with italian sausage, ground beef, marinara and mozzarella

    How to Make Baked Rigatoni

    Follow these four simple steps for the best rigatoni bake:

    1. Cook the pasta al dente! Follow the directions on your pasta package! Don’t forget to salt the water. No need to add oil or butter – if you do, the sauce might not stick as well as we’d like!

    2. Sautée! The heavenly smell of garlic and onions will travel through the house! Brown the beef and sausage to create deep layers of flavor. Once browned, add the sauce and the remaining few ingredients.

    3. Mix it all together! Make sure every rigatoni noodle is properly sauced. Top with handfuls of mozzarella. Pro Tip: This is a great spot in the recipe for the kids to be involved in the cooking!

    4. Bake! Covered for the first 25 then, uncovered for the last 10-15. Don’t forget to let it stand for at least 5 minutes – we know it’s hard to wait, but it’s so worth it. Serve it up to all your hungry family and friends!

    homemade bake rigatoni  in a 9x13 casserole dish made with italian sausage and ground beef

    Tools You’ll Need For Baked Rigatoni

    Our Favorite Baked Pasta Recipes

    Pasta is the perfect, filling, inexpensive meal AND it gets even better when you can toss everything into a dish, and pop it in the oven… voilà! Here are our favorites – simple enough for a weeknight, impressive enough for a weekend dinner party:

    homemade baked rigatoni being scooped out of a 9x13 casserole dish

    Impastabley Delicious!

    Saucy, cheesy pasta goodness! What did you think of our baked rigatoni recipe? Snap a picture and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

    Baked Rigatoni

    • Serves: 10
    • Prep Time:  35 min
    • Cook Time:  45 min
    • Calories: 534


    • 1 pound rigatoni
    • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
    • 1 pound 90/10 ground beef
    • 1 cup diced yellow onion
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce or homemade
    • 1 (24 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
    • 4 tablespoons salted butter
    • 3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
    • minced parsley, for serving


    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position.

    2. Heat a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt it. Add the rigatoni and cook, al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

    3. Meanwhile, in a large pot or dutch oven, set over medium high heat, add the sausage, ground beef, onions and garlic, cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is cooked through and onions are softened, about 10 minutes.

    4. Add the marinara, crushed tomatoes, salt, Italian seasoning and butter to the pot and cook, stirring often, until butter is melted and sauce is fully combined with the meat, about 3 minutes.

    5. Add the rigatoni to the sauce and stir to combine.

    6. Transfer the pasta and meat sauce to a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle the top of the pasta with mozzarella, cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven, uncover and transfer back to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned and the sauce is bubbling.

    7. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

    Nutrition Info

    • Per Serving
    • Amount
    • Calories534
    • Protein32 g
    • Carbohydrates44 g
    • Total Fat4 g
    • Dietary Fiber4 g
    • Cholesterol87 mg
    • sodium555 mg
    • Total Sugars4 g

    Baked Rigatoni

    Questions & Reviews

    Join the discussion below.

    • Kathleen

      Will this still have the same great flavor if I omit the meat? I’m cooking for a group with a few vegetarians

      It should still taste good but it might have too much sauce unless you double the pasta or sub the meat for cooked zucchini or something of the sort.

    • Erin K

      Looks delicious! Do you drain the beef after cooking it?

      No need!

    • Kasey

      This looks delicious; can’t wait to try it. Do you think it would freeze well? Best to freeze before baking or after? Thanks!

      We'd say freeze before baking, full thaw then bake when ready to serve.

    • Emily

      This looks like it would freeze well. Any tips for making sure it comes out of the freezer as close to fresh as possible?

      We haven't tried freezing it we'd just recommend fully thawing it before reheating/baking.

    • Holly

      Why add the butter? It seems like unnecessary fat in the recipe?

      Hi Holly! Butter helps the texture of the sauce. Pasta sauce can turn out watery at times without a little bit of fat added in.

    • Becky

      This was excellent! The butter in the sauce makes it pull together in a creamy richness I've not had in other baked Rigatoni which can be a bit to sausy. I used Italian Style turkey sausage to lighten it up a bit, upped the seasoning and added a bit of red pepper flake.

      Thanks Becky, so happy you loved it!

    • Concepcion Martinez

      Beautiful and simple. Didn’t change a thing and it was delicious.

      Thanks Concepcion, we are so glad you loved it!

    • Jocelyne

      Whole family enjoyed this, including a finicky toddler! I grated in a zucchini we had laying around, just to use it up. Next time I’ll add more veggies!

      Thanks Jocelyne, we are so glad that your family loved it!

    • Jen

      My family loved this! Definitely throwing it into regular rotation.

      Thanks so happy to hear that!