Easy Cheese Manicotti is stuffed with three kinds of cheese and smothered in savory tomato sauce. A simple Italian dish that’s sure to be a hit!
Easy Cheese Manicotti
Easy Cheese Manicotti is a cheese lover’s dream dinner! It’s a tasty, simple, comfort food dinner my kids always request because cheese is everyone’s best friend in our home. I love this simple method because you don’t have to boil or cook the manicotti beforehand. Pair it with a crisp green salad and a loaf of french bread or a batch of our Pizza Factory’s Bread Twists for a delicious meal that everyone loves.
What is Manicotti?
Manicotti is an Italian word that literally means “little sleeve”. They are long, tubular pasta shells. Manicotti is typically filled with cheeses like ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan. It can also sometimes include meat like beef or veal. Originally, manicotti was made from crepes that were rolled and filled with meat and cheese, but eventually the pasta shape was popularized.
Make it a Freezer Meal
This is an easy meal to freeze and bake later and is an ideal option for delivering to new moms, friends or neighbors. We almost always double the recipe and prepare two pans. We bake one for dinner and freeze the other for another time, or to give to someone in need of a warm, rich, nourishing dinner. If you’re freezing one or more pans of this recipe, follow the instructions in the recipe card below. Once the dish is covered with foil, use a marker to write baking instructions on top of the foil so you (or anyone you take this meal to) remember the correct baking temperature and how to bake it.
Baking from Frozen Instructions
Thaw the cheese manicotti dish overnight in the refrigerator before baking. Leaving the foil on the pan, bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Then uncover, sprinkle some mozzarella cheese over the top, then return to the oven for about five minutes or until the cheese melts.
How to Fill Manicotti Shells
To keep mess to a minimum there’s a super easy way to get all that cheesy goodness in the manicotti shells. Using a spoon, fill a Ziploc bag with the ricotta mixture, then cut a hole in one of the corners. You can also use a piping bag with a wide tip if you have one. Start at one end of the pasta shell and pipe mixture in until about halfway full. Then turn the shell over and repeat on the other side. No mess, no fuss, just perfectly filled pasta shells!
Suggestions for This Recipe
- You can add ground beef or turkey to this dish to give it a bit more bulk. Just mix browned beef in with your cheese mixture and fill your manicotti shells as directed in the recipe card below.
- This recipe is delicious with our Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce or with your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce from the grocery store. You can also try it with our Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes.
More Tasty Pasta Dishes
- Baked Italian Sausage Rotini
- Chicken Parmesan
- Slow Cooker Lasagna
- Pasta Sausage Bake
- Shrimp Alfredo Pasta
How to Make Easy Cheesy Manicotti
- 1 (8 ounce) package manicotti pasta uncooked
- 24 ounces spaghetti sauce or 3 cups homemade spaghetti sauce - divided
- 3 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoon parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl mix ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, and spices until well blended.
- Spread 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce evenly on the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
- Spoon the cheese mixture into a Ziploc plastic bag. Clip one corner of the bottom of the bag, about 1/2 inch. Pipe the cheese filling into the uncooked manicotti shells. Start on one end of the manicotti shell until about 1/2 full, then pipe the mixture into the other side filling the shell.
- Place the filled manicotti shells in the 9x13 pan.
- Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over the manicotti shells. Make sure every shell is covered with sauce. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 55 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and take off the foil. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese over the shells and bake for 5 more minutes, or until cheese is melted.