Manicotti – A Simple Yet Incredible Entree


This is one my favorite recipes that has been in my recipe book and made in my home countless times over the last 8 years. I originally saw the recipe on Food Network and have made my own adjustments, you can follow the link below to view the fully original recipe. This dish is also one of my mom’s favorites. Every time she comes to visit this is always on the menu and she still get’s excited every time I let her know it’s what we are having for dinner or supper as she calls it =).

Who knew a vegetarian dish could be so good? I actually prefer this over lasagna. I usually serve it along with Parmesan or lemon chicken (so there goes vegetarian =) and a side of steamed brocolli, but if you aren’t up to preparing a big meal this manicotti is filling enough to be a meal on it’s own. This is cheesey, flavorful, generously filled pasta drenched in a simple yet incredible marinara sauce. Basically it’s comfort food at it’s best. To sum it up, it’s simple, satisfying and a family favorite.
Note: the photo posted above is a half batch, prebaked and not fully covered in sauce (so you could see what the manicotti actually looks like). I often do a half batch for my small family. Sometimes I will do the full batch and freeze some. You could even do two half batches in two 8×8 pans and freeze one and immediately bake the other. For the frozen one thaw it overnight then bake in a cool (not preheated) oven at 350 for 55 minutes.

Once you add all the sauce it should look more like this…

yum yum, all that saucay goodness =)


Manicotti – A Simple Yet Incredible Entree

Yield: 14


  • 1 (8 oz) pkg Manicotti noodles
  • 1 (15 oz) container Ricotta Cheese (I've used both whole or part skim, either works)
  • 1 lb freshly grated Mozzerella Cheese (about 4 cups)
  • 3 oz finely , freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Recipe Marinara Sauce , recipe follows

Marinara Sauce

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 (28 oz) cans crushed Roma tomatos (I prefer Contadina brand)
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions listed on package and drain. In the meantime prepare Manicotti filling, in a large mixing bowl, using a fork blend together Ricotta cheese, eggs, parsley and pepper. Stir in grated Mozzerella and Parmesan cheese and mix until well blended. Divide cheese mixture evenly among the 14 manicotti noodles stuffing each one full (I just do this using clean hands, I hold one hand over the bottom opening of the manicotti noodle, then press cheese mixture into the noodle and slightly pack it in until the cheese mixture fills to opposite end). Align noodles in a single layer in a 13x9 baking dish. Pour marinara sauce evenly over filled manicotti noodles. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Marinara Sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, simmer 20 minutes (I do this while preparing the manicotti filling and pasta).
  2. Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Food Network


  • SerenaB: So tempting! I love manicotti! Have a great week! May 1, 2012 at 7:42pm Reply

  • Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking: I love manicotti and your dish here looks delicious, Jaclyn! May 2, 2012 at 6:54am Reply

  • Cathleen: This looks absolutely great! Simple is usually best :) May 2, 2012 at 7:42am Reply

  • Anonymous: I just made this for dinner and my family LOVED it! This one is going on the favorites list. Thank you! May 16, 2012 at 6:29pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Thanks Serena, Georgia and Cathleen for your comments!
    Anonymous – I’m glad to hear to your family loved this! It’s one of my favs too. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment to let me know you enjoyed! May 16, 2012 at 7:00pm Reply

  • Anonymous: Another way to fill the noodles is to use a ziplock bag and cut a corner off and squeez the mixture into the noodle. Its cleaner and works great. October 7, 2012 at 7:14pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: Anonymous – I saw that somewhere once I think it was a magazine either that or the Food Network but I’ve still yet to try it. I think it’s just because I forget and out of habit I just do it the old fashioned way I’ve always done, by hand. I will have to try it this way though next time, thanks for the tip and reminder! October 9, 2012 at 7:07pm Reply

  • Kayla: Is the recipe for a half batch or a full one? December 18, 2012 at 12:14pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: The recipe above is for a full batch which yields 14 filled manicotti noodles. December 18, 2012 at 9:37pm Reply

  • Kayla: Also, how would you add spinach to the filling? December 18, 2012 at 12:25pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I would just toss in some (frozen, thawed and squeeze to dry or steamed and squeezed to dry) chopped spinach into the ricotta filling after you’ve mixed all the the other ingredient in then continue as directed. I hope you enjoy these! December 18, 2012 at 9:41pm Reply

  • SusieB: No need to cook the noodles first! Fill them raw, bake for full hour. Same goes for lasagna. January 19, 2013 at 10:25pm Reply

  • Kadelyn: That looks good! February 10, 2013 at 8:27am Reply

  • Valerie: To make these ahead and freeze it, the best time be right before putting it into the pan to cook? February 24, 2013 at 1:38pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Valerie – That is what I like to do, but I’ve also frozen them after I’ve baked them just because I had leftovers. Just thaw them before you bake them. February 27, 2013 at 10:30am Reply

  • Elyse: My husband doesn’t like cheese, so I don’t get to indulge in these kids of dishes very often. Last week he was out of town and I FINALLY got a chance to try this recipe and it was like HEAVEN for lunch everyday. AMAZING recipe! May 3, 2013 at 4:19pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked this Elyse. This is one of my Mom’s favorite and it’s a regular in my home. Thanks for your comment! May 7, 2013 at 9:11am Reply

  • Randy: I would like to cook my Manicotti like your first picture. It has a beautiful presention like that. Would I cover so the noodle doesn’t dry out. Then I can place it on the plate and dress it up.
    I want it to look good as well as taste good. You seem to do the same. You do such a great job on everything. Thank you June 3, 2013 at 8:55pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Randy! I took the first photo like that simply so everyone could still see the stuffed manicotti, rather than just a pan of pasta sauce :). I would recommend covering them entirely, like you said so they don’t try out. But if you’d like to dress them up you can sprinkle the tops with more shredded mozzarella and sprinkle with fresh basil just before serving. June 3, 2013 at 9:20pm Reply

  • Adrienne: I made this for dinner last night. SO YUMMY!!!! Even my picky kids ate it up. :-) June 6, 2013 at 8:08am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad your family enjoyed this Adrienne! Thanks for your comment! June 17, 2013 at 10:27pm Reply

  • 15 FAVORITE PASTA RECIPES | Best Friends For Frosting: […] a great twist on lasagna, try some manicotti noodles. This heavenly stuffed Manicotti recipe will leave you craving more. (via Cooking […] July 6, 2013 at 9:01am Reply

  • Brett: I made this the other night and it was a HUGE hit! My hubby said it was as good as anything you can get from an Italian restaurant. Delicious!!! September 10, 2013 at 7:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Happy to hear they were a hit Brett! Now you’ve got me craving them so I’m going to have to make them again this week :). September 19, 2013 at 11:00am Reply

  • Leigh: To add Italian sausage, should it be mixed with the filling or added to the marinara? July 27, 2014 at 5:41am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I would just add it to the marinara sauce. I hope you love it! July 27, 2014 at 7:00pm Reply

  • Sherri: Can this recipe be made without boiling the manicotti noodles ? July 9, 2015 at 12:00pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I wouldn’t recommend it because I don’t think the noodles wood cook all the way though. Plus I think you can fit more filling once they are boiled. July 9, 2015 at 12:57pm Reply

  • Sherri: Thanks Jaclyn! I’m looking forward to trying the recipe this weekend. What do you serve for side dishes with the manicotti? July 9, 2015 at 1:24pm Reply

  • Jaclyn P.: Hi Jaclyn,
    My name is also Jaclyn- not many of us who spell it that way. I’m half Italian. This is the closest recipe to what my mom made. She added spinach (squeeze out well)and used some Jack cheese and just a little ground nutmeg. Always great make ahead dish for parties. August 24, 2016 at 8:54pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Hi Jaclyn! Thanks for the great tips! August 25, 2016 at 12:50pm Reply

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