Baked Mostaccioli Recipe – The Cookie Rookie®

Easy to make baked Mostaccioli is a weeknight dinner recipe the whole family will love! Tender pasta is mixed with a hearty Italian meat sauce and topped with a decadent combination of creamy ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses.

baked mostaccioli in casserole dish

Baked Mostaccioli Recipe

This situation is all too familiar – it’s a Tuesday night and your whole family is starving. You want something quick and easy that’s not from a drive-thru. What’s a hungry, tired parent to do? Make baked Mostaccioli, of course!

This super simple Italian baked pasta dish is loaded with flavor, plenty of cheese, and protein to keep you nice and full. It has everything I love about a good pasta dinner! The Mostaccioli itself is tender and grips the sauce perfectly, while the cheeses and robust meat sauce create an irresistibly savory flavor.

Why You’ll Love this Pasta Bake Recipe:

  • CHEESY: The bubbly top layer of melted cheese draws you into this baked pasta dish and the middle layer of creamy ricotta cheese keeps you coming back for more.
  • HEARTY: Warm and cozy, mostaccioli is filled with a protein-packed meat sauce.
  • EASY: Yes! This baked pasta dinner is a cinch to make with simple ingredients and easy to follow instructions.

Is there anything more comforting than cheesy pasta with meat sauce? I don’t think so!

step by step photos for how to make mostaccioli
baked mostaccioli in casserole dish with cheese

How to Make Mostaccioli

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

  1. Cook the pasta.
  2. Make the meat sauce and mix it with the pasta.
  3. Prepare the cheese filling.
  4. Layer the baked pasta in a baking dish: pasta, filling, pasta.
  5. Top with cheese and cover with foil.
  6. Bake.
up close baked mostaccioli in casserole dish
cheesy mostaccioli in baking dish
What is mostaccioli?

Mostaccioli is a type of pasta similar to penne with a smooth surface instead of ridges.

How is baked mostaccioli different from baked spaghetti?

While baked mostaccioli and baked spaghetti are made with similar ingredients, the differences are the types of noodles used and the middle layer of creamy ricotta cheese in the mostaccioli!

Can I make a vegetarian version of this mostaccioli recipe?

Absolutely! Substitute the ground beef with a plant-based alternative or simply skip the meat entirely and use a plain marinara sauce.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

You sure can! Make the recipe through step 8, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to bake it, pop it in the oven and bake accordingly. It might need a couple extra minutes in the oven as it will be cold when it goes into the oven.

What is the best way to freeze mostaccioli?

Once baked, this dish will stay fresh in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Serving Suggestions

When serving a hearty main course like this, I like to offer fresher side dishes to keep things a little lighter. A couple of my favorites are:

Whether you keep things light and fresh with a side dish or enjoy mostaccioli by itself, you’re going to love this easy dinner.

dish of mostaccioli
fork digging into mostaccioli


  • To avoid mushy pasta, cook the mostaccioli until al dente. If it’s overcooked to begin with, it will be mushy once baked.
  • Add some crushed red pepper flakes to the meat sauce to add a little spice!
  • Don’t forget to uncover the pan for the last 10 minutes of bake time! This helps make sure the cheesy top is golden brown and bubbly.

What pan should I use for baked mostaccioli?

A 3-quart or 9×13-inch baking dish is perfect for making baked mostaccioli.

Can I use a different kind of meat in the sauce?

Absolutely! Ground pork, chicken, or turkey will all do the trick.

Can I use homemade marinara sauce?

You most certainly can, and it’s delicious! Use my tried and true Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe to enhance this baked pasta even more.

fork digging into mostaccioli

Cheesy, warm, and loaded with a robust meat sauce. There’s so much to love about easy to make baked mostaccioli!

If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy!

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