The Best Way to Reheat Baked Ziti

Ooey-gooey cheese, al-dente ziti pasta, and rich delicious red sauce, what could be more comforting after a long hard work day?  Reheating baked ziti is a fast and easy way to get this comforting cheesy pasta on the dinner table any night of the week.

Whether you want a great make-ahead meal or need to feed a crowd, this family favorite is a great way to get delicious, comforting food on the table in no time.

If you’re looking for a delicious vegetarian dinner, try my Easy Meatless Baked Ziti.

A close up of bowl of rigatoni pasta with a cheesy tomatey sauce with roasted vegetables and mozzarella cheese in a bowl.

Why you need to know how to reheat baked ziti

If you don’t love baked ziti, you may be in the wrong place.  Ziti is a comforting meal that is very versatile.  Try it with mushroom ragu, Italian sausage, or vegetables like courgette or squash.  Any way you make it, it is delicious.  But if you don’t think you have the time, then reheating can make this complex meal an easy fix for a weeknight.

Other recipes that are great to reheat : Stove Top, Meat-Free Lasagne Pasta, The Best Creamy Chorizo Pasta and Chicken and Chorizo Paella.

What is Baked Ziti?

Baked ziti originated in Italy as Ziti al Forno.  The dish is made with ziti pasta, ricotta cheese, hearty red sauce, and other Italian cheeses and herbs.

Though it is a lot like lasagna in flavor, baked ziti is actually much easier to make, allowing for a great make-ahead and reheat option during the week. You’ll also love my : Easy Boursin Cheese Baked Pasta

How To Store Baked Ziti

Pre-made baked ziti can be stored as one whole dish or divided up into several separate containers.  If you are storing the entire dish as one and plan to reheat it later, I recommend storing it in the dish in which you will reheat it later.

Fridge:  If you are storing the baked ziti in the refrigerator, cover the dish with aluminum foil or a lid and place it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freezer:  To freeze the baked ziti, allow the baked pasta to come to room temperature, then cover with foil or a freezer safe lid and place the dish in the freezer.  If you are dividing the baked pasta into smaller containers, make sure the container is freezer-safe and air-tight.  Baked ziti can remain in a regular freezer for up to 3 months and a deep freezer for up to 1 year.

An oval dish filled with baked rigatoni pasta and a cheesy browned topping garnished with fresh basil on a blue background.

How to Reheat Frozen Baked Ziti?

When doing a frozen baked ziti reheat, whether reheating in the oven or the microwave, you will first want to thaw it out.  The best way to thaw frozen baked ziti is to place it in the refrigerator for at least 24-48 hours prior to reheating.  A whole frozen dish will take longer to thaw than a smaller piece, so use your own judgment.

Did you know you can use the airfryer to cook lots of different recipes from frozen; How to cook frozen chicken breast in the air fryer, Cooking Frozen Sausages in an Air Fryer and  Frozen Fish Fingers in Air Fryer

Reheating Frozen Baked Ziti In the Oven: 

The best way to reheat a whole baked ziti dish is in the oven.

Once the dish has thawed in the refrigerator, then it is time to reheat the baked ziti in the oven.  

Make sure to prevent a glass dish from shattering by allowing the glass to warm up on the countertop for at least 10-15 minutes before putting it into a hot oven.

Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil in order to keep all the moisture.  This will keep the pasta from drying out.  Another tip is to add around ¼ cup of water to the dish to help prevent a dried out baked ziti.

Pro Tip:  Spray the underside of the aluminum foil with cooking spray in order to keep the cheese from sticking as the dish bakes.

Place the thawed baked ziti into a preheated oven and cook at 175° C (350° F)  for about 1 hour or until the sauce and cheese are bubbling.  You can also check that the internal temperature is around 70° C (160° F), but this is sometimes hard to do with pasta.

When the baked ziti is bubbling, it is done.  You can either remove it entirely from the oven or remove the foil and allow the top layer of cheese to brown.

The best tip I can give you is to keep an eye on your baked ziti while it is reheating.  That way you will not overcook it. Overcooking will result in tough crispy noodles and burnt cheese.

Reheat Frozen Baked Ziti In the Microwave:

The best way to reheat smaller portions of baked ziti is in the microwave.

For this method, you don’t necessarily have to thaw the baked ziti first.  But keep in mind that thawing it first will cut down on the time it takes to cook in the microwave.

Alternative Thawing Method:  Place in the microwave and use the defrost setting for a few minutes before cooking.  The time will depend on the size of the portion.

Place the portion on a microwave safe dish.  Cover the dish with a wet paper towel, then microwave in 30 second increments until the baked ziti is bubbling and hot.

Be sure to check the center because sometimes microwaved pasta can get hot on the outside but stay cold in the middle. If this happens, just stir the ziti up on the dish and microwave it for another 30 seconds.

For other reheat articles, see my How to Reheat Chicken Wings in the air fryer, Best Ways To Reheat Salmon and How to Reheat Rotisserie Chicken

How to Reheat Cold Baked Ziti From the Refrigerator

In Oven
The best part about reheating cold baked ziti from the refrigerator is that you don’t have to wait the extra few days for it to thaw.  

Just add ¼ cup of water, cover it tightly with aluminum foil and bake it in a 177° C (350° F) preheated oven for around 1 hour or until the sauce is bubbling.

If you are using glass, be sure to let the dish sit out on the countertop for around 10-15 minutes while the oven is preheating to prevent the glass from shattering in the hot oven.

In Microwave
The fastest way to get made-ahead baked ziti in your mouth is by using the microwave. Since you don’t have to wait for it to thaw, just pop it in the microwave for around 1-2 minutes.

Check that the middle is hot and when it is heated through…enjoy!

Did you know you can use the airfryer to cook from frozen; How to cook frozen chicken breast in the air fryer, Cooking Frozen Sausages in an Air Fryer and Frozen Fish Fingers in Air Fryer

A close up of bowl of rigatoni pasta with a cheesy tomatey sauce with roasted vegetables and mozzarella cheese in a bowl with a wooden spoon in faint view.

Tips for the best result

  • Add some water to the bottom of the pan before reheating.  Sometimes, pasta can lose some of its moisture in storage, especially when in the refrigerator.  So adding a little extra water helps those noodles stay nice and tender.
  • Cover the dish when cooking in the oven or microwave.  Covering the dish with foil (only use in the oven) or a moist paper towel (only use in the microwave) will help the cheese melt without burning and also help keep the moisture in the dish so things don’t get crispy or chewy.
  • Check often for doneness so it doesn’t get overcooked.,
  • Let a glass dish come to room temperature before putting it in the oven.
  • Spray the underside of the aluminum foil with cooking spray so the cheese doesn’t stick to the foil.

What to serve with

Salad:  A nice light salad will help balance out the heartiness of the baked ziti.  Opt for a nice caesar or something with a light italian vinaigrette. Try my : Grinder Salad (Italian Sub Salad)

Bread: A lovely pairing is a nice garlic toast or garlic roll to compliment the Italian flavors of the dish.


How long can baked ziti be refrigerated before baking?

Baked ziti will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.  Then it must be either eaten or added to the freezer cycle.

Should baked ziti be covered when baking?

Yes.  Covering the dish keeps the cheese from burning and also helps keep the moisture locked in for the noodles to stay tender.

How long can baked ziti sit out after cooking?

Baked ziti should not sit out longer than 2 hours after baking because that is when bacteria will start to grow.  Refrigerate as soon as cooled.

How do you keep baked ziti warm for a party?

If you are serving baked ziti at a party, the best way to keep it warm is on a very low heat in the oven 90 C (200 F),

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