Baked Mostaccioli

5 from 3 votes
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Baked Mostaccioli is a cozy and delicious meal made with a homemade sauce packed with Italian sausage and ground beef, tossed with tender pasta, and a generous helping of melty cheese.

For more comforting and delicious pasta dishes, you might also enjoy my cheesy chicken spaghetti and cream cheese pasta with shrimp. They are so delicious that your family will always ask for seconds!

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Scooping out a spoonful of baked mostaccioli from a large baking dish.

I have fond memories of eating mostaccioli every weekend in college—when carbs didn’t count—because my roommate’s mom would send us a care package with a big pan whenever she could find someone driving down to IU in Bloomington. Those were the good times!

Fast forward to today, though, and when this fam needs a comforting meal after a long day, I almost always prepare her mom’s baked mostaccioli recipe. The combination of pasta, meaty sauce, and lots of cheese is cozy perfection. Throw together a salad and some breadsticks, and you’ve got a dinner the whole family will adore.

Why We Love This Mostaccioli Recipe

  • Filling: The blend of pasta, meaty sauce, and cheese creates a satisfying meal, perfect for unwinding.
  • Family-Friendly: My mostaccioli recipe is always a hit with the whole family. It offers a hearty dinner that everyone can enjoy.
  • Customizable: For a quicker preparation, you can use store-bought pasta sauce, and you can also substitute the ground beef and sausage for other ground meats.
Overhead photo of all the ingredients for mostaccioli.

Recipe Ingredients

This recipe for mostaccioli features simple ingredients that are easy to find. In no time, you’ll be able to make a delicious and comforting pasta dish for dinner tonight!

  • Mostaccioli (or Penne Pasta): You can also use ziti, rigatoni, or any similar tubular pasta.
  • Olive Oil: Used for sautéing the onions and browning the meat. Vegetable oil or canola oil are okay to use.
  • Yellow Onion: Substitute with white onion if needed.
  • Ground Beef: Ground turkey, pork, or ground chicken are great alternatives.
  • Italian Pork Sausage: Adds a spicy and robust flavor to the dish. Any other pork sausage will also work.
  • Garlic: I like using fresh garlic, but garlic powder can be used.
  • Italian Seasoning: A mix of dried basil, oregano, and thyme is a good substitute.
  • Chili Flakes: Adds a hint of heat and spice to the dish. You can leave it out for a milder flavor.
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper: Simple seasoning that enhances the flavors of the dish.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: I use crushed tomatoes for that rich and tangy flavor. Tomato puree or diced canned tomatoes are also okay.
  • Ricotta Cheese: Adds a creamy texture, but you can substitute it with cottage cheese.
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese: Shredded cheese provides that melty texture and mild flavor. Any melty cheese can be used.
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese: Adds a salty, nutty flavor. Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese are good alternatives.
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley: Used for garnish, adding a fresh finish to the dish.

How to Make Mostaccioli

With this easy recipe, making baked mostaccioli is simple. From cooking the pasta to layering the ingredients, you’ll master this delicious baked pasta recipe in just a few easy steps.

  1. Prep. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set it aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the Onions and Meat. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and cook the onion until translucent. Add the sausage and ground beef, and brown the meat, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon. 
  3. Sauce Ingredients. Once the meat is browned, add the garlic, Italian seasoning, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook for a minute, stir in the crushed tomatoes, and let it simmer.
  4. Combine. In a mixing bowl, mix together the cooked pasta, meat sauce, and ricotta cheese.
  5. Layer the Casserole. Place half of the pasta mixture in the baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the shredded mozzarella and half of the parmesan. Repeat these layers with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Bake & Serve. Bake the casserole for 30 minutes or until bubbly at the edges. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
overhead shot Scooping out a spoonful of baked mostaccioli from a large baking dish.

Recipe Tips

  • Ground meat options: I use one pound of ground beef and one pound of ground Italian sausage. Ground turkey or chicken can be substituted if you prefer.
  • Al dente pasta: Since the pasta will continue to cook in the oven, it’s important to only boil it until it is al dente (fully cooked, but still slightly firm to the bite). I suggest boiling for 2 minutes less than the recommended time on the package.
  • Cheese choices: If you want, you can substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta, and provolone for the mozzarella. I suggest an un-smoked provolone for a creamy, mozzarella-like result.
  • Sauce shortcut: This recipe requires you to make your own meat sauce, but you can take a shortcut by using your favorite pasta sauce in a jar. Marinara, garlic and olive oil, and veggie sauces are all great options.
  • Make it ahead: Assemble the mostaccioli casserole and then refrigerate it for two to three days, tightly covered with foil or plastic wrap. Bake on the day of, and enjoy.

Side Dish Suggestions

Baked Mostaccioli and a side of these roasted brussels sprouts and radishes sounds fantastic. You can also go with a creamy cucumber salad or a twist on a classic with my caprese stuffed avocado.

These fluffy, buttery garlic knots are so simple that you’ll want to serve them at every meal. Or, for a classic touch, pair your meal with some homemade garlic bread. And serve a slice of this tiramisu afterward.

Scooping out a spoonful of baked mostaccioli from a large baking dish.

How To Store Leftovers

  • You can refrigerate leftover mostaccioli for 3 to 5 days, tightly covered in an airtight container, or freeze it for up to 3 months. 
  • Reheat individual portions in the microwave, or bake the whole casserole again at 350˚F until warm.

More Easy Pasta Recipes

5 from 3 votes

Baked Mostaccioli

Baked Mostaccioli is a wholesome pasta dinner prepared with a homemade tomato sauce, including Italian sausage, ground beef, and lots of cheese.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 teaspoon salt, for the water
  • 16 ounces mostaccioli, or penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 3 cups crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
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  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the pot and cook to just al dente, about 2 minutes less than package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add in the diced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the Italian sausage and ground beef, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula into smaller pieces.
  • Cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until beef and sausage are browned and cooked through. Continue stirring from time to time, breaking up the meat into pieces.
  • Stir in the minced garlic, Italian seasoning, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional minute.
  • Add crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Place the cooked pasta in a large bowl. Pour the meat sauce over the pasta and add in the ricotta; mix until well combined.
  • Place half of the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish, and spread evenly. Sprinkle with half the shredded mozzarella and half the parmesan cheese. Repeat with a second layer of pasta mixture, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly at the edges. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm.


  • Pasta: If you can’t find mostaccioli, use any tube-shaped pasta like penne or rigatoni.
  • Cheese Swaps: Use cottage cheese instead of ricotta and un-smoked provolone as a creamy alternative to mozzarella.
  • Sauce: Save time by using your favorite store-bought pasta sauce.
  • Ground Meat: I use a mixture of ground beef and Italian Pork Sausage, but if you prefer to use ground chicken or any other ground meat, go right ahead. 
  • Storing Leftover Mostaccioli: Cover tightly and refrigerate the leftovers for up to 5 days. 
  • Freezing Baked Mostaccioli: You can freeze this baked or unbaked. Wrap it tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and foil and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Calories: 703kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 1708mg | Potassium: 819mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 606IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 337mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Beth says:

    5 stars
    Just looking at this is making me hungry. You cannot beat a pasta bake loaded with sauce and cheese like this.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  2. Catalina says:

    5 stars
    This is the type of dinner that my family goes crazy! A must make!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s great! I hope everyone enjoys it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  3. Allyson Zea says:

    Such a delicious dinner recipe!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I’m very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  4. Charlene says:

    5 stars
    You’ve perfected mostaccioli! The only thing I did different was add a jar of Marinara sauce. I finally found my go to recipe for this dish 🙂

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank you so much! I am very happy you loved it! 🙂