This easy baked Rigatoni Pasta is made with a homemade tomato-based meat sauce and tons of mozzarella cheese!

This easy rigatoni recipe is great to prepare ahead for busy nights throughout the week – simply refrigerate this Rigatoni Pasta bake until you’re ready to cook and serve! Serve it with a Classic Wedge Salad and some 30 Minute Dinner Rolls with Homemade Garlic Butter and you’re all set for dinner!

baked rigatoni pasta overhead

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love pasta.

It’s easy to prepare, it’s hearty, it’s comforting and it can even be relatively healthy! When the cooler weather hits, this is my favorite of the Rigatoni Pasta recipes that warm me back up from the inside out.

There is just nothing that brings people together more than cheesy pasta! I know I definitely don’t have a hard time getting everyone to the table when the best rigatoni recipe is on it ;)

If your family is the same, you might also enjoy this Sun Dried Tomato Pasta, this Beef Taco Pasta Skillet, this Hamburger Helper, or this Chicken Spaghetti – they’re all super cheesy and comforting!

baked rigatoni pasta scoop

I wanted to keep this baked rigatoni recipe as simple as possible, but if you’d like to round out the meal, feel free to add in some extra veggies to the sauce: mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini would work perfectly!

What is Rigatoni Pasta?

Rigatoni noodles are short, tubular pasta that is widely available. It’s larger than penne pasta, and not cut on a diagonal.

The shape and large size of rigatoni noodles make them the perfect vehicle for a chunky, meaty sauce like this one! It holds so much flavor in every bite.

Tips for Making this Rigatoni Pasta:

  • Don’t have Rigatoni pasta? Totally fine! Any type of pasta will work in this recipe, but I recommend something on the larger end, and something that will be able to grab that thick and hearty sauce.
  • Want to spice it up? Swap out Italian sausage for the ground beef to turn this into a sausage rigatoni recipe, or add in some crushed red chili peppers while you’re cooking the sauce for a blast of heat.
  • To freeze this baked Rigatoni Pasta, cover first in plastic wrap, then in tin foil and label with the name and date. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. To bake, simply place in the oven at 350 degrees F, covered only with foil, and bake until heated through (this can take 60 to 90 minutes, but you will need to keep an eye on it to be sure). If your baking dish is not freezer-to-oven safe, leave the dish out on the counter for at least 1-2 hours before placing in the oven.
  • To make ahead: you can simply cover in plastic wrap or foil, then refrigerate up to 3 days before baking and serving. It’s perfect for your weekend meal prep, meaning you can make Tuesdays (or Wednesdays or Saturdays) dinner when you have time. (*Tip: if making ahead, pour 1/2 cup water over the pasta, then cover and bake. As it sits, the pasta soaks up the moisture and this prevents it from becoming drier in the oven.)

rigatoni pasta with meat sauce plated

More Baked Pasta Dishes You’ll Love

rigatoni pasta with meat sauce plated
5 from 27 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Baked Rigatoni Pasta

This easy baked Rigatoni Pasta is made with a homemade tomato-based meat sauce and tons of mozzarella cheese!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
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  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups tomato pasta sauce about 2 jars
  • 1 pound Rigatoni pasta about 500 g
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  • In a large saucepan, crumble and cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until browned and onions have softened. Drain any juices.
  • Add Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute.
  • Add the pasta sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add rigatoni, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook just until al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven).
  • Reserve ½ cup pasta water and drain. Stir pasta water into meat sauce.
  • Combine pasta and pasta sauce in saucepan. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13" or similar baking dish.
  • Cover with a lightly greased piece of foil and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until heated through.
  • Optionally, cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. Bake at 350°F until heated through, about 30-40 minutes.
  • Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes, until cheese has started to brown.
5 from 27 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 461 | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 1310mg | Potassium: 849mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 865IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 197mg | Iron: 3.9mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dinner
Cuisine American


baked Rigatoni Pasta with text and herbs
baked Rigatoni Pasta with text


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. This was awesome. I used ground beef and ground turkey, extra Italian seasoning and mozzarella and Parmesan mixed. My family loved it. So easy, so good!Louise5 stars

  2. For the baked rigatoni pasta, can I substitute zucchini noodles? I’ve been wanting to try them but not really a fan of a lot of the recipes out there.

    1. Sure you can. I would suggest cooking the zucchini noodles for just a couple of minutes before putting this together (I find they get less watery that way). Keep in mind that while the flavor will be great, zucchini noodles do have a lot of water so the dish might be a little bit more runny with zoodles.

  3. Just made this recipe and it turned out amazing ! I added some mushrooms and garnished the top with chopped parsley :) super delish, thank you.5 stars

  4. I mad your pasta sauce recipe yesterday for this recipe. Should I still add the pasta water to the sauce?

  5. I made this with half sausage and half ground beef. I also added sliced mushrooms to the sauce. Served it with garlic bread and It was absolutely delicious! There were no leftovers to have the next day. Family says it’s a keeper!

  6. I am debating between making the Baked Rigatoni (shown here) versus the Baked Ziti revipe. I like the appearance of the rigatoni consistency better I think, but was wondering if adding ricotta (or ricotta/egg) to the rigatoni recipe would hurt. We love cheese! What can I say? Hoping to make one of the two recipes for dinner tonight.

    1. I’d say that you’re right Lori, can’t go wrong with adding ricotta! Let us know how it turns out for you and enjoy!