If you are looking for a comforting, delicious, easy casserole dish that will feed a crowd, you will love baked ziti! It is a flavorful and filling meal that's surprisingly easy to make. But most baked ziti recipes make a large portion, so you may find yourself with more than you can eat at once.
Luckily it is very easy to store this baked pasta dish to eat later, and leftover baked ziti can taste even more delicious reheated!
Looking for the the best way to store and reheat baked ziti so that it tastes just as good reheated as it did when you first made it? Keep reading!
Looking to give baked ziti a try for yourself? Try this fan favorite easy meatless baked ziti recipe!
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What is baked ziti?
Baked ziti is an Italian-American casserole dish made with ziti pasta (or sometimes penne/rigatoni noodles) and a marinara or meat-based sauce.
The pasta is typically layered with a variety of cheeses like ricotta cheese, parmesan, and/or mozzarella, which are seasoned with salt, garlic, and parsley. This casserole-style pasta dish is then baked in the oven to create a cheesy, melty, and filling comfort food!
This dish is reminiscent of lasagna, but doesn't require quite as much prep time, making it a popular meal for weeknights and dinner parties alike!
How to store baked ziti?
Many baked ziti recipes make a large portion, so you may find yourself with a lot of leftovers. But luckily, baked ziti stores very well and tastes just as delicious reheated as it does the first day you made it!
There are a few simple steps that you will want to take when storing your baked ziti to ensure that it retains its freshness for a long time.
How to store baked ziti in the refrigerator
If you will be finishing your baked ziti within the next couple of days, your best option is to store it in the refrigerator.
If you are storing it in the dish it was baked in, be sure to cover to top tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. You can also transfer it to an airtight container. Baked ziti will last in the fridge for about 4-5 days.
How to store baked ziti in the freezer
Freezing baked ziti is a great way to retain its quality! Be sure that it is stored in a freezer-safe dish, and tightly cover with plastic wrap.
You can also add a layer of aluminum foil over top to be safe and prevent freezer burn. Mark the top with the date it was made and place in the freezer.
You can also freeze baked ziti in smaller portions so that you can defrost a single serving at a time instead of having to use the whole tray.
To do this, cut the baked ziti into portions the size of your preference, wrap them in plastic wrap, and freeze them in freezer-safe ziplock bags, or a plastic container.
Baked ziti will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheating baked ziti
How to reheat frozen baked ziti
If you chose to store your baked ziti in the freezer, there are a couple of different reheating methods you can choose from. If you froze the entire baking dish of ziti or a large portion, your best bet is to move it to the refrigerator at least 24-48 hours before you plan to heat it.
This will allow the dish to thaw, and minimize the amount of time that you will have to bake it.
If your ziti is in a glass or pyrex dish, remove it from the fridge and leave it on the countertop until the dish has come to room temperature.
Reheating food in glass containers too quickly may result in the pan shattering. Preheat your conventional oven to 350 degrees F, and cover the baked ziti with aluminum foil. This will trap in moisture and ensure that your pasta does not dry out.
Bake in the preheated oven for approximately one hour, or until the sauce is bubbling. This time will depend on how large of a serving you are heating, so keep an eye on it.
If you want the cheese on the top to brown, you may choose to remove the aluminum foil and broil it for a few minutes.
If you are reheating a smaller portion of frozen baked ziti, you may choose to use the microwave instead.
It is still best if the portion has been thawed in the refrigerator first. Place the ziti on a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a paper towel to prevent moisture loss.
Heat on medium power for about 5 minutes, then check to see if it is heated through. If it still needs more time, continue heating it in small increments of about 20 seconds until fully warmed.
How to reheat baked ziti (refrigerated)
To reheat baked ziti that has been refrigerated, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Again, if it is in a glass dish, be sure that the glass has come to room temperature first to avoid cracking.
Cover the oven-safe dish with aluminum foil and bake for around 35-45 minutes. The amount of time will again depend on the size of the dish, so if it is not heated through after this time continue to bake until done.
You can remove the aluminum foil in the last 5 minutes of baking to brown the top, or quickly broil when it is fully heated.
Transfer your refrigerated baked ziti to a microwave-safe dish, and add a little water to prevent it from drying out during heating.
Cover with a damp paper towel or parchment paper and heat on medium power for two minutes before checking to see if it is warmed through. If it needs more time, continue heating in small intervals of around 15-20 seconds until heated thoroughly.
- You can also assemble baked ziti ahead of time, and store it in the fridge without baking. Simply remove it from the refrigerator with enough time for the dish to come to room temperature (if using a glass baking dish) and bake.
- If your baked ziti looks particularly dry when removing it from the fridge or freezer, you can add a little bit of leftover pasta sauce before baking or microwaving. This will add back some moisture to the pasta dish.
- Frozen or refrigerated baked ziti can also be reheated in the toaster oven. Simply follow the same instructions for the traditional oven. Although, you may need to adjust the timing depending on the strength of your toaster oven.
- Serve your baked ziti alongside challah rolls, pull-apart potato rolls, or dutch oven bread to make this meal even more impressive!