Time for an ultra-simple crock pot chicken baked ziti. Just follow these easy step by step photo instructions to have some great Italian comfort food bursting with tasty goodness.
📰Introduction and My Rating
I think of baked ziti as a lazy man's lasagna. I do love lasagna but I'm lazy, and I'm even lazier with this recipe using raw chicken, uncooked pasta, and a crock pot.
It is beef based and even uses ricotta cheese to make it more lasagna-like. But what I love most about that recipe is the sauce. So easy and makes the dish
Here I'm using the same sauce, changing to chicken, using uncooked pasta like my crock pot recipe and just making it simpler.
A solid higher 4 or a lower 5.
♨️What is "Baked Ziti"?
Baked ziti is a classic Italian American comfort food baked casserole dish. It is made with macaroni and combined with tomato sauce and cheese. It may include meat, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and other things.
There are variations, but that is it. I'm using the crock pot to do my "baking."
Ziti vs. Penne Noodles
Close but not the same. Ziti is a bit bigger and has straight cut ends. Penne is a little smaller with angle cut ends.
I have been berated for using penne instead of ziti. Yep, I do it all the time, and it doesn’t matter. Ziti pasta is harder to find for me, and I like smaller pasta. So use what you like.
Should I Cook the Pasta First?
No. It is cooked in the crock pot with the fluid from the sauce and chicken. I suggest using standard box pasta here since I know how it will cook in this sort of usage.
If you use non-standard pasta, the results may or may not be good.
🖊️Other Pro Tips
Can I use jarred sauce?
Yep, but only do the chicken, the pasta, the cheese, and your sauce. Leave the other ingredients out. But you will love my sauce and should just do mine.
Crock pot size:
This fits in a 3 ½ qt or larger crock pot. If you use a full size cooker with this recipe, it may cook a bit faster.
A double fits in a 6 qt or larger crock pot.
Good refrigerated for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave. Good frozen for 3-4 months.
📖Other Italian Recipes
Trim and pat dry two skinless boneless chicken breasts, about 1 to 1 ½ pounds.
Cut the chicken into small bite-size pieces. Also, chop 1 small onion or ½ medium.
To a smaller (3-4 quart) crock pot add 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 ½ teaspoon basil, ½ teaspoon parsley, ½ teaspoon pepper, ⅛ teaspoon crushed pepper (optional) and 2 cloves crushed garlic. Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella and mix well. Add the prepared onion and chicken and mix well.
Mix in 2 cups uncooked pasta of your choice. I'm using penne pasta. 2 cups is half of a one-pound box of dry pasta.
Smooth the top. Cover with ½ cup shredded mozzarella.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Crock Pot Chicken Baked Ziti
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - about one pound
- 1 small onion chopped - or ½ medium
- 2 cloves garlic - crushed or minced
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 1 ½ teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper - optional
- 2 cups ziti or penne pasta - ½ of a one pound box
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella shredded
- Trim and pat dry two skinless boneless chicken breasts, about 1 to 1 ½ pounds. Chop into small bite-size pieces.
- Chop 1 small onion or ½ medium.
- Add 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes to a smaller (3-4 quart) crock pot.
- Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 ½ teaspoon basil, ½ teaspoon parsley, ½ teaspoon pepper, ⅛ teaspoon crushed pepper (optional) and 2 cloves crushed garlic. Mix well.
- Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella and mix well. Add the prepared onion and chicken and mix well.
- Mix in 2 cups uncooked pasta of your choice. Smooth the top.
- Cover with ½ cup shredded mozzarella.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
- You need about 1 to 1 ½ pound of chicken. I use skinless boneless chicken breast, but skinless boneless thighs would work well.
- This recipe uses a smaller 3-4 qt crock pot. You can double the rsecipe and use a larger 6-8 qt crock pot.
- If you use a larger crock pot without doubling, it may cook a bit fast. See #5 below.
- You may use jarred sauce, but then you only use the chicken, cheese, pasta, and your sauce. But you should use mine. So much better.
- This recipe may cook a bit faster if your crock pot runs hotter. So if it does, check at 3 hours for temperature over 165 and tender pasta.
Originally published October 7, 2018