Make this easy cheese manicotti dish at home with tender noodles covered in marinara sauce and filled with a flavorful mix of ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan.

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Two pieces of manicotti on a plate, covered in marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parsley.

About Easy Cheesy Manicotti

Manicotti is a staple at authentic Italian restaurants, but it’s also really simple to make at home.

All you need is some manicotti, some cheeses, and red sauce (any type!) for a gourmet meal that you can easily customize to your own tastes!

Close up side view of a row of cheese manicotti in a baking dish.

How do you stuff manicotti shells?

Filling manicotti can be tricky, but there are a couple of methods you can use to do it:

  • Fill them “by hand” – Use a spoon (or sometimes even your fingers) and gently feed the cheese mix into the manicotti. Once you’ve filled one end halfway, flip the manicotti and fill the other end.
  • Use a pastry bag – Pipe the cheese filling into the manicotti by putting it in a pastry bag (or Ziploc bag with a corner cut.) This way you can easily fill the manicotti without all the mess.
  • Cut a line down the manicotti – Once the pasta has cooled, you can cut a line lengthwise down one side of the manicotti. Spread the manicotti open, add the cheese filling, then wrap the manicotti back into its original shape. The filling will help “glue” the manicotti back together. Then you can just place the manicotti seam side down in the baking dish to hide the line.

Should you shred your own cheese?

Using pre-shredded cheese is extremely convenient, but it contains some preservatives (such as potato starch) that help keep the shredded cheese separated in the bag. And while this is great for grabbing a quick pinch of shredded cheese, it will also cause the melted cheese to appear lumpy or harden faster than it normally should.

So if you’re a cheese lover like me and want the creamiest experience possible for your shrimp pasta, I highly recommend shredding a ball of mozzarella and grating a block of Parmesan cheese. It’s a bit more work, but the improved consistency is worth the effort.

Spatula lifting up a piece of cheese manicotti from a baking dish.

Can you make manicotti in advance?


For best results, prepare the recipe as instructed but hold off on topping everything with red sauce. Cover the baking dish and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

When ready to serve, allow the dish to come to room temperature on the counter (about 30 minutes), top with red sauce, then bake per the recipe instructions.

How long is manicotti good for?

Once prepared and cooled, cheese manicotti can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three to five days.

Can you freeze manicotti?

Yes, you totally can! And better yet, whether you’re freezing this dish cooked or uncooked, the process is the same:

  • Prepare the baking dish for feezing, whether this is sealing the dish with a lid or thoroughly covering the baking dish in aluminum foil.
  • Store in the freezer for up to one to two months.

When you’re ready to bake the dish, let the manicotti thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then you can bake per the recipe instructions or reheat as desired.

notes & tips for cheese manicotti

  • Feel free to use any type of style of red sauce for this recipe, whether it be spaghetti, marinara, etc.
Close up of a fork digging into cheese manicotti, showing off the filling.

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How to make cheese manicotti

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – Start off by preparing the manicotti per package instructions. Drain the water, then set them aside on some parchment paper to cool.

Step 2 – Prepare the filling by mixing together ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Step 3 – Fill the manicotti pasta with the cheesy filling. You can do this either with your hands, pastry bag, or any other method that works best for you.

Step 4 – Pour some red sauce into a 9×13 baking dish, covering the bottom. Lay the prepared manicotti on top of the sauce in an even layer. Once done, drizzle the more red sauce on top.

Step 5 – Cover with aluminum foil and bake!

Step 6 – Remove the foil, sprinkle some mozzarella on top, then bake again!

Step 7 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Two pieces of manicotti on a plate, covered in marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parsley.
4.37 from 60 votes

Easy Cheesy Manicotti

20 minutes prep + 50 minutes cook
491 kcal
Yields: 4 servings
Make this easy cheese manicotti dish at home with tender noodles covered in marinara sauce and filled with a flavorful mix of ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan.


  • 8 pieces manicotti
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce, or spaghetti sauce, any flavor, divided
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, to taste


  • Cook manicotti per package instructions, drain, then lay on parchment paper to dry and cool.
    8 pieces manicotti
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, then spread a thin layer of marinara sauce along the bottom of the dish. Set dish nearby.
    24 ounces marinara sauce
  • In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper until smooth.
    15 ounces ricotta cheese, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Using a spoon, your fingers, or a pastry bag, gently feed the cheese mix into the cooled manicotti noodles. Tip: pack one end until full, then turn the manicotti around and fill the other end.
  • Place filled manicotti on top of sauce in prepared baking dish. Arrange manicotti in a single layer. When all manicotti are filled, cover the tops with the renaming sauce.
    24 ounces marinara sauce
  • Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Remove foil and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top (optional). Bake, uncovered, for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese has melted.
    2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Serve cheese manicotti immediately with more parsley on top as garnish.
    2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 491kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 202mg | Sodium: 1793mg | Potassium: 734mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2000IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 655mg | Iron: 3mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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Recipe Rating


    • Ati
    • 5 stars

    This is sooooooo goood!!!! And so easy to make! I also made a chicken katsu (schnitzel). It was a perfect combo. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Ella M Hearrean
    • 5 stars

    This was such a good recipe. Followed your directions and it came out great. Will make again.

    • Pearl

    Trying this tomorrow looks good and simple

    • Kellie

    Use a plastic baggy to fill the noodles! Put your filling in the baggy and cut the corner kind of like a pastry bag! Squeeze it in and it goes all the way down the noodle. Easy clean up!

    • Erin Maschman

    This is a family favorite! The kids and hubby gobble it down 😍 I always add Italian sausage to it, as hubby says every meal has to have meat of some kind.

    • Debi

    Can you put this together the night before and then just pull it out of the refrigerator and bake?

    • Anita Kornblit

    I add chopped mushrooms and chopped broccoli or spinach.
    More nutritious and delicious!

    • Kate*
    • 5 stars

    I call this recipe divine!!! My husband loves his meat, so I added a little sausage to the sauce, plus about a tablespoon of heavy cream. It definitely filled my craving for the manicotti I used to get from my favorite Greek-Italian restaurant back home!!♥️♥️♥️

    • Barb

    Made it and the family loved it. Made a pasta sauce, garlic toast yummy!!! Would make again.

    • Pat

    This recipe sounds delicious. I would like to make fresh pasta to substitute the canelloni tubes. Would I have to precook it before rolling around the filling?

    • Sharon @ What The Fork
    • 5 stars

    I made this with gluten free manicotti noodles and it was very good! I’ll be making it again for Christmas Eve 🙂

    • 5 stars

    This is a delicious recipe! I do have a tip for filling manicotti noodles that my family has used all the way back to my grandmother. Fill UNCOOKED pasta noodles and line them up in the dish you are baking them in. Water down your sauce 2 to 1…for example, 2 cups of sauce to 1 cup of water. Cover the noodles completely with the watered down sauce, cover the dish and bake for an hour. When it’s done, the water will have absorbed into the pasta, cooking it to perfection and the sauce will have thickened back to it’s original state!

    • Sharon
    • 5 stars

    This is an awesome recipe I like to add spinach to the cheese mixture and to the sauce and of course extra minced garlic!! Yum

    • Shirley Davis
    • 5 stars

    Very Easy and yummy Manicotti Will make this again..I made 14 of them Lots of cheese I will have leftovers I am sure. Also used Low fat Ricotta.

    • Hidas @ BunkCollege
    • 4 stars

    I’m crazy about anything with cheese on and this will really help me in my dorm.

    • Karen Becker
    • 5 stars

    I made this last night for dinner and it turned out great! I just used a very small spoon to fill them and it was fairly easy. I made 10 pieces of manicotti, but I still could have filled a couple more if I had used a larger dish. We are having left overs tonight. Yummy!

    • Eliese

    If I wanted to make a double batch so that I can freeze one, should I freeze the extra batch before baking? Then thaw and bake when needed?

      • Chrisy

      Hey Eliese! For freezing, you can do either – freezing before baking or freezing after. As long as you use a good container to prevent freezer burn you should be fine. For what it’s worth, I typically hear that people freeze the unbaked dish and then thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

    • Linda

    Can you use low fat cottage cheese in it instead of ricotta? I do that with my lasagna

      • Chrisy

      Hey Linda! If you like using low fat cottage cheese with lasagna then it should work just fine with this recipe 😀

    • Shameka

    This recipe sounds and looks good but what if u want to add meat to it like hamburger how would you go about doing that??

      • Chrisy

      Hey Shameka! This recipe was designed for cheese only, so unfortunately I don’t have any suggestions for adding meat. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

      • Katherine

      Add hamburger meat to the spagetti sauce

      • Sherry

      I just made it tonight with hamburger meat. I simply cooked the meat separate, made some with only the cheese, added the meat to some of the cheese mistuned and made the remaining with the meat mixture. Following same baking instructions. Turned out great.