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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Table of Contents
- About Easy Cheesy Manicotti
- How do you stuff manicotti shells?
- Should you shred your own cheese?
- Can you make manicotti in advance?
- How long is manicotti good for?
- Can you freeze manicotti?
- notes & tips for cheese manicotti
- More great pasta recipes
- More great recipes for date night
- How to make cheese manicotti
- Recipe Details
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!
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.
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.
More great pasta recipes
More great recipes for date night
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!
Easy Cheesy Manicotti
- 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
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 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
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.