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5 from 37 votes

The BEST Homemade Cheese Manicotti

Manicotti stuffed with melted cheese and smothered in marinara sauce is pure comfort food! This easy dinner recipe satisfies all the cravings.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 servings


  • 5 1/2 ounces manicotti pasta
  • 1 pint whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded and divided in half
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated and divided in half
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 8 leaves fresh basil sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounces marinara sauce


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Par boil manicotti: Boil a large pot of salted water and cook manicotti for only a minute. Drain. The goal is to soften the pasta and start the cooking process, but the pasta needs to still be extremely firm in order to stuff. The pasta will finish cooking in the oven.
  • Prepare cheese filling: In a large bowl, combine ricotta, garlic, half of the mozzarella, half of the Parmesan, eggs, Italian seasoning, basil, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Add to large resealable plastic bag.
  • Prepare manicotti: Add about 1/2 cup of the sauce to the bottom of an 11x17 baking dish. Snip the corner off the bag containing the cheese filling and pipe it into each manicotti tube. Arrange each tube in the pan on the sauce. Pour remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil.
  • Bake: Place manicotti in preheated oven and bake, covered, for about 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue cooking until cheese is melted, about 15 additional minutes.


This recipe can be made ahead. Do full preparation up to the point where the dish goes in the oven. Keep in the refrigerator, covered. When ready to bake, bring to room temperature prior to baking. Alternatively, manicotti can be taken right from the refrigerator and baked, but baking time (covered with foil) will need to be extended by about 15 minutes.


Calories: 438kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 1288mg | Potassium: 517mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1290IU | Vitamin C: 7.4mg | Calcium: 593mg | Iron: 2.3mg