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Make-Ahead Spinach Manicotti Recipe

Make-Ahead Spinach Manicotti Recipe

When I invite people to dinner, many have started requesting this pasta bake ahead of time because it's that good. Plus, the manicotti is stuffed before it's cooked, making it even more convenient. —Christy Freeman, Central Point, Oregon
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + chilling Bake: 40 min. YIELD:7 servings


  • 1 carton (15 ounces) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 jars (24 ounces each) spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package (8 ounces) manicotti shells


  • 1. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley and seasonings. In a large bowl, mix spaghetti sauce and water; spread 1 cup into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish.
  • 2. Fill uncooked manicotti shells with ricotta mixture; arrange over sauce. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce mixture over top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  • 3. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake, uncovered, 40-50 minutes or until manicotti is tender.
    Freeze option: Cover and freeze unbaked casserole. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake casserole as directed, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°. Yield: 7 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (2 each) equals 363 calories, 16 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 68 mg cholesterol, 822 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 22 g protein.

Reviews for Make-Ahead Spinach Manicotti

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Reviewed Dec. 30, 2015

"We loved this manicotti. So easy to prepare too."

Reviewed Nov. 27, 2015

"As suggested, I used 700ml of sauce with the water added meat and mushrooms. Cooked covered for 50 minutes. Took foil off and brown lightly. Absolutely easy peasy and delicious!!! Will keep this recipe."

Reviewed Nov. 22, 2015

"Love the recipe. Very easy to prepare, and freezes well."

Reviewed Nov. 21, 2015

"This tasted great. Only problem was apparently too much sauce. The manicotti feel apart completely. All was completely swimming in sauce. Suggestions as to what I did wrong? I think to leave out the water would help, and maybe one of the sauce? ??? Not experienced with manicotti. We liked it regardless!"

Reviewed Jul. 10, 2015

"Made this for my daughter, her guy friend and myself. Hubby is on a fishing vacation. Saved this for when he wasn't home, since he doesn't care for spinach in anything except alone or creamed. Definitely gonna make this again! I only did a couple of things different. 1) I only used 1 jar of spaghetti sauce in the pan, with a second jar warmed up to ladle over if anyone wanted more sauce. 2) I didn't think about making this the day before, so I couldn't let it sit overnight. Rather, I let it sit in the frig for a couple of hours, and then left the foil on when I put it in the oven and baked for the full 50 min. Noodles were perfect! 3 )I used a vodka spaghetti sauce, since I really like that flavor spaghetti sauce. It was all perfect! Rounded it all out with garlic bread and a tossed salad. Kudos to the recipe creator!"

Reviewed Jun. 15, 2015

"I've made this recupe a few times now and I've always loved it, both for guests, for my family, and as a freezer meal. It is time-consuming but I can't imagine a manicotti recipe that's not. However, the fact that you leave the manicotti uncooked is so helpful, particularly in stuffing. I've used a lower fat ricotta cheese and generally tend to add more garlic powder and even a little feta if I'm in the mood. A little basic and oregano are delicious too."

Reviewed Dec. 19, 2013

"My family love this manicotti. I have made with and without meat. So easy and great to have done ahead."

Reviewed Mar. 19, 2013

"This is my favorite recipe to make when I have too many things to do and company coming next day."

Reviewed Sep. 17, 2012

"I was getting the recipe ready to give to a gal that attends my church and realized just how long I have been making this. This is a good, flavorful and tasty recipe, and because it's meatless it can save a bit on your food bill. I do cut back on the sauce by 1/4 to 1/2 of the amount. This is one recipe you never want to lose."

Reviewed Apr. 7, 2012

"Not very flavorful. I was hoping for a better flavor with the cheese, but this didn't have it, which was surprising."

Reviewed Apr. 12, 2011

"Been making this for years. I love that you make it in advance. I usually make 3 or 4 trays and yes, I do FREEZE them. I let them sit overnight in the fridge as in the directions, and whatever I don't put in the oven, goes right in to the freezer. I don't add the cheese on top of those. When taking out of the freezer, I counter-top thaw them, then sprinkle the cheese and bake."

Reviewed Feb. 14, 2011

"I was disappointed because I found the manicotti to be very bland."

Reviewed Jan. 6, 2011

"oops...didn't know I had to click the stars...this recipe is the best!!"

Reviewed Jan. 6, 2011

"I absolutely LOVE this recipe. It is great for potlucks and family dinners. I also sneak in extra veggies by grating a carrot and small zucchini squash!!! Family favorite for sure!"

Reviewed Jul. 14, 2010

"I liked this recipe enough, but 2 jars of sauce was waaaay too overwhelmed the rest of the dish. I will try to make this again, but with half of the sauce recommended."

Reviewed Jun. 15, 2010

"Very simple to make. Love that you don't have to cook the noodles before you stuff them. Next time, I think I'll add some italian sausage into the sauce before I pour it over top the noodles."

Reviewed Apr. 28, 2009

"This recipe is very tasty, my entire family loves it."

Reviewed Apr. 4, 2009

"never froze it.

this is the best recipe ever. i usually add oregano and basil.
overall, its the best recipe to serve to people you want to impress. you make it the day before, so the day of your event you just have to bake it, super easy. LOVE it!!"

Reviewed Nov. 16, 2008

"Has anyone tried freezing this after assembly?"

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Wine Pairings

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.