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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 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

2 stuffed manicotti shells: 363 calories, 16g fat (8g saturated fat), 68mg cholesterol, 822mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate (11g sugars, 4g fiber), 22g protein.

Reviews for Make-Ahead Spinach Manicotti

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Reviewed Aug. 22, 2017

"Love this recipe! Have made this a couple of times. Like others I omit the water and use 1.5 jars of sauce. I fill the manicotti shells using a butter knife."

Reviewed Apr. 23, 2017

"Will try but looks scrumptious"

Reviewed Apr. 22, 2017

"This was very yummy and even meat eater husband liked too. I did change a couple of things. 3 jars of spaghetti sauce as alot and I didn't have that much. I used 1 jar and 2 regular cans of tomato sauce with added Italian spices and left out the water. Worked great."

Reviewed Jan. 19, 2017

"Love it! I pretty much follow the recipe,with a bit less sauce. One tip for filling manicotti shells. Fill a sturdy plastic storage type bag or freezer bag with cheese filling and cut a hole in one corner about dime size. Twist the open section to close. easy peasy!"

Reviewed Sep. 21, 2016

"Outstanding flavor and love to be able to make them ahead of time."

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!"

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