Frozen ravioli is one of my favorite “cheat” ingredients. It’s a nice item to stash in your freezer for last-minute quick dinners when you don’t have anything else planned. And instead of just boiling them and adding sauce, sometimes I like to bake them up lasagna-style! This Baked Ravioli is a truly easy comfort food that takes next to no planning. You’re going to love it!
What is Baked Ravioli?
This super simple dish is a lot like lasagna, but with a LOT less fuss. It’s simply layers of ravioli layered with a rich red meat sauce, then topped with cheese and baked to perfection. For this recipe we use a really simple homemade meat sauce to take everything up a notch, but you can totally use your favorite store-bought red sauce as a sub to make the baked ravioli even easier.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for baked ravioli:
- Italian sausage: The sausage makes this dish super filling and it also brings a lot of built-in herbs and spices that give the sauce and overall casserole a lot of flavor. You can substitute non-pork Italian sausage if preferred, but if you substitute plain ground pork or ground beef you’ll want to double-up on the seasonings in your sauce.
- Yellow onion: Onion gives the sauce a nice natural sweetness to balance the acidity of the tomatoes, and a wonderfully savory base flavor.
- Crushed tomatoes: this is the base of your red sauce. The fine texture of the tomatoes is just the right texture between chunky and puréed.
- Italian seasoning: this simple store-bought seasoning mix is a one-stop shop for seasoning your red sauce. If you don’t have this, you can substitute a mix of dried basil, dried oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme.
- Frozen ravioli: the star of the show, frozen ravioli makes this dish come together so quickly and easily. Plus, you can stash it in the freezer for emergencies without it going bad! Use cheese ravioli for the most lasagna-like experience. If you use beef ravioli, you may want to layer in some cheese with your ravioli and sauce before baking, and reduce the amount of Italian sausage in the sauce.
- Mozzarella: the final layer of gooey cheese that tops this simple casserole! You can use plain mozzarella or substitute with a mix of Italian cheeses, if you prefer.
I’ll admit, this recipe is a little indulgent with all of that sausage, and using convenience products, like frozen ravioli, will also make the cost a bit higher. BUT there are some swaps you can use to bring the cost of this recipe down even further. Here are some tips:
- Swap half of the Italian sausage for sautéed mushrooms, peppers, or spinach.
- Make your own Italian sausage by buying plain ground pork and adding in your own spices.
- Buy your cheese in bulk to bring the price per cup down.
- Use a store-bought red sauce (you’ll need about 32 oz.)
- Watch for sales on the sausage and ravioli, then stash them in the freezer to “lock in” that sale price until you’re ready to make your baked ravioli!
How to Store Baked Ravioli
This baked ravioli will hold up in the fridge for about 4-5 days, so it’s great for meal prepping the week ahead! If you want to store it even longer, divide it into single serving portions and then once it’s chilled completely in the refrigerator you can transfer it to the freezer for longer storage (about three months). The frozen portions can be reheated quickly using a microwave for a super fast homemade meal!
- Add the Italian sausage to a large skillet and cook over medium until fully browned.
- While the sausage is cooking, dice the onion. Add the onion to the skillet with the cooked sausage and continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and Italian seasoning to the skillet. Stir to combine and bring the sauce up to a simmer.
- Once simmering, place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat down to medium-low, and allow the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, while you cook the ravioli.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the ravioli. Once boiling, add the ravioli and continue to boil for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through (check the cooking instructions on the package for the recommended cook time). Drain the ravioli in a colander.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add 1 cup of meat sauce to the bottom of a casserole dish and spread it to cover the surface.
- Layer in half of the ravioli followed by half of the shredded mozzarella and 1 cup of sauce.
- Layer in the second half of the ravioli followed by 1 cup of sauce and the second half of the shredded mozzarella.
- Cover the casserole with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil, turn the oven from bake to broil, then return the casserole to the oven. Broil for a few more minutes, watching very closely, or until the cheese is browned. Top with chopped parsley if desired, then enjoy!
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Baked Ravioli – Step by Step Photos
Add 1 lb. Italian sausage to a large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sausage is fully browned.
While the sausage is cooking, dice one yellow onion. Add it to the skillet with the sausage and continue to cook until the onion is soft and translucent (about five minutes).
Add one 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes, ¼ cup tomato paste, and 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning to the skillet. Stir to combine.
Bring the sauce up to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low. Place a lid on the skillet and allow the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, while you cook the ravioli.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the ravioli. Once boiling, add one 25 oz. bag of frozen cheese ravioli and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through (check the recommended cook time on the package). Drain the ravioli in a colander.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add about 1 cup of the meat sauce to the bottom of a glass casserole dish and spread it around to cover.
Layer in half of the cooked ravioli, then top with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella.
Layer in another 1 cup sauce, the second half of the ravioli, another cup of sauce, then one final cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Cover the casserole with foil and bake in the preheated 350ºF oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, switch the oven from bake to broil, and return the casserole to the oven.
Watch the casserole closely and broil for just a few minutes more or until the cheese is slightly browned on top (this can happen quickly, so keep a close eye). Remove from the oven, top with parsley (if desired) and enjoy!