Dinner/ Noodles/ Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

This post was created in partnership with Ninja® Cooking System with Auto-iQ™. I received complimentary products and compensation to facilitate my review, but all opinions within are my own.
Slow Cooker Baked Ziti Recipe

I love slow cooker recipes! I’ve made countless slow cooker dinners and breakfasts and even cooked rolls and cinnamon rolls in them. Seriously, there isn’t much that a slow cooker can’t do!

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

Even though I love how easy slow cookers are, there are a few things that I’ve wished my slow cooker could do.

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

I have quite a few recipes that requite browning the meat before adding it to the slow cooker, and browning ground beef and sausage is a must to keep the meal from getting too greasy.

And sautéing vegetables isn’t always necessary, but it does add more flavor when I take the time to do it before adding the veggies to the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

That’s why I was really excited to use the Ninja® Cooking System with Auto-iQ™. Let me add as an aside, I don’t talk about products very often. Unless I like something enough that I would recommend it to my family members, I don’t feel comfortable talking about it on here. So, when I say that I’m excited about a product, I really am.

The Ninja Cooking System with Auto-iQ has a built-in stove feature that allows for browning, sautéing, and searing right in the insert, which is super convenient because then you can just continue on with the recipe without having to dirty a separate pan.

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

That means for this slow cooker baked ziti recipe that you can brown the meat and sauté the veggies and then continue making the sauce all in the insert.

This baked ziti was really popular with my kids. My son asked what smelled so good while it was cooking, and all of my kids went back for seconds.

In addition to the stove top and slow cooking features, the Ninja Cooking System with Auto-iQ can also be used as a steamer and an oven for baking. I don’t do very much steaming, but I am looking forward to using the oven feature during the holidays.

It also features more than 80 pre-programmed recipes. Just select a recipe number, add ingredients, and let Auto-iQ™ cook for you.

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti Recipe

One of the things that I’m impressed with is that it cooks evenly. I’ve used foil collars and inserts to help guard against hot spots. However, it has Triple Fusion Heat® that brings bottom, side, and steam heat together for easy one-pot meals.

And… you can enter to win the Ninja® Cooking System with Auto-iQ™ Giveaway by entering your email, and you can increase your chances of winning by completing optional social media actions. Winners will be randomly selected from all program entries, and Ninja will facilitate fulfillment of the 20 winning prizes.

Or you can use my code “KATE15” to receive 15% off your very own Ninja® Cooking System with Auto-iQ™  – good from now until Dec. 31, 2017.

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

Course Main Course
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings 6
Author i heart eating


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage mild or hot
  • 1 cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 1 cup diced green pepper
  • 1 cup diced red pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes drained
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces dry ziti or similar pasta
  • 15 ounce tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Turn stovetop setting to HIGH.

  2. Add oil to insert. 

  3. Add Italian sausage, and cook until browned. Drain grease if desired.

  4. Stir in onion and peppers, and cook until vegetables are softened.

  5. Add garlic, Italian seasoning, and basil. Stir in to combine.

  6. Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and heavy cream. 

  7. Season with salt and pepper.

  8. Add ziti to insert, and nestle into the sauce.

  9. Pour tomato sauce over pasta, and make sure that noodles are covered in sauce.

  10. Turn slow cooker setting to HIGH. Cover, and cook for 3 hours.

  11. Gently stir pasta. 

  12. Sprinkle mozzarella over pasta. Cover, and let melt.


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