Olive Garden Stuffed Ziti Fritta can now be served at home with this amazing copycat recipe, made from scratch. Add marinara as a dipping sauce and you've got a delicious side dish or appetizer!
Baked ziti frita was a fun challenge to make. We felt like we really captured this copycat recipe. Years ago I was at Olive Garden and got this dish and knew I had to try to make it myself.
Dip them in this Homemade Spaghetti Sauce for extra flavor.
Below is a list of ingredients needed for this recipe. Follow our tips on each ingredient for best results.
- Ziti- Buy standard size ziti. Or you can use a bigger noodle like rigatoni which is easier to work with.
- Ricotta cheese- The same cheese that is used in other Italian dishes like lasagna.
- Cream cheese- Like most times when cooking, be sure to soften the cream cheese. It's much easier to work with.
- Mozzarella cheese- Shredded mozzarella cheese works great. If it's frozen make sure to thaw before using.
- Parmesan cheese - Use grated or shredded parmesan cheese. You can also use a parmesan romano blend.
- Garlic powder- Garlic adds it's own flavor while also enhancing the flavors of the cheeses and other ingredients.
- Egg- Eggs created a great coating if you are trying to stick a breaded coating on food.
- Basil- A great Italian seasoning that adds a lot of flavor to the dish. Use dried for convenience. We tested this recipe over and over and found it to be lacking. We discovered it needed some more spice and flavor, and the basil was perfect!!
- Flour- All purpose white flour works the best. You can use a gluten free flour if needed.
- Italian bread crumbs- Or you can use plain bread crumbs plus 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning. Found in most seasoning and baking isles.
- Oil- The oil is used to fry the ziti. Use a canola or vegetable oil for best results.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Olive Garden Stuffed Ziti Fritta
Making ziti fritta olive garden recipe is a process! These photos will help with step by step instructions.
- In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the filling. Mix together until smooth.
2. Place the filling in a bag and cute a small hole in the corner. Pipe the filling into a cooked ziti noodle until it is full.
3. Roll the stuffed noodle in flour and make sure it's completely coated.
4. After the noodle is coated in flour, dip it in the egg, and then dip it in the Italian bread crumb mixture. Coat well.
5. Place the the bread crumb coated ziti on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Freeze the ziti for 30 minutes.
6. Place the frozen prepared ziti in the heated oil. Cook for about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and enjoy hot!
Hint: It's important not to skipping the freezing step. This helps them stay together when you fry them in the oil.
Substitutions and Variations
We love switching things up when we're in the kitchen. Try any of these variations for something a little different.
- Rigatoni- As said before, you can use rigatoni instead of ziti. It makes it much easier to stuff each noodle. They also have a better noodle to filling ratio.
- Gluten Free- Making this gluten free is easy! Simply use your favorite gluten free pasta, and then substitute the all-purpose flour, and italian bread crumbs for gluten free options. If you can't find gluten free Italian bread crumbs make your own by using gluten free bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of Italian Seasoning added.
- Dairy Free- To make this recipe dairy free would be a little difficult but not impossible. You need to find a cheese substitute for all 4 cheeses. If you can only find a couple substitute cheeses, that's ok. Use what you can. The 4 cheeses add more complex flavors but are not all necessary for the success of the recipe.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the ziti from the oil. It's much easier to cook 4-6 at a time and then use the spoon to scoop them all out at once. It was really time consuming and difficult to cook one at a time and then remove a single ziti.
As stated before, through trial and error and lots of recipe testing we learned that using rigatoni instead of ziti for this recipe was the better choice! Working with ziti proved to be quite time-consuming due to their small and challenging-to-fill shape. During our recipe testing, we also found that rigatoni offered a better noodle to filling ratio, delivering more flavor and cheese in every bite!
How to Serve Stuffed Ziti Fritta
This dish is so good with marinara! It's so fun to dip in to get that full flavor experience.
Olive garden stuffed ziti fritta is also super tasty with added Alfredo. Just like the marinara sauce, add Alfredo as an additional dipping sauce. It will make for a creamy addition to an already creamy dish.
Ziti fritta olive garden is best served hot and crispy! If you need to store leftovers make sure to store in an air tight container for 2 days. We suggest reheating in the air fryer in order to get that delicious texture back. Air Fry for 2 minutes. You can even bake them at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes.
You can freeze these in a freezer friendly container for up to 2 months. Thaw and reheat in the air fryer or oven. This can help you make them ahead of time!
Be sure to tap off any extra flour before putting in the egg mixture. Flour bubbles will form if there are too much flour!
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with Stuffed Ziti Fritta:
Stuffed Ziti Fritta
For the ziti:
- 8 ounce ziti or rigatoni (see note)
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- 2 ounce cream cheese
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese (or parmesan romano blend)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon basil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs whisked
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs or plain bread crumbs plus 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup parmesan optional
- oil for frying
- Cook ziti according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to prevent them from sticking to each other.
- While ziti is cooking, combine ricotta cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, basil and salt together in a small bowl.
- Place cheese mixture in a ziploc bag and snip off a tiny corner if using ziti (if using rigatoni, snip off a little more for a bigger hole). Fill ziti noodles with the mixture. Squeeze into one side, flip the noodle around and fill the other side. See photos above for reference.
- Place eggs in a bowl and beat until smooth. Place flour in a bowl. Place Italian bread crumbs and garlic powder in another bowl and mix.
- Place ziti in the flour bowl, shake the flour off, then move to the egg bowl. Make sure the ziti is completely covered in egg then place in the bread crumb bowl and roll around until thoroughly covered. See pictures above for a great visual. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet with some space between each ziti. Freeze for 20 minutes (30 minutes for rigatoni).
- 15 minutes before removing from the freezer, heat oil in a small saucepan to 350- 375°. For best results, make sure the oil has 15 minutes to preheat and get to the right temperature. The oil will have a few small bubbles coming up and when you sprinkle a few drops of water in, it will pop and sizzle. If the oil is smoking, it is too hot.
- Place the ziti in the oil and cook for about 1 minute, turning it over and keeping the ziti from touching each other. If your oil cools off, they may need to cook a little longer. Allow the oil to reheat if this happens.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the ziti and place on a plate with a few layers of paper towels. Serve warm with marinara.
- I highly recommend making these with rigatoni instead of ziti. The ziti takes a very long time to fill, as you have to use a tiny hole and it can be difficult. During taste testing we also decided the rigatoni tasted better. It was cheesier and more flavorful and had a better noodle to cheese ratio.
- Make sure to tap off the excess flour from the ziti before moving the noodles into the egg, otherwise little flour bubbles will form and parts of the noodle won't be covered in egg when rolled in the bread crumbs.
- I found it easiest to fill my slotted spoon with a pile of noodles, then lower them into the oil. This made it so the oil didn't splash and I didn't have to drop them in.
- While the noodles are frying, make sure you turn them over and keep them from attaching to each other.
- These are best enjoyed fresh and hot. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the air fryer for 2 minutes or bake at 375° F for 5 minutes.
Stuffed Ziti Fritta is cheese stuffed ziti noodles that have been coated with a flour, egg, and Italian bread crumb mixture and then fried on the stove top until lightly toasted.
This recipe is easy to make. Mix together softened cream cheese, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. Add the filling to the middles of cooked ziti noodles. Coat the noodles in flour, egg, and then Italian bread crumbs. Deep fry in hot oil for 1 minute.
Yes. This recipe is vegetarian. The filling in the middle is made of an assortment of cheeses but no meat is included.
The ziti noodles are stuffed with a cream cheese mixture that includes mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. It's also coated in an Italian bread crumb coating.
There are 500 calories in 1 serving of Olive Garden Stuffed Ziti Fritta. But one serving of this recipe is approximately 314 kcal.