Four cheese baked manicotti is Italian-American comfort food heaven!  Large tubes of pasta are stuffed with a pillowy combination of creamy ricotta, melty mozzarella, salty pecorino, and nutty Parmigiano Reggiano for the ultimate 4 cheese filling. Smothered with sweet marinara, and some extra mozzarella, it is baked until bubbly and brimming with goodness.   

One manicotti held by a spatula.

This is a meatless baked manicotti recipe.  If you’d like to use a meat sauce, this one in our pasta al forno recipe would be perfect.  

Note This recipe is part of our Italian-American Sunday Dinner series on Youtube.  For all the episodes check out this Italian Sunday dinner playlist.

Cannelloni vs manicotti

Cannelloni and manicotti are basically one and the same.  The distinction is that in Italy, cannelloni (which means “large reeds”) are often made from thin pasta sheets and then rolled with a variety of meat fillings.  I usually associate cannelloni with meat-filled pasta topped with a creamy bechamel sauce.  

Manicotti (which translates to “sleeves” or “small muffs”) pasta is an Italian-American invention.  In America, crepes or dried pasta tubes such as the Barilla version in the ingredients pictured below, are used for manicotti.  Fun fact:  in Italy rolled crepes are called crespelle, not manicotti.


The tubes, which are similar to a very large ridged ziti, or paccheri, are often filled with ricotta, mozzarella, egg, and herbs.  They’re covered in tomato sauce with lots of mozzarella cheese and baked until golden and bubbly.  It’s a popular dish in the northeastern part of America where most of the Italian-American population is of southern Italian descent.

The ingredients you will need for this recipe are tomato sauce (see this Sunday sauce recipe or a quick marinara), mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese, parsley, 2 eggs, and the pasta.

How to make it  

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Begin by boiling the pasta tubes to very al dente and let cool on a rack as shown.  Alternatively, you can run them under water quickly.  This is the only time I suggest running pasta underwater because you need to handle the tubes while cool. The pasta should be quite firm because they are still going to be cooked for another 20-30 minutes in the oven.  The same technique was applied in this classic baked ziti recipe.

Baked manicotti recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. In a large bowl, mix 1 pound of ricotta, 2/3 pound of shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup minced parsley, 1/2 cup grated Pecorino and a 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  Test the filling and adjust salt and pepper to taste.  When satisfied with the taste add in 2 eggs and mix once more.
  2. Add the mixture into a pastry bag or plastic bag as shown.  Cut a hole just large enough to squeeze the ricotta filling out.

Recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. Coat a large baking pan with a thick layer of sauce.  This will help prevent sticking.
  2. Fill all the manicotti tubes with the ricotta stuffing and place them in the pan.  Do not stack.  If required, use two pans.  Layer more sauce on top of the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese and if you want some more grated parm or Pecorino.

Recipe process shot collage group number three.

  1. Bake at 400f for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly brown on top.

Top tips

  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste before adding the egg.  The Pecorino is very salty so adjust accordingly.
  • Make sure the pasta is cooked very al dente and is cool to the touch before filling.  
  • If holding the manicotti and stuffing it at the same time proves difficult, you could place the tube in a long shot glass to keep it upright while filling.  
  • Another technique is to cut a slit vertically down the tube, place the filling in, roll back up, and place the slit side face down.  Nobody will know the difference!  


This is a great meal to make ahead.  To reheat an already made leftover batch just use the microwave. 

For an uncooked frozen batch, bake the whole frozen tray in the oven at 375-400f until completely cooked through.  This takes around 70-90 minutes.  Check to make sure it’s heated all the way through before serving.

Pinterest image.

Related dishes you’ll love

If you like this recipe give it a share and leave a comment.  We would love to know how you did and it’s nice to show others as well.  

Follow us over on our YouTube channel where we are working to make every single recipe on this site into a full-length instructional video.  The full baked manicotti YouTube video is below in the recipe card.   

We are also on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook.  We appreciate you reading this and using our recipes!  Thank you for your support!

Four Cheese Baked Manicotti

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 4
Big pasta tubes stuffed with a creamy 4 cheese mixture and baked to bubbly perfection.


  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 pound manicotti pasta 'al dente'
  • 1 pound ricotta
  • 1 pound mozzarella shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • kosher salt to taste


  • Boil manicotti to very al dente, drain, and set aside to cool on a wire rack.
  • Mix the ricotta, 2/3 of the mozzarella, the grated Parmigiano and Pecorino, and the minced parsley. Taste test and adjust salt and pepper levels. When satisfied, add 2 eggs and mix until smooth.
  • Place the ricotta mixture into a plastic bag. With a scissor, remove just enough of the bag's corner and gently squeeze to fill the manicotti tubes.
  • Add a thick layer of sauce to a baking pan and place the stuffed manicotti into the pan without stacking. Layer more sauce on top of the manicotti and sprinkle with the remaining shredded mozzarella.
  • Bake at 400f for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly golden. Enjoy!


  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste before adding the egg.  The pecorino is very salty so adjust accordingly.
  • Any remaining ricotta can be saved for up to 2 days or used for another baked pasta recipe.
  • Cook the pasta until very al dente.  Let cool to the touch before filling.  
  • If holding the manicotti and stuffing it at the same time proves difficult you can place the tube in a long shot glass to keep it upright while filling.  
  • Alternatively cut a slit vertically down the tube, place the filling in, roll back up, and place the slit side face down.  Nobody will know the difference!  


Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 53.8g | Protein: 36.1g | Fat: 22.3g | Saturated Fat: 11.3g | Sodium: 1200mg | Potassium: 1286mg | Fiber: 4.6g | Sugar: 13.5g | Calcium: 533mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!Check us out on Instagram at @sipandfeast or tag #sipandfeast!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Made this for dinner tonight. So very good. I took your advice and cut the manicotti to stuff then re-rolled. Much easier and less time consuming. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes.

  2. Hello! Absolutely love your recipes and your videos are so helpful. I have no Italian in my background but lived in a few east coast cities in which I had easy access to solid grub. Now i’m in rural PA so I’m on my own to get my Italian fix. Your website is my go-to.

    I was wondering how to increase this recipe to closely “match” the amount of sauce created in your Sunday Sauce recipe. I guess another way to ask this question is, how many cups of sauce does your Sunday sauce recipe generally make? We don’t have a lot of storage space for leftover sauce and I am planning on making this recipe for a crowd. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Noah, so happy you’re enjoying the recipes. The Sunday sauce recipe calls for 4 28-ounce cans which after several hours of cooking probably reduces down to roughly 10 cups, but depends on how long you cook it, how high your heat is, etc. Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Jim, how can I make your recipes without such a high sodium count? I enjoy watching you on Fb . All your recipes just look so delicious . Any and all suggestions are much appreciated. Thank you

    1. Hi Maddy, you’d have to reduce the amount of salt used, or reduce/substitute some of the saltier cheeses. For example, Pecorino Romano tends to be saltier so you can swap it with something that has less sodium. Most of my recipes say salt and pepper to taste so just adjust to your liking.

  4. Hi Jim! What’re your thoughts about making this recipe with vodka sauce in place of traditional tomato sauce? It looks delicious! Thanks in advance.

  5. Hi Jim, I have tried a lot of you recipes and they taste wonderful. I wanted to stuff manicotti like my husbands aunt did, she would stuff one end with a ground meat and pork mixture seasoned, the other end with a ricotta mix like your’s .What would you use for the meat mixture. Thank you,
    Your fan, Barbara

    1. Hi Barbara, thanks for the comment and happy you’re enjoying the recipes. I think a combination of half ground pork and half ground chuck would work well.

  6. 5 stars
    Jim love all the recipes i have done off your site and YouTube videos. I have a question on the manicotti , have you ever done them without pre cooking the manicotti shells . I have done lasagne like that and it worked well . Haven’t tried it on manicotti yet though . Love the site and the YouTube videos .

    1. Hi George, thanks for the comment! I’ve never made them without pre-cooking, but I know you can. You may just need a little extra liquid. I’m happy you’re enjoying the site and videos!

    1. Hi Kathy, yes you can add spinach to this. I’d just make sure to drain the spinach really well to get rid of any excess moisture. Thanks for watching the videos!

  7. 5 stars
    Easy to make, simple instructions and video. Taste was awesome. Only adjustment I made was adding 3/4 cup of frozen spinach dried with paper towel of course.

  8. 5 stars
    I made this for my family yesterday and they loved it! I make manicotti, but never with 4 cheeses. I use ricotta and romano, but I love all the cheeses and especially the cubed mozzarella! Thank you for all your fabulous recipes!