How many calories are in 2 cups of baked ziti?

Baked ziti is a classic Italian-American pasta dish made with ziti pasta, tomato sauce, cheese, and various other ingredients. It’s a hearty, comforting meal that is popular at potlucks, family dinners, and restaurants across the country.

If you’re watching your calorie intake, you may be wondering just how many calories are in a serving of this tasty casserole. In this article, we’ll break down the calorie count in 2 cups of baked ziti so you know exactly what you’re consuming.

Calories in Ziti Pasta

Let’s start with the main ingredient in baked ziti – the ziti pasta itself. Plain dry ziti contains:

  • Around 200 calories per cup
  • 41 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3 grams of protein
  • 0.5 grams of fat

However, once the ziti is cooked, it absorbs some water which slightly changes the calorie content. One cup of cooked ziti contains about:

  • 220-230 calories
  • 45-50 grams of carbs
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 1 gram of fat

So in 2 cups of cooked ziti alone, you’re looking at 440-460 calories before any other ingredients are added.

Calories in Tomato Sauce

The tomato sauce is the next main component in baked ziti. The calorie count in tomato sauce can vary greatly depending on factors like:

  • Ingredients (tomatoes, olive oil, onions, garlic, etc)
  • Brand
  • Whether it’s homemade or store-bought

On average, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce contains around:

  • 60-80 calories
  • 10 grams of carbs
  • 2 grams of protein
  • Around 4 grams of fat

So for 2 cups of baked ziti, you would typically use 1-1 1/2 cups of sauce, adding 120-180 calories.

Calories in Cheese

No baked ziti is complete without gooey, melted cheese! Traditional recipes call for mozzarella and/or ricotta cheese. Here’s the nutritional breakdown for 1/2 cup each of part-skim mozzarella and ricotta:

  • Mozzarella:
    • Calories: 180
    • Fat: 9g
    • Carbs: 3g
    • Protein: 16g
  • Ricotta:
    • Calories: 180
    • Fat: 9g
    • Carbs: 7g
    • Protein: 14g

For 2 cups of baked ziti, you would likely use around 1 cup total of cheese, adding roughly 360 calories.

Calories in Other Ingredients

In addition to the main ingredients, baked ziti recipes can contain a variety of other items like:

  • Meat – Beef, sausage, etc
  • Vegetables – Spinach, broccoli, onions, etc
  • Herbs and seasonings
  • Breadcrumbs or Panko on top

These extra mix-ins can tack on an additional 100-300 calories per serving depending on the exact ingredients and quantities used.

Total Calories in Baked Ziti

Taking all the potential ingredients into account, here’s a rough calorie estimate for 2 cups of baked ziti:

  • Pasta: 440-460 calories
  • Sauce: 120-180 calories
  • Cheese: 360 calories
  • Extras: 100-300 calories

This gives a total calorie range of:

1,020 – 1,300 calories for 2 cups of baked ziti

The exact amount will depend on the specific recipe, but you can expect a 2 cup serving of this hearty pasta casserole to contain around 1,000 – 1,200 calories.

Nutrition Facts for Baked Ziti

Beyond just calories, here is the full nutrition breakdown for a 2 cup serving of baked ziti:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 1,020-1,300
Fat 40-60g
Carbs 120-150g
Protein 40-60g
Fiber 4-6g
Sugar 10-15g

As you can see, baked ziti is high in calories, carbs, and fat. The pasta and cheese provide a good amount of protein as well. It’s best consumed in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Ways to Reduce the Calories in Baked Ziti

If you’re looking to lighten up this indulgent pasta dish, there are a few simple ways to cut back on the calories:

  • Use whole wheat or veggie noodles instead of regular pasta
  • Load up on low-cal veggies like mushrooms, spinach, and broccoli
  • Use reduced-fat cheese and skim milk ricotta
  • Go easy on high-calorie meats & oils
  • Enjoy smaller portion sizes

With some minor tweaks, you can still enjoy the comfort of baked ziti without going overboard on calories.

Calories in Baked Ziti vs. Other Pasta Dishes

Compared to other popular pasta entrees, baked ziti lands on the higher end of the calorie spectrum. Here’s how it stacks up against some other dishes for a 2 cup serving:

Pasta Dish Calories
Baked Ziti 1,020-1,300
Lasagna 700-1,000
Spaghetti with Meatballs 800-1,000
Chicken Alfredo 1,000-1,200
Pad Thai 700-900
Macaroni and Cheese 600-800

Lasagna and spaghetti with meatballs provide a bit less of a calorie hit, while chicken alfredo is comparable to baked ziti. Lighter options like pad thai and mac and cheese come in on the lower end. But all pasta dishes pack a significant caloric punch.

Should You Eat the Entire Pan?

Baked ziti is often made in a 9×13 pan, yielding roughly 8-10 servings. Some people may be tempted to indulge in eating the whole pan. But doing so would add up to a huge calorie load.

Here’s the calorie count if you ate the entire 9×13 pan of baked ziti:

  • Whole pan = 8-10 servings
  • Each serving = approx. 1,000 calories
  • Total for whole pan = 8,000 – 10,000 calories

Consuming this many calories in one sitting is never advisable. You would be far exceeding the recommended daily calorie intake which is around 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men.

Sticking with a reasonable single serving of baked ziti is the way to go. Then you can still enjoy the delicious flavors and satisfy your pasta craving without overdoing your calorie consumption.


Baked ziti is an indulgent, cheesy pasta casserole that typically contains around 1,000 – 1,300 calories per 2 cup serving. Exact amounts vary based on specific ingredients used. To lighten it up, you can use whole wheat pasta, lots of veggies, and reduced-fat cheese. Portion control is also key. While delicious, baked ziti should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

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