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Baked Manicotti with Farmer's Cheese, Herbs and Marinara Sauce (VIDEO)

I have to say Baked Manicotti with Farmer's Cheese, Herbs and Marinara Sauce is one of those recipes that I have had on my bucket list to publish for a while now.

Brunch, lunch, or dinner! This super multipurpose recipe is great to make and enjoy right away or freeze for later! Pair it with a green salad and a loaf of crusty sourdough bread and you are good to go.

Crespelle with cheese and red sauce

This Easy Baked Manicotti recipe is a cheese lover’s dream! It’s a tasty, simple, comfort food meal my kids always request because cheese is everyone’s best friend in our home. I love this simple method because you don’t need to buy manicotti noodles. It is Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh parsley and topped with a delicious homemade marinara sauce!

What is Manicotti?

Manicotti is an Italian word that means “little sleeve”. They are long, tubular shells filled with cheese (usually ricotta), sausages, ground meat, mushrooms, spinach or other greens, etc.

Originally, manicotti was made from crepes and that's what I made today.  In these days a more popular and easy way of doing it is with pasta tube shapes.

About Crepes for Baked Manicotti with Farmer's Cheese, Herbs and Marinara Sauce

Using homemade crepes is not only better for you but crepes are fun and easy to make it. I usually make them ahead of time, and keep in a fridge ready to go. They will last for 5 days or in a freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to assemble manicotti, make sure the crepes are very warm, otherwise they will tear apart and you won't be able to roll them up.

crepe on a cast iron pan

Look up this video how to make the easiest and the best crepes ever.

Or if you are trying to avoid gluten use buckwheat flour, they are even more nutrient dense than regular ones. More protein and zero gluten. See video here.

buckwheat crepe in a cast iron pan

About Cheeses for Baked Manicotti

Cheese - the main ingredient and it plays a very important roll. Of course the original Italian recipe calls for ricotta and I love to use homemade ricotta, it's so much better tasting and has zero additives. See the recipe HERE for how to make ricotta cheese. 

But farmer's cheese is good as well. And that's what I had on hand. I'm big lover of farmer's cheese and make my own very often. See the recipe HERE. If you prefer to buy, go ahead.

The other cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano are important to give an extra booze of yummy flavor to the filling and hard mozzarella to bake the assembled dish.

farmers cheese in a white bowl
cheese and herbs mixture

What you need to make Baked Manicotti with Farmer's Cheese, Herbs and Marinara Sauce

Crepes - regular or buckwheat crepes. Make them way a head of time. Have them in freezer when needed.

Cheese - farmer's cheese or ricotta cheese. Make your own cheese, I always have on hand in my fridge. I'm a big lover of farmer's cheese, I'm from Ukraine and for me it's like feta for any person from a Greece. The other chesses such as Parmigiano Reggiano I recommend to use a good quality, imported from Italy is the way to go. And the last but not least mozzarella cheese, fresh is not the best option here, but can be used.

Herbs - I used parsley and scallions, use what ever you have on hand. The more varieties the better.

Egg - just one egg that's all you needed.

Lemon - zest only.

Marinara sauce - homemade is always my first choice. But there so many good options out there.

Spices - salt, freshly ground black pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder and red flakes pepper (optional).

Baked Manicotti with Farmer's Cheese, Herbs and Marinara Sauce is excellent Freezer Meal

This is an easy meal to freeze and bake later and is an ideal option for delivering to new moms, friends or neighbors. I almost always double the recipe and prepare two pans. I bake one for our dinner and freeze the other baking dish for another time, or to give to someone in need of a warm, rich, nourishing dinner.

casserole dish looks like baked lasagna

If you’re freezing one or more pans of this recipe, follow the instructions on the recipe card below. Once the dish is covered with aluminum foil, use a marker to write baking instructions on top of the foil so you (or anyone you take this meal to) can remember the correct baking temperature and how to bake it.

Baking from Frozen Instructions

Thaw the cheese manicotti dish overnight in the refrigerator before baking. Leaving the foil on the pan, bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Then uncover, sprinkle some mozzarella cheese over the top, then return to the oven for about five minutes or until the cheese melts. It tastes just as fresh as if you just made it. And the leftovers taste even better!

Let's do it...

Prep time: 5 times

Making time: 15 minutes

Baking time: 30 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 12-inch pizzas

Author: Inna of 

ingredients : red sauce , crepes, cheese, herbs, egg, lemon


10-12 crepes warm (how to make them see this post)

4 oz of Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

1 large egg

1 cup chopped herbs (Italian parsley & scallions), chopped

1 lemon (zest only)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

pinch of red flakes pepper (optional)

Salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

4 cups marinara sauce (in the video I used homemade marinara sauce)


  • Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.

  • In a medium-sized bowl combine farmer's or ricotta cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano (leave few tablespoons for the topping), herbs spinach, spices, lemon zest and egg. Mix all together.

  • Take a baking dish 9 *13 inch pan and spread some marinara sauce on the bottom.

  • Assemble the manicotti: Spread 3 to 4 tablespoons filling down the center of a crepe. Roll it up and place it, seam-side-down, in one of the baking dishes. Repeat with remaining crepes and filling.

  • Place them in one row on a preparing dish.

  • Cover with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and reserved  Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

  • Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly, uncover and bake for another 5 minutes or until you see a beautiful melting cheese crust.

casserole dish with serving spatula


My Marinara sauce is very flavorful, plenty of garlic and seasoned well.  If you use store bought, please consider adding  some freshly grated garlic into the sauce. I like to always taste my sauce and add seasoning as I'm desire.

I hope you'll make this recipe soon. If you do, please tag me #innichka_chef on Instagram, Facebook, Patreon, or Pinterest.

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Dave Lanigan
Dave Lanigan

Comfort food

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