Make Ahead Shrimp Casserole With Tomato Sauce

This make ahead shrimp casserole recipe is one of my favorite dishes to take to a potluck dinner or serve on a buffet. Made with tomato sauce, cheese and Ziti pasta (along with the shrimp), it’s a big hit with all of my friends. On top of that, it’s easy to make and freezes well (so you can cook it well in advance), and you can see why I love it so much!

Shrimp casserole with tomato sauce

Shrimp Casserole With Tomato Sauce

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This easy-to-make shrimp casserole dish is one of my favorite recipes to take to a potluck dinner.

With its tomato sauce and combination of Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, it tastes a lot like lasagna (and who doesn’t love lasagna?)

But because it’s made with Ziti pasta and shrimp which both come in bite-sized pieces, it’s easier to serve on a buffet than lasagna.

And the shrimp makes it a little out of the ordinary so it goes over well at special events and holiday parties.

Plus, it can be made ahead of time and frozen (and you know how much I love recipes I can do in advance!)

But First…

This recipe is part of the 5th annual 12 Days of Holiday Ideas event, hosted by Shirley of Intelligent Domestications  and  Erlene of My Pinterventures.

As you probably know by now, between Nov. 11th and December 6th there will be hundreds of new ideas shared by over 55 Co-host bloggers! You can find a list of all the talented DIY and foodie blogs as well as the dates and topics for this year’s blog hop on the Kick-Off post HERE.

Or download this years November and December calendars with all of the topics and dates so you can make plans to watch for ideas!

At the bottom of the post you will find a whole bunch of links to other delicious potluck recipes, so you’re sure to find some you like!

And if you make it all the way to the bottom, there’s a surprise!  You can enter our Christmas Giveaway!

And now on to our shrimp casserole.



Here’s your shopping list for this shrimp casserole recipe:

  • Dairy: 4 oz cream cheese, 2/3 cup sour cream, 4 oz mozzarella cheese (or 1 cup shredded), 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Oil: 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh Vegetables: 1 large onion, 2 garlic cloves
  • Spices: 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Canned goods: 128-z can of diced tomatoes, 1 14-oz can of tomato sauce
  • Seafood: 2 pounds shrimp
  • Pasta: 2 1/2 cups of Ziti pasta


  • Electric  mixer and mixing bowl
  • Large pot
  • Medium pot
  •  9″ x 13″ baking dish

How To Make Shrimp Casserole

Shrimp casserole being served

If you are going to bake the shrimp casserole right away, pre-heat the oven to 350 deg. F.

Make The Cream Cheese Layer

Mix the cream cheese and sour cream together in the mixer. It helps if the cream cheese is softened before you do this. I take it out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before I use it. You could also heat it on LOW power for 30 to 60 seconds in the microwave. Make sure to remove the foil wrapper and don’t zap it for too long (you don’t want it to be totally melted).

Make The Tomato Sauce and Pasta Layer

Chop the onions and mince the garlic.

Then heat the olive oil over medium heat in the large pot.

Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent. About 5 minutes.

Next add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, boil the pasta in the medium-sized pot for about 8 minutes. Note that most boxes of Ziti contain more than 2 1/2 cups so measure before you add it. Adding more of the pasta will make the casserole too dry.

Then drain the water and set the pasta aside.

When the tomato sauce mixture has finished simmering, add the shrimp to it.

Cook the shrimp for about 5 minutes or until it has turned pink.

Then combine the pasta with the tomato sauce and shrimp mixture.

Put The Casserole Together

Shrimp casserole in a baking dish

Spread half of the tomato sauce mixture in the bottom of the 9″ x 13″ baking dish.

Then layer the cream cheese mixture on top of the tomato sauce.

Next, spread the other half of the tomato sauce mixture over the cream cheese.

Finally, sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheeses over the top.

Cover with foil.

How To Store The Casserole

The casserole can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer at this point until you need it.

If you are putting it in the refrigerator, it will keep for a day or two. Take it out 30 minutes before cooking to let it warm up to room temperature.

It will store in the freezer for up to 3 months. I usually wrap it in plastic to make sure it is sealed. Then take it out a few hours early so that it thaws before you cook it.

Baking The Dish

Bake for 45 minutes.

Then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

Serve hot and enjoy!

I like to serve this shrimp casserole with this garlic bread recipe and some Caesar salad…which I’m sorry to say I usually buy in a kit from the grocery store  🙂

Other Recipes You Might Like

Shrimp Casserole

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 260kcal
This shrimp casserole dish takes a little while to get ready, but it is well worth the wait! It tastes delicious and freezes well, so it's the perfect dish to make ahead of time for a party or potluck dinner.


  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon  dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon  dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 pounds  shrimp peeled and de-veined
  • 2 ½ cups Ziti pasta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • Electric mixer and bowl
  • Large pot
  • Medium pot
  • 9" x 13" baking pan


  • Heat the oven to 350ºF.
  • In the mixer, combine the cream cheese and sour cream.  Set aside.
  • In the large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Mix in the parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper
  • Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, boil some water in the medium-sized pot.
  • Cook pasta for 8 minutes.
  • Drain and set aside.
  • Once the tomato sauce has finished simmering, add the shrimp.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes until the shrimp has turned pink.
  • Add the pasta to the tomato sauce and shrimp mixture.
  • Spread half of the tomato sauce mixture in the bottom of the 13" x 9" baking dish.
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the tomato sauce.
  • Spread the other half of the tomato sauce mixture over the cream cheese layer.
  • Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top.
  • Cover with foil.
  • Bake for an hour, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes.


  • To make ahead of time, make the casserole up to the point of baking it. Then wrap it in saran wrap and store in the refrigerator for a day or two. Take it out 30 minutes before baking to let it warm to room temperature.
  • This casserole can also be frozen for up to 3 months. After you have put it together in the 9" x 13" baking pan, but before you have baked it, wrap it in saran wrap and put it in the freezer. To serve later, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw for a few hours. Then bake as in the directions above.
Nutrition Facts
Shrimp Casserole
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 260 Calories from Fat 145
% Daily Value*
Fat 16.1g25%
Cholesterol 25.8mg9%
Sodium 629.9mg27%
Carbohydrates 20.7g7%
Sugar 7.2g8%
Protein 9.5g19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @EntertainingDiva or tag #entertainingdiva!

More Potluck Recipes

And now, as promised, here are all of the other bloggers’ pot luck recipes.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

The Big Give-Away

MEET OUR SPONSORS who have generously donated fabulous prizes for the Big Christmas Giveaway!

DecoArt  winner will receive a prize package valued at $100!

Dixie Crystals/Imperial Sugar winner will receive a Keurig Coffee Maker valued at $100!

Oriental Trading winner will receive an gift card valued at $200!

Cabot Cheese winner will receive a gift basket of Cabot products valued at $75!

Burlap Fabric winner will receive a prize pack of products valued at $50!

Zulay Kitchens winner will receive one Milk Frother and a Lemon Squeezer valued at $21

It’s Home To You winner will receive one wooden Santa sign valued at $65

12 Days of Holiday Ideas Event Sponsors 2019


Giveaway begins Nov. 8, 2019 and ends Dec. 6, 2019. Winners will be notified by December 13, 2019. Sponsors will ship each prize to the winner. There will be a total of six winners, one for each prize. Drawing is by random selection using the Rafflecopter widget. 

Must be 18 to win. Open to U.S. residents only. Terms & Conditions


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