12 Ways To Make Canned Ravioli Taste Homemade

ravioli soup and a ravioli can and ravioli lasagna
ravioli soup and a ravioli can and ravioli lasagna - Static Media / Shutterstock

There's no reason that you have to eat canned ravioli exactly as it comes since there are lots of ways to jazz it up and make it taste homemade. One of your favorite childhood meals can actually gain a little adult sophistication with a little extra work. It might not ever taste like authentic Italian cooking, but you can certainly get it closer to that direction with just a few little additions or by turning it into something completely new you haven't thought about before.

Once you've read our list, we don't think you'll be eating your ravioli plain again. While you might find a singular idea when looking at our list, we think you might also be inspired to combine some of these ideas based on what's in your cupboard or refrigerator. A little creativity can go a long way to turning this canned classic into something new and exciting. There are plenty of mix-ins, cooking methods, and new ways to serve it that can take it to the next level for you.

Read more: 41 Must Try Hot Sandwich Recipes

Turn It Into Lasagna

ravioli lasagna
ravioli lasagna - Maria Scinto/Mashed

You can make canned ravioli taste more homemade by turning it into a lasagna. Raviolis already have a cooked dough outer layer and a meat or cheese filling. So, it's already a good start with similarities to lasagna before adding any extra ingredients.

To turn them into this delicious Italian dish, simply use your favorite lasagna recipe, and substitute raviolis in place of the noodle layers. If they already contain meat, you can omit adding extra to the recipe if you'd like, but freshly-cooked hamburger or sausage will make it taste that much more homemade.

Lasagna recipes differ, but in general, you'll be putting down a layer of pasta sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, followed by a sheet of raviolis. Then, you'll alternate layers of your other ingredients (meat, cheese, ricotta, spinach, veggies) with sheets of ravioli. Finally, you'll top the whole thing with shredded cheese (likely mozzarella and Parmesan) and bake it in the oven covered in foil at 450 F for 60 minutes (the final 10 without the foil).

Turn It Into Ravioli Soup

ravioli soup
ravioli soup - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Canned ravioli already comes in sauce, but you can add more liquid and other ingredients to turn it into a soup. The idea is to add to the sauce that's already in the dish and make it more robust by adding extra ingredients.

One direction you can go is to turn it into a Florentine soup with the addition of cooked Italian pork sausage, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of chicken broth, water, and spinach. Another way to make ravioli soup is to add sauteed garlic and onions, tomato paste, dry sherry or vodka, vegetable or chicken broth, and Italian seasonings. For an even more hearty soup with a homemade taste, you can add cooked ground beef or sausage, diced carrots, or even fresh chopped tomatoes.

Ravioli soup is great alone. However, there are some finishers and garnishes you can add to improve the overall quality. Some great finishers you can add during the last five minutes or so include spinach and/or cream. You can also serve it topped with a bit of shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese and garnish it with fresh herbs like parsley or basil.

Fry It

air fryer toasted ravioli
air fryer toasted ravioli - Laura Sampson/Mashed

You probably didn't realize it, but you can turn canned raviolis into a fancy-looking fried ravioli appetizer. It's a homemade shortcut version of the type you can get in restaurants.

Fried ravioli appetizers are easier to make than you might think. Simply separate the raviolis from the sauce and cover them in plain or Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs. You don't even have to wash them to remove the sauce because the residual sauce can help adhere the bread crumbs to the raviolis. Although, some people do dip them in an egg wash before adding breadcrumbs to make sure they stick. There are two choices for frying them. Either fry them in hot oil at about 350 F until they're crisp and brown on the outside or cook them in an air fryer at 390 F for 15 minutes. A sprinkling of garlic salt and Italian seasoning once they're done can help elevate the dish. Serve them with a side of warm marinara sauce (homemade or jarred) and perhaps a sprinkling of your favorite Italian cheese, like mozzarella or Parmesan to finish them.

To take this fried appetizer one step further, you can layer roasted eggplant rounds with marinara, fried raviolis, and mozzarella cheese, and bake them for about 10 minutes at 425 F until the cheese is nice and bubbly. You can even add basil pesto on top of the finished stack to make it that much fancier.

Use It As A Pizza Topping

ravioli pizza slice and pepperoni pizza slice
ravioli pizza slice and pepperoni pizza slice - BobBrainerd / X, formerly known as Twitter

You've likely used a variety of toppings to upgrade your pizza, but have you ever considered adding canned ravioli? Next time you raid your cupboard for pizza toppings, don't just stop with canned olives or mushrooms; grab a can of ravioli, too. If you're craving meat pizza but don't have any normal meat toppings at hand, meat-filled canned raviolis can make a nice stand-in.

Canned raviolis can go on top of any type of pizza you're making at home, whether you're rolling out the dough yourself, using a premade crust, or baking a frozen pizza that needs a little more razzmatazz. Some people make ravioli pizzas with just a few toppings, but you can also go supreme with added veggies and meats. While it's completely fine to use the sauce in the can as the pizza sauce, using a store-bought or homemade marinara sauce can make it that much better. Distribute the raviolis across your crust, and then top it with your favorite shredded Italian pizza cheeses, like mozzarella and Parmesan. Although, if there's nothing but cheddar in your fridge, that will work, too.

Replace The Sauce Or Add Another Sauce

chicken and chorizo ravioli with poblano cream
chicken and chorizo ravioli with poblano cream - A.J. Forget/Mashed

The sauce that comes with canned ravioli is far from being gourmet. However, you can improve it a lot by adding another sauce to enhance the flavor or replacing the sauce altogether.

There are several ways to improve the sauce. Adding a can of tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, or tomato juice is the easiest thing you can do since it will complement the tomato flavor of the sauce. Adding some garlic powder and Italian seasonings or fresh herbs like basil and oregano to tomato-based sauces will bring it closer to having a homemade taste. You could also try adding pesto. Another option is to add hot sauce. You can also change the direction of the flavor profile by adding something like BBQ sauce. Once you're done elevating the sauce, you can add shredded cheese on top and pop it into the oven to melt and slightly brown it. The results taste much more homemade than ravioli straight out of the can.

Replacing the sauce altogether can turn it nearly into a new dish. For example, you could replace the canned sauce with your favorite spaghetti concoction. Alfredo ravioli or poblano cream sauce is also an option. Don't be shy about adding extra ingredients to match your new sauce. For example, you could add spinach, fresh tomatoes, or sauteed mushrooms to alfredo ravioli or cooked chorizo and chicken to poblano cream sauce ravioli.

Remake It With Ingredients Like Extra Spices, Cheese, And Meat

slow cooker ravioli with fresh basil and cheese
slow cooker ravioli with fresh basil and cheese - Kristen Carli/Mashed

One way to make canned ravioli taste homemade is to ditch everything except the raviolis and remake everything else from scratch. Or, you could keep the sauce from the can and layer the new flavors on top of it to freshen it up and make it taste more homemade.

Adding extra herbs and spices to jarred or homemade marinara is another part of changing the flavor profile. You could add spices like garlic, pepper, and Italian seasonings (like basil, oregano, or marjoram). However, you could go in another direction completely with the addition of chili powder or taco seasoning. Fresh Italian herbs like parsley or basil can also give it a flavor boost. You can even make the sauce more flavorful with some red wine.

Added proteins can also improve canned ravioli. The addition of cooked ground beef or sausage is a good choice for remaking the stuffed pasta. However, there are other options, too. Bacon would add a nice smoky flavor. Shredded cooked chicken would work well with cheese ravioli. While you normally think of Italian cheeses like mozzarella or Parmesan as a topping or stir-in for this favorite dish, there are other options, too. Cheddar works. And some people have even tried stirring in Velveeta cheese, too.

Add Some Veggies Or Alliums

ravioli with mushrooms and spinach and cherry tomatoes
ravioli with mushrooms and spinach and cherry tomatoes - Douglas324/Getty Images

Adding veggies or alliums to your canned ravioli gives it that little extra something that makes it into more of a well-rounded meal while making it taste better, too. It helps it feel far less like something you've poured out of a can and more like something you made fresh. This idea is one that you could easily combine with another method of making your canned product taste homemade. For example, you could add any of these to a casserole, with a fresh sauce, or when remaking your ravioli.

Adding fresh or sauteed alliums like onions and garlic can really help give the flavor a boost. For an even better version, saute the onions with a little sugar until they're caramelized. If you decide to use fresh onions and garlic, they're nice added at the end of your warming or cooking time as a finisher.

The veggies you add can be fresh or from a can. Think of the type of veggies you like in Italian dishes or on top of pizza, and draw from that. For example, you could add fresh or jarred red peppers. Even some hotter chili peppers could be nice. Eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, spinach, fresh green beans, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms all make nutritious additions. Add as few or as many as you'd like.

Add Extra Ingredients And Make It Into A Casserole

ravioli casserole
ravioli casserole - OlliCrusoe / X, formerly known as Twitter

A casserole can have practically anything inside, including canned raviolis. Mix all the ingredients together, throw some cheese on top, bake it in the oven until hot and bubbly, and it's not going to taste much like canned ravioli anymore.

There are a plethora of items you can throw into a ravioli casserole. The most basic version would just be adding cheese on top and baking it, which is something you want to do no matter what else you add. However, the more ingredients you add, the closer to homemade it's going to taste. You can use some of the ideas we've already mentioned, like replacing the sauce, or adding spices, cheese, meat, veggies, or alliums to inspire what you add to your casserole. You could also let popular pizza toppings inspire what else you could add to make your ravioli casserole more delicious. Some ingredient considerations are ground beef, cheese (like mozzarella, Parmesan, or cottage), marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasonings, and spinach.

You'll want to sprinkle plenty of shredded cheese on top, and then bake it in the oven at about 375 F for around 15 minutes until it's hot and bubbly (longer if you include fresh veggies that need a longer cooking time to soften). Once it's done, you can top it with lots of fresh basil to make every bite taste more like homemade.

Have Them With Mashed Potatoes

shepherd's pie
shepherd's pie - WS-Studio/Shutterstock

Having ravioli over mashed potatoes is inspired by a ravioli dish in Italy called tortelli mugellani, which involves garlic mashed potatoes stuffed inside a large ravioli and served with a meat-based tomato sauce. It's been around since at least 1400 C.E., when it was immortalized in a poem. However, the dish was originally made with chestnuts until Italians started growing potatoes in the 1800s. Having your ravioli over mashed potatoes turns tortelli mugellani inside out, with the meat on the inside and the mashed potatoes on the outside.

The better quality mashed potatoes you use, the closer to homemade this dish will taste. A good garlic mashed potatoes recipe should work nicely. You could also mix in Parmesan cheese since some tortelli mugellani recipes do the same for their tortelli stuffing.

While you could stop with adding warmed ravioli over mashed potatoes, we think you could make it better using some ideas we've already mentioned. For example, you can remake the raviolis by loading them up with spices, meat, cheese, sauteed garlic, and onions first. You could also transform it into a baked casserole, topping it with cheese and baking it until warm and bubbly. Another casserole idea is to flip the ingredients upside down and turn it into a sort of ravioli shepherd's pie with the remade ravioli on the bottom, followed by a layer of mashed potatoes  a layer of shredded cheese. After all, there's such a thing as shepherd's pie ravioli.

Stuff It Into A Calzone

homemade calzone
homemade calzone - Stephanie Rapone/Mashed

One surprising way you can use canned ravioli is as a homemade calzone filling. Calzones are basically Italian pizza-dough turnovers stuffed with savory fillings -- often the same types of fillings you'd find in a pizza. However, there's no hard and fast rule about what can be stuffed inside of a calzone, so why not raviolis?

You can use a normal calzone recipe to help you with the methodology for making a calzone. However, it shouldn't be all that difficult since you can omit the part of the instructions for making the filling and replace it with canned raviolis and your favorite shredded cheese. Of course, there's no reason you couldn't still keep some traditional calzone stuffing ingredients like sausage or spinach if you'd like it to be a little more robust. To make the calzone, place a mound of raviolis and cheese on one half of a raw pizza dough disk, fold it over, and pinch it closed. Then, you'll brush it with an egg wash, making a few slices on top of the dough and sprinkling it with some Parmesan before baking it in a 425 F oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

You're probably wondering what a ravioli calzone is like. Redditor u/SnooWords5921 tried making a huge one with what looks like a full-sized pizza dough crust. When asked how it was, they said, "Super filling, and surprisingly delicious." With so much dough involved, it looked almost like a layered lasagna inside.

Turn It Mexican

taco casserole
taco casserole - Kristen Carli/Mashed

If you're craving Mexican food and raviolis, it's entirely possible to enjoy both at the same time. A ravioli taco bake is neither authentically Italian or Mexican, but it's still a great way to repurpose your raviolis into something you're likely to want to make again.

The first thing to do is to make your dish more Mexican with a few added-in ingredients like canned or fresh tomatoes, onions, and taco seasoning. For a little added spice, you could use a can of tomatoes combined with green chili peppers (like Rotel) instead of regular canned tomatoes. You can also add black beans or even cooked meat if you'd like more protein. You can either cook everything together on the stovetop or in the oven at 400 F until heated all the way through. Then, top the resulting dish with shredded cheddar cheese and corn chips. To finish the dish, you can add fresh ingredients like lettuce, salsa, guacamole, green onions, and cilantro on top before serving, like with a regular taco casserole.

Make Parmesan Ranch Ravioli

ravioli with creamy sauce and Parmesan cheese
ravioli with creamy sauce and Parmesan cheese - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

We couldn't end our list without mentioning a way to transform your canned ravioli into a more homemade-tasting dish with cheese and ranch dressing. We've seen people make this dish several ways, so it's adaptable to what you have in the cupboards and fridge.

The easiest option is to simply mix ranch dressing and Parmesan cheese into canned raviolis. Another version that takes the dish to the next level is to mix a tablespoon of ricotta cheese into your canned ravioli and combine it with a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese and dry ranch dressing mix. A nice add-in to either of these options is roasted red peppers or your favorite hot sauce like sriracha to spice it up. You're also welcome to add veggies or other types of add-ins we've already mentioned to make it a heartier dish.

Since ranch dressing can be delicate, it's best to start by heating the raviolis and the more stable ingredients all the way through according to the can directions before adding the ranch dressing or ricotta cheese. Once you've added the ranch dressing or ricotta cheese, continue heating briefly until those ingredients are also warm. Then, serve.

Read the original article on Mashed.