This baked spaghetti is pasta tossed in a flavorful meat sauce, then topped with plenty of cheese and baked until golden brown. A super easy dinner option that’s great for feeding a large group!
There’s nothing more traditional than spaghetti and meatballs, but rolling all those meatballs can be time consuming, especially if you have many mouths to feed. This baked spaghetti has all the great flavors of classic spaghetti and meatballs, but it’s much easier to make!
How do you make baked spaghetti?
Make baked spaghetti by first cooking ground beef and mild Italian sausage in a pan. Make sure to break up the meat into small crumbles. Add an onion to the pan and cook it through. Cook a little garlic in that pan and add marinara and tomato sauce. When the sauce has simmered, toss some cooked spaghetti in the sauce. Pour the pasta and sauce into a baking pan and top it with mozzarella cheese. Bake the dish covered, and then uncovered, until the cheese is golden brown and melted. Serve the spaghetti with a little parsley on top.
Tips for the perfect spaghetti casserole
- Shred your own mozzarella cheese. Don’t use pre-shredded cheese which often has anti-caking agents that prevent the cheese from melting well.
- Use your favorite marinara sauce for this recipe. I like Newman’s Own which has a nice flavor and color.
- I typically use 90% lean ground beef – it has plenty of flavor but is not overly greasy.
- The sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance. I like to make a double batch and freeze half for later use.
Baked spaghetti variations
This recipe is delicious as-is, but you can add other ingredients to customize it to your tastes.
- Meat: Try using ground turkey, turkey sausage or diced cooked chicken instead of ground beef and Italian sausage.
- Vegetables: Add sauteed vegetables to the sauce such as mushrooms, spinach, zucchini or bell peppers.
- Cheese: Instead of mozzarella try another cheese that melts well like provolone or fontina.
- Topping: You can add a crispy topping to the dish by mixing breadcrumbs with melted butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Just pour the mixture over the top of the pasta before baking it.
What side dishes go with spaghetti?
Salads are great with spaghetti. They are a cool and crisp contrast to the warm pasta. I like to have caprese salad, arugula salad or even broccoli salad with spaghetti. I also like to have garlic flavored or cheesy breads with spaghetti. Some of my favorites are garlic knots, cheese bombs and cheesy pull apart bread.
Can you freeze spaghetti casserole?
You can freeze a pan of baked spaghetti or individually wrapped servings of the spaghetti. It stays good in the freezer for 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, or bake from frozen. If the dish is frozen, you’ll need to add another 20-30 minutes to the baking time.
This recipe is easy to make and will delight your family and friends. Give this dish a try the next time you are in the mood for spaghetti!
More pasta dishes you’ll enjoy
For the sauce
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef I use 90% lean
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage casings removed
- 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
- 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 16 ounces spaghetti cooked according to package directions
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9"x13" pan with cooking spray.
For the sauce
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and sausage to the pan. Season the meat with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook the meat for 3 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces with a spatula. Add the onion to the pan. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until meat is browned and cooked through and onion is tender.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the marinara sauce and tomato sauce to the pan and bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes.
- Toss the cooked spaghetti with the sauce.
- Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared pan and top with shredded cheese.
- Bake covered for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until pasta is bubbly and cheese is melted and browned.
- Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.