Comforting and delicious, this Baked Spaghetti is perfect for potlucks or Sunday dinner. Spaghetti noodles are combined with a meaty sauce and lots of cheese and baked to perfection.
There is nothing better than a big dish of baked pasta when the weather is cold outside, so this Baked Spaghetti is calling my name right now!
The ultimate comfort food, spaghetti noodles are combined with cheese and layered with an easy, delicious meat sauce. This is perfect for a Sunday dinner, but I also think it’s easy enough for a weeknight! This pasta staple needs to be on your dinner table right away.
- Spaghetti: I like to use a traditional spaghetti, not thin, as it holds up better.
- Ground Beef: I always like to choose a ground beef that is lean enough that I won’t have to drain off fat, but one that still has a little bit of fat for flavor. I’ll typically go for 90/10 or 85/15.
- Butter: I like to use unsalted butter.
- Onion, Bell Pepper, and Mushrooms: These all flavor the sauce and give it great texture, as well.
- Tomatoes: You’ll need one large can (28 ounces) of diced tomatoes. You do not need to drain the tomatoes.
- Oregano: This is a typical Italian spice.
- Salt: The salt is important to bring flavor and balance the other flavors.
- Ricotta and Sour Cream: These bring in a delicious, creamy layer.
- Eggs: You’ll want to use large eggs.
- Cheese: You’ll need a mixture of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
How to Make Baked Spaghetti
Baked Spaghetti is actually really easy to make, and it’s great for serving to a crowd. Here is the outline – make sure to check out the full recipe below!
- Start by cooking your noodles.
- Make the meat sauce by cooking your ground beef then cooking all of the vegetables. Combine that with canned tomatoes and some spices and let it simmer a bit to thicken up.
- Combine your cooked spaghetti with ricotta cheese, sour cream and eggs.
- Now the fun part – time to layer your spaghetti! Pour half of the noodles into a casserole dish, add half of the sauce, then top with cheese. Repeat the layers.
- Bake it! I bake the dish until the cheese is all melted and the sauce is bubbling around the sides.
This Baked Spaghetti recipe is a great one to use as a guide – substitutions should be pretty easy in this recipe. Here a few common substitutions.
- Instead of regular spaghetti noodles, make this with whole wheat noodles. You could even use a different cut of noodles, like penne or macaroni.
- I love to use part ground pork and part ground beef for the meat mixture. Or for even more flavor, add in some Italian sausage.
- If you don’t have ricotta (or don’t like it) you can use cottage cheese. That’s what my mom always did growing up! You could also use softened cream cheese, although the flavor is not the same, you’ll still get that creaminess that ricotta adds.
- Add in different veggies, or take out the ones I have used for the recipe. Don’t like mushrooms? Leave them out. Add in some zucchini or eggplant. Sweet potatoes or butternut squash can even be used, although they will take a bit more time to cook.
- If you like different spices, you can definitely change those up. Add in some Italian seasoning or garlic powder or thyme.
- You can also change up the cheeses. You’ll just want something that melts well, like Monterey Jack.
Make Ahead and Freezing
One of the best things about this recipe is that you can easily prep it on a day when you have some time, then bake it up another night!
Prep the recipe as indicated in the recipe card, but instead of baking it, let it all come to room temperature then cover it in foil and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. When it’s time to bake it up, cook it covered for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.
If you want to freeze it for later, you can make it as indicated without baking. Let it come to room temperature, then wrap it in 2 layers or foil. Freeze it for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake it at 350ºF covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 10 minutes.
This makes great leftovers! I like to reheat individual servings in the microwave, but you can reheat in the oven, as well. To prevent it from drying out, reheat in the oven covered with foil.
More Spaghetti Recipes
- 12 oz dry spaghetti noodles
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, then add the spaghetti noodles. Cook until al dente, then drain.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Remove from the pan.
- In the same pan, melt the tablespoon of butter. Add the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms and cook until all of the vegetables are softened. Add the tomatoes (with the liquid), oregano and salt. Stir in the ground beef. Bring to a bubble, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Place the cooked spaghetti into a large bowl. Stir in the ricotta, sour cream and eggs.
- Pour half of the noodle mixture into the baking dish. Top with one half of the meat sauce. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella over the top. Repeat the layers with the rest of the noodles, sauce and mozzarella.
- Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top.
- Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese is all melted and the sauce is bubbling.
- Let the baked spaghetti sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.