Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti

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Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is creamy with a melty cheese center, topped with meat sauce and extra bubbly cheese.

Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is creamy with a melty cheese center, topped with meat sauce and extra bubbly cheese. Tastes like a cross between baked ziti and lasagna with half the effort!Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is a hit in our house every time we make it and it isn’t hard to see why. With melted cheese, cream cheese, meat and homemade marinara sauce, and perfect as a make ahead meal you can freeze, this dish is a perfect meal in a pan and even better served with a nice side salad.

It may seem like there is a lot of meat and cheese going on in this 9×13 pan, but we frequently get 12 portions out of the meal, 9 if we’ve got a lot of hungry people to serve. The flavors are rich enough that a smaller portion is enough to satisfy.

Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is creamy with a melty cheese center, topped with meat sauce and extra bubbly cheese. Tastes like a cross between baked ziti and lasagna with half the effort!

If you’re looking for alternative flavor ideas to the classic meat sauce here are some fun options we’ve gone with in the past:

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  • Chunks of cooked chicken with a creamy Alfredo sauce (optional you can also toss in frozen peas)
  • Italian sausage instead of ground beef.
  • Roasted vegetables like zucchini, eggplant and red onion in place of meat.
  • Spinach, lemon juice and lemon zest with a creamy Alfredo sauce.
  • Pepperoni, chopped bell peppers, onions and sliced olives in place of meat for a combination pizza flavor

Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is creamy with a melty cheese center, topped with meat sauce and extra bubbly cheese. Tastes like a cross between baked ziti and lasagna with half the effort!

I frequently make this Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti in a double quantity so I can have one tray to serve and one to freeze. For making ahead the only difference in the directions would be to follow all the steps until it says to put it in the oven. At that point, top with foil and freeze. To serve I highly recommend you remove from the freezer the day before you plan on serving so it can defrost in the fridge. If you don’t remember to remove it, you can expect your cook time to be about an hour long at least.  But look at the beautiful tray of Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti you’ll be left with:

Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is creamy with a melty cheese center, topped with meat sauce and extra bubbly cheese. Tastes like a cross between baked ziti and lasagna with half the effort!

I usually let the Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti cool for about 5-10 minutes when it comes out of the oven. I find it is easier to cut into perfect squares using my favorite silicone spatula and in our house everyone is obsessed with the shape of it. I tried serving with tongs once and you would’ve thought I’d committed a crime. Can’t blame them though, it does look pretty cool cut neatly.

Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is creamy with a melty cheese center, topped with meat sauce and extra bubbly cheese. Tastes like a cross between baked ziti and lasagna with half the effort!

Recipe

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Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti

5 from 60 votes
  • Yield: 9 servings
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Course: Main
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is creamy with a melty cheese center, topped with meat sauce and extra bubbly cheese. Tastes like a cross between baked ziti and lasagna with half the effort!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti , cooked two minutes shy of directions and drained
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion , chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic , minced
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper)
  • 6 cups Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce
  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • parsley , chopped (optional as a garnish)

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet add the beef, onions, garlic, salt and pepper into the pan and cook on high.
  3. Once browned, turn off the heat, drain the liquid left in the pan and mix in one cup of the marinara sauce.
  4. Add the cooked spaghetti to the remaining 5 cups of the marinara sauce and toss to combine.
  5. Mix the cream cheese and 2 cups of mozzarella cheese in a bowl.
  6. Add half the pasta/sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
  7. Add the cream cheese mixture and top with the remaining pasta/sauce mixture.
  8. Add the meat sauce mixture on top of the pasta and top with remaining cup of mozzarella cheese.
  9. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

  10. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly

Nutrition Information

Yield: 9 servings, Amount per serving: 513 calories, Calories: 513g, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 92mg, Sodium: 351mg, Potassium: 311mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 590g, Calcium: 233g, Iron: 1.9g

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Keyword: Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti
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Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is creamy with a melty cheese center, topped with meat sauce and extra bubbly cheese. Tastes like a cross between baked ziti and lasagna with half the effort!

Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is creamy with a melty cheese center, topped with meat sauce and extra bubbly cheese. Tastes like a cross between baked ziti and lasagna with half the effort!
Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is creamy with a melty cheese center, topped with meat sauce and extra bubbly cheese. Tastes like a cross between baked ziti and lasagna with half the effort!
Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is creamy with a melty cheese center, topped with meat sauce and extra bubbly cheese. Tastes like a cross between baked ziti and lasagna with half the effort!

About the Author

Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

See more posts by Sabrina

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

    1. I would recommend freezing it before baking it. When ready to bake, let it thaw out overnight in the refrigerator and then bake. Enjoy!

  1. This looks delish!! The only thing I had trouble with was spreading the cream cheese mixture as a layer? It just clumped up and a mess of noodles and cream cheese. Just curious what you did? I

    1. It’s such a delicious dish! Next time, try putting dollops of the mixture as a layer vs spreading it on. It will melt into a flatter layer and you’ll get yummy pockets of it. Hope this helps!

  2. I want to make this for a dinner party. I plan to make it the day before, but don’t plan to freeze it. Should I just follow all directions except for putting it in the oven? Should I cover and refrigerate and cook about an hour before serving?

  3. I just made this yesterday for my family. It was amazing and super easy to put together, made it in no time flat! My family just kept raving about how delicious it was and said it was a keeper and oh…to PLEASE make it again, which I most definitely will. Even my 13 yr old great-nephew said it was GOOD. Quick note…I used Angel Hair pasta, just my preference instead of spaghetti. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe… ?

  4. 4.5 stars (would have been 5, if pan depth was specified)

    Did not fit in corning/pyrex baking dish. Thought this would be bland but was I surprised! The cream cheese gave it all that was needed. Not too wet, not too dry and reheats well. It’s a keeper !

  5. This was fabulous!!! Stuck during Hurricane Florence trying to make dinner for three very picky kids and extended family. Everyone loved it! Served with a bowl of extra sauce and was a complete winner. Thanks so much!

  6. Tasted great. Loved the cream cheese mozzarella middle. I used store bought marinara but next time I will use the recipe from this site.

  7. I’d like to try this recipe but I’m pregnant and can’t have soft cheeses like cream cheese. Can you recommend how to alter this recipe to accommodate that? Thanks!

    1. Congrats on your pregnancy!
      I think Philadelphia cream cheese is on the ok list as long as you check it’s pasteurised. You can also use ricotta cheese.

  8. I dont have an oven. Do you think this would work on high in a crockpot, or do you think it would come out to mushy? I have an oblong crockpot.

  9. 6 cups of sauce left it very dry so it was a big fail for us tonight. It would be good if really moist and gooey. If I try it again, I wil expect to use at least 8 cups.

  10. Absolutely delicious. I made a meat version (for my hubby and son) and a meatless version (for daughter and myself). My daughter ate 2 helpings. So good! Thank you for sharing!

  11. This was absolutely delicious! All my family, ages 1 to 78, loved it! Thank you! Made this to take to my family after losing a family member and his widow said that was the first thing she had ate in 6 days. This food is good for the soul! Thx for sharing

  12. This looks amazing. Question: can this be made ahead of time? Can I make it the night before I need it? Like prepare it then bake it the next day?
    Thanks!

  13. I’ve made a similar pasta dish a long time ago. I used a egg noodles and barely pre cooked them, before layering with other similar ingredients. Egg noodles didn’t become overcooked and “mushy”. Better texture. I also used sour cream, cottage cheese, parmesan cheeses mixture, with mozzarella om top. Just a different recipe to try !

  14. I made this using my own pasta sauce and baked it a little bit longer. It was a big hit. Hubby said next we have pasta make it like this!!! Super easy

  15. I made ‘‘tis and it was great but I used 3 jars of Newman’s sausebutthe mixture with the cheese and cream cheese was very lumpy and very difficult to spread nonetheless it worked ok. Next time I will use ricotta instead of cream cheese. That’s my opinion.

  16. Hello! If we are to make this with chicken and Alfredo sauce, would we still add the cream cheese mix in the middle?

  17. Ive made this several times and it is delish! I was wondering though can u sub ricotta cheese for cream cheese? How do you think that will affect the taste?

  18. This is my 3rd time making this dish my whole family loves it! the first time I made it I used a 13×9 and it was too much for my family of 5, so now I make two 8×8 pans that I get from the dollar tree and freeze one and cook one. I love that every time I make this dish its like a two for one; not only is it amazing but then I’m also getting a free night of cooking for another day! SO glad I found this recipe! Thanks 🙂

  19. This is delicious! Do you think this would turn out good without the meat? I have a friend I’m making this for and she would prefer it to be meatless. 

  20. Nice recipe, but you never never put foil on top of tomato sauce, it will corrode the foil and ruin your dish, you should always use plastic wrap under the foil, or another type cover. Perhaps this hasn’t happened since you put in freezer immediately after covering but if left in fridge or on a counter it will happen.

  21. Would it be possible to make this with Vodka Sauce instead of marinara sauce?? I have some at home so I didn’t know if you have tried this.

  22. Made this tonight and it turned out amazing!! Had to stop myself from eating more and more! I added Parmesan with mozzarella! Will use this recipe for years to come!!

  23.  Really enjoyed this million dollars spaghetti. My husband loved it also. Makes a lot. One thing. How do you spread the cream cheese and cheese on the noodles. Do you let your first?

    1. I’m so glad you all enjoyed it! To answer your question, I don’t really spread it on per say. I drop it in scoops on top. You can find a video on my facebook page of this recipe to help you out too.

  24. Thank you for this recipe. It was so easy, (way easier than lasagna) and my guests loved it. It is now my new go to dinner party main dish. 

    1. You made my day! Anytime I can get the little ones to enjoy something I feel like I have won the lottery! Thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know!

    1. You can do it either way 🙂 If you decide to freeze before cooking, I recommend thawing it in the refrigerator the day before placing in in the oven. You might need to add additional time to the cook time based on how thawed out it is. Enjoy!!