Baked Spaghetti

8 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Baked Spaghetti is hearty and family-friendly with a crispy cheesy top layer and ground beef filling that your kids will ask for every week!

This Italian Dinner is a more classic version of Baked Spaghetti, it costs less than our Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti and is easier to make than Ultimate Meat Lasagna and Cheesy Beef Pasta Bake

Baked Spaghetti on plate with fork

Baked Spaghetti is the perfect make-ahead meal for parents. After you try this recipe, if your kids could vote on dinner every night, you’ll be serving this 4 days a week. And when you do serve it you can even take it from the freezer!

If it’s your first time cooking a baked spaghetti recipe, this is a good one to try. Dinner tonight starts out like a traditional pasta dinner and ends like a hybrid of spaghetti and lasagna. Baking spaghetti instead of just boiling it gives you the crispy, cheesy top layer that lasagna fans love. This easy-baked spaghetti is a great middle ground between spaghetti dishes and a Traditional Baked Ziti.

Baked Spaghetti is so much more than just tomato sauce over noodles. This easy recipe is a great meal for weekdays since you will have leftovers for later dinners. Make it for the whole family and let the kids scoop out what they want (you’ll be surprised how much they eat).

Serve Baked Spaghetti with Garlic Bread, a traditional favorite, and the perfect way to scoop up extra sauce. Try this Italian Salad Dressing drizzled on garlic bread to give it an extra kick. Add some Roasted Green Beans to the mix and roast them alongside the baking noodles. A great way to end a rich dinner is with a light, fluffy Angel Food Cake.

Baked Spaghetti Collage of assembly steps

How to Make Baked Spaghetti

This Baked Spaghetti recipe is a delicious, hearty meal that can easily be made at home. What you are making is basically a baked spaghetti casserole – but the best version of one you’ll ever taste! With crispy edges, mozzarella, and cottage cheese this is a dish people will crowd the pan asking for seconds. Check it out!

  • Step One: Boil the spaghetti noodles until al dente, or one minute shy of the directions.
  • Step Two: Brown your meat in a skillet and add in the Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce.
  • Step Three: Whisk eggs, cheese, and butter together and stir in your cooked spaghetti.
  • Step Four: Layer your spaghetti mixture into a dish with layers of cheese and meat sauce. Enjoy when ready! 

More Italian Favorites

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Yes, you can substitute spaghetti with other pasta types such as linguine, fettuccine, or even penne. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Can I make this recipe vegetarian?

Absolutely! Replace the ground beef with a plant-based protein option or simply add more veggies, like mushrooms and bell peppers, to the marinara sauce.

What if I don’t have cottage cheese?

You can use ricotta cheese as a substitute for cottage cheese, which will still yield a creamy, delicious meal.

How long will the Baked Spaghetti last in the refrigerator?

Baked spaghetti can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Make sure to reheat it thoroughly before serving.

Can I freeze Baked Spaghetti?

Yes, you can freeze the baked spaghetti in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and serving.

Baked Spaghetti Collage of baking steps

Key Ingredients in Baked Spaghetti

This Baked Spaghetti recipe is easy to make using simple, accessible ingredients from your local grocer that come together to create a delicious, comforting meal. Check it out! 

  • Spaghetti: The main ingredient in this dish, spaghetti is a versatile pasta that pairs well with a variety of sauces and flavors.
  • Ground Beef: Ground beef adds a hearty, savory flavor to the dish. You can substitute with ground turkey or chicken for a lighter option.
  • Marinara Sauce: A classic tomato-based sauce that provides a rich, robust flavor to the dish. You can use store-bought or Homemade Marinara Sauce.
  • Cottage Cheese: Adds creaminess and a tangy flavor to the baked spaghetti. Ricotta cheese can be used as a substitute if preferred.
  • Mozzarella Cheese: A mild, melty cheese that adds a gooey, delicious texture to the dish.

Can Baked Spaghetti be made ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the baked spaghetti up to a day in advance. Assemble the dish, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Allow the dish to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking. You may need to adjust the baking time slightly if the dish is still chilled when placed in the oven.

Scoop of Baked Spaghetti

Alternatives to Ground Beef

  • Italian sausage: the seasonings in Italian sausage add a kick of flavor to the baked spaghetti.
  • Ground turkey: an alternative to red meat that is delicious and filling.
  • Ground tofu: tofu takes on a lot of the flavor of the sauce, and is a delicious vegetarian option.
  • Jackfruit: This one takes a little more prep, but its meaty texture is hearty and tasty.
  • Mushrooms: Delicious and versatile, mushrooms are great browned in melted butter.

Slow Cooker Baked Spaghetti

If you are going to be out all day and want something ready when you get home, slow cookers are a great way to go. Slow cooking the spaghetti lets it stew in its own juices, infusing it with flavor.

  • Cook the spaghetti noodles in a pot of boiling water until al dente (still firm.)
  • Brown the ground beef in a pan with the chopped onion until cooked through, and then add in the marinara sauce and stir on medium heat.
  • Mix the eggs, cheese, and butter together and add the cooked spaghetti noodles.
  • Layer the spaghetti mixture and the meat sauce into the slow cooker, and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

Variations on Baked Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti offers plenty of opportunities for customization to suit your taste preferences or dietary needs.

  • Vegetarian Baked Spaghetti: You can replace ground beef with a plant-based protein, like extra-frim tofu, or add extra vegetables like mushrooms and bell peppers.
  • Spicy Baked Spaghetti: Add crushed red pepper flakes or chopped jalapeño peppers to the marinara sauce for a kick of heat. Toast the jalepeños on the grill or a pan to give them a nice smoky flavor. 
  • Cheesy Baked Spaghetti: Everyone loves extra cheese! Use a combination of different cheeses, such as fontina, provolone, or asiago cheese. 
Baked Spaghetti on plate with fork

How to Serve Classic Baked Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti is a delicious and satisfying main course that can be paired with various side dishes, appetizers, and desserts to create a complete and yummy meal. Here are some ideas to make it really fancy!

  • Side Dishes: A fresh, crisp Seven Layer Salad with a light vinaigrette dressing is an excellent choice for balancing the richness of the baked spaghetti. You can also serve Easy Roasted Vegetables for added color and nutrition. Sliced Garlic Bread is perfect for soaking up any remaining sauce on the plate.
  • Appetizers: Start your meal with some classic Italian appetizers like Balsamic Bruschetta or Caprese Salad to set the tone for your baked spaghetti feast. Alternatively, you can offer a simple soup, such as Classic Minestrone Soup, to whet the appetite.
  • Desserts: End the meal on a sweet note with traditional Italian desserts like Tiramisu. If you prefer something lighter, consider serving an Easy Fruit Salad to cleanse the palate.

More Family-Friendly Pasta Recipes

How to Store Baked Spaghetti

  • Serve: You can leave the baked spaghetti out after serving for no longer than 2 hours.
  • Store: Store Baked Spaghetti in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 250 for 10 minutes, or in the microwave.
  • Freeze: Wrapped well, you can freeze Baked Spaghetti for 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat. 
Baked Spaghetti on plate

Pin this recipe now to remember it later

Pin Recipe

Baked Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti is hearty and family-friendly with a crispy cheesy top layer and ground beef filling that your kids will ask for every week!
Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion , chopped
  • 4 cups Marinara Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • 2 cups cottage cheese , divided
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese , shredded and divided


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking dish with vegetable oil spray.
  • Cook pasta 2 minutes shy of the directions.
  • Add meat and onions to a large skillet on medium-high heat and brown while breaking it apart until fully cooked, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Add in the Marinara Sauce and mix well.
  • Toss the noodles in the salt, eggs and butter.
  • Put half the pasta in the bottom of the baking dish, then add half the cottage cheese, half the meat sauce and half the mozzarella.
  • Top with the rest of the noodles, the rest of the cottage cheese, meat sauce and mozzarella.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is crispy and golden brown.



Calories: 651kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 1406mg | Potassium: 855mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1285IU | Vitamin C: 9.6mg | Calcium: 378mg | Iron: 3.8mg
Baked Spaghetti Pin 1

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

Pan of Beef Baked Spaghetti
Baked Spaghetti Collage
Spoonful of Beef and Cheese Baked Spaghetti
Baked Spaghetti in Casserole Dish
Collage of Baked Spaghetti in Pan photos

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.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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.


Leave a comment & rating

Have you checked the FAQ section above to see if your question has already been answered? View previous questions.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.