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! 

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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.

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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

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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
Keyword: Baked Spaghetti, How To Make Baked Spaghetti
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.


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  1. My first time making this dish but having this recipe made it easy and it came out delicious. I wish I could post a picture of the finished dish… Not only delicious but look amazing.

  2. It’s a good base but it needs more seasoning it was bland was disappointed with how it came out

    1. Hi Marie! I’m sure if cooked fine at 375 but it’s listed on the recipe at 350 degrees. Thank you ?

  3. This is so much better than regular spaghetti (we like thick spaghetti), which I can eat day after day! I had hot spicy Italian sausage and ground beef on hand and fresh mozzarella, but not quite enough so I improvised with a little parmesan and quesadilla cheese to stretch it. I added a few garlic cloves to the onions and meat, and dried parsley in the middle of the layers since I didn’t have fresh parsley for the top. It was a big hit for the family and hardly any leftovers (darn)! Thanks for the great recipe Sabrina! 🙂

  4. We use this recipe all the time, we love it and we also make it for friends going through hard times, they always ask for the recipe!

  5. My children and I liked it. We even went for a second plate. Husband did not like it, said not nearly enough spaghetti sauce and the meat was dry. If I could redo it, I would add additional meat sauce on top after it baked.

    1. Hi! I’m currently making bakes to freeze for a family. Would you have any recommendations on cooking times after frozen??

  6. All blog recipes show the actual recipe at the end. All you need do is scroll to the end if you don’t care to read the blog and find the full recipe with instructions.

  7. At no point do the instructions for this recipe indicate that I need to combine the eggs, butter and salt. I really shouldn’t have to read your entire blog post to figure that out.

  8. It’s good. I used soy crumbles instead of meat and it is nice. I came off all meat but turkey to lower my cholesterol. This recipe works nicely with no-fat cottage cheese. I added Mexican-style shredded cheese and parmy.

  9. The best spaghetti casserole that I’ve ever made. I added chopped green pepper to the ground beef and onion. Instead of four cups of marinara, I used two cups tomato, onion and garlic sauce and two cups Alla Vodka sauce. I also halved the mozzarella and mixed in the same amount of grated sharp cheddar. I don’t think I’ll ever search for a baked spaghetti recipe ever again. This is a keeper.

  10. I have to admit I was hesitant to add the noodles into the egg/butter mixture but I made the recipe, for the most part, as is. Turned out great! Looked great w/ the sides a little burnt and tasted excellent.

    1. Hello Catie, I’m sorry but I sadly do not have the information as I have never used a nesco. I’m also not sure what you mean by notifying the recipe. Do you mean how to adjust the recipe?

  11. Is it possible to prep this the night before then cook it the next day? How long would I cook it if so. Sorry a little new to cooking ?

    1. Hello Nicole, this is a great recipe for new cooks. there is not much to prep, but if you want you could cook the meat before and add it later. I hope this helps.

  12. I made a spaghetti sauce for super Tuesday of this week so i had the sauce already. Followed directions except added more cheeses and it was Amazing!!!! My husband and mom both agree, best baked spaghetti we have ever had. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  13. Oh lawdy this recipe is BOMB!! Per my family’s personal preferences I do half marinara and half Alfredo making more of a vodka sauce. I also added some larger pepperoni to the layers. Its definitely a hit, as the 2.5 yr old is on his 3rd helping and the 8yr old said “it’s so good I want some more but I’m stuffed”

  14. What modifications do I need to make it in a crockpot? Add the spaghetti uncooked? Make it in oven and spoon in crockpot just to keep warm?

  15. Another idea my 12 year old daughter had was to add mini pepperoni on top and it was actually great! I did half with pepperoni and half without . Everyone loved it!

  16. I loved the nostalgic feeling about this dish. However, this was just too much pasta for my personal taste and the appropriate sized dish, ha! It kind of diluted the yummy flavors I could tell were there! I do really appreciate that this dish doesn’t shy away from a healthy protein source like beef and healthy saturated fats as well.

    Next time, I will double the ground beef and half the pasta, and perhaps throw in an extra egg.

    1. Yes, you can just place it in the oven tightly covered with foil and cook for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. I usually like to sprinkle a bit of pasta sauce over it first to add some moisture back in. Good luck!

  17. I substituted plain Greek yogurt for the cottage cheese and it was so unbelievably delicious! Between 5 people there wasn’t any left! Thank you for this tasty recipe!

  18. If I’m prepping this 24 hours in advance, would I bake it or leave it for the next day? Thanks; I look forward to trying it!

  19. Can I use sour cream instead of cottage cheese or ricotta? I use it in a baked ziti for creaminess, so I thought it might work in this as well. If so, how much would you suggest, the same as the cottage cheese?

    1. I’m so glad you asked this! It haven’t tasted yet – it’s still baking. Thanks, Mary and thank you Sabrina for the recipe.

  20. A tasty, easy recipe, but it’s incredibly high in fat/saturated fat per serving. To help eliminate some of this, use a low-fat cottage cheese; it won’t change the flavor of the dish. Definitely eliminate the 5 tablespoons of butter as it’s totally unnecessary. Lastly, remove the eggs as they did nothing to help bind the spaghetti in my preparation. Changing those three things helps eliminate fat and calories.

  21. My kids don’t care for the cottage cheese, is there something I could substitute for it, or omit all together? It does look delicious.

  22. I never leave reviews for recipes, but I made this last night and had to say thank you! My entire family loved this, and that never happens! My youngest son has autism and is an extremely picky eater, but even he devoured this. My husband is still talking about it! I will admit that I’m not a fan of cottage cheese and was nervous about it, but it totally works in this. Thank you!

    1. This makes me so happy! I’m glad you loved it so much to want to come back and let me know, Lindsay.

      1. I do not cook or bake a lot but tonight I wanted to make a special dinner for my family… I’m SO GLAD I tried this recipe. SUPER simple, everybody was raving! I will be making this again soon. Thank you so much! 5?????

  23. “So this is what heaven tastes like” that’s a direct quote from 7-yr-old? needless to say, this was a hit. Thanks for a great, comfort food recipe!

  24. Hi- with the cottage cheese, am I just layering it or do I mix it in? Cottage cheese is intimidating me for some reason!!

    1. I have a very hard time getting my family to eat leftovers, but this baked spaghetti was gone the next day! This is definitely a keeper.

  25. This recipe was amazing! I loved the ingredients and the instructions. Dinner was amazing! I just need it to be a little more details in the instructions. Other than that it’s perfect!

  26. Made this tonight following the recipe except for the following: used ricotta and added a little oregano (personal preference). It was very good and we went back for seconds. I might add a little more meat next time – again personal preference. If you follow the recipe as written you will not be disappointed. It is also a tasty recipe for a potluck. I’ve saved the recipe in my “will make again” file.

  27. how do you view the video of the recipe you are cooking and viewing, instead of a video of “my other recipes “

    1. Check out my facebook page. There is a section with all of our videos and you can scroll through and select the specific ones you want to view. Hope this helps!

  28. Loved every bite of this cheesy, savory dish! Had nothing but smiling faces all around our dinner table; delish!

    1. Hi Sabrina, can you elaborate what I’m supposed to do with the butter and eggs for the pasta dish. I’m a little confused. Thanks.

        1. Anyone have issues with the eggs scrambling with the hot noodles when tossed? If so, does it taste okay once baked? Because that just happened. Noodles should probably cool before tossing?

          1. Oh no! You can definitely let the noodles cool before mixing it to avoid that happening.

  29. I have never tried baked spaghetti before but this looks so heavenly, I’ve got to give it a go. Thanks so much!

  30. I’ve really been craving comfort food lately and have been eating lots of casseroles and spaghetti – this recipe looks like the best of both worlds! Yum!

    1. Not sure how that got in the text, thanks for catching it. I did test it using provolone but ended up not including it in the recipe.

  31. Hi Sabrina–All I can say—is—you are one of the best and most-talented cooks on the internet–thank you so much for all the reicpes you share with us–I will give this baked spaghetti a try–it looks delicious–

    1. You could substitute with ricotta cheese but it offer a milder flavor and finer texture in the baked spaghetti. Enjoy!