My Easy Baked Spaghetti recipe takes everything we love about spaghetti supper and makes it a delicious casserole. It’s a true family favorite! Tender spaghetti, layered with a meaty marinara sauce and ooey, gooey cheese. What’s not to love, right?
This Baked Spaghetti casserole stretches one pound of ground beef and one pound of cooked spaghetti noodles to be enough for 12 servings. With added protein from inexpensive eggs and the minerals and vitamins from onion, garlic and spinach, this recipe is a scrumptious way to nourish, make the most of your grocery budget and give your family a meal that they love.
My baked spaghetti recipe is a definite keeper! Any pasta bake recipe lover will appreciate this delicious meal. Your family’s gonna flip for it and you’ll love how easy it is to make baked spaghetti. Get the kids involved in putting this dish together. It’s a recipe they’ll be excited to see in your meal rotation, again and again.
- Ground Beef: (lean), browned and drained
- Homemade Marinara (or your favorite Spaghetti Sauce): Your favorite jarred or canned brand is fine for making things quick and easy. (If you make homemade you’ll need around 5 cups.) A baked spaghetti casserole will benefit from the flavors you and your family like for a plain spaghetti dinner.
- Cottage Cheese: I always by 4%, small curd. Cottage cheese may seem like an odd choice for a baked spaghetti recipe. But, my family doesn’t care for ricotta cheese. It’s delicious. I promise!
- Red Onion: Mince the onion fine. No big chunks.
- Fresh Spinach: Just like the onion, mince it up. The texture will be better than if you have floppy wilted whole leaves strewn through your baked spaghetti casserole.
- Minced Garlic
- Italian seasoning
- Spaghetti Noodles: Cook and drain them before you begin assembly.
- Parmesan Cheese
- Mozzarella Cheese: This dish, literally, will not be the same if you don’t grate your own. Let me explain why.
FAQ About Baked Spaghetti
Yes. Pre-grated cheese is coated with cellulose or some other anti-clumping agent. That agent prevents the cheese from melting properly and it definitely alters the taste. Buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself. It’s so easy and more affordable!
Grating Your Own Cheese
One of my best investments for the kitchen is a *4‑sided grater[affiliate link]. I use it multiple times per week. My challenge this week is for you to grate a block of fresh extra-sharp cheddar or mozzarella and compare it to bagged, pre-grated. Honestly evaluate the flavor and meltability of each. You’ll only buy block cheese from then on. The flavor difference is astounding!
And I’ve already mentioned the other important benefit of grating your own cheese. It’s the meltability. Coated cheese doesn’t melt nearly as easily as freshly grated. When what you want is ooey, gooey, drippy cheese melting over your dish, opt for grating your own block of fresh Mozzarella cheese and enjoy the delicious difference.
If you’re not a fan of cottage cheese, you can sub in an equal amount of ricotta cheese in this recipe.
Yes, it definitely can. And, it’s really good! This dish can be 100% gluten free if you choose your favorite gluten free pasta.
What is Jovial Brown Rice Pasta?
Jovial brown rice pasta is still the only gluten free brand we will buy. It doesn’t go mushy. It doesn’t crumble apart and it has the texture of regular noodles. My family can’t tell the difference unless I mention that’s what I’ve used. They are our all-time favorite spaghetti noodles.
The least expensive place I have found to buy it is online at Vitacost. It’s only $3.99 compared to $4.49 to $6 in other places. At Vitacost you can get free shipping with a $50 order. With my Amazon prime account I get them for around $4.67 each with free shipping [affiliate link].
How to Make the Best Baked Spaghetti
- Cook spaghetti in boiling water for two or three minutes less than the package instructions tell you. They will continue cooking in the baked spaghetti once it’s in the oven. You don’t want to end up with overdone noodles.
- Brown the ground beef in a large skillet until it is cooked through and no longer pink. Use lean ground beef, so you get the most for your money and don’t lose so much to grease. When using ground beef in a casserole or “mixed” dish, I opt for very lean beef (at least 90/10, sometimes 93/7) because flavor will come from other seasonings and ingredients.
- Grate the cheese. Buy a block and grate it yourself, so it melts better and tastes delicious!
Mixing the Individual Layers for Your Pasta Bake Recipe
- To create the first baked spaghetti layer, just barely melt butter in the microwave.
- Stir the Parmesan into the barely melted butter.
- Beat the eggs into the butter/Parmesan mixture..
- Once the eggs are beaten into the butter and Parmesan, pour that mixture over the al dente spaghetti. You can try to do this step with a spoon, but I find the easiest way to be sure all the ingredients in the spaghetti mixture are evenly distributed, is to simply toss it all together with my hands.
- To make the sauce for baked spaghetti, mix the marinara sauce, cooked ground beef, cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese if making that substitution), onion, garlic and spinach in a separate bowl. Set it aside.
Assembling the Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease a *9x13 baking dish to hold your baked spaghetti.
- Place half of the al dente spaghetti to create the first layer in the bottom of the pan.
- Next, spread half of the tomato/meat sauce over the spaghetti mixture layer.
- The third layer is half of the shredded Mozzarella cheese. Distribute it evenly over the sauce layer of your baked spaghetti.
- Now, repeat layers one to three. First spaghetti, then meat sauce and then shredded Mozzarella cheese.
- Your Baked Spaghetti is ready for the oven! Cover and seal with foil. (Spray the underside of your foil with pan spray before sealing it down. It really does help keep the cheese from sticking to it.)
- Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake 10 to 15 minutes more to finish melting the cheese. When the cheese is fully melted and the baked spaghetti casserole is bubbling and brown around the edges, it’s done.
- Let the baking dish rest on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes, so your Baked Spaghetti holds together more easily, when you slice it.
- (optional) Garnish with fresh parsley or chopped basil.
What to Serve with Baked Spaghetti
We like all our pasta bake recipes, and especially this Baked Spaghetti, served with a green salad, steamed broccoli or sauteed zucchini. And of course a nice piece of crusty bread or garlic bread finishes the meal to perfection.
Choose any of your favorite side dishes and enjoy this simple meal with your family. I hope it becomes a family favorite in your house, too. DELISH! Enjoy, my friend!
This is the best Baked Spaghetti recipe. It takes everything we love about spaghetti supper and raises it to the next level. Tender spaghetti, layered with a meat sauce and ooey, gooey cheese. Not only is it delicious, it stretches a lb of ground beef to feed 12. There’s nothing about this scrumptious pasta bake recipe that isn’t a win. It freezes well to bake later, too. Serve it with a green salad and some garlic bread for a perfect meal!
For the Meat Sauce Layer:
- 1 lb LEAN ground beef, browned and drained
- 5 cups homemade marinara (or your favorite store-bought spaghetti sauce/ marinara sauce)
- 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
- 1 medium red onion, minced
- 1 cup fresh spinach, minced (Measure after it’s minced.)
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
For the Noodle Layer:
- 1 lb spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained (gluten free Jovial brown rice noodles work great)
- 2 eggs
- 5 Tablespoons butter melted
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
For the 3rd Layer:
- 1 (16 oz block) Mozzarella cheese, grated (about 4 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease the baking dish.
- Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Cook the spaghetti noodles. Cook the spaghetti 2 to 3 minutes less than the suggested time on the package. It will continue to cook in the oven.
- *Grate the Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
- Melt butter in the microwave. Don’t overdo it. Heat it just enough to melt.
- Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese. (Remember, grate your own for maximum flavor and ease of melting!) Stirring the cheese into the butter will help to cool it quickly. Stir for awhile longer if it still feels to hot. Your going to beat the eggs into it next and you want them to mix in, not cook.
- Beat eggs.
- Mix the beaten eggs into the butter and Parmesan cheese.
- Pour the mixture over the cooked spaghetti. You can try to do this step with a spoon, but I find the easiest way to be sure the spaghetti is evenly coated is to simply toss it all together with my hands.
- Create the meat sauce by mixing the homemade marinara (or pasta sauce), cottage cheese, cooked ground beef, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning and spinach in another bowl.
- Grease a *9×13 pan .
- Place half of the cooked spaghetti noodles in the bottom of the baking dish to create the first layer. Next, spread 1/2 of the tomato/meat sauce over the spaghetti. The third layer is 1/2 of the grated cheese.
- Now, repeat all three layers. Your Baked Spaghetti is ready for the oven! Cover and seal the baking dish with foil. Spray the underside of the foil with pan spray. It really does help keep the foil from sticking to the cheese.
- Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 more minutes to finish melting the cheese. When the cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbling and brown around the edges, it’s done.
- Let the pan rest on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes, so it holds together well, when you slice it.
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 40 min
- Category: Main Dish, Casserole
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: spaghetti, casserole