This Baked Spaghetti recipe has can be made with ground beef, sausage, or meatballs! Cream Cheese adds a creamy element to the marinara sauce. Top it with lots of mozzarella cheese and bake it right away or save it for a busy weeknight dinner. You can even freeze the assembled casserole for another week!
Don’t forget a side of Garlic Bread with Cheese!
This cheesy baked spaghetti recipe truly is a life saver. It’s so easy to throw together and it makes a great make-ahead recipe and freezer food.
It’s the perfect comfort food to serve with my Garlic Bread with Cheese! Read on and see how easy it is to make, what ingredients you need, and how you can easily make it ahead of time and pop it in the oven on busy weeknight.
How to Make it
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
Boil salted water for spaghetti and cook according to package instructions. Meanwhile, brown ground beef in a skillet and drain if needed. Add onions and peppers, cook until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add marinara sauce and stir to combine. I prefer to use my homemade marinara or Rao’s.
Add Ricotta and Parmesan and stir until combined and heated through. Add a dab of cream cheese if desired, then mix in the cooked spaghetti.
Transfer half of the spaghetti to a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with 2 cups of mozzarella. Add remaining spaghetti.
Add 2 more cups mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is hot and melted. Let sit 5 minutes prior to serving.
Baked Spaghetti with Meatballs
If your family loves the classic spaghetti and meatball combo, you could also make Bobby Flay’s Meatball recipe or my Slow Cooker Meatballs.
Just mix the cooked meatballs into the sauce, combine it with the spaghetti, top with cheese, and bake!
Make Ahead Method
Option 1: Assemble and Refrigerate:
- Cover and refrigerate for up to two days.
- Bake refrigerated casserole at 375° for 30 minutes covered, then for 10 minutes uncovered.
Option 2: Assemble and Freeze:
- Cover with 2 layers of foil and freeze for up to 3 months. These disposable aluminum baking pans are great for the freezer.
- Let frozen casserole thaw in the fridge overnight and bake at 375° for 30 minutes covered, then for 10 minutes uncovered.
- You can also bake from a frozen state and add an additional 1 hour of baking time, covered.
If your 9 x 13 casserole dish is filled to the brim, place it on a baking sheet in the oven to catch any overflow, just in case. Alternatively, you can use an 11 x 15 inch baking dish.
- Baked spaghetti should be refrigerated and is best if used within three days.
- Baked spaghetti makes a great freezer food after it’s been baked. It’s best to wrap portion sizes in foil and place them in a labeled freezer bag.
- To reheat from a frozen state, leave it in the foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or more, depending on the serving size.
Try These Next!
Get My Free Meal Plan
I’ve got a Free Meal Plan with 7 of my super popular recipes (complete with grocery list)! Sign up for my email list and I’ll send it over now along with weekly dinner recipes!
And follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!
- ¾ lb. spaghetti
- 1 pound ground beef, can also use ground sausage or turkey
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
- 32 oz. marinara sauce
- 8 oz. Ricotta cheese, equal to 1 cup.
- 2 Tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Parsley, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions, while waiting for the water to reach a boil, proceed with the below.
- Cook the ground beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned and cooked through. Drain excess grease.
- Add the seasonings, diced onions, and peppers. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and heat for 1 minute.
- Add the marinara, ricotta, Parmesan, and cream cheese. Reduce heat to low and allow it to heat through.
- Add the drained spaghetti, use kitchen tongs to gently toss until well-combined. Note: It will be very saucy but the pasta is going to continue to absorb it as it bakes.
- Add half of the spaghetti to a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish and top with half (2 cups), of the mozzarella.
- Top with remaining spaghetti, then with the rest of the mozzarella.
- If serving immediately, bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is hot and melted. Let sit for 5 minutes prior to serving. Serve with a side of Garlic Bread with Cheese.
- See notes for instructions on baking and serving on another date.
Make Ahead Method
Option 1: Assemble and Refrigerate:• Cover and refrigerate for up to two days.
• Bake refrigerated casserole at 375° for 30 minutes covered, then for 10 minutes uncovered.
Option 2: Assemble and Freeze:• Cover with 2 layers of foil and freeze for up to 3 months. These disposable aluminum baking pans are great for the freezer.
• Let frozen casserole thaw in the fridge overnight and bake at 375° for 30 minutes covered, then for 10 minutes uncovered.
• You can also bake from a frozen state and add an additional 1 hour of baking time, covered.
Pro Tip: If your 9 x 13 casserole dish is filled to the brim, place it on a baking sheet in the oven to catch any overflow. (This isn't likely but just in case.) Alternatively, you can use an 11 x 15 inch baking dish.
Baked Spaghetti with MeatballsIf your family loves the classic spaghetti and meatball combo, you should make my meatball recipe instead of using ground beef. Just mix the cooked meatballs into the sauce, combine it with the spaghetti, top with cheese, and bake!
Ricotta Cheese: The recipe calls for 8 oz. (1 cup) of ricotta. You can use up to 16 oz. if you prefer, you may just need a larger (11 x 15 inch) casserole dish. If necessary, you can substitute cottage cheese.
Note: This recipe was originally posted in 2019 and was since republished. If preferred, you can access the previous version here. (Although I recommend you try the updated version!)
This dish turned out GREAT! So glad I made 2!!
I’m so happy you liked it! Making 2 is such a great call, I love making extra for the freezer. Thanks so much for the great comments and review!❤️
I’ve been looking for meals to freeze for my son-in-law & daughter b/c they will be having a baby soon. How many does this recipe serve? I don’t want them to tire of eating the same thing over and over, so I am thinking of splitting this into 2 smaller pans so they can cook one, then a few weeks later do the other, but wanted to check the number of servings for this recipe first? Thank you!!!
Hiii! That is so nice of you to prepare some meals for them, there’s nothing better than that when you’re busy with a new baby! This recipe makes 6 servings, (top middle of the recipe card), and here are some other freezer meal ideas if you or they ever need it! Congratulations on the grandbaby on the way! https://thecozycook.com/freezer-food/
I made this spaghetti, and it was DELICIOUS! Big hit with the family.
I’m so happy that you loved it Lorie! This is always a big hit in my house too!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie