Baked Spaghetti Casserole


Baked Spaghetti Casserole is a comforting, hearty dish that combines the best elements of spaghetti and lasagna. This crowd-pleasing recipe features layers of seasoned meat sauce, creamy ricotta cheese, and tender spaghetti, all topped with melted mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Perfect for family dinners or potlucks, this casserole is sure to become a favorite in your meal rotation.

Overview of the Recipe

This Baked Spaghetti Casserole starts with a flavorful meat sauce made from ground beef, Italian sausage, and a medley of seasonings. Cooked spaghetti is then mixed with ricotta cheese and part of the mozzarella cheese. The dish is assembled in layers: meat sauce, spaghetti mixture, and topped with more meat sauce and cheeses. Baked until bubbly and golden, this casserole is both satisfying and delicious.

History and Origin

The origins of baked pasta dishes can be traced back to Italy, where lasagna has been a staple for centuries. This Baked Spaghetti Casserole is an American twist on traditional Italian baked pasta, combining the simplicity of spaghetti with the layered, baked goodness of lasagna. It has become a beloved dish in many households for its ease of preparation and comforting flavors.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked spaghetti
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Preheat the Oven

  1. Preheat Oven: Set your oven to 350°F (175°C) to warm up while you prepare the ingredients.

Step 2: Prepare the Meat Sauce

  1. Cook the Meat: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook 1 pound of ground beef, 1 pound of Italian sausage, and 1 chopped onion until browned. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Add Garlic: Add 2 minced garlic cloves to the skillet and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  3. Add Sauce Ingredients: Stir in 2 cups of marinara sauce, 1 can of diced tomatoes, and 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Step 3: Prepare the Spaghetti Mixture

  1. Mix Spaghetti and Cheese: In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of cooked spaghetti, 1 cup of ricotta cheese, and half (1 cup) of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Mix until well combined.

Step 4: Assemble the Casserole

  1. Layer the Dish: Spread half of the meat sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Layer with the spaghetti mixture, then top with the remaining meat sauce.
  2. Add Cheese: Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the casserole.

Step 5: Bake the Casserole

  1. Cover and Bake: Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  2. Uncover and Finish Baking: Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Cool Slightly and Serve: Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes before serving. This helps the layers set and makes it easier to cut and serve.


This Baked Spaghetti Casserole serves six and is best enjoyed hot. Serve it with a side of garlic bread and a fresh green salad for a complete meal.

Pairing and Serving Suggestions

  • Salad: Pair with a Caesar salad or a mixed green salad with a tangy vinaigrette.
  • Bread: Garlic bread or warm dinner rolls complement the casserole perfectly.
  • Vegetables: Steamed broccoli or green beans add a nutritious balance to the meal.

Variations of the Recipe

  • Vegetarian Version: Replace the ground beef and Italian sausage with a mixture of sautéed mushrooms, bell peppers, and spinach.
  • Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free spaghetti and ensure all other ingredients are gluten-free.
  • Different Cheeses: Experiment with different cheeses like provolone or fontina for a unique flavor twist.

Health Benefits

  • Protein-Rich: The ground beef and Italian sausage provide a good amount of protein.
  • Calcium: The ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses contribute to your daily calcium intake.
  • Vitamins: The tomato-based sauce is rich in vitamins A and C.


  • Spaghetti Cooking: Make sure the spaghetti is cooked al dente, as it will continue to cook slightly in the oven.
  • Cheese: For a richer flavor, you can use freshly grated Parmesan cheese instead of pre-grated.


Can I use another type of pasta?

Yes, you can use other pasta shapes like penne, ziti, or rigatoni. Just ensure the pasta is cooked al dente.

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake. Add a few extra minutes to the baking time if it’s coming straight from the refrigerator.

What if I don’t have ricotta cheese?

You can substitute cottage cheese or a mixture of cream cheese and sour cream for a similar texture.

Can I freeze leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.


Baked Spaghetti Casserole is a versatile and comforting dish that brings together the flavors of a classic spaghetti dinner in a convenient, layered casserole. With its hearty meat sauce, creamy cheese, and tender pasta, this dish is sure to please the whole family. Easy to make and even easier to enjoy, it’s perfect for busy weeknights or special occasions. Try this recipe today and enjoy a taste of comfort and tradition in every bite.

Leave a Comment