See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Baked Spaghetti is your favorite spaghetti dinner, taken to the next level! Topped with cheese and baked until hot and bubbly, this comforting pasta recipe is a crowd-pleaser.
This baked spaghetti is a hearty, comforting dinner idea that’s easy to put together. In other words, it’s exactly the kind of recipe that we need in our dinner rotation.
We’ve been on a casserole kick lately, and this recipe is one of our favorites thanks to its simplicity. With ground beef, pasta, marinara sauce and cheese, there’s so much to love about this spaghetti casserole.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Easy Dinner: It takes about 20 minutes to prepare the baked spaghetti for the oven and then it’s hands-off from there.
- Make Ahead Friendly: You can bake the casserole right away or refrigerate it to bake later.
- Comfort Food: Pasta, garlic, ground beef, two kinds of cheese… this meal is hearty and delicious!
Baked Spaghetti Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this baked spaghetti recipe.
- Spaghetti: Of course! You can use either white or whole wheat spaghetti in this recipe.
- Olive Oil: For sautéing the onion.
- Onion & Garlic: For flavor.
- Ground Beef: Adds protein and flavor.
- Marinara Sauce: I usually use store-bought marinara to save time on busy weeknights, or try this homemade marinara sauce.
- Seasonings: We’re keeping it simple and flavorful with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Parmesan Cheese: Brings a pop of salty, cheesy flavor.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Mozzarella is the perfect type of cheese for using in pasta casseroles like Lasagna and this spaghetti bake because it melts and browns nicely in the oven.
- Plus some chopped fresh basil or parsley for serving, if desired.
How to Make Baked Spaghetti
Making this spaghetti is as simple as three easy steps: boil the spaghetti, make the meat sauce, then top with cheese and bake! Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water. Then drain the pasta.
- Sauté the onion in olive oil.
- Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until browned. Drain off any excess grease.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Then stir in the marinara sauce and seasonings.
- Simmer the sauce for 5-10 minutes to build flavor.
- Stir in half of the grated Parmesan and the cooked spaghetti.
- Transfer to a baking dish.
- Top with the shredded mozzarella and remaining Parmesan.
- Then bake!
- Switch up the meat: Substitute ground turkey, ground chicken or Italian sausage for the beef.
- Add veggies: You can sauté finely chopped vegetables such as carrot, bell pepper or zucchini along with the onion. Or stir in chopped fresh spinach when adding the marinara sauce to the skillet.
- Make it vegetarian: Leave out the ground beef and follow the directions above for adding vegetables instead.
- Want to use short pasta shapes? You sure can! Try elbow macaroni, rotini or penne. Or make this Hamburger Casserole recipe.
- Looking for a lower carb alternative to pasta? You’ll love this Spaghetti Squash Casserole!
Make Ahead, Storage & Reheating Instructions
- Make Ahead: Prep the casserole, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking. You can also freeze the casserole before baking for up to 3 months. Thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator before baking. When baking a casserole that’s cold from the fridge, you’ll need to add about 20 minutes to the bake time.
- Refrigerator: Store leftover baked spaghetti in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: Let cool completely and then freeze individual servings in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To Reheat: Reheat in the microwave or cover and heat in a 350° F oven until hot.
What to Serve with Baked Spaghetti
Round out the meal with a big Italian Salad and slices of crusty bread or Garlic Bread. Want to go the extra mile? Bake a batch of chewy, garlicky Garlic Knots.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
If your family loves spaghetti as much as mine, be sure to try my Instant Pot Spaghetti next! You might also enjoy these pasta recipes:
- 16 ounces spaghetti pasta, white or whole wheat
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ¾ cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 pound ground beef, or ground turkey or sausage
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 48 ounces marinara sauce, 2 jars, 24 ounces each, or homemade
- 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 cup
- chopped fresh parsley or basil, optional, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Break the spaghetti noodles in half and add them to the boiling water. Cook according to the package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
- Add the ground beef to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, crumbling the meat, until browned. Drain off excess grease.
- Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Then stir in the marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Reduce the heat and cook the sauce at a low simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in ¼ cup of the grated Parmesan. Then stir in the cooked spaghetti, mixing it well with the sauce.
- Transfer the spaghetti and sauce mixture to a 13×9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top, followed by the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan.
- Cover the dish with foil (spray the underside lightly with cooking spray to keep the cheese from sticking to the foil).
- Bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until the casserole is hot and the cheese is golden brown. Serve, garnished with chopped fresh parsley or basil, if desired.
- To add vegetables, sauté finely chopped vegetables such as carrot, bell pepper or zucchini along with the onion. Or stir in chopped fresh spinach when adding the marinara sauce to the skillet.
- Store leftover baked spaghetti in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or in a 350° F oven, covered, until hot. If frozen thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Turned out great and so easy. Made lots to freeze for later. What I think is special about this recipe is how adaptable it is. You don’t need to use spaghetti, you don’t need to use ground beef (or any meat) you don’t have to add the extra veg but you can if you have them.
I used ground turkey and added the extra veggies (spinach and carrots and pepper) and I made Kristine’s homemade marinara. I made a couple of mistakes and even still it turned out great so I loved how forgiving it was. It’s a good way to enjoy a spaghetti dinner! I will make it again for sure. I liked how I could make it earlier in the day and then pop it into the oven later on.