This baked spaghetti recipe is made with ground beef, marinara sauce, and other simple ingredients. It's comforting and has the tastiest top cheese layer baked to golden perfection!
You may also like my Million Dollar Spaghetti.
How to make baked spaghetti (overview):
You start by cooking the ground beef and onion mixture, and then you add the marinara sauce and warm it through. While you're cooking the beef, boil a pack of spaghetti. Once that's done, drain the spaghetti and add it to a 9x13 baking dish. Toss with the beef sauce mixture, top with the cheeses, and bake. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
This cheesy baked spaghetti is easy enough to make on a weeknight, but it's also one of those recipes that would be great to make on a Sunday so you have leftovers for a few meals. It definitely feeds a crowd (it makes 6-8 portions)!
Recipe notes & tips:
- Use your favorite tomato-based jarred pasta sauce (I used marinara, but you could also try vodka sauce, arrabbiata, etc.). You'll need a couple of jars to get the 4 cups of sauce needed for this recipe.
- Sub the ground beef for ground turkey or Italian sausage if you want to change it up, or do a 50-50 mix.
- I added in some red pepper flakes (crushed red pepper), but feel free to omit it if you don't want a little bit of spice (it's still pretty mild). Or add more if you want it to have some kick.
- If you're someone who likes a lot of herby flavor, increase the oregano and garlic.
- If you want some greens in here, try adding a couple handfuls of fresh spinach into the beef mixture once you add the marinara sauce.
- If you prefer one or the other, use all mozza or all cheddar. I used a bagged shredded mozza/cheddar blend to save time, but grating your own cheeses is never a bad idea. I grated my parmesan with my Microplane.
- Leftovers: Either reheat in a covered container in the microwave or in a covered saucepan with a lid over low heat (add a little more marinara sauce if it goes a bit dry).
- Make ahead tips:
- Assemble it up to a day ahead, refrigerate, then bake as indicated below (you may need to add a few more minutes onto bake time to ensure the middle is nice and hot).
- To freeze: assemble it in the casserole dish and then cover it tightly and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw for 24 hours in the fridge, then bake it as directed. You may want to add a little more sauce if you're planning on freezing it. If you need to bake it from frozen, it'll take a bit longer, so bake it (covered with foil) until the middle is hot, then broil the cheese at the end. Don't put a freezing cold casserole dish straight in the oven, though, as there's a chance it'll crack. I'd let it warm up a bit on the counter first.
- I haven't tested this, but in theory you should be able to halve all ingredients and bake it in an 8x8 dish if you want a smaller quantity.
What to serve with baked spaghetti?
Try some garlic bread/knots or a side salad (Caesar would go great... try my homemade Caesar dressing).
More baked pasta recipes to try:
- Easy Cheesy Baked Ravioli
- Easy Baked Penne with Sausage
- Simple Ground Beef Casserole
- Creamy Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini
- Beef Noodle Casserole
Made this baked spaghetti casserole? Questions? Talk to me in the comments below.
Easy Baked Spaghetti
- 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup shredded cheddar
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook it for 2 minutes less than the package directions indicate. Once it's done, drain it and add it to a 9x13 casserole/baking dish.
- Meanwhile, add the beef, onion, oregano, and red pepper flakes to a skillet. There should be enough fat released by the beef to cook the onion, but if it's particularly lean, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat has browned/cooked through (about 10 minutes). If there's a lot of excess fat, spoon most of it out.
- To the skillet, stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute, then add in the marinara sauce and cook for a few more minutes until it's warmed through. I stir in some salt & pepper as well.
- Pour the beef mixture over top of the spaghetti. Toss until everything is coated. Smooth it out into an even layer.
- Top with the cheeses and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese if you want (watch it carefully). Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then serve by cutting it into squares using a spatula. I garnished it with some chopped parsley, but that's totally optional.
- Serves 6-8 depending on how much people eat.
- For a shortcut, I used 2 cups of a bagged blend of shredded mozzarella and cheddar. Feel free to grate your own cheeses, though! Generally, grating your own cheeses does yield tastier results.
- 4 cups marinara sauce = 32 ounces, so you'll use one 24 oz. jar + a bit of a second jar.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.