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This million dollar spaghetti recipe has tons of Italian sausage, marinara sauce, and an irresistible cheese filling. It’s then topped with even more cheese and baked to golden perfection!

Need something even simpler? Try my Cheesy Baked Spaghetti.

million dollar spaghetti in a casserole dish hot out of the oven

What is million dollar spaghetti?

It’s your new favorite pasta bake, that’s what! This pasta casserole is so tasty. Rumor has it that when you try a bite, you will feel like a million bucks. All that Italian sausage and cheesy pasta. It’s carb and cheese heaven. It’s all-out comfort food.

Ok, ok… so this million dollar baked spaghetti does take a little more time to prepare, but it’s SO worth it. And it’s straightforward to make, not at all complicated! You’ll also be saving a few bucks with this fairly inexpensive recipe that easily feeds a crowd.

What you’ll need

  • Spaghetti – it’s layered in this casserole to give lasagna vibes
  • Italian sausage – use mild, or hot if you want to bring the heat
  • Onion and garlic – classic aromatics for a flavorful base
  • Red pepper flakes – there’s not enough to make this really spicy! They give a subtle kick.
  • Marinara sauce – use a good-quality jarred variety, or make your own Easy Marinara Sauce if you’re feeling ambitious. You need two 24 oz. jars for this recipe (6 cups).
  • Mozzarella cheese – all that melty goodness on top!
  • Cream cheese – either take it out of the fridge a couple of hours before starting the recipe, or microwave it for 20-30 seconds so that it’s nice and soft. This makes things go much more smoothly.
  • Ricotta cheese – it adds an additional flavorful zip and creaminess to the cheesy inner layer
  • Parmesan cheese – can you really make an Italian-American pasta dish without parm? I don’t think so.
  • Garlic powder – this infuses additional garlic flavor directly into our cheese filling
  • Oregano – I love adding a classic Italian herb to complement the cheeses

How to make million dollar spaghetti

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

mixing cheeses in a glass bowl next to a skillet with crumbled sausage

Preheat the oven to 375F. In a bowl add the cream cheese, ricotta, parmesan, garlic powder, and dried oregano. Stir it together until smooth, and set aside. Meanwhile, brown the sausage with the onions. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and salt & pepper. Drain any excess fat.

a pot of cooked spaghetti and then adding sausage mixture and marinara sauce to it

Boil your pasta. Drain and add back into the same pot. Add in the skillet sausage mixture and marinara sauce.

adding the first sausage, sauce, and cheese layers to a casserole dish for million dollar spaghetti

Add half of the pasta mixture to the baking dish and spread in an even layer. Spread the cream cheese mixture from the bowl to make the delicious inner cheese layer.

adding the final meat and cheese layers to the casserole dish

Add the rest of the pasta mixture to make another layer. Top with the mozzarella, and bake until bubbly, hot, and golden!

Substitutions and variations

  • Swap the sausage for ground beef if you prefer, or use a 50/50 mix.
  • Craving more heat? Up the quantity of red pepper flakes and/or use hot Italian sausage.
  • You can play around with the middle cheese layer if you wish. Try cottage cheese if you don’t have ricotta, for example, add mozzarella to the middle layer, leave one of the cheeses out if you need to, or use a different herb blend. The cheese layer is fairly tangy from the cream cheese and ricotta.
  • Try swapping the mozzarella topping for a mozza/cheddar blend.

Make ahead tips

  • Simply assemble the casserole up to a day ahead, refrigerate, and then bake according to instructions below. You may need to add a few more minutes onto the baking 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. 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 ceramic 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!

Tools for this recipe

  • I use these tongs for all sorts of recipes, including this one, and I grated the parmesan with my Microplane zester/grater.
  • I recommend using a fairly deep 9×13 or similar size casserole/lasagna baking dish for this recipe.
  • It should work to halve all ingredients and make it in a 8×8 baking dish if you want a smaller quantity.

Leftovers and storage

  • Leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge. However, the longer you leave them, the less firm the pasta will get, so I’d try to eat them within a day or two.
  • Reheat in the microwave or in a covered saucepan on low heat.
  • I wouldn’t recommend freezing leftovers.

What to serve with million dollar spaghetti

the best million dollar spaghetti on a plate

Questions about this million dollar spaghetti casserole? Did you make it? Let me know in the comments below! You can also find me on Instagram.

million dollar spaghetti in a casserole dish hot out of the oven
4.87 from 45 votes

Million Dollar Spaghetti

This million dollar spaghetti recipe has tons of Italian sausage, marinara sauce, and an irresistible cheese filling. It's then topped with even more cheese and baked to golden perfection!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 pound Italian sausage see note
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 2 (24 ounce) jars marinara sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Cheese layer:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (1 block Philly) softened
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano


  • Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
  • In a medium bowl, add the cheese layer ingredients and stir them together until you've got a nice, smooth mixture. Set aside.
  • Boil a large, salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it 2 minutes less than package directions suggest. Once it's done, drain it and add it back to the same pot it was cooked in.
  • Meanwhile, add the sausage meat to a skillet, along with the onion. Cook over medium-high heat, breaking the meat up as you go along, for about 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
  • To the skillet, stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about a minute. Spoon out excess fat from the pan.
  • Add the skillet mixture to the pot that has the pasta in it, and then pour in the marinara sauce. Toss until everything is coated (this is easiest to do with tongs or two large spoons).
  • Add half the pasta/sauce mixture to a 9×13 baking dish, then spread it in an even layer.
  • Spread the cheese layer evenly over the pasta/sauce layer. This step can get a little messy. It doesn't have to be done perfectly.
  • Add the remaining pasta/sauce mixture and spread it out evenly, then top the casserole with the mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and broil for a few minutes (watch it carefully) until the cheese is bubbly and browned.
  • Let the casserole sit for 5-10 minutes, then use a spatula to cut it into individual portions. Season with salt & pepper if needed. Note: Especially when it's still hot, you won't get nice, even squares with a perfectly even cheese layer. It'll mix together a bit, but I went for plenty of sauce (especially so leftovers aren't dry).


  • Use either ground sausage meat or buy sausages and take the meat out of the casings.
  • If you need to soften up the cream cheese in a hurry, pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
  • Feel free to change up the cheese layer a bit… you don’t need to stick to the cheeses I suggest. 
  • See process photos within blog post for extra clarity.
  • 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.


Calories: 742kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 42g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 119mg, Sodium: 1799mg, Potassium: 949mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1639IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 393mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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  1. 5 stars
    Delicious!.. This recipe is a keeper. My father in law never had baked spaghetti. He loved this recipe. Thank you for sharing.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this tonight! Doubled the ricotta because my son does not like cream cheese. Used hamburger instead of sausage. I broke the spaghetti in thirds to make it easier for my Dad to eat. Okay, fess up, when you get done tossing the spaghetti together you are tempted to stop there and serve it, just for a second. LOL

    I should have taken a picture of my middle layer. I glopped it on with a small spatula and then just kind of gently shoved it even. I did that over and over till it was covered. It was a work of art. lol

    I don’t know how often I will be making this due to all the work, but I am definitely happy with it. It took me an hour to get to the oven part, but I just recently started cooking again and I will get faster.

  3. 5 stars
    I love this recipe so much, to me it’s like lasagna but much easier much cheaper on the cheese layer I spoon some pesto on it. We like a lot of meat in our pasta so I use hamburger and I Italian sausage and mushrooms. I’m making this again for Christmas dinner it’ll be a hit

    1. Hi! I don’t, but I’d keep it covered with foil until the middle is hot, then uncover to broil the cheese at the end. I’d check it after suggested baking time just to see how hot it is, and then add more time on from there. I’d probably add 20 minutes to start.

  4. 5 stars
    Just fixed the recipe, waiting for it to finish cooking. I will say it is fantastic will be keeping this in my recipe folder, I did make it with cottage cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream and freshly shredded parmesan cheese mixed with shedded Romano cheese, I was out of ricotta cheese.

  5. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! I ended up mixing the cheese mixture in with the noodles while they were hot and it coated the noodles really well . Was MUCH easier than trying to spread the cheese out! This has become my favorite meal train meal! Everyone loves it.

  6. This was delicious. I think next time I will look up a recipe for homemade marinara sauce. I used Ragu and it didn’t have much flavor and also added in some Italian seasoning. The casserole turned out really good and feeds a lot of people. I’m adding this to my recipes list. Thank you!