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Ultimate Baked Spaghetti Casserole is as scrumptious as the name implies! With layers of spaghetti, a flavorful meat sauce, and creamy alfredo sauce, all baked to hot, bubbly perfection.

Also known as Million Dollar Spaghetti, this casserole is hearty and filling and is guaranteed to feed your hungry family or even a crowd! This dish puts the ultimate in comfort food!

A pan of ultimate baked spaghetti set on a table with breadsticks and a green and white tea towel.

This Ultimate Baked Spaghetti is certainly a hit in my house. Its meat sauce meets Alfredo sauce and gooey cheese on top of tender pasta. Perfection is how I see it.

It is packed full of rich Italian flavors that will fill the bellies of your family or perfect for those nights when you have company, too!

This makes a wonderful meal to send or take to a friend or family that needs some love or the comfort of a home-cooked meal. And it’s a great dish to take to a church supper or a potluck dinner.

It’s a great make-ahead meal and freezes well, too! 

This dish is a perfect comfort meal, all baked up in a casserole dish.

Ingredient Notes

A labeled image of ingredients needed to make ultimate baked spaghetti casserole.
  • Spaghetti Pasta: You can use any brand of spaghetti noodles you love.
  • Sea Salt for Pasta Water: When cooking the spaghetti, use enough (or to taste) sea salt in the boiling water to enhance the pasta’s flavor. It really does make a difference.
  • Mozzarella Cheese, Freshly Shredded: I recommend using freshly shredded mozzarella cheese for better melting and flavor. But if you want convenience, I love Sargento Brand Whole Milk Mozzarella. It melts nicely.
  • Fresh Parsley or Oregano to Garnish: Use either fresh parsley or oregano to garnish the baked spaghetti for added freshness and aroma.
  • For Alfredo Sauce:
    Butter: I use salted butter when making this dish, but if you prefer, you can use unsalted butter to control the sodium or saltiness of the dish. As the parmesan cheese is on the salty side.
  • Parmesan Cheese, Grated: Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the best flavor. I have used powdered Parmesan from time to time, and it will work as well.
  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is an essential ingredient in Alfredo sauce, providing richness and creaminess.
  • Italian Seasoning: You can use store-bought Italian seasoning or create your own blend using dried herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, etc.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves (minced) are recommended for better flavor, but you can use jarred minced garlic or even garlic powder.
  • Egg: The egg is likely used to bind the ingredients in the dish and give richness to the alfredo sauce. Make sure to beat the egg before incorporating it into the recipe.
  • For Meat Sauce:
    Lean Ground Beef: Cook and brown lean ground beef seasoned with garlic salt or regular salt (to taste). Drain on paper towels after cooking.
    Marinara Sauce: Use two jars of marinara sauce. I like to use one spicy and one wine-based to add depth of flavor to the dish. Add a little black pepper to your sauce if you don’t pick one with a little spice to it.
  • Pizza Sauce: The pizza sauce may be used to add extra flavor to the dish. Trust me on this!

Variations and Substitutions

  • Meat Substitutes: Besides ground beef, you can use ground turkey, ground chicken, or pork- like ground Italian sausage in the meat sauce.
  • Spicier Version: If you enjoy spicier dishes, add crushed red pepper flakes or black pepper to the sauce.
  • Vegetarian Option: Omit the ground beef in the meat sauce and replace it with plant-based alternatives like crumbled tofu, tempeh, or meatless ground “beef” products. You can also add more vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, or spinach to enhance the flavors.
  • Additional Cheeses: You can change up the cheese blend by adding in any of your favorites like provolone, gouda, cheddar cheese, or even a shredded Italian blend cheese. You can even stir in ricotta cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, or cottage cheese if desired. This can go into the alfredo or meat sauce or in a layer between.
  • Combining Sauces: While I love this as is, for a twist, you can mix the marinara sauce and Alfredo sauce together before layering it with the pasta. This creates a unique blend of flavors.

How To Make Ultimate Baked Spaghetti Casserole

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

Step 1 | Make Spaghetti Sauce

For the meat sauce, grab a large skillet and season your ground beef with some garlic salt (salt), as much as you like. Cook it up until it’s nice and done, should take about 5 to 7 minutes.

Cooking ground beef in a skillet.

Now, toss in the marinara and pizza sauce, and let it all simmer while we whip up the Alfredo sauce.

Pasta and Pizza sauces added to cooked ground beef and stirred together.

Step 2 | Alfredo Sauce

Time to tackle that creamy Alfredo goodness! In another skillet over medium heat, melt some butter.

Melting a stick of butter in a skillet.

Once it’s all melted and gooey, add in the grated parmesan cheese and give it a good whisk until it’s smooth.

Adding parmesan cheese to melted butter and melting.

Now, slowly pour in the heavy cream and keep whisking until everything’s combined.

Sprinkle in some Italian seasoning and garlic, and whisk it all together.

Adding heavy cream and seasonings to melted butter and parmesan cheese.

Don’t forget to beat that egg in a bowl or measuring cup, then add a little bit of the sauce to it to temper it.

A beaten egg tempered with warm heavy cream mixture.

Slowly pour the egg-sauce mixture back into the skillet while whisking like a champ. This will thicken up the Alfredo sauce.

Turn down the heat to low and let it simmer while we get the casserole ready.

Tempered egg added and mixed into the alfredo sauce.

Step 3 | Cook & Drain Pasta

Time to cook the pasta (you could also do this while you are preparing the already sauce)!

Add salt (to taste) to a large pot of boiling water and toss in the spaghetti.

Cook spaghetti according to the package directions until it’s “al dente,” which should take about 8 to 9 minutes. Once it’s cooked to perfection, then drain the spaghetti.

Pasta going into pot to boil.

Step 4 | Assemble Million Dollar Baked Spaghetti

Now, let’s start layering the baked spaghetti magic. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Take a 9×13 casserole dish and start with about a third of the meat sauce at the bottom.

Next, add half of the cooked pasta.

Sauce added to bottom of casserole dish then first layer of spaghetti noodles added on top.

Pour that luscious alfredo sauce on top of the pasta.

Follow it up with the rest of the pasta.

Alfredo sauce added to first layer of noodles and then second layer noodles added on top.

Now, pour the remaining meat sauce over it all. Ready to bake!

Top layer of pasta sauce layered on to casserole.

Step 4 | Bake the Spaghetti Casserole

Pop that casserole dish into the oven and let it cook for 20 minutes.

After that, take it out and sprinkle a generous amount of freshly shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

Adding shredded mozzarella cheese to top layer of casserole.

Put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so until the cheese is all melty and has a beautiful golden hue.

If you like, you can even broil it for a minute or two for that extra crispy touch.

Baked spaghetti fresh out of the oven with melted gooey cheese on top.

Let the pasta set for about 10 minutes (this is the hardest part -waiting).

Then enjoy this easy-baked spaghetti!

Tips

  • Egg Tempering: Adding a little sauce to the egg first and then slowly incorporating it back into the sauce helps avoid curdling. When adding the beaten egg to the Alfredo sauce, make sure to whisk continuously to prevent the egg from curdling. Also, be sure your heat isn’t up too high when incorporating in the egg.
  • Sauce Consistency: If your Alfredo sauce becomes too thick, you can adjust the consistency by adding a little more cream until it reaches your desired thickness.
  • Seasoning: Taste and adjust the seasoning in the meat sauce and alfredo sauce according to your preference. Add more garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, or any other herbs and spices you enjoy.
  • Resting Time: Let the baked spaghetti rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together, and it will be easier to cut into neat portions.
Removing a scoop of layered baked spaghetti with a spatula.
Can I use different types of pasta?

While the recipe calls for spaghetti, you can certainly use other pasta shapes if you prefer. Penne, rigatoni, angel hair, linguini, or fettuccine would work well. Just adjust the pasta cooking time based on the package instructions to ensure the noodles are cooked “al dente.”

Can I use store-bought Alfredo sauce?

Yes, you can use store-bought Alfredo sauce if you prefer a quicker option. However, homemade Alfredo sauce often has a richer flavor, so making it from scratch is worth the effort. The homemade version is really quick- it only takes about 5 minutes to come together.

Can I make the dish gluten-free?

Yes, you can use gluten-free spaghetti or other gluten-free pasta options to make the dish gluten-free. Just check any ingredients to be sure they are all gluten-free as well.

Make-Ahead and Storage

Making Ahead. Make this easy-baked spaghetti recipe a day or two ahead without baking it. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator while the oven preheats and allow for the casserole to come mostly to room temperature. Then bake in preheated oven.

Freeze: Assemble the casserole, but do not bake it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and press down, then cover with foil. Store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, let the casserole thaw in the fridge overnight, then cook in a preheated oven.

Leftover Storage: Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Reheat: To reheat individual servings, place desired amount on a microwave-safe dish and reheat. Start with 1 minute and stir. Then add 30-second intervals until heated to your liking.

You can also cover it with foil and reheat it in the oven at 350°F until warmed through.

What to Serve

This dish has all the classic spaghetti flavors, so it will go nicely with any classic Italian dish sides. Like a Ceasar Salad, 1905 Salad, a Caprese Burrata Salad, or classic garlic green beans

It’s hearty and filling enough to eat all on its own. I love to dunk a nice garlic bread or dinner roll in this rich spaghetti sauce.

A fork filled with a bite of baked spaghetti.

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Removing a scoop of layered baked spaghetti with a spatula
Recipe
5 from 8 votes

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Ultimate Baked Spaghetti Casserole

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Nikki Lee
Ultimate Baked Spaghetti Casserole is as scrumptious as the name implies! With layers of spaghetti, a flavorful meat sauce, and creamy alfredo sauce, all baked to hot, bubbly perfection
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Ingredients 

  • 1 pound Spaghetti Pasta
  • sea salt for pasta water
  • 12 ounces Mozarella Cheese, freshly grated or shredded
  • Fresh Parsley or Oregano to garnish

Meat Sauce

  • 1 pounds lean ground beef
  • garlic salt or salt to taste
  • 2 jars Marinara Sauce, 24 ounce jars, I use one spicy and one wine based
  • 1 jar Pizza Sauce

Alfredo Sauce

  • 1 stick butter, (½ cup)
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup Parmesan xheese, grated
  • ½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced, or ½ teaspoon granulated garlic (or to taste)
  • 1 egg

Instructions

Meat Sauce

  • In a skillet, season lean ground beef with garlic salt, to taste and cook until done (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add marinara and pizza sauce. Let simmer while making alfredo sauce.

Alfredo Sauce

  • In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add in parmesan cheese and whisk together until mcombined and melted. Slowly add in cream until combined. Next, add Italian seasoning and garlic and whisk until combined. 
  • In a bowl or measuring cup, beat the egg. Add a little of the Alfredo sauce to the egg to temper. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the skillet and whisk until combined. This will thicken the alfredo sauce. Turn the burner down to low to simmer while cooking the pasta.

Pasta

  • Add salt (to taste) to a large pot of boiling water and cook pasta according to package instructions to "al dente". It takes about 8 to 9 minutes. Drain pasta.

Baked Spaghetti Layers

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In 9 X 13 or Casserole Dish. Layer the bottom of the dish with about ⅓ of the meat sauce on the bottom. Add ½ of the pasta on top of the meat sauce. Then pour all of the Alfredo sauce on top of the pasta. Next, layer on the remaining pasta. Finally, pour on the remaining meat sauce. Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F.
  • Remove from the oven and top with shredded mozzarella cheese, and bake for 15 more minutes or until melted and golden. I like to broil mine for a minute or 2 to get the top a nice golden brown color.
  • Let the spaghetti casserole set for 10 minutes and then garnish with fresh basil or oregano and serve.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 11 serving Calories: 512kcal (26%) Carbohydrates: 20g (7%) Protein: 26g (52%) Fat: 35g (54%) Saturated Fat: 20g (125%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 140mg (47%) Sodium: 689mg (30%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 3g (3%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

©️Soulfully Made

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24 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Enjoyed this for dinner last night and it was a savory success! Easy, hearty and delicious; instantly a new favorite recipe!

  2. This ultimate baked spaghetti casserole is delicious! I love the combination of spaghetti, meat sauce, and alfredo sauce. It’s the perfect comfort food for a cold day.

  3. This looks really yummy. It looks like it would freeze well. Have you ever tried that? Also, I make my own pizza sauce. How much would you suggest I use?

    1. Thank you so much! Yes it does freeze well! When I freeze I usually heat up some meat sauce I have in my freezer as well because my family likes a lot of sauce. They like it swimming lol! When I buy a jar of pizza sauce they range from 14 to 16 ounces. Please let me know how it goes!! I am so glad you came by!

  4. This Baked Spaghetti looks so good! I have been looking for a recipe to make Baked Spaghetti. This one is a must try! Pinned also!

  5. 5 stars
    We have switched from using ground beef to using ground turkey. I fry it up just like beef, drain it well, and use it in any recipe……we really like the texture and it is much less greasy. Give it a try, you might like it! Costco has great ground turkey at a good price too! Thank you!

    1. I used heavy cream, but you could use half and half as well! I appolgize that this answer is so late. It was diverted to my spam folder and I missed it. Thank you so much for coming by I added the note for half and half. I just always splurge and use the full cream! 🙂

  6. I love baked spaghetti and your version looks divine! I’ve always preferred baked spaghetti rather than the traditional noodles topped with sauce. Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. This looks so delicious. My kids love spaghetti and I often make it for our breakfasts.
    I am looking for some new recipes for this dishes and luckily, I come across your site and see the recipe.
    I will give it a try. I guess my family will love it.