It's creamy, it's cheesy, and it's super easy to whip up this deliciously hearty baked spaghetti for supper any day of the week using ingredients that you might already have in your fridge or pantry!
This variation of traditional spaghetti is the ultimate comfort food and an outrageously cheesy recipe for a baked spaghetti that literally oozes with creamy goodness when you slice into it. This recipe is heavy on the cheese, so dig into the comforting delights of this baked spaghetti casserole!
Baked Spaghetti Recipe: An Easy Cheesy Favorite
1 lb of spaghetti noodles
1 lb of ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cups of marinara sauce*
2 large eggs
5 tsp of melted butter
2 cups of cottage cheese
4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Grease your 9x13 casserole dish with vegetable oil or butter.
In a large saucepan, boil the spaghetti pasta 2 min shy of what is instructed on the box.
While the pasta is cooking, brown the beef in a skillet on the stove.
Just before the beef is fully cooked, add in the chopped onion, and cook until soft and semi-transparent.
Once the onions and beef are thoroughly cooked, stir in the marinara sauce, and remove from the heat.
Mix the cooked pasta with the melted butter, salt, and eggs.
Begin layering the casserole dish with half of the spaghetti noodles, half the cottage cheese, half the mozzarella, and half of your meat sauce.
Then, repeat with the other half of the noodles, cottage cheese, mozzarella, and meat sauce.
Cover the pan with a lid or foil and bake for 30 min.
After 30 min, remove the lid or foil and allow the dish to bake for 15 min uncovered.
When it's nice and crispy on top, remove the baked spaghetti from the oven.
Serve it piping hot to your hungry family!
*Homemade or store-bought marinara sauce will work fine.
Baked spaghetti recipe FAQ
Our easy baked spaghetti recipe really is as easy as that. Spaghetti, ground beef, onions, sauce, and plenty of cheese. That's all it takes for a hearty, comforting, baked casserole dish!
But, just in case you have a few more questions, we asked our chefs to put together this quick FAQs list, to answer the most common questions we hear about our baked spaghetti recipe. Keep reading to find out more!
How long do you need to cook the spaghetti noodles?
For this recipe, your spaghetti noodles need to be 'al dente' when you mix them in with the rest of the casserole ingredients. They'll continue to cook in the oven, of course, and you don't want them to be too mushy when you take the casserole out!
Different noodles require different cook times, so we recommend following the instructions on the package, and simply cooking them for 2 minutes less than what is instructed. Often times the pasta box will even include instructions for cooking their pasta 'al dente.' This keeps the noodles from getting too soft before baking them in the oven.
If you're using homemade noodles, or fresh pasta (pasta that hasn't been dried out), then the cooking time is a lot less, so be careful not to overdo it. In fact, if you have fresh pasta, you can usually get away with boiling it for one or two minutes, then placing it straight into the casserole.
Can I make my own homemade pasta?
It doesn't make the baked spaghetti recipe easy, but you can certainly make it more authentic with homemade spaghetti noodles. It's a bit of work getting the dough mixture and consistency right, but adding your own homemade pasta to this recipe is completely worth it.
You only need three main ingredients to make pasta; that's flour, eggs, and oil. You knead the dough, flatten it out, and then pass it through your pasta maker a few times for consistent thickness, before cutting it into spaghetti sized pieces!
Why are we baking the spaghetti?
You're probably wondering why we've decided to put this baked spaghetti recipe together! After all, isn't this just a mix of spaghetti and lasagna?
You're not wrong! Yes, this is essentially a spaghetti that's cooked like a lasagna. The bonus, though, is that this is much, much easier to prepare than a carefully layered lasagna that needs a tricky white sauce.
It's a lot creamier and cheesier than your regular spaghetti dish, and we love the fact that when you pull this casserole out of the oven, it's oozing with delight. The baking element allows the middle to be creamy, while the top of the spaghetti gets a deliciously crispy finish. And that's not a result you can get in the skillet or anywhere else.
Baking this in the oven also gives you the option to rest on the couch while it is cooking instead of having to stand over the stove the entire time.
What can I serve with baked spaghetti?
Baked spaghetti works really well on its own. There's so much going on anyway, that the layers of pasta, ground beef, and cheese are enough to fill even the hungriest family at dinnertime.
If you need a little extra to serve with the casserole, though, then a classic garlic bread pairs nicely with spaghetti. You can find this in the store, ready-made, or you could cook up your own garlic bread with a garlic butter sauce and a baguette. For extra decadence, you could even bake the garlic bread in the oven with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
Of course, if you want to even out the layers of melted cheese with something a little bit more nutritious, then you can quickly throw together a nice, fresh, leafy green salad. Add in cucumber, tomatoes, and chopped carrots for a little extra freshness, and drizzle over olive oil for an added Italian touch.
Do I have to use ground beef?
Our easy baked spaghetti recipe is perfect for using up ingredients that you have in the fridge, freezer, or pantry, so if you don't have any ground beef on hand, then don't be afraid to use other meats.
A particular favorite of ours is ground Italian sausage or a spicy Mexican sausage such as chorizo. You'll add a delicious, herby or spicy kick to the dish while keeping the general taste and texture of the casserole.
You can also use other ground meats, such as turkey mince, or pork mince, which will add a new dynamic, all of which do work well in the recipe for baked spaghetti with cheese.
Can I make a vegetarian baked spaghetti?
Yes! Vegetarians can take out the ground beef entirely from the recipe, and instead, add a meat substitute to the casserole.
Popular veggie alternatives to ground beef include Quorn mince, jackfruit, or tofu. You can even just add in more vegetables. Mushrooms, bell peppers, and zucchini all taste delicious when they are cooked together in a baked spaghetti casserole.
If you are using more vegetables in the recipe, just make sure you soften them up first in a skillet before they go into the casserole - just the same way as you would brown the ground beef and sautee the onions.
Can I make a vegan baked spaghetti?
Our simple baked spaghetti recipe is all about the cheese, but if you enjoy dairy-free cheese alternatives, then you can try and turn this into a meal that's suitable for vegans.
You'll also want to check if your pasta is vegan friendly, as most dried pasta is made with eggs.
Can I store baked spaghetti in the fridge?
You can store your leftovers (if you have any, that is) in the fridge for up to 48 hours. After this, it might start to turn. We recommend covering your casserole dish or placing the leftovers in a resealable container before placing them in the fridge.
When you're hungry for leftover spaghetti casserole, take the dish out of the fridge and reheat it slowly in a saucepan or skillet over low heat on the stovetop. ). Make sure to cover the casserole if you're reheating it in the oven. Add a fresh layer of cheese for extra flavor!
A microwave is always a reheating option too, but be careful not to overcook the leftovers. Turn the power down to about 50% to keep from overheating the edges before the middle is warm.
Can I freeze leftover baked spaghetti?
Leftover baked spaghetti is great for freezing too, but don't keep it in the freezer for longer than 6 months. Once the leftovers have cooled down, place them into a resealable container or ziplock bag, then into the freezer.
Thaw the leftovers on the side before you reheat them, or defrost them on low power in the microwave first. Once they have defrosted thoroughly, reheat the spaghetti casserole on the stovetop, in the oven, or the microwave.
Cheesy baked spaghetti takeaways
Our cheesy, creamy baked spaghetti is a hearty, filling dish that will leave the whole family craving for more comforting baked goodness. And the great thing about this recipe is it is easy to whip up in the evenings, and totally satisfying! Why not bookmark our recipe for your next mealtime any day of the week?
Crave for more delicious comfort food recipes? Check our our recipes for taco spaghetti, spaghetti casserole, or all time favorite - traditional lasagna recipe!
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