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Million Dollar Spaghetti is your new go-to pasta bake! It has creamy layers of pasta, cheese, and meat sauce all baked into a comforting spaghetti casserole for an easy dinner that everyone will love.

This dinner is one of the most popular on my 3 Course Meal Ideas!

million dollar spaghetti casserole in a white dish

Here’s another great pasta recipe to add to your favorite meals, like Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta, Lemon Butter Pasta, and Crispy Chicken Carbonara.

Million Dollar Spaghetti Recipe

This baked spaghetti comes out irresistibly delicious. It’s a simple pasta casserole that brilliantly combines lasagna and spaghetti, and it’s family friendly and budget friendly.

The cream cheese adds a delicious flavor and when mixed with ricotta, brings just the right amount of creaminess. This combined with a meaty sauce and plenty of melted cheese on top makes this Million Dollar Spaghetti a total crowd-pleaser that really does taste like a million bucks!

spooning a serving of spaghetti casserole with cheese pull

How to Make Million Dollar Spaghetti

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

There are three steps of prep for the layers of this casserole. Ground beef, noodles, and cheese. Your sauce is another element, but that is combined with both the meat and noodles separately so it’s added in to both of those steps.

  1. Make the sauce. Start by sauteing onions, garlic, and ground beef in a large skillet or a large pot and once the beef is browned, drain it. I like to season the beef after it’s drained so you don’t lose all that great flavor. Then mix the beef with about 2/3 of the sauce. You can use a store bought jar of marinara, homemade marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce.
  2. Cook the noodles. While the meat is cooking, cook spaghetti in boiling, salted water. I boil it about 3 minutes less than the package directions for al dente. That way it’s easy to mix without having to worry about it getting overcooked as it bakes. Once it’s drained, mix the rest of the sauce with it.
  3. Make the cheese layer. In another bowl, mix together cream cheese and Ricotta cheese. Make sure the cream cheese is softened to room temperature so that it mixes evenly.
ingredients for spaghetti casserole
cooked ground beef mixed with spaghetti sauce
spaghetti in a saucepan with sauce
cheese and seasoning mixture for spaghetti casserole
cheese mixture for layer of million dollar spaghetti

Assembly

Now it’s time to assemble your Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole! There are five layers to this recipe.

  1. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and spread half of the spaghetti noodles in an even layer.
  2. Spread the cheese mixture over the spaghetti.
  3. Top with an even layer of the remaining spaghetti.
  4. Top with the meat and sauce mixture.
  5. Then a ton of mozzarella cheese. I wrote this recipe so that the mozzarella cheese makes a nice, golden crust on top. If you’d prefer it to be more soft and stretchy you can always bake the spaghetti and then top it with mozzarella cheese 10 minutes before the cooking time is up.
  6. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes and serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley or basil. Feel free to add some Parmesan cheese too if you like.
collage of images showing layers of spaghetti casserole

Variations

Meat: I used ground beef, but you can use ground Italian sausage, ground chicken, pork, or turkey. A combination of ground beef and ground pork, or ground beef and sausage would be great, too.

Cheese: Add some grated Parmesan to the top, or mix into the ricotta. In place of Ricotta, you could use cottage cheese. Cheddar cheese would be a great addition, mixed with the Mozzarella.

Pasta: Of course, spaghetti is the classic choice here, but a ziti, penne, or rigatoni would also work.

How to Serve

This spaghetti casserole will feed a lot of people, and you don’t need much else. I usually make some Homemade Garlic Breadsticks or Garlic Bread and Caesar Salad so we have all the basics for a great Italian dinner.

million dollar spaghetti casserole in a bowl with a fork

Make Ahead, Storage and Freezing Tips

Make Ahead: You can build the casserole up to 24 hours in advance. Let it cool then cover with foil or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Take it out of the fridge and set it on the counter while the oven preheats.

Storage: Leftovers will be good for up to 3 days. Store, tightly covered, in the fridge and reheat portions in the microwave or the entire pan in the oven.

Freezer: Freezing this dish after it’s been baked is not recommended, however, this is a great make ahead recipe! Use a disposable foil pan and freeze the unbaked spaghetti casserole, tightly covered for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then bake as directed.

  • Let the casserole sit and cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. This gives the cheese and sauce time to set, plus it will be really hot if you eat it right away.
  • Make a double batch and freeze one to have on hand for later.
  • Sour cream can replace the cream cheese in a pinch, but I highly recommend the cream cheese.
A close of image of the inside of this million dollar spaghetti recipe in the pan.

More Delicious Pasta Recipes

Recipe

Million Dollar Spaghetti

4.81 from 131 votes
Million Dollar Spaghetti is your new go-to pasta bake! Creamy layers of pasta, cheese and meat sauce all baked into a comforting casserole.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onions
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning divided
  • 3 cups Marinara sauce divided
  • 1 pound Spaghetti noodles
  • Kosher salt to taste (for the pasta water)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese
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Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" x 13" pan and set aside.
  • Add olive oil to a large pan or skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 more minute until fragrant. Add ground beef and saute, breaking up as you go,1 until browned.
  • Drain beef and return to pan. Season with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning and mix well with 2 cups marinara sauce and set aside.
  • While the beef cooks, boil spaghetti in well salted water for 3 minutes less than the al dente time listed on the package.
  • Drain and return to the pot and mix well to combine with 1 cup marinara sauce. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, ricotta cheese, garlic powder and remaining teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Mix well.
  • Assemble the casserole: Place half the spaghetti in an even layer in the 9" x 13" pan. Evenly spread the cheese mixture over the top of the spaghetti. Place the remaining spaghetti in a single layer over the top of the cheese. Spread the beef and sauce mixture evenly over the top of the spaghetti. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. If you want it browner, broil for 2-3 minutes, but keep a close eye on it so the cheese doesn't burn. Serve immediately.

Notes

Make Ahead: You can build the casserole up to 24 hours in advance. Let it cool then cover with foil or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Take it out of the fridge and set it on the counter while the oven preheats.
Storage: Leftovers will be good for up to 3 days. Store, tightly covered, in the fridge and reheat portions in the microwave or the entire pan in the oven.
Freezer: Freezing this dish after it’s been baked is not recommended, however, this a a great make ahead recipe! Use a disposable foil pan and freeze unbaked spaghetti casserole, tightly covered for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then bake as directed.
Keyword million dollar spaghetti

Nutrition

Calories: 380kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 22gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 512mgPotassium: 478mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 742IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 183mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Jessy

Jessy is a busy mom and wife. She blogs over at The Life Jolie, a place to talk about all things delicious, family-related and pretty.

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Comments

  1. TrishaKay Summers says:

    Very easy to follow and great for a family of 2. It lasted us a couple days!!

    1. Kristin says:

      Awesome feedback TrishaKay! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Julia patton says:

    Looks delicious

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you Julia! Give it a try and let us know here in the comments. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Emily Smith says:

    Awesome easy to follow recipes

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you Emily!

  4. Emily Smith says:

    Awesome

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you Emily!

  5. Emily Smith says:

    Delicious recipes

  6. Heather Grundy says:

    Love this

  7. Ann says:

    What oven temperature should this bake at? Don’t see it in the recipe.

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Ann, It’s in instruction #1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  8. Maria says:

    Honestly, I had lost the taste for regular spaghetti but I’m in love with this recipe and will continue to make it. Thank you ❤️

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Maria! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Kimberly Packer says:

    I love this recipe

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you Kimberly!

  10. Laurie says:

    I tried this once and did not like it at all. Threw most of it out which I hated to do. I disliked the cream cheese and sour cream in it. Has anyone substituted for these two ingredients? I really wanted to like this.

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Laurie, I’m sorry you didn’t like the cream cheese and sour cream. Maybe that was the problem though…there’s no sour cream in this recipe.

    2. Reese says:

      I don’t see sour cream in this recipe.

    3. aaamaaandaaa says:

      I thought it was great. There is no sour cream in this recipe. I believe you misread. Maybe that’s why you don’t like it?

    4. Lana says:

      There’s no sour cream listed in the ingredients, dumbass.

  11. Pam says:

    I made this dish – it was very good. When making the next time, I will use less pasta.

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you Pam!

  12. Peggy says:

    This was terrible no flavor

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      I’d guess the marinara sauce you used was terrible because there is a lot of flavored added to this recipe.

  13. Donna says:

    I can hardly wait to try these recipes…. They all look marvelous!!!!

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you Donna! Please let us know here in the comments on what you think. thanks for stopping by.

  14. Colleen says:

    I think it’s good and is a fun recipe. I would have given 5 stars but, it didn’t really have that wow effect. When using 1 lb of noodles to me there just was not enough flavor. I would add more onion and garlic to the meat, I would also add some onion powder, garlic powder and, oregano. I would add more sauce to the noodles and season that as well. I think the Ricotta was good for adding creaminess but, it took away that pop of flavor that should have come through with the cream cheese so, for me I would either eliminate the ricotta and use 16 oz of cream cheese instead or I would add more cream cheese.

  15. Maxine says:

    I just discovered your web site and I am so thankful. Your recipes sound so delicious and not complicated to prepare. Thank you.

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Maxine! Thanks for giving us a try.

  16. Sarah says:

    It was good! I just had a hard time spreading the ricotta and cream cheese so it clumbed together and was a little too creamy! But good overall! I would make adjustments for next time

  17. diana L Russell says:

    I made this last night. I was the best meal I’ve had in a while. My husband LOVED it. As mentioned in other reviews, I doubled the marinara sauce, added a bit more seasonings. Thank you.!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome diana! Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Alison says:

    This was SOOOOO good!!! I subbed out the cream cheese and ricotta for dairy free versions and used shredded goat cheese instead of the mozzarella for my dairy intolerant family. It was a hit!!!

    1. Kristin says:

      That’s awesome Alison! Love the feedback, thanks for stopping by.

  19. JACK & POLLY says:

    WE LOVED IT, thank you!!!

  20. Rebecca says:

    I have to try this one. You have the best recipes. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Rebecca! Thanks for stopping by.

  21. Lois Berg says:

    awesome recipe. I froze it. how do I heat it up

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Cover with foil and heat at 350 in the oven just until warmed through.

  22. Destiny says:

    Hello! This looks really cool but I was wondering if you can use penne instead of spaghetti noodles?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Yes you could swap out the pasta for your penne.

  23. Jessica says:

    This meal was good overall. It reminded me and my boyfriend of a simplified lasagna. I did think this recipe was a little bland/dry. could have used some more sauce in between layers. We will do this next time!

    1. Kristin says:

      Love the feedback Jessica! Thanks for stopping by.

  24. Kaity says:

    This was very bland, dry and overall not good. My daughter who isn’t even a picky eater refused to eat it. I definitely don’t recommend this recipe.

  25. Kiara says:

    Would it taste okay if I use mozzarella instead of ricotta cheese? I don’t have ricotta but have everything else!

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Kiara, so sorry for the late reply. The ricotta helps to bind the casserole together. You could use just Mozzarella, but it might clump together.

    2. Chrissy Benson says:

      You could always toss an egg with the mozzarella as a binder

      1. Kristin Maxwell says:

        Yes, you could do that. It would alter the taste and texture a bit though.

  26. Amanda says:

    Hi! I made this last night and everything was great minus some noodles that were very crunchy (over/under cooked?) Any idea how I can prevent this in the future? Boil them longer? Less time in the oven? Thanks!

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      On the top and the edges the noodles can get a little crispy from baking. There’s nothing you can really do to avoid it, other then covering it with foil for the duration of cooking. Just remove it with maybe 10 minutes left so you can make sure the cheese is all melted.

  27. Jackie Sloan says:

    I have made this three times and my hubby absolutely loves it! He commented how we always had left over spaghetti but not this dish…. we ate every last crumb, delicious!

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for stopping by Jackie.

  28. Lina gil says:

    Hello, just I just made this and it’s in the oven ( I was cooking it for dinner) but didn’t notice that you have to serve it immediately. Can it be re-heated??

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Yes, you can reheat. Cool it completely, cover it with foil and put it in the fridge. Take it out as your oven is reheating and bake it at 350 until it’s warmed through.

  29. Jeff says:

    This is that rare recipe that satisfies all the picky eaters. It’s officially added to our dinner rotation for a busy family of 5. Thanks so much Kristin, fantastic recipe.

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Jeff! Thanks for stopping by.

  30. Sue says:

    Delicious!!! Best baked spaghetti ever! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Sue! Thanks for stopping by.

  31. Heather says:

    I love this!!! It’s sooo good. Thank you!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Heather! Thanks for stopping by.

  32. Rebecca says:

    This sounds so good.

  33. Kathy Garrett says:

    Can you use ground turkeyior chicken instead of beef?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      You absolutely can!

  34. Tiffany says:

    Can I assemble this in the morning and bake later? Also what do you season the beef with after you drain…salt and pepper?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Yes to both! You can make this ahead of time, just take it out of the fridge while you heat the oven. And season the meat with salt and pepper.

  35. L. Rogers says:

    I tried this but added mild bulk Italian sausage along with the ground beef. I also added mild cheddar cheese along with the mozzarella. It was excellent! The entire family loves it.

    1. Kristin says:

      That’s awesome L. Rogers! Great feedback ! Thanks for stopping by.

  36. TJ says:

    My family loved it! Creamy, flavorful and a cheesy top — better than spaghetti! It is now on the frequently requested dinner list.

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for stopping by TJ.

  37. Charity says:

    Could you substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta? I feel like ricotta dries food out.

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Sure that would be an easy swap.

  38. Pam says:

    I was in a hurry so I used garlic & onion powder. A blended can of whole tomatoes. A little Sour cream instead of the white cheeses. I used Colby jack and pepper cheeses. After baking I sprinkled with olive oil and Louisiana hot sauce.
    Suggestions: make half the meat sausage.

    1. Kristin says:

      Hi Pam, awesome feedback.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  39. Jennifer Tibbs says:

    This is soooo good. I added half a stick of butter cut up on top of the first layer of spaghetti and 1/4 cup of sour cream to the cream cheese mixture. I did sliced real mozzarella and shredded mozzarella on top. Definitely broil the last few minutes.

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you Jennifer for the awesome feedback!

  40. Kelly says:

    My husband was not a fan of the ricotta and cream cheese layer. I’d give it 4 stars

    1. Kristin says:

      Hi Kelly, Thank you for the awesome feedback.

  41. JJ Armstrong says:

    It has become my go to comfort food with the decadence of all the cheese. We use lentil pasta if you have a gluten sensitivity. Fresh ricotta is a game changer if you can get ahold of it during these uncertain times.

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for sharing your awesome feedback JJ.

  42. Veronica says:

    Hi could this be made vegetarian by omitting the meat or would it not work? Thanks in advance

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Yes you could omit the meat. It still has cheese in it though.

      1. Veronica says:

        Thanks we’re vegetarian not vegan so cheese is great! Stay well.

  43. Katie says:

    What temp do we bake this at?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      350 degrees.

      1. Kim says:

        I love the recipe’s I share them with all my friends thank you happy cooking ,baking lol