Spaghetti casserole is the definition of comfort food! Hearty, delicious, and an easy way to make and eat spaghetti.
Easy Baked Spaghetti Casserole
Have I mentioned how much I enjoy casseroles? I love how simple they are to whip up and throw into the oven for dinner. Casseroles are also great for making ahead of time or making as a freezer meal for later!
This easy baked spaghetti casserole is all of those things and more. Pasta, meat sauce, and lots of cheese! What more could you want?
This dinner is 100% kid approved which makes it perfect for any day of the week. But kids aren’t the only ones who like this recipe. Adults will enjoy it just as much. It’s nostalgic, comforting, and so yummy all in one. Just a good old classic recipe that will never go out of style.
Here are a few pasta tips to keep in mind…
- Breaking the spaghetti noodles into quarters makes it easier to cut, serve and eat
- Try using other pastas: angel hair is the most similar and keeps the “spaghetti” look, but you can also use shaped pasta such as penne and bow tie
- Add about 1 tsp of salt to the pasta water to season the noodles
- Undercook pasta if you are planning to freeze the casserole for later
- Once drained, keep the pasta warm and un-rinsed as it will absorb the sauces better than rinsed cold pasta
How to Make Spaghetti Casserole
PREP. Start by preheating the oven to 350. While the oven is preheating, cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, then drain and set aside.
SAUCE. While the spaghetti is cooking, add the ground beef to a large skillet. Cook, breaking into small pieces, until browned and cooked through. Drain the grease, then return the ground beef to the skillet. Add the spaghetti sauce, sour cream, garlic salt, oregano, and basil to the skillet. Stir everything to combine.
COMBINE. Add the noodles and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese to the skillet, and mix.
BAKE. Pour the casserole into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and the parmesan cheese over the top. Cover the casserole with foil and bake 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and browned.
- If you can, avoid the pre shredded bagged cheese. It contains a coating that keeps the cheese from sticking together, but it also keeps the cheese from melting as well. For best results, stick to shredding your own block of mozzarella cheese
- Use spiced ground sausage instead of, or along with, ground beef
- Sneak in some diced veggies, mushrooms or bell pepper
- Spice it up with red chili flakes or hot sauce
Making Ahead + Side Options
One reason I love casseroles is because they typically make a great freezer meal. This dish is no different!
The only adjustment to make is undercook the pasta then assemble as written. Cover the pan with plastic wrap then again with foil. FREEZE for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it thaw in the fridge and bake according to directions. (be sure to remove the plastic wrap)
MAKE AHEAD. If you don’t want to freeze this dish you can still make it up to 24 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until baking.
What to serve with Spaghetti Casserole? Here are some of our favorite sides…
- Tomato Mozzarella Salad
- Bread Sticks
- Mozzarella Bites
- Cheesy Garlic Bread
- Creamy Pesto Dressing Salad
For more pasta recipes, try:
- Kid-Friendly Spaghetti
- Italian Tortellini Soup
- Pasta Primavera
- Chicken Spaghetti
- Easy Fettuccine Alfredo
- Pasta Carbonara
Spaghetti Casserole Recipe
- 1 16 ounce package spaghetti
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt (with parsley flakes)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 26.5 oz spaghetti sauce jars (or marinara jars)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, then drain.
- While the spaghetti is cooking, add the ground beef to a large skillet. Cook, breaking into small pieces, until browned and cooked through. Drain the grease, then return the ground beef to the skillet.
- Add the spaghetti sauce, sour cream, garlic salt, oregano, and basil to the skillet, and stir to combine. Add the noodles and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese to the skillet, and stir to combine.
- Pour the casserole into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and the parmesan cheese over the top.
- Cover the casserole with foil and bake 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and browned.