Spaghetti Casserole

Spaghetti casserole is the definition of comfort food! Hearty, delicious, and an easy way to make and eat spaghetti.

With 6 kiddos, we LOVE Spaghetti in this house. It’s fun to switch it up every once in a while, whether we decide to make Chicken Spaghetti, Spaghetti Chili, or this new Spaghetti Casserole!

Spaghetti Casserole in a white serving dish

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.

Ground beef and tomato sauce in a skillet for spaghetti casserole recipe

Pasta Tips

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

Spaghetti casserole filling in a skillet

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.

Recipe Tips:

  • 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

Spaghetti casserole recipe in a white dish ready to be baked

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…

Baked spaghetti casserole

For more pasta recipes, try:

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Spaghetti Casserole Recipe

5 from 10 votes
Spaghetti casserole is the definition of comfort food! Hearty, delicious, and an easy way to make and eat spaghetti.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 461 kcal
Author Lil' Luna

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce package spaghetti
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 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)

Instructions
 

  • 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.

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About the Author

Alicia Skousen

Hi! I’m Alicia and I blog at The Baker Upstairs. I am in love with all things food! I love to bake bread, cupcakes, cookies… you name it! When I’m not baking, I am running after my two adorable little girls, working as an RN, knitting, reading, and trying to squeeze in time with my husband every day.

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely loved it! We used all vegan substitutes (Neat Italian, Daiya Pizzeria Blend, Follow your Heart sour cream, and FOllow Your Heart parmesan) and it was delicious and so filling.
    WE were unsure of how much spaghetti sauce to add, we put 18 ounces of sauce in the end, but that seemed to be too little. The sour cream was overpowering the flavor of the sauce a bit, so I’d recommend using at least a whole 24 ounce jar! Super excited to make more of your recipes!

  2. 5 stars
    We have spaghetti at least every other week, so this is a great option to mix it up! My family really liked it!

  3. 5 stars
    I am so excited to make this for my family!! Love spaghetti in casserole form! I like how simple & easy this looks!

  4. 5 stars
    So good! This is the perfect family meal! I never hear any complaints when it’s spaghetti casserole night!

  5. 5 stars
    Spaghetti is a family favorite! I like being able to make it casserole style. I can make it ahead of time. So easy!

  6. 5 stars
    A friend BROUGHT this to my family after my SO had surgery. My kids loved it! Glad I can come here for the recipe.

  7. Sounds wonderful. Spaghetti sauce is not listed the ingredients. But is in the instructions. It obviously belongs in it. Anxious to try this one.

  8. 5 stars
    I absolutely loved it! This one is going into the file to make again and again. My only change was to add a layer of pepperoni on the very top and cooked that the last 15 minutes. My extremely picky hubby ate two very large servings!