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!
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.
How much spaghetti sauce? BTW, i love your recipes!!!
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!
I hope you find some to try! Thanks for sharing how you made it vegan friendly 🙂
We have spaghetti at least every other week, so this is a great option to mix it up! My family really liked it!
Wha size jar of spagh sauce do you use?
24 ounce jar..sorry! I need to add that! Thank you!
I doubled the recipe and froze half! It’s delicious!
I am so excited to make this for my family!! Love spaghetti in casserole form! I like how simple & easy this looks!
So good! This is the perfect family meal! I never hear any complaints when it’s spaghetti casserole night!
Spaghetti is a family favorite! I like being able to make it casserole style. I can make it ahead of time. So easy!
A friend BROUGHT this to my family after my SO had surgery. My kids loved it! Glad I can come here for the recipe.
Sounds wonderful. Spaghetti sauce is not listed the ingredients. But is in the instructions. It obviously belongs in it. Anxious to try this one.
Sorry about that..it’s a jar of your favorite sauce 🙂
Havent made it although I would use ricotta instead of sour cream.
Definitely could 🙂
One jar of sauce or two?
Two jars! 🙂
Really good! Added a little adobe and texas pete and used meatballs instead of hamburger. my family loved it.
Glad your family did! Thank you for trying it & for letting me know!
All your recipes sound or look great
Thank you so much!! Hope you like the ones you try 🙂
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!
Yay!! That’s what I love to hear! Thank you for letting me know!
This casserole recipe is so easy and it’s delicious. I did add extra spices to add a little more favor. I did not have any basil so I add Italian spice, garlic black pepper spice, onion powder and oregano. I used sharp cheese instead parmesan cheese.
Perfect!! Those are great options! Thank you for sharing that!
This is such a fun and easy weeknight dinner. Delicious every time!
Thank you so much for sharing this super delicious spaghetti casserole! Very easy to make and fam really loves it!
So simple to put together. I feel like this is easier to eat than spaghetti too. My family enjoyed this recipe and we will be making it again soon!
This was a yummy dinner! Easy to throw together and the family loved it! Who knew traditional spaghetti could be any better!
Nice & delicious option! We can get tired of regular spaghetti & this was easy & family friendly!
Why is sour cream in this recipe? What does it do, add or change? Can I omit it?
The sour cream makes the texture of the sauce creamy and delicious! You could leave it out — the dish would have a slightly different texture and flavor. You could also substitute plain greek yogurt for the sour cream.
This recipe sounds awesome and I’m anxious to try it out! Would it be okay to use a different kind of pasta, for instance elbow or penne noodles? What do you think? I really appreciate the recipe and thank you in advance for your advice regarding the alternative types of pasta.
With Sincere Gratitude,
When I saw your link for spaghetti casserole, I immediately “jumped to the recipe” and totally overlooked the fact that you had already addressed the alternative pasta ideas for this meal! I apologize for the superfluous question that I just posted.
Thanks again for this delicious sounding recipe! Will attempt to try it out this evening…
Have a great day!
Oh just seeing this comment now too! No worries at all. We’re happy to answer ANY questions you have! Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Yay! I hope you enjoy the dish. And yes, absolutely! You can use whichever kind of pasta you prefer.
I make this spaghetti casserole all the time. It is so great. Three of my grandkids took the recipe to make themselves. Everyone who tastes this loves it. Thank you.
Oh that is wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad to hear that you (and your grandkids) enjoy the casserole.
Can you make this with less then 2lbs of ground beef or is it required? AMAZING RECIPE.?
I Just like less meat and don’t want to ruin the recipe if it’s needed
No you can take some of the meat out if you like a little less. It should still taste yummy!!
Very good! This is a very large recipe! I made half recipe because of the amount of ingredients I had on hand. Half recipe was plenty for 6 people. We all enjoyed it.
Can you make ahead or no
Yes you can! You can make up to 24 hours beforehand. Or you can freeze it too! The only change you would make if freezing is to undercook the pasta slightly, then make as written.
OMG this was so yummy! My girls ask for it at least once a week.
Oh I’m so happy to hear that!! So glad to hear that the recipe is a hit!
I normally do not comment, this is AWESOME! It will become a part of the rotation!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the casserole! Thanks for the comment and rate!
This casserole was delicious! I definitely will make again. The only change I made was, I divided the casserole up into two 8 x 8 dishes instead of the 9 x 13. I was able to share one with my parents. They loved it too! Thanks for sharing this recipe.
Can you use cream cheese instead of sour cream?
I tried this recipe and I was impressed,but I think this dish needs a day to make all come together. In other words,refrigerate overnight then reheat with foil on top. Zucchini squash is a great addition to this dish!.
Thanks for the feedback and for giving the recipe a try!