This Million dollar spaghetti recipe is the ultimate comfort food pasta bake! Four kinds of cheese, hearty ground beef, spicy sausage, and spaghetti combine to make a dish that’ll leave you feeling like a million bucks.
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What do you get when you bake spaghetti in a savory meat sauce? You get million dollar spaghetti casserole! This dish is a spin-off of lasagna, but you’ll use spaghetti instead of sheets of lasagna noodles. A cheesy filling plus lots more melted cheese makes this one a winner.
Hearty Million Dollar Spaghetti Recipe
I love traditional lasagna and zucchini lasagna, but sometimes I want to do something a little different. This million dollar casserole is a great recipe to make when I want to mix things up while still keeping to the basic idea of lasagna. The main difference is that you use spaghetti instead of lasagna noodles, and the filling is a little bit richer, too. It’s just as delicious, if not more so!
This cheesy, baked casserole is packed with so much good stuff it’s not difficult to see where it got its name. First, you have ultra-slurpable spaghetti noodles dressed in a meat sauce made from ground beef and sausage. Then, a smooth and creamy filling is made from a blend of cream cheese and ricotta. It’s all layered with more cheese in the form of shredded mozzarella, resulting in an incredibly rich and delicious pasta bake.
You can add more vegetables—see my suggestions below—or make the recipe exactly as it’s written. This is definitely a hearty meal, so you might want to add a big side salad to balance things out. Save this one for Friday night comfort food!
Ingredients for Million Dollar Spaghetti
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Spaghetti noodles
- Butter – You can use salted or unsalted butter.
- Marinara sauce – Use your favorite jarred marinara or homemade marinara sauce.
- Olive oil – I use extra-virgin olive oil.
- Onion – I use yellow onion, but you can substitute red onion if you wish.
- Ground beef
- Italian sausage
- Salt and pepper
- Italian seasoning – If you don’t have Italian seasoning you can substitute dried basil and oregano in equal amounts.
- Cream cheese – To help make the creamy filling.
- Ricotta cheese – For a lighter cheese you can substitute cottage cheese.
- Parmesan cheese – Use grated or shredded Parmesan.
- Mozzarella cheese – Use shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Parsley – Fresh parsley is best!
A few simple variations for this recipe include:
- Swap ground turkey for the beef. To lighten this up a little, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken for ground beef.
- Make it vegetarian. Omit the ground beef and sausage, and substitute vegetarian meat, like Beyond Meat.
- Add vegetables. This casserole is practically begging for the addition of spinach or sauteed zucchini!
How to Make Million Dollar Spaghetti
- Heat the oven: Preheat the oven to 350℉. Coat the inside of a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, then set aside.
- Cook the pasta: In a large pot of salted water, cook the spaghetti according to the box directions, leaving slightly firm, or al dente. Drain and return to the pot, then toss together with the butter and 1 cup of the marinara sauce until the noodles are completely coated.
- Cook the meat: While the spaghetti cooks, add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated through and begins to shimmer, add the diced onion and garlic. Sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, until translucent. Add the ground beef and sausage to the pan, followed by the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink, using a spatula to break up the meat as it cooks. Drain away any excess grease, then stir in the remaining marinara sauce.
- Mix together the cheeses: In a separate bowl, mix together the cream cheese, ricotta and Parmesan until combined.
- Assemble the casserole: Add the noodles to the bottom of the baking dish, then spread the cheese mixture evenly over the top, making sure to spread it all the way to the edge of the pan. Top with meat sauce, then sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella and chopped parsley.
- Bake: Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce starts to bubble around the sides of the pan. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
When you make a pasta casserole, you’ll want to slightly undercook the pasta when you boil it because the pasta will continue to cook in the oven. Cook the pasta to al dente or slightly less so it doesn’t turn mushy in the oven.
How to Store Million Dollar Spaghetti
Store this leftover million dollar spaghetti casserole in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat, place portions on a microwave-safe plate or bowl and reheat in the microwave until hot.
Baked pasta dishes are so delicious and comforting! Serve them with a few sides to round out your plate, like:
- Salad. Salad is a great choice for a hearty pasta dish. Try my Summer Salad or Cucumber Tomato Salad with this recipe.
- Homemade bread. Soak up any extra sauce with a loaf of homemade bread!
- Vegetables. Serve million dollar spaghetti with a vegetable side or two, like roasted asparagus or steamed broccoli.
Yes, baked spaghetti freezes well. Wrap individual portions in foil and place them in a freezer-safe bag and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Baked spaghetti will last up to 5 days in the fridge.
To make sure your baked spaghetti casserole doesn’t end up dry, you’ll need to include enough sauce (you don’t want more spaghetti than sauce).
Million Dollar Spaghetti
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 pound dry spaghetti noodles
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 24-ounce jars marinara sauce, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 8 ounces Italian sausage
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- Preheat an oven to 350℉. Coat the inside of a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.Nonstick cooking spray
- In a large pot of salted water, cook the spaghetti according to the box directions, leaving slightly firm, or al dente. Drain and return the pot, then toss together with the butter and 1 cup of the marinara sauce until the noodles are completely coated.1 pound dry spaghetti noodles, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 24-ounce jars marinara sauce, divided
- While the spaghetti cooks, add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is heated through and begins to shimmer, add the diced onion and garlic. Sauté for 7 to 8 minutes until translucent. Add the ground beef and sausage to the pan, followed by the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink, using a spatula to break up the meat as it cooks. Drain away any excess cooking oil, then stir in the remaining marinara sauce.2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 yellow onion, diced, 4 cloves garlic, minced, 1 pound lean ground beef, 8 ounces Italian sausage, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- In a separate bowl, mix together the cream cheese, ricotta and Parmesan until combined.8 ounces cream cheese, softened, 2 cups ricotta cheese, ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Add the noodles to the bottom of the baking dish, then spread the cheese mixture evenly over the top, making sure to spread all the way to the edge of the pan. Top with meat sauce, then sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella and chopped parsley.1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce starts to bubble around the sides of the pan. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.