Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole

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This hearty baked spaghetti casserole is loaded with flavor. Million Dollar Spaghetti is a cheesy, meaty weeknight dinner recipe! Layers of pasta, cheese, meat sauce, and more cheese!

If you love a good Italian meal, be sure to also try our shortcut Ravioli Lasagna recipe. And end the meal with our favorite Olive Garden Breadsticks!

Million Dollar Spaghetti casserole in 13x9 baking dish cut into squares.
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Why this Recipe is Best

This million dollar spaghetti casserole gets it’s name from the richness and depth of flavor, not for how much it costs to make! If anything it can win you award, it’s beloved by everyone I’ve ever made it for!

Growing up in the midwest, casseroles are a part of our way of life.

From hashbrown casserole to green bean casserole, and all the JELL-O dump salads in between, this spaghetti casserole recipe is by far one of my favorites.

The hearty meat sauce combined with the rich and creamy filling is like a spaghetti version of Baked Ziti.

  • Large 13×9 baking dish– perfect for a crowd
  • Can be frozen– make ahead!
  • Hearty meat sauce– from scratch
  • Prepare ahead of time– budget and family friendly.

You’ll love this easy weeknight dinner!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make a million dollar spaghetti casserole.

Meat sauce. For extra flavor, I use a combination of ground beef and Italian sausage, along with garlic, onion, and my favorite marinara sauce.

If you prefer meatless, load up your sauce with green peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, and/or eggplant! Simmer the vegetables of your choice with your marinara sauce to cook them down and soften the texture.

Pasta. Classic spaghetti noodles is what I choose, but you can opt for the thin spaghetti (like in this Chicken Tetrazzini recipe), or any other style you love…rotini, bowtie, etc.

Cheese. The center layer of cheese is what makes this casserole magical. You’ll need cottage cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese! This is similar to how I make my lasagna.

Add sour cream and butter and you’ve got one heck of a spaghetti casserole!

Easy Instructions

Meat spaghetti sauce in skillet for spaghetti casserole.

I love that this dinner can be made ahead of time. Whether you prep the ingredients in the morning, early afternoon, or even the night before.

  1. Cook Noodles. Whichever noodle option you choose, cook them up and add some of the sauce to the noodles. Set aside.
  2. Meat Sauce. Brown the meat and add pasta sauce. Set aside.
  3. Make Cheese mixture. Combine the cottage cheese with cream cheese, sour cream, and half of the mozzarella. Set aside.
  4. Assemble the casserole.
Step by step photos showing how to assemble spaghetti casserole.
  1. Butter Cubes.
  2. Pasta with Sauce.
  3. ALL the Cheese filling.
  4. Other Half of Pasta Sauce
  5. Meat Sauce
  6. Mozzarella Cheese.

Bake uncovered.

Million dollar casserole served on a plate.

Tips and Tricks

  • Assemble casserole up to 24 hours in advance if desired. Keep covered in refrigerator and add an extra 15 minutes to baked time if chilled.
  • Freeze casserole by covering with foil and freezing for up to 30 days. Thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours before baking. I don’t recommend baking from frozen as it will dry out.
  • This is a huge dish of food. If you don’t have a deep 13×9, use two square pans instead. Perfect if you want to freeze a batch for later!
  • Want to share with a neighbor? Bake it in a disposable foil pan so you don’t have to worry about getting a dish back.
  • Swap out the cottage cheese for ricotta for a more classic flavor!
  • Serve with an Olive Garden Salad and Cheesy Garlic Bread.
  • Don’t forget dessert! Finish off your meal with some ricotta cookies or easy cannoli.
Close up of layers in spaghetti casserole recipe.

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Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole

4.72 from 139 votes
By: Aimee
This hearty baked spaghetti casserole is loaded with flavor. Million Dollar Spaghetti is a cheesy, meaty weeknight dinner recipe!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed
  • 2 jars marinara sauce, any variety 24 ounce each
  • 1 package cream cheese 8 ounce
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese divided
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup butter sliced
  • parsley for garnish
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Instructions 

  • Cook the noodles according to package directions.
  • Add 1 jar of the sauce to the cooked noodles. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, brown ground beef and Italian sausage with onion and garlic. Drain grease and add the second jar of marinara sauce to the cooked meat. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, combine cottage cheese with cream cheese, sour cream, and half of mozzarella cheese. Set aside.
  • Add butter cubes to the bottom of a 13×9 deep dish casserole.
  • Spread half of the spaghetti (with sauce) in the bottom of the dish.
  • Top with ALL of the cheese mixture.
  • Follow up with the remaining half of the pasta (with sauce).
  • Add all the meat sauce to the top of the million dollar casserole.
  • Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top, with the grated parmesan.
  • Bake casserole UNCOVERED in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

Notes

  • If you prefer meatless, load up your sauce with green peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, and/or eggplant! Simmer the vegetables of your choice with your marinara sauce to cook them down and soften the texture.
  • Assemble baked spaghetti up to 24 hours in advance if desired. Keep covered in refrigerator and add an extra 15 minutes to baked time if chilled.
  • Freeze casserole by covering with foil and freezing for up to 30 days. Thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours before baking. I don’t recommend baking from frozen as it will dry out.
  • Swap out the cottage cheese for ricotta for a more classic flavor!

Nutrition

Calories: 503kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 770mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

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Hearty Million Dollar Baked Spaghetti is the perfect casserole for weeknight dinner. You’ll love the cheesy filling!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

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Posted on March 19, 2021

Comments & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe for Million Dollar spaghetti twice. My granddaughters can be picky eaters and they all love it! I do add about twice as much Parmesean as the recipe lists because we love the flavor. I would suggest, like others have mentioned, use a very deep casserole dish. The one I use is a 13 x 9 Oval that is 4” deep and it fills the casserole, I believe it might be 7 quarts. I use a 45 ounce jar of Prego (divided in half) rather than using two regular size
    jars of sauce. It’s a great recipe for a crowd or to have leftovers.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this and it was so good! Even my non-spaghetti loving kids loved it. I added about 3/4 cup of pasta water to the sauced pasta and it kept it from being too dry. Definitely making again And will use another commenters suggestion to put the cheeses in the food processor to blend.

  3. 3 stars
    Rich! Made it exactly as recipe stated. Even used a deep 9×13 (thank God!) It was SO MUCH cheese mixture, I think if I make it again I’ll do half the meat, and half the cheese mixture, just wayyyyyy too rich!

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