This hearty baked spaghetti casserole is loaded with flavor. Million Dollar Spaghetti is a cheesy, meaty weeknight dinner recipe!
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!
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
- Can be frozen
- Hearty meat sauce
- Prepare ahead of time
You’ll love this easy weeknight dinner!
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!
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.
- Cook Noodles. Whichever noodle option you choose, cook them up and add some of the sauce to the noodles. Set aside.
- Meat Sauce. Brown the meat and add pasta sauce. Set aside.
- Make Cheese mixture. Combine the cottage cheese with cream cheese, sour cream, and half of the mozzarella. Set aside.
- Assemble the casserole.
- Butter Cubes.
- Pasta with Sauce.
- ALL the Cheese filling.
- Other Half of Pasta Sauce
- Meat Sauce
- Mozzarella Cheese.
Tips and Tricks
- 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.
- 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 Italian Salad and Cheesy Garlic Bread.
- Don’t forget dessert! Finish off your meal with some ricotta cookies or easy cannoli.
More Easy weeknight dinners
- Italian Chicken Casserole
- Overnight Egg Casserole– breakfast for dinner!
- Meatball Parmesan Casserole
- Crockpot Enchiladas
- Huli Huli Chicken
Hearty Million Dollar Baked Spaghetti is the perfect casserole for weeknight dinner. You’ll love the cheesy filling!
I wish I read these comments first, this was overflowing in my 9×13 pan. Overall a tasty meal though.
My friend made this for us and it was AMAZING! My son requested it for his bday dinner 😍
And yes, yes, yes use a deep dish pan like she says! 😂😂
Really nice recipe. Thanks for sharing. Also see https://www.beckandbulow.com
This is the second time I have made this recipe and we love it. The next time I make this I am going to use a deeper 9 x 13. I’m up to the top! Will put a sheet pan underneath when it is cooked tonight. I have to say it took me longer to prepare than the stated time!!
Can you freeze already cooked lefto ers
I made this for a homeless shelter and they loved it. I’m making it for my family tonight and I know they will love it too. Thank you for publishing this. 💕💕💕
How kind of you! Glad everyone loves it.
I just made this and cannot wait until my guests arrive. Way too many noodles for my 9×13. Next time I make it I will get a deep foil pan!! Or make two smaller ones.
I used two lbs of ground beef and used ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese and seasoned to my taste.
Easy recipe and even though I haven’t tasted it, I know it will be yummy.
Just made this tonight and it was a huge hit. Make sure you use a deep dish pan as she directs or else you’ll have a mess! The cheese layer is DIVINE!
My family doesn’t care for meat sauce or vegetables in their sauce. Would could I use in their place to make it layered enough and not too bland? ( I want to make this for Easter for those who are not ham eaters!)
I have made it with just the spaghetti sauce. I used garlic powder and onion powder to keep the sauce smooth. It was still good. Thankfully my children now appreciate it as the recipe explains.
The name says it all! My family loves your recipe – Making it again this week!
This looks amazing and so delicious! My family is going to absolutely love this recipe! So excited to give this a try!
This does not fit in a 13×9 pan. Did you use a deep dish?
My clear glass casserole dish is 15x10x2. Would it still take about 35 mins at 350?
Thanks. I’m making this today for family.
Ooh that’s a shallow dish, it will be hard to make in that!
Do you freeze this before or after baking?
So nice to meet you pretty lady, not only do you share great recipes but you ae a lovely person as well 🙂
I am Italian but your recipe here sounds great , I have a Shell recipe much like this but this one sounds and looks even easier .
Thank you for sharing, God bless XXXXXXX
I used a 13 by 9 dish and it’s overfilling. Am I supposed to use two dishes?
I have a deep dish pan and it fit perfectly.