Million Dollar Baked Spaghetti Casserole
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Here’s a dinner idea all will LOVE!
Sometimes you just need a cheesy, gooey, comforting pasta casserole type dish to dive into at the end of a long day, and this baked million dollar spaghetti will not disappoint! It’s made with four types of cheese, Italian sausage, fresh basil, marinara sauce, and is the perfect mash-up of lasagna and a spaghetti dinner.
I love how creamy the noodles turn out with the winning combination of meaty marinara sauce and cream cheese, and the top has a cheesy layer of melted mozzarella that’s irresistible.
Visual learner? Watch my how-to video:
Keep these recipe tips in mind when preparing million dollar spaghetti:
- This recipe is highly adaptable to taste. For instance, I used Italian sausage, but you can use ground beef or chicken, or perhaps use more veggies instead of meat. Cottage cheese can be used instead of ricotta cheese, or maybe even goat cheese would be yummy!
- Why didn’t we use the entire box of pasta? Even though this recipe showcases spaghetti noodles as the star of the show, during our recipe testing we found that using a full pound of spaghetti noodles was actually too much. 3/4 of the box is the sweet spot!
- You can compile this a day ahead of time, cover it in the fridge, and then stick it in the oven 35 minutes before you’re wanting to eat.
- This makes a wonderful freezer meal idea as it’s easy to compile and freeze the assembled casserole to make at a later date. When ready to bake, let the casserole thaw in the fridge overnight, then come to room temperature on the counter for 30 minutes before popping in the oven. You can check out more on this freezing/thawing technique on TasteofHome.com!
Million Dollar Baked Spaghetti Casserole
yield: 8 SERVINGS
prep time: 30 MINUTES
cook time: 35 MINUTES
total time: 1 HOUR 5 MINUTES
Here's a hearty cheese and meat sauce casserole that's filling, and so full of yummy tomato basil flavor!
- 3/4 pound dried spaghetti noodles
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz. ricotta cheese
- 24 oz. jar of marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a large 3-quart casserole dish.
Cook spaghetti to al dente, meaning the noodles are cooked, yet still a bit firm. Put the noodles back in the pot after draining them.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the eggs, parmesan cheese, and chopped basil. Whisk for a minute until smooth. Pour this mixture over the cooked spaghetti noodles, along with the butter, and mix until well coated.
Transfer the noodles from the pot to the casserole dish.
Add the ricotta and cream cheese to the pot and melt on medium heat, while stirring with a spoon. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour the melted cheese over the noodles in the casserole dish and smooth it out over the noodles.
Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and crumble the Italian sausage in the same skillet on the stove. Cook over medium heat until the veggies are tender and meat is cooked. Drain the grease if needed.
Add the marinara sauce and stir in the sour cream. Mix well, and then pour the meat sauce over the casserole and smooth out in an even layer.
Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top of the casserole evenly. Place in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Top with additional fresh basil and serve.
Recipe adapted from BettyCrocker.com
Spaghetti night just got upgraded times a million!
This hearty casserole turns out bubbly and cheesy, and so darn good. I love the ricotta cream cheese combo and fresh basil. It really does make a large batch, and if you have leftovers, they will also be delicious warmed up the next day.
My kids are usually picky about casseroles, but they loved this million dollar spaghetti meal!
You may want to update your post under tips. You have “thaw in freezer” I think you mean in the fridge. If it’s thawing in the freezer, you have problems! Thanks for the yummy looking recipe.
Whoops! Thanks for catching that, Blue! Just updated!
This looks so delicious! I am Going to make this tomorrow! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
I make this with spaghetti squash to cut carbs and it’s so good! Even my picky 7 year old likes it!
Oh that’s a great idea! Yum
Do you cook spaghetti squash first? I was thinking I would love this but I’m staying away from pasta. Please share thanks!
How big of a squash do you use? I love spaghetti squash and would love to give it a try!
I’ve been making this for years. My daughters friend always gets an invite when I do because she loves it so much!
I found this recipe and made it a couple weeks ago. I already had homemade meat sauce in the freezer and I guesstimated at quantities and it still came out great, which was shocking because I am not a good cook. It’s amazing how the cheeses transform regular spaghetti.
Yes so agree!! Yay thanks for sharing 👏
I made this this past weekend. I use Newman’s Own Sockarooni Sauce and it adds a great flavor. The cheese mixture also is amazing and it reheats very well.
Oh thanks for sharing Peaches!
Is there anything you could use instead of sour cream? My family doesn’t like the taste.
Yes heavy cream, plain Greek yogurt or just skip that part. 👍
Thx so much .I didnt realize there were a few options. I’ll be able to try more recipes now ,that have sour cream .My family will be so happy.
We had this for dinner tonight. I did not have fresh basil, so I used dried, and I think it tasted really good! My family enjoyed it and will for another 2 nights!
Oh yay! Thanks for sharing 🥰
if u don’t tell them there is sour cram in the sauce they will never know…. just say cream cheese and cottage cheese or ricotta cheese in it…. my hubby says he doesn’t like this or that…. but he gobbles it up and goes for seconds….lol