Million dollar spaghetti is a satisfying spaghetti casserole made from tender pasta noodles tossed in homemade meat sauce and layered with melty cheese. It’s the ultimate family-friendly dinner that tastes like a million bucks!
If you loved my million dollar chicken casserole, wait until you sink your forks into this million dollar spaghetti. Both recipes earned the “million dollar” title because they taste so ultra-rich and delicious.
Why You’ll Love This Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole
- Crowd-pleasing. Million dollar spaghetti is the best combination of homemade lasagna and spaghetti. Baking it in a casserole dish makes it the perfect choice for feeding a crowd.
- Full of flavor. This spaghetti casserole tastes like a million bucks! It’s made with oodles of noodles tossed in savory meat sauce, then baked beneath layers of melty cheese.
- Budget-friendly. Despite the name, this baked million dollar spaghetti is super affordable. This recipe makes a generous serving using inexpensive ingredients.
If you can’t choose between making spaghetti or making lasagna, make both!
What You’ll Need
Below, I include a few notes on the ingredients you’ll need to make million dollar spaghetti. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the full recipe amounts and details.
- Spaghetti. One pound of dry spaghetti makes enough to fill a standard 9×13” casserole dish. You can make this casserole using just about any type of pasta, see more suggestions in my tips later on.
- Olive Oil. Choose a good-quality extra virgin olive oil for browning the meat.
- Onion. One medium-sized onion. Brown or yellow onion works great, or another mild variety.
- Ground meat. I make this recipe with ground beef and Italian sausage. However, you can use any ground meat or any combination that you’d like. Feel free to use all beef, mix in ground pork, or use a leaner option like ground chicken or ground turkey.
- Seasoning. You’ll need salt and freshly cracked black pepper, as well as garlic powder to season the meat.
- Marinara sauce. Choose your preferred jarred marinara sauce from the store.
- Cheese. This spaghetti casserole calls for a combination of cheeses. I use ricotta cheese, cream cheese, shredded mozzarella, and parmesan. If you don’t have ricotta, cottage cheese will also work. I recommend grating your mozzarella and parmesan cheeses fresh from the block so that they melt smoothly.
- Sour Cream. Adds another layer of richness and tanginess to the cheese layer.
How to Make Million Dollar Spaghetti
Before assembling and baking our spaghetti casserole, you’ll prepare the layers. This is quick and easy to do on the stovetop.
- Prep. First, preheat the oven to 375ºF while you bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Cook the pasta. Add the spaghetti to the pot and cook according to the package directions. Aim to boil the pasta al dente.
- Prepare the sauce. Saute the onions in a saucepan with olive oil, until softened. Stir in the ground beef and sausage, then season the meat with pepper and garlic powder. Cook until the meat is browned throughout. Finally, stir in the marinara sauce, then lower the heat and leave the sauce to simmer.
- Prepare the cheese mixture. After about 20 minutes, you’re almost ready to assemble. Lastly, whisk together the ricotta and cream cheese with sour cream for the cheese layer.
- Assemble the layers. Add the pasta to the meat sauce and toss to coat. Spread about one-half of the pasta evenly into the bottom of a casserole dish. Top this with a layer of cheese mixture and a layer of shredded mozzarella, followed by the rest of the pasta. Finally, sprinkle over the remaining mozzarella topped with grated parmesan cheese.
- Bake. Bake your million dollar spaghetti at 375ºF for 40 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
Recipe Tips and Variations
Pasta casseroles are great because they’re easy to put together once you have all your ingredients ready to go. Here are some tips for the best million dollar baked spaghetti:
- Try not to overcook the pasta. Since you’ll be baking the spaghetti afterward, do your best to boil it al dente, where the noodles are still a little firm. Overcooking the pasta can result in a mushy casserole.
- Let the casserole rest before serving. After your million dollar spaghetti is out of the oven, allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting into it. This lets the sauce and cheese set up a bit, for firmer slices.
- Want to make this dish vegetarian? Leave out the sausage and sub the ground meat with your favorite vegetarian alternative meat, such as Beyond Meat.
- Use another pasta. Technically, it won’t be million dollar spaghetti, but this recipe will still turn out great with another pasta variety. Try linguine, angel hair pasta, or tubular pasta like penne or ziti.
Crusty bread is a must-have side with any pasta dinner in our house. Other times, I’ll make a quick batch of buttermilk biscuits. If you’d like to round out your meal with some greens, try a fresh spring salad or Caesar salad with crunchy croutons. You could also easily roast asparagus in the oven or air fryer. Or, try another vegetable side like delicata squash or roasted broccoli.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Fridge. Once your leftover million dollar spaghetti has cooled, store the casserole airtight and refrigerate it for up to 4-5 days. Reheat servings in the microwave, or you can reheat larger portions in the oven at 350ºF until warmed through.
- Freezer. Freeze any leftovers covered tightly for up to 3 months. Alternatively, if you’re making this casserole ahead, you can freeze the unbaked casserole airtight. Thaw the spaghetti casserole in the fridge overnight before baking or reheating as directed.
More Cozy Casserole Recipes
- Dorito Casserole
- John Wayne Casserole
- Ground Beef Pastitsio Pasta
- Baked Zucchini Parmesan
- Baked Rigatoni Pasta
Million Dollar Spaghetti
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pound spaghetti
For the Sauce
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ pound ground beef
- ¾ pound Italian sausage
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 jar marinara sauce, 25 ounces
To Assemble the Casserole
- ¾ cups ricotta
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Make the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt followed by the pasta. Cook according to al dente according to the instructions on the package.
- Make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the ground beef and Italian sausage and season with ground black pepper and garlic powder. Cook the meat, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon until browned through. Add the marinara sauce and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Make the cheese mixture. Whisk together the ricotta, sour cream, and cream cheese.
- Assemble. Toss together the sauce and the pasta until the pasta is thoroughly coated in the sauce. Spread half of the pasta mixture in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the pasta. Scatter 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top. Spread the rest of the pasta over the cheese mixture. Top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.
- Bake. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.