June 7, 2023Review Recipe
Million Dollar Spaghetti Bake
Table of Contents
The best way to describe million dollar spaghetti is that it combines spaghetti and lasagna into one epic casserole. It’s loaded with layers of spaghetti noodles arranged in layers with cheese and hearty meat sauce for the ultimate comfort food.
What Is Million Dollar Spaghetti?
Million dollar spaghetti takes everyone’s favorite pasta dish and makes it even more delicious by baking it into a casserole and adding extra creamy and rich ingredients, including cream cheese, cottage cheese, and plenty of gooey cheese.
Million Dollar Spaghetti Ingredients
- 16 ounces of uncooked spaghetti noodles
- ½ cup of butter, cut in half and sliced thinly
- 2 (24-ounce) jars of spaghetti sauce, divided in half
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1 pound of Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of cottage cheese
- 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup of sour cream
- 3 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, divided in half
- Optional: parsley for garnish
If you are choosing to use a different sauce or a ready-made sauce you can skip this step.
Substitutions And Additions
MEAT: This recipe uses ground beef and Italian sausage. But if you’re partial to one, you can use 2 pounds of your preferred meat.
CHEESE: To make this recipe without cottage cheese, substitute 1 cup of ricotta cheese.
NOODLES: Mix it up and use your favorite noodles in this recipe. Instead of spaghetti noodles, you can use medium-sized pasta like elbow macaroni or ziti.
SAUCE: We love making this recipe with homemade tomato sauce. Keep a batch on hand and use it in recipes like this one. Here’s how to make homemade tomato sauce.
How To Make This Million Dollar Spaghetti Recipe
OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS
This recipe is arguably even better as leftovers. Try making two at a time and freezing one for a day when you won’t have time to cook dinner.
STEP ONE: In a large pot, cook the spaghetti to al dente according to package directions (about 8 minutes). Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir 4 tablespoons of sliced butter into the hot spaghetti.
STEP TWO: Add 1 jar of spaghetti sauce to the cooked noodles until they are coated. Set aside.
STEP THREE: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef, Italian sausage, and diced onion. Add the cloves of garlic and cook for one minute more. Drain any extra grease. Pour the remaining jar of spaghetti sauce into the meat mixture and stir. Set this aside as well.
STEP FOUR: In a medium-sized bowl, combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and 1½ cups of mozzarella cheese.
STEP FIVE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×13-inch casserole dish (or 10 x 14-inch lasagna pan) and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the bottom.
STEP SIX: Next, you will create the layers of noodles, pasta sauce, and shredded cheese.
STEP SEVEN: Spread half of the spaghetti noodles in the bottom of the pan.
STEP EIGHT: Then spread the cheese mixture over top of the noodles.
STEP NINE: Place the remaining spaghetti noodles over the cheese mixture.
STEP TEN: Pour the meat sauce onto the top of the spaghetti noodles.
STEP ELEVEN: Top with the remaining 1½ cups of mozzarella cheese.
STEP TWELVE: Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the cheese is melted and barely golden brown. Let it sit for 5 to 10 so that it’s easier to cut when serving. Allowing it to cool will make it easier to slice. One of the best parts of making million-dollar spaghetti is getting to slice it and see all of the amazing layers of cheese and noodles.
Around the 30-minute mark, check to make sure your casserole isn’t overcooking. You’ll know it’s time to take it out of the oven when the edges are slightly brown and the cheese is melted. Look for bubbles in the gooey goodness of the cheese.
How To Serve
Sprinkle a little bit of parmesan cheese on top of your million dollar casserole and add garlic bread or cheesy pull-apart bread along with a Caesar salad, and you will have a hearty and filling meal.
You can never have enough casserole recipes, and this one tops our list, along with Doritos casserole and Mexican casserole.
MORE SPAGHETTI RECIPES
Storing This Spaghetti Casserole Recipe
IN THE FRIDGE: Store leftovers of this pasta casserole for up to three days in the fridge in an airtight container.
IN THE FREEZER: Million dollar spaghetti is easy to freeze. Store it in an airtight container or cover it in foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
REHEATING: When you’re ready to eat your casserole, bake it for an hour or defrost it in the fridge overnight and bake for 45 minutes. Keep an eye out for browned edges and melted cheese to know when it’s done.
This million dollar spaghetti casserole is a family favorite that’s a simple, budget-friendly dinner idea. Save this recipe for the next time you need to cook for a crowd or are craving a twist on classic spaghetti.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can assemble this dish up to 24 hours ahead of time. Cover and store in the fridge. Allow it to sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes before you bake it.
Any ground meat or combination of ground meat will work well in the recipe.
This dish can be frozen and baked later. It will keep in the freezer for up to three months covered in aluminum foil. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then bake it when you are ready to enjoy this meal.
More You’ll Love
Million Dollar Spaghetti Recipe
- 16 ounces dried spaghetti
- ½ cup butter, cut in half and cut into slices
- 48 ounces spaghetti sauce (two 24-ounce jars), divided in half
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion, diced (or ½ cup)
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided in half
- chopped parsley, for optional garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cook the spaghetti per package directions to al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain and return to the pot. Stir 4 tablespoons of sliced butter into the hot spaghetti.
- Stir one jar of the spaghetti sauce into the cooked noodles. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, Italian sausage, and onions. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Drain any extra grease. Pour the remaining jar of spaghetti sauce into the meat mixture. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and 1½ cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. Set aside.
- In a deep dish 9×13-inch casserole dish (or a 10×14-inch lasagna pan), place the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter slices into the bottom of the pan.
- Spread half of the spaghetti noodles in the bottom of the pan.
- Spread the cheese mixture over the noodles.
- Place the remaining spaghetti noodles over the cheese mixture.
- Pour the meat sauce on top of this layer of spaghetti.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1½ cups of mozzarella cheese on top of the casserole.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Let the casserole sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- If you want more of a cheese filling, the cheese components could easily be doubled in this recipe.
- This recipe is arguably even better as leftovers. Try making two at a time and freezing one for a day when you won’t have time to cook dinner.
- Around the 30-minute mark, check to make sure your casserole isn’t overcooking. You’ll know it’s time to take it out of the oven when the edges are slightly brown and the cheese is melted. Look for bubbles in the gooey goodness of the cheese.
If I want to freeze it, do I bake it first? Or just put it together and freeze it and then continue with baking?
Layne Kangas says
I would make it up to step seven and then freeze. Then you can thaw overnight and proceed with step eight when you’re ready for eating. Enjoy 🙂
Sharon Muthinja says
What could a substitute for the cottage cheese?
Layne Kangas says
You could use ricotta cheese instead. Enjoy!
Are the nutritional facts for the entire dish or for one serving?
Layne Kangas says
Hi, Janet – it’s per serving and we have it calculated for eight servings. Enjoy!
Nina Washington says
This is a nice change for spaghetti. The added ingredients makes this a keeper for sure.
My family loves this recipe, it goes fast at our house.
My daughter made this recipe with spaghetti squash, in place of noodles. It turned out amazing. My question can you make it with frozen meatballs?
Layne Kangas says
Hi, Dawn – we haven’t tried it like that. You might need to thaw them first. Enjoy 🙂
Anyone have an idea of how to do this in an Instant Pot?
This is such an amazing dinner!
Charlene Burton says
Can other pasta be used? ie fusili
Layne Kangas says
Hi, Charlene – I think that would work! Enjoy!