Million Dollar Spaghetti

5 from 4 votes

This baked million dollar spaghetti casserole is an easy, hearty, and budget-friendly recipe that is great to feed a family or a crowd. Although it tastes best just out of the oven, it is freezer-friendly and can be made ahead.

You have to try my other spaghetti recipes – Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti Aglio E Olio and Haitian Spaghetti for your fancy and comforting dinners.

Million dollar spaghetti served on a plate.
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About This Recipe

Million dollar spaghetti is a rich, creamy, and hearty casserole dish made using spaghetti pasta, Italian sausages (or ground beef), marinara sauce, and a cheese mixture. The ingredients and taste of this pasta, make the name “million-dollar” perfectly justifiable.

Casseroles are great to feed a crowd and I always end up pulling out this million dollar spaghetti recipe whenever I have a large family gathering or a potluck. This casserole dish is super easy to make, made using simple ingredients, budget-friendly, and can be made ahead.

It is traditionally made using Italian sausages or beef, but you can load it with roasted eggplant, or zucchini, bell peppers, spinach, kale, etc. In fact, you can skip the meat and make it vegetarian too.

Ingredients

Million dollar spaghetti ingredients.

Spaghetti – While this pasta dish tastes the best with spaghetti, you can try it with other variations such as ziti, fettuccini, or rigatoni.

Marinara Sauce – I have always loved a good homemade marinara sauce for my dishes. If you are short on time, use store-bought marinara sauce. Make sure to select a good quality one, as it really makes a big change in the taste.

For a different flavor, you can replace marinara sauce with garlic parmesan sauce.

Ground beef – You can replace ground beef with Italian sausages for added flavor. This dish can also be made using ground chicken or ground pork.

Dried Italian Seasoning – To enhance the flavor add in some dried Italian seasoning. You can adjust the amount of seasoning depending upon your taste.

Cheese Mixture – The creamy and cheesy texture of this spaghetti dish comes from this divine mixture of ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and sour cream. You can replace ricotta cheese with cottage cheese too.

Mozzarella Cheese – Mozzarella cheese makes for a perfectly cheesy topping when it melts while baking.

Unsalted Butter – Unsalted butter cubes are used to bake the spaghetti along with beef and cream cheese mixture. The buttery flavor makes this dish even richer and flavorful.

Others – A few other ingredients required to finish up this million dollar spaghetti are – extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.

If you are planning to make a vegetarian version, then you replace beef with roasted vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, red onion, etc. Greens like spinach or kale will also work great.

Want to give it a pizza flavor? Then add in pepperoni, bell peppers, onions, and olive too!

How to make Million Dollar Spaghetti?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Heat 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over high heat.

Oil heating in a skillet.

Once the oil is hot, add 1 cup chopped onion and 2 teaspoon minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Onion and garlic added to the skillet.

Add 1 pound ground beef and cook until its browned (5-7 minutes).

Ground beef added to the skillet.

Add 24 ounces of marinara sauce and 2tsp dried Italian seasoning and mix well.

Half marinara sauce added to the skillet.

Check for salt and pepper and add more if needed. Remove the skillet from heat and set aside.

Salt and pepper added to ready beef.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoon salt and stir well. Add 16 oz dry spaghetti and cook as per the package direction. Drain the spaghetti.

Cooked spaghetti.

Stir the cooked spaghetti with the remaining 24 ounces of the marinara sauce.

Marinara sauce added with spaghetti.

Set aside.

Spaghetti mixed with remaining marinara sauce.

Mix 8 oz ricotta cheese, 8 oz cream cheese and 2 oz sour cream in a bowl and set aside.

Ricotta cheese, sour cream and cream cheese added to a bowl.
Ready cheese mixture.

Cut ½ cup unsalted butter into thin slices and arrange half of it on a 10×8 inch baking tray. Choose a nice tray to make this casserole as you might serve it this tray itself.

half butter spread on a baking tray.

Spread half of the cooked spaghetti on the tray evenly.

half of the spaghetti spread on the tray.

Top with the cheese mixture.

Cheese mixture spread over spaghetti.

Spread the remaining spaghetti over the cheese mixture and top with the remaining butter.

Remaining spaghetti spread over the cheese and topped with the remaining butter.

Now pour the beef mixture over the spaghetti and spread it evenly.

Beef mixture spread over the spaghetti.

Sprinkle 2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

Mozzarella cheese sprinkled all over.

Keep the tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Set the oven to broil and broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove the tray from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Cut it into pieces using a silicon spatula and serve hot.

Ready million dollar spaghetti.
Million dollar spaghetti casserole in the baking tray.

Serving Suggestions

Million Dollar Spaghetti can be served on its own, or with a side of garlic bread or a refreshing salad. As it is rich and heavy, you don’t need to serve another main course along with it.

Storage Suggestions

Although this spaghetti casserole tastes best when served just out of the oven, it is a great dish to serve later too. It reheats like a charm and can be easily frozen.

I frequently make 2 portions of baked million-dollar spaghetti so I can have one tray to serve and one to freeze.

Store the leftovers in an air-tight container for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. When ready to serve, reheat in a microwave or in a preheated oven at low temperature.

To freeze, just layer up the pasta, cover it with plastic wrap, and then with foil and pop the tray in the freezer. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and bake it to serve.

If you forget to thaw it, you can expect your cook time to be about an hour-long at least.

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This baked million dollar spaghetti casserole is an easy, hearty, and budget-friendly recipe that is great to feed a family or a crowd. Although it tastes best just out of the oven, it is freezer-friendly and can be made ahead.
5 from 4 votes

Million Dollar Spaghetti Recipe

This baked million dollar spaghetti casserole is an easy, hearty, and budget-friendly recipe that is great to feed a family or a crowd. Although it tastes best just out of the oven, it is freezer-friendly and can be made ahead.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 9 people

Ingredients 

  • 16 ounces dry spaghetti noodles
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 48 ounces marinara sauce (divided)
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 8 ounces rocotta cheese (at room temperature)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 2 ounces sour cream (at room temperature)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups shredded mozarella
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Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Heat 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add 1 cup chopped onion and 2 teaspoon minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 pound ground beef and cook until its browned (5-7 minutes).
  • Add 24 ounces of marinara sauce and 2tsp dried Italian seasoning and mix well.
  • Check for salt and pepper and add more if needed. Remove the skillet from heat and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoon salt and stir well. Add 16 oz dry spaghetti and cook as per the package direction. Drain the spaghetti.
  • Stir the cooked spaghetti with the remaining 24 ounces of the marinara sauce.
  • Set aside.
  • Mix 8 oz ricotta cheese, 8 oz cream cheese and 2 oz sour cream in a bowl and set aside.
  • Cut ½ cup unsalted butter into thin slices and arrange half of it on a 10×8 inch baking tray. Choose a nice tray to make this casserole as you might serve it this tray itself.
  • Spread half of the cooked spaghetti on the tray evenly.
  • Top with the cheese mixture.
  • Spread the remaining spaghetti over the cheese mixture and top with the remaining butter.
  • Now pour the beef mixture over the spaghetti and spread it evenly.
  • Sprinkle 2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Keep the tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Set the oven to broil and broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove the tray from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Cut it into pieces using a silicon spatula and serve hot.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

For a different flavor, you can replace marinara sauce with garlic parmesan sauce or use a mix of both sauces.
You can replace ground beef with Italian sausages for added flavor. This dish can also be made using ground chicken or ground pork.
You can replace ricotta cheese with cottage cheese too.
If you are planning to make a vegetarian version, then you replace beef with roasted vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, red onion, etc. Greens like spinach or kale will also work great.
Want to give it a pizza flavor? Then add in pepperoni, bell peppers, onions, and olive too!

Nutrition

Calories: 648kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 41g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 101mg, Sodium: 1344mg, Potassium: 848mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1391IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 107mg, Iron: 3mg
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