Baked spaghetti casserole is a family favorite dinner that’s filled with pasta, cheese, and an easy spaghetti meat sauce. This gets gobbled up by even the pickiest eaters when I make it for dinner. Serve with a salad and garlic bread for a delicious and heart family dinner.
BAKED SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE RECIPE
Sometimes I make things for dinner and they are such a smashing success that I just have to share it right away with you all. And I mean ‘smashing success’ as in all my kids ate their plates, actually licked their plates clean, of this baked spaghetti casserole.
I don’t know what dinner is like at your house but I’ll be honest and say that at my house it’s one of the most stressful times of my day. Eating dinner together is so important but gosh, can’t those kids make it a little easier to do family dinner 🙂
We always have at least one kid crying because dinner is gross and then the other kid spilling their milk cup all over, and last but not least one kid leaving because we are making him eat his dinner.
Life is so exciting with kids, right?! ♥
This baked spaghetti casserole is already one of our favorite dinners. It’s cheesy, like really cheesy, and it’s full of angel hair pasta, cottage cheese, and an easy spaghetti meat sauce that’s really delicious and you wouldn’t even think that it started with a jar of pasta sauce.
It does require a few pans to make the meat sauce, boil the noodles, mix up the cheeses and eggs, and then of course the baking dish to layer all the ingredients in. It’s one of those dinners that you don’t mind all the dishes because it’s just so yummy and the kids eat it willingly. My kids eating dinner willingly is literally worth all the dirty dishes to make this recipe!
I love to garnish the top with some chopped fresh parsley. Not only does it make it look prettier but it adds a nice subtly punch of flavor too.
Just remember that baked spaghetti is not supposed to be a low-calorie dinner, haha 🙂 The recipe calls for cottage cheese, 4 cups of cheese, and an entire pound of pasta. But don’t skimp on any of that, ok?! Promise me!
How to make baked spaghetti casserole
- Brown a pound of ground beef with an onion and salt. Once cooked and drained, add some seasonings along with a jar of store-bought pasta sauce. Or you can be really adventurous and make your own pasta sauce instead. Reduce the heat and let this simmer while you cook the pasta.
- Cook the angel hair pasta according to package instructions. Cook to al dente, usually about 4 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking combine the eggs, parmesan cheese and melted butter into a small mixing bowl. When the pasta is cooked and drained, add the egg mixture in with the hot pasta and stir to coat.
- Now you can assemble the casserole. Half the noodles, topped with half the cottage cheese, half the meat sauce, and half the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers one more time.
- Cover with tin foil and let it bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, and let it bake an additional 20 minutes.
This is our favorite recipe for baked spaghetti casserole because it holds it’s shape very well. I’ve made lots of baked spaghetti casseroles that are so soupy and full of liquid. Not this one. This casserole easily cuts into squares.
Tips for making baked spaghetti casserole
- Shredding your own cheese makes a BIG difference. The bagged, pre-shredded cheese contains a coating that prevents it from sticking, but it also prevents it from melting easily. Which is why it’s best to shred your own. But YES you can use the pre-shredded stuff. I like to buy the fresh whole milk mozzarella that comes in a big square. You can find it by the other block cheese at the grocery store.
- Be sure and salt your pasta water before adding the pasta. A lot of people forget to do this but it’s so important. It adds tons of flavor to the otherwise boring pasta and makes any pasta dish taste better. I add roughly about 1 teaspoon of salt into the pasta water.
- Remember to spray the side of the tin foil that touches the food with cooking spray. The casserole dish will be full so when you cover it with tin foil, more than likely some will stick to the tin foil. Spraying that side with cooking spray prevents it from sticking.
- This serves 8-12 people. If you are serving it with a salad and garlic bread then you could get 12 servings from it. I cut it into 8 squares and my family only ate 4 of the squares as they are big, hearty servings each.
- Angel hair pasta works best in this casserole. I don’t know why but it just tastes better. I have tried it with regular spaghetti noodles and it was too thick, the ratios were just off. Angel hair pasta is a very common pasta so be sure and buy that one.
Try these other spaghetti dinner recipes
Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- 1 box (16 oz) angel hair pasta
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 jar (24 oz) tomato basil pasta sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 cups whole-fat 4% cottage cheese (16 oz container)
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by spraying with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook to al dente (about 4 minutes for angel hair pasta). When done cooking, drain the pasta and return to pot.
- In a skillet pan, over medium high heat, cook ground beef, onion, and salt until no longer pink. Crumble the ground beef as you cook it. Drain. Add the pasta sauce, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Stir and reduce heat to low. Let it simmer until ready to assemble casserole.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine eggs, parmesan cheese, and melted butter. Stir together and pour over the hot, cooked pasta. Mix well to make sure all noodles are coated.
- Assemble the casserole : place half the pasta mixture in the baking dish, top with half the cottage cheese, half the meat sauce, and half the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers one more time.
- Spray one side of a piece of tin foil and cover the baking dish. Cooking spray side down. Cook for 40 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 15-20 or until cheese is melted and lightly golden brown.
- Let cool for about 5 minutes and then cut into squares and serve. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if wanted.
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