Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs is an easy casserole with layers of spaghetti coated in sauce, cheese, and meatballs! This tasty comfort food dinner can be loaded with cheesy goodness to please your entire family! Plus, it's the perfect use of leftovers from a spaghetti dinner!
This delicious spaghetti casserole is easy to make and a superb use of leftovers from your spaghetti dinners!
- Pasta: Any long pasta will work in this dish. Spaghetti or thin spaghetti pasta noodles are my preferred picks. However, smaller pastas like penne, rigatoni, farfalle (bowtie pasta), shells or whatever you have on hand will work in a pinch!
- Sauce: Homemade spaghetti sauce or marinara are wonderful, but for the sake of time your favorite store bought sauces can also be used. Spice up commercial sauces to taste like homemade by adding fresh Italian herbs like basil and oregano. One of my secrets for amazing spaghetti sauce (and pizza sauce) is to grind up dried fennel seeds and add them to any store bought or homemade sauce.
- Meatballs: This is one component that I always prefer to use homemade meatballs. Meatballs can be made ahead of time and frozen for serving later, or cooked up fresh for a spaghetti dinner and/or this easy casserole. I like to use mild or sweet Italian sausage for my Italian meatballs, but sausage can also be combined with ground beef or the meatballs can be made with hamburger meat only.
- Cheese: Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses are a must have for this tasty dinner! Mix freshly grated mozzarella into the spaghetti and sauce layers, or add in between layers. A layer of Ricotta or mascarpone cheese can also be added between spaghetti layers. You also can make your cream cheese or cottage cheese 'Italian-ey' with added fresh basil for a substitution.
- Vegetable Stir-Ins: (Optional) Add some more vegetables to this saucy dish! Mushrooms are a family favorite, plus everyone likes some zucchini or red peppers and my daughter requests olives on occasion.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
- Start with preheating your oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Next, grease or spray your casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray while you cook your pasta. Start your pasta in a large pot or Dutch oven with salted water. Boil and cook the pasta per the package instructions, minus 2 minutes for an al denté texture. (Since the pasta will cook while baking too.)
- Drain the cooked pasta without rinsing and return it to your stock pot or Dutch oven. Toss to coat the pasta with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning.
- Add the marinara or spaghetti sauce, the fully cooked meatballs ( see below for homemade beef meatballs instructions ), and a half cup portion of the grated mozzarella cheese. Toss to combine thoroughly.
- Transfer the combined casserole ingredients into your prepared baking dish, spreading the contents evenly. *To make your casserole look like the photo. (Yum!) Reserve several meatballs to place on the top of the pasta. Cut fresh, baby mozzarella balls into halves and place between the meatballs. (Instead of topping the casserole with the remaining ½ cup portion of grated mozzarella after 30 minutes of baking time.) Bake for 35 minutes.
- Bake at 350ºF (175ºC) for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and top with the remaining half cup portion of grated mozzarella cheese.
- Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and the casserole bubbles slightly around the edges.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, young basil leaves, chopped fresh basil or parsley, and/or Italian seasoning.
Bake Your Homemade Meatballs
- To make your homemade meatballs you can use one pound of beef as noted in the recipe below. You can also use a combination of beef and ground pork or Italian sausage, all ground pork, or all Italian sausage. (I like mild or sweet Italian sausage for meatballs.)
- Combine all of your meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl: ground beef, beaten egg, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs or Panko, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Use clean hands or a large mixing spoon to combine thoroughly.
- Roll out your meatballs into roughly 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inch sized meatballs. Then transfer to your casserole or baking dish that has been coated with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Bake at 350ºF (175ºC) for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are no longer pink inside.
Remove the meatballs from the oven when done. Then combine with pasta and sauce as directed above and in the recipe card below. Enjoy!
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
Fully cooked meatballs should have an internal temperature of 165ºF (74ºC) as read by your digital meat thermometer. This is more important in the case of a casserole that you are putting together to bake later. *Food safety is always important, but in this case it's not as important if you will be baking the spaghetti and meatballs in a few minutes - where they will continue to cook with the pasta bake.
😋 More Great Recipes
- You can also serve up some fantastic garlic bread or Texas toast on the side!
- A great side dish for spaghetti is a green salad or some rustic bread.
Do you love a recipe you tried? Please leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
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Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs
Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 1 8 oz spaghetti noodles (cooked - al dente, drained)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (ectra virgin)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 24 oz spaghetti sauce (or marinara sauce - about 4 cups)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (freshly grated, 2 equal portions of ½ cup each)
- 18 meatballs fully cooked (if using store bought)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated, or Parmesan/Romano cheese blend)
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs (Italian flavored is preferred - breadcrumbs or Panko)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon each, salt & pepper (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and grease or coat your casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. *You can use the same baking dish that the meatballs are baked in, if making homemade meatballs (see below).
- Cook the pasta in a large stock pot or Dutch oven according to the package instructions, minus 2 minutes for an al dente texture. Drain but do not rinse the pasta, then return to your pot.
- Toss the cooked pasta with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Add the marinara (or spaghetti) sauce, fully cooked meatballs, and half of the grated mozzarella cheese. Toss to combine.
- Transfer the combined casserole ingredients to your greased casserole or baking dish. Spread evenly. *To make your casserole look like the photo, I reserved several of my meatballs and used fresh baby mozzarella balls, cut in half and placed between the meatballs (instead of the remaining portion of grated mozzarella that is added after 30 minutes of cooking time). Bake for 35 minutes.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and add the remaining half cup portion of grated mozzarella cheese to the top of the pasta. Continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese is fully melted. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and basil, or chopped parsley or Italian seasoning, if desired.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, egg, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Use your hands or a large mixing spoon to combine thoroughly. Roll out meatballs into 1 ¼ - 1 ½ inch meatballs, or roughly 18 meatballs.
- Grease your casserole or baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place the meatballs in the baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, or until no longer pink inside and they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (74 degrees C) as read by a digital meat thermometer. Remove from the oven and add to the pasta casserole.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!