Cheesy Spaghetti is a great twist on your regular spaghetti dinner. A classic pasta dinner smothered in cheese. If you love cheese, this will become one of your favorite dinner recipes!
This recipe is a favorite dinner in our house! We originally had this dinner at a local restaurant. It is basically spaghetti noodles and spaghetti sauce with mozzarella cheese melted over it… Ohhhh, it's so good! It's an Easy Baked Spaghetti Recipe for busy weeknights and will help you get a delicious meal on the dinner table. You can even cook up some Italian sausage in the air fryer while the pasta is cooking to add some protein to the meal.
Why make Cheesy Spaghetti over Traditional Spaghetti?
One word...cheese. If you love cheese, this (or my cheesy tortellini) is the dinner for you! Our whole family loves cheese, so this is one of our favorites.
When I make this recipe for my family, I use my easy recipe for crockpot spaghetti sauce. It's a great recipe because you put all the ingredients in your crockpot, and it simmers all day, making a delicious sauce.
Short on time? You can still make this recipe by using a jar of pasta sauce from the grocery store. If you are using jar sauce, warm the sauce in a pot on the stovetop on low to medium heat.
- Spaghetti Sauce (I use my crockpot spaghetti sauce recipe, but you can use your favorite sauce)
- Parmesan Cheese, grated
- Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- Fresh Herbs, optional - Using fresh herbs is optional as they are used as a garnish. Great ones to use are fresh oregano or fresh basil.
- Optional - Ground beef, Italian sausage, premade meatballs, or chicken if you want to make Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti.
🥣 How to Make Cheesy Spaghetti
Prepare your spaghetti sauce. As I mentioned, I make my spaghetti sauce in my crockpot. I love how easy it is to make it that way, and it tastes so flavorful after the ingredients have mingled in the crockpot all day.
🥩 How to Prepare Meat for Cheesy Spaghetti
Timesaving Tip: Instead of making meatballs, I like to cook the beef or Italian sausage in my cast iron skillet and break it into small pieces. I use a spatula or large spoon to break up the beef while it is cooking. (You can also bake Italian sausage in the oven or cook sausage in the air fryer to add to the sauce.)
Cook the beef on medium heat, stirring often to break up the meat into small pieces, until it is browned. Drain off the excess fat.
If you are using my crockpot recipe, add the cooked meat to the crockpot. Make sure you read the full recipe for the crockpot spaghetti before making the baked spaghetti if you are using that recipe.
If you are using your own favorite sauce or a jar of sauce, add the cooked meat to your pot with the sauce and let it warm up on low to medium heat. You might want to add a little garlic powder to the sauce for added flavor (I love garlic, how about you?).
If you prefer making meatballs, here is a great recipe to make them.
Once the sauce and meat are both prepared, cook your spaghetti until they are al dente, following the directions on the box. Each box varies, so make sure to follow the package directions. We like to use whole-grain pasta for our dinner.
🥘 How to Bake the Spaghetti
After you have all your ingredients ready, place the rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat your broiler to high heat.
Place the cooked noodles in a 13 x 9 baking dish or on oven-safe dinner plates. Then generously cover the noodles with the spaghetti sauce until all the noodles are covered. Completely covering the pasta will prevent the noodles from drying out while under the broiler.
Sprinkle a little grated Parmesan cheese over the sauce.
Generously add the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce. It is hard to give an exact measurement for the mozzarella cheese because it all depends on the size of the dish that you will be using.
Place the dish in the middle of the oven and broil it for one and a half minutes. Make sure to place the plates/baking dish directly under your broiler. Remove the dishes from the oven once the cheese melts and browns a little on top.
Tip: This spaghetti recipe can be made in a 13 x 9 pan or on individual plates. If you are using dinner plates, just make sure they are oven safe.
Why use individual plates when baking? This way is easier to serve it, and everyone gets as much melted mozzarella cheese as they want. It also looks prettier when served on a plate.
The cheese will melt and brown slightly. Be very careful taking the dish out as it will be hot!
You can always add more sauce (or cheese) to each individual serving…depending on how much you like.
⏲️ How Long Does it Take to Make this Cheesy Spaghetti Bake?
When making this recipe for Cheesy Spaghetti, I use my recipe for Crockpot Spaghetti to make the meat sauce. If you are doing this as well, the meat sauce prep takes about 30 minutes, and it will cook in the crockpot on high for 4-6 hours (or low for 6-8 hours).
If you are short on time... Then you can use a jar of spaghetti sauce from the grocery store. Just brown the beef or make meatballs and add them to your sauce. If you make the recipe that way, it will take about 40-45 minutes.
🍝 How to Serve Cheesy Pasta
If you are making it on individual plates, you can serve it right from the oven to the table. Just be careful, as the plates will be hot.
If you are making this recipe in a baking dish, it is a good idea to serve it using a slotted spatula. Sometimes there can be excess moisture at the bottom of the pan. This way, you are draining off any excess, and the sauce will not be as runny.
Garnish with fresh herbs like oregano or basil if you want to add a little something to your finished dish.
- Make Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti - Cut up a rotisserie chicken and mix it into the spaghetti or fry some breaded chicken cutlets and place them on top to make a Baked Spaghetti Chicken Parmesan.
- Use Alfredo Sauce instead of red sauce to make Alfredo Baked Spaghetti.
- Add a little cream cheese to your sauce to make a creamy cheesy sauce for your baked spaghetti.
- Change up the Pasta - use elbow macaroni or bowtie pasta to make a fun Italian baked pasta.
- Use different cheeses. Mozzarella and Parmesan are traditionally served with Baked Spaghetti, but you can add whatever your family likes - cheddar cheese is also a popular option.
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
🥗 What to Serve with Baked Spaghetti
Great side dish recipes to go with this are a side green salad, garlic bread, or air-fried pizza rolls.
Looking for a meatless dinner? This can be made as a meatless dinner by omitting the beef.
Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and rating below. I love hearing from you.
Easy Cheesy Spaghetti
- 6 ounces spaghetti I use half of a 12 ounce box for my family of four
- Spaghetti sauce, using my crockpot spaghetti recipe You can use a jar of sauce if you prefer
- Grated Parmesan cheese (to sprinkle over the sauce)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (may use more or less depending on how much cheese you like)
- Fresh herbs to garnish, optional
- 1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
- Prepare spaghetti sauce by using my recipe for Crockpot Spaghetti (or you can use a jar of sauce from the grocery store.)Spaghetti sauce, using my crockpot spaghetti recipe
- Cook the beef in a skillet on medium heat until the meat is browned. Drain off excess fat. Place the cooked beef into your crockpot or pot, depending on how you are cooking your sauce. Again, if you are using my Crockpot Spaghetti sauce recipe, refer to that recipe for full list of directions.1 pound ground beef
- Once you have the sauce ready, cook the spaghetti noodles as directed on package.6 ounces spaghetti
- Preheat broiler to high heat.
- Place cooked noodles in a baking dish or individual serving dishes. Cover generously with spaghetti sauce.
- Sprinkle a little grated Parmesan cheese over the sauce. Spread a generous amount of shredded mozzarella cheese over sauce.Grated Parmesan cheese, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Place in middle of oven and broil for 1 ½ minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Finish with fresh herbs.Fresh herbs to garnish, optional
Update Note: This recipe was originally posted in 2015, but was published again in 2020 & 2023 to include step by step directions and new photos.