There’s nothing better than a classic Spaghetti Bake. Made with layers of delectable tomato sauce, meat, and gooey cheese, it’s no wonder it’s a total staple in our household.
Now, when I was a kid, this was one of my favorite comfort foods. Whether I’d had a bad grade, a scraped knee, or just needed some TLC, a piping-hot Spaghetti Bake was always what the doctor ordered.
So, if you love traditional spaghetti dishes but want to try an alternative carb-filled delight, then simply keep reading.
You can make this with ground beef, but I like using Italian sausage for a hint of spice and a bolder flavor. I also find that it keeps better without drying out, making it perfect for lunchtime leftovers!
There’s plenty to love about a classic Spaghetti bake, but what makes this one of my favorite recipes is the creamy cheese sauce. Smooth, velvety, and next-level delicious, it’s on top of the spaghetti mixture but under the layer of shredded cheese. The result? A rich and flavorful cheese-fest.
Just a word of warning before I move on – this dish can get messy (both in preparation and eating!), so come prepped with your best bib and cooking apron to keep clean-up minimal.
Why You’ll Love Spaghetti Bake
- It’s a filling family dinner
- Perfect for leftovers
- Comfort food without the crazy calories
- Easy to store and freeze
- Cheap to make and the cost per portion is low
- Mild Italian sausages
- Dried basil
- Can of diced tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Baby spinach
- All-purpose flour
- Mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
How to Make Spaghetti Bake
- Step One: Preheat oven to 375F.
- Step Two: Cook the sausage in a large pan over medium-high heat until it’s no longer pink. Stir often to crumble the sausage.
- Step Three: Add onions, garlic, and dried basil and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Step Four: Add mushrooms and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Step Five: Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Step Six: Stir in spinach and remove from heat.
- Step Seven: In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
- Step Eight: Whisk in milk and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, whisking constantly. Once the mixture is thickened, stir in 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and salt.
- Step Nine: In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Cook spaghetti for 5 minutes. Drain. Add to the meat sauce and stir.
- Step Ten: Spread meat mixture into a 9×13 inch casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
- Step Eleven: Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden. Serve hot.
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What to Serve with Spaghetti Bake
For the ultimate Italian feast, pair your glorious Spaghetti Bake with some of the sides below:
- Garlic Bread
- Air Fryer Cauliflower
- Italian Sausage and Vegetable Stew
- Minestrone Soup
- Tiramisu Brownies
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Don’t overcook the sausages – it’ll be tricky to this when if they’re in a pan, but if you char the outside or they’re not juicy enough, it’ll bring your dish down!
- Don’t underestimate the power of a good simmer – I know that it’s tempting to under-simmer when you just want food on the table. However, not letting your sauce reduce slightly before baking may leave you with a sopping mess on your hands instead of a delightful bake.
- Don’t burn the butter – keep heat medium and constantly whisk when you add flour to your cheese sauce to avoid a crumbly, overcooked disaster!
- Be careful of using too much heat to create the cheese sauce – it’s not critical, but when you add milk to the butter and flour mixture, you want it to seamlessly blend and not curdle. If things start curdling, it’s best to start over!
- Always add a dash of salt to your pasta – trust me.
- Keep your casserole dish on the middle tray of the oven while baking. This will allow it to brown evenly for a perfect, cheesy finish!
Variations and Substitutions
- If you’re lactose-intolerant, consider using dairy-free cheese and milk in this recipe. The result won’t be quite as cheesy, but it still packs a punch!
- Replace sausage with ground beef or chicken for a different flavor profile.
- Add a small amount of cheddar to your cheese topping for a slightly sharper, mature taste.
Any baked pasta should keep in the fridge for 4 or 5 days.
However, I’d say 3 days is optimal. After that time, things start going dry.
Keep your bake in an airtight container. You don’t need to pre-portion this bake, but it makes it easier when it comes to reheating.
Can I Freeze?
You can keep this Spaghetti Bake in the freezer for up to three months. Simply portion it out into freezer containers, and freeze!
Alternatively, you can use plastic freezer bags and pop the date on each portion in a permanent marker to keep track of use-by dates.
When you’re ready to eat, take out a portion the night before and that. Then, blast it in the microwave or reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure that food is piping hot before serving, but you should be good to go otherwise.
Top tip – if you want to make your bake creamy again, reheat it with a spot of milk. This should reintroduce some moisture to the dish that you’ll certainly appreciate!
If you enjoyed this Spaghetti Bake recipe, then you’re sure to love some of my other dinner recipes!
- Spaghetti Casserole
- Shipwreck Casserole
- One-Pan Spaghetti
- Spaghetti Pie
- Chicken Alfredo Pierogi Casserole
Do you have any amazing Italian recipes that you’d love to share?
Whether it’s a twist on a classic or something totally out-there, I’d love to hear about it!
If you make the recipe, rate it on the recipe card below and tag me on Instagram and use #simplystacie. I like sharing the photos on my Instagram stories!
- 5 mild Italian sausages, casing removed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 (5.5oz) can tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 6 oz spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Cook sausage in a large pan over medium high heat until no longer pink. Stir often to crumble the sausage.
- Add onions, garlic and dried basil and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Add mushrooms and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in spinach and remove from heat.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
- Whisk in milk and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, whisking constantly. Once mixture is thickened, stir in 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and salt.
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Cook spaghetti for 5 minutes. Drain. Add to meat sauce and stir.
- Spread meat mixture into an 9x13 inch casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden. Serve hot.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 525Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 1058mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 30g