This easy Baked Spaghetti is made with a homemade Italian sausage spaghetti sauce, cooked spaghetti and loads of cheese! Make ahead and freezer friendly!
See step by step recipe video down in the recipe card.
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Spaghetti with meat sauce is one of our family’s favorite dinners, but there are times when you just want something you can make ahead and not worry about stirring a bunch of different pots at once (although this classic Spaghetti and Meatballs will forever be a favorite!).
But this Baked Spaghetti is well loved because I can do all of the prep in advance, and then just pop it in the oven when we need it!
This is great for weekend meal prepping because it can be covered and stored for up to 4 days, provided all of your ingredients are fresh when you start.
When you pull it out of the oven all golden and bubbly, everyone will think you’ve been slaving over it all day! 😉
Can’t get enough spaghetti? Try this Chicken Spaghetti next!
How to make Baked Spaghetti:
- Make your sauce: brown your meat and onions in a large skillet, then add your spices and tomato sauce.
- Cook your spaghetti: you can do this while your sauce is cooking, but you do want it to take it out a couple minutes before it’s done so that it doesn’t get mushy in the oven. For this reason, you’ll need to keep an eye on it so don’t get distracted!
- Stir together your spaghetti and sauce, or layer them. The choice is yours! Choosing one or the other won’t really make much difference in the end result.
- Spread it all into a greased 9×13″ baking dish and top with cheese, cheese and more cheese! The melty layer of cheese is one of our favorite things about this Baked Spaghetti.
- Cover and refrigerate, or bake! If you do refrigerate before baking, you may have to bake it a little longer so that it is nice and hot and bubbly before serving.
Substitutions and variations:
There are lots of ways to make this Baked Spaghetti your own! Here are a few of our favorite ways to mix it up:
- Swap the Italian sausage for Italian turkey or chicken sausage for a lighter spin. You can also use ground beef if that’s all you have, but you may want to increase the spices to compensate.
- Use another pasta shape: since the pasta is boiled separately, you just have to make sure that whatever pasta you are cooking is removed from the cooking water a couple minutes before it is tender so that it doesn’t overcook in the oven.
- Add more veggies! Most vegetables go well in here, so it’s a great way to clean out the fridge. Chopped spinach, kale, shredded carrots or zucchini, diced peppers or mushrooms are all great ideas.
- Spice it up: I use mild Italian sausage because that’s what our family prefers, but you can easily swap it for hot Italian sausage or add in a ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper if you need some heat!
How to prep Baked Spaghetti for another day:
There are a couple ways to prep this spaghetti bake ahead to make your life easier when you need it!
- Cook the sauce in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 3 months. This is a great way to prep for many different meals, as this sauce is a great addition to any pasta or even sub it in for the sauce in this Easy Lasagna Recipe or Crockpot Lasagna.
- Prep the Baked Spaghetti entirely up to the point of baking. Cover with plastic wrap and foil (or a lid, but make sure it is air tight) and refrigerate up to 4 days before baking and serving.
How to freeze a pasta bake:
This spaghetti recipe is one of our favorite freezer meals! It’s a lifesaver when back to school and busy days hit.
- Prepare the baked spaghetti up to the point of baking, but don’t bake.
- Let cool to room temperature — ideally, put it in the fridge, uncovered for a couple of hours to cool off.
- Cover with plastic wrap and foil, or an air tight lid (you really have to be careful about this because you don’t want it to be freezer burnt!) and freeze on a flat shelf for up to 3 months.
- To serve, I recommend thawing overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 6 hours. Place in a 350 degree F oven and bake until heated through — if it is still partially frozen, I recommend covering with foil or a lid while baking so that it heats more evenly. Reheating will take between 30 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on how cold or frozen it was to begin with.
More baked pastas you’ll love!
Easy, prep ahead and freezer friendly meals for the whole family.
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- 1 lb Italian sausage (mild or spicy)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 798 ml diced tomatoes (28 ounces)
- 375 grams uncooked spaghetti (about ¾ pound)
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- To make your sauce, start by crumbling Italian sausage in a large skillet. Add diced onions. Cook sausage and onion over medium heat, stirring often, until meat is browned and onions are softened.
- Stir in garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute.
- Stir in tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Let simmer while you cook your spaghetti.
- *Preheat oven to 375 degrees F if baking right away.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a couple teaspoons of salt. Cook spaghetti just to al dente (we don't want it too soft since we are going to be baking it yet).
- Drain spaghetti and spread into a lightly greased 9×13" baking dish. Pour sauce over top and stir to combine.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and bake at 375 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly and cheese is lightly browned. Serve.
- *See post above for tips on refrigerating, freezing, and baking later.
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