Basic Baked Spaghetti

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Growing up in a home where warmth came from the kitchen, I have a special connection to my grandma’s Basic Baked Spaghetti. It’s not just another dish for us; it’s a tapestry of family stories, laughter, and cherished memories. On cold winter evenings, when the snow would silently blanket our small town, grandma would invite the neighbors over, transforming our cozy home into a bustling haven of joy.

I remember one particular night, when Mr. Thompson from next door shared tales from his youth, our laughter echoing while the tantalizing aroma of baked spaghetti filled the room. My friends would often join, lured by the mouth-watering scent wafting through the neighborhood. Today, I’m sharing this treasured recipe, tweaked just a touch, hoping to sprinkle a dash of my family’s warmth onto your dinner table.

How to Prepare Basic Baked Spaghetti


  • About 3/4 pound of lean minced meat
  • 1 container (roughly 16 ounces) of marinara sauce
  • 1 package (around 1 pound) of spaghetti pasta
  • 1 cup of mild Cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Warm up your oven to 350 degrees F (approximately 175 degrees C).
  2. In a spacious skillet, sauté the minced meat on medium-high heat till it’s nicely browned and fragmented, usually around 8-10 minutes. Mix in the marinara sauce with the meat. Allow it to simmer on a low flame.
  3. In parallel, get a large pot and fill it with water and a pinch of salt. Once it reaches boiling point, introduce the spaghetti and cook until it’s perfectly al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain the water once done.
  4. Combine the spaghetti with the meat and sauce mixture. Blend well. Pour this mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish and garnish with the grated Cheddar cheese on top.
  5. Place the dish in your preheated oven and let it bake until the cheese turns bubbly and the dish is heated throughout. This should take about 30 minutes.

Frequent Asked Questions:

What are some serving suggestions for baked spaghetti?

Baked spaghetti is a complete meal on its own, but it pairs wonderfully with various sides. Consider serving it with a classic Caesar salad, tomato avocado salad, or an arugula salad for some greens. For bread, homemade breadsticks, French bread, rustic garlic Parmesan herb bread, or classic garlic bread are excellent choices. You might also add some vegetables to the side, such as grilled veggies, garlic butter roasted brussels sprouts, or roasted asparagus​​.

How do I prevent my baked spaghetti from drying out?

To prevent baked spaghetti from drying out, ensure you use enough sauce and avoid overbaking. Incorporating ingredients like crushed tomatoes in puree plus heavy cream can add extra moisture and richness​​.

Should I cook pasta before baking it in the oven?

Yes, pasta needs to be boiled in salted water until it’s al dente before baking. This step is crucial because pasta will not cook through properly if added directly to the bake without pre-cooking​​.

Can baked spaghetti be made ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can assemble the entire casserole a day in advance, tightly cover, and refrigerate it without baking. Alternatively, you can prepare the sauce up to 3 days in advance and refrigerate or freeze it for up to 3 months, enhancing its flavor​​.

How do I store and reheat leftovers?

Store leftover baked spaghetti in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. For reheating, you can use the microwave for single portions or the oven for larger amounts. When using the oven, cover the spaghetti with foil and bake at a moderate temperature until warmed through​​​​.

Can baked spaghetti be frozen?

Yes, baked spaghetti freezes well. For best results, cool the dish completely before freezing. Wrap it properly to avoid freezer burn and store for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating as usual​​​​.

What variations can I try with baked spaghetti?

Baked spaghetti is quite versatile. Consider experimenting with different types of meat, such as sausage or chicken, or adding more vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or zucchini. You can also try different cheeses or sauce types to customize the dish to your taste preferences​​.

How do I know when baked spaghetti is done?

The easiest way to tell if baked spaghetti is done is by checking the cheese on top. Once the cheese is melted and slightly golden, the dish should be thoroughly heated and ready to serve​​.

Should I cover the spaghetti bake while it’s in the oven?

It’s not always necessary to cover baked spaghetti, especially if it has ample sauce to prevent drying. However, if you’re concerned, you can cover it for the first part of baking and then finish baking uncovered to allow the cheese to brown​​.

Are there any tips for making the perfect baked spaghetti?

For a delicious baked spaghetti, focus on layering flavors. Start with a rich, meaty sauce, then layer with cooked pasta and a mix of cheeses. Don’t forget to season each component well. Cooking the pasta to just shy of al dente will ensure it doesn’t become too soft during baking. Lastly, adding a layer of cheese on top that browns during baking can create a desirable texture and flavor​​.

Basic Baked Spaghetti

Serve up smiles with this cheesy baked spaghetti, a satisfying dish that pairs perfectly with a side of garlic bread.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 59 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 10


  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 16 ounce jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Cook beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crumbly and brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir spaghetti sauce into beef. Reduce heat and simmer.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in spaghetti; cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.
  • Add spaghetti to meat mixture; mix well. Transfer to a 9x13-inch dish. Top with Cheddar cheese.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until heated through and cheese is bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Keyword cheddar, cheesy, spaghetti

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