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With spaghetti swirled in a tangy tomato sauce and topped with bubbling cheese, this Easy Baked Spaghetti is a casserole the whole family will love. When I say this pasta bake is easy, I mean it’s E.A.S.Y! You don’t even have to cook the spaghetti first. Just add the ingredients to your baking dish, place it in the oven, and pull out the fully-baked spaghetti casserole before you know it. Dinner doesn’t get any simpler than this!
Table of Contents
- Recipe At a Glance
- Baked Spaghetti Video Tutorial
- Ingredients to Make Easy Baked Spaghetti
- Popular Substitutions & Additions
- How to Make Baked Spaghetti
- Tips for Making the Best Baked Spaghetti
- What to Serve With Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- How to Store & Reheat Easy Baked Spaghetti
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Pasta Recipes
- Easy Baked Spaghetti Recipe
I grew up with my mom making “macarona bil furun,” which is Arabic for spaghetti in the oven, or spaghetti casserole. Basically, the recipe entailed cooking spaghetti, making a chunky meat sauce on the stovetop, mixing them together, and baking in the oven. This easy baked spaghetti is a variation of that hearty, comforting recipe from my childhood–but more simplified!
This baked spaghetti casserole is truly the perfect weeknight dinner recipe. The baking time takes the longest, but with a little planning ahead and around 10 minutes of hands-on time, dinner will be nearly effortless. Pop a pan of this pasta bake recipe into the oven and enjoy the free time to help the kids with their homework, or relax and open the book you’ve been meaning to read. You’ve earned it!
Recipe At a Glance
Cuisine Inspiration: Lebanese, Italian, & American
Primary Cooking Method: Oven
Dietary Info: Vegetarian
Key Flavor: Tangy tomatoes and savory cheese
Skill Level: Beginner
- Cheesy pasta goodness: This easy baked spaghetti is comfort food bliss, but with some veggies thrown in for a few extra nutrients, too.
- One-pan meal: Everything is tossed and baked together for an easy lunch or dinner meal with hardly any dishes!
- Feeds a crowd: This baked spaghetti recipe feeds eight, so it’s great for a larger group–or enjoy the leftovers all week long!
- No need to precook the pasta: This method of cooking pasta might have its doubters, but it works! When you toss the pasta with olive oil and the right amount of marinara and water, it results in tender, perfectly cooked pasta baked right in the oven.
- Perfect meal-prep recipe: I always make a double batch of this meal and then store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
Baked Spaghetti Video Tutorial
Ingredients to Make Easy Baked Spaghetti
- Spaghetti: A one pound (16-ounce) bag of spaghetti pasta is what’s needed here. Another thin, long shape like linguine or angel hair will work as well, or feel free to experiment with other pasta shapes like rotini or penne. Whole wheat spaghetti is great, too!
- Olive oil: To coat the pasta so that it doesn’t stick together when cooking.
- Onion, green bell pepper, and garlic: For flavor, texture, and an added boost of nutrients.
- Salt: The must-have flavor enhancer.
- Italian seasoning: This seasoning mix is a great way to add the flavor of several herbs, but if you don’t have any, you can use a mix of dried basil, thyme, marjoram, and/or rosemary.
- Canned diced tomatoes: Add the whole can, juices and all.
- Marinara sauce: Use your favorite jarred or homemade marinara.
- Fresh basil: Adds a bright, herbal note. I like to chop up a few extra leaves for garnish, too.
- Mozzarella cheese: Whole milk or part-skim mozzarella both work. I recommend shredding it yourself vs. pre-shredded because some packaged shredded cheeses contain anti-caking agents that prevent the cheese from melting well.
- Parmesan cheese: For adding some extra cheesy flavor.
Popular Substitutions & Additions
The great thing about this no-meat baked spaghetti recipe is that you can make it a different way every time without exact measurements really needed. You can use whatever you have on hand, changing it up however you like.
- Add meat. I made this vegetarian so that it’s all baked in a single pan. But if you’d like, you can add ground beef, ground turkey, or chicken to the recipe. Just cook it on the stovetop first and add it to your pasta bake recipe when you add the tomatoes.
- Make it vegan. On the flip side, this easy baked spaghetti pasta has no meat, so it’s very easy to make this a plant-based casserole! Just swap in a vegan cheese that melts well.
- Incorporate more vegetables. I only use onions and peppers, but mushrooms work really well in this recipe, as well as spinach, zucchini, eggplant, or even olives.
- Change up the sauce. Instead of marinara, try a creamy alfredo sauce or pesto sauce!
How to Make Baked Spaghetti
First, lay the pasta in a 9×13 baking dish and coat it with olive oil and seasonings. Stir in the veggies, tomatoes, and sauce, and bake until the pasta is almost to the al dente stage. At this point, you’ll remove your baked spaghetti casserole from the oven and toss it again, then cover it in shredded mozzarella. After that, your easy-baked spaghetti goes back into the oven to finish cooking. That’s it!
Add Ingredients To the Pan and Bake
- Lay the pasta in your baking dish and drizzle on the olive oil. Add the garlic, onions, Italian seasoning, and salt. Use your hands to toss and evenly coat the pasta.
- Add the bell pepper, diced tomatoes, water, marinara, and fresh basil.
- Use tongs to mix it all together and bake.
- Remove the pasta from the oven and toss the spaghetti with the tongs.
Top with Cheese and Return to the Oven
- Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the spaghetti, and return it to the oven.
- Bake until the pasta is tender, the sauce is bubbling, and the cheese is thoroughly melted.
Tips for Making the Best Baked Spaghetti
- Coat the spaghetti with the olive oil. Since you will not cook the spaghetti before placing it in the baking dish, it’s important to coat the spaghetti with olive oil to make sure it doesn’t stick together while baking in the oven.
- Salt the spaghetti before it bakes. Just as it’s important to add salt when cooking spaghetti traditionally, it’s the same idea when baking spaghetti. Add the salt right to the pasta in the beginning for best flavor.
- Make sure to use enough liquid for the spaghetti. These one pan meals can be tricky to measure the right amount of liquid for pasta. But in general, 4 ounces of pasta will take about 1 cup of liquid. I like it a little more saucy, so I use 5 cups of liquid for 16 ounces of pasta. A good rule of thumb is to make sure there is enough liquid to cover the pasta in the baking dish.
- Don’t cover the baked spaghetti in the oven. It may seem necessary to cover the dish so that the cheese doesn’t burn or the spaghetti doesn’t dry out, but it’s not important to do this. And I would recommend against it because you’ll miss out on the bubbly, crusty, cheesy top.
What to Serve With Baked Spaghetti Casserole
This pasta bake recipe is a great meal within itself, but for some extra goodness, it can be served with a veggie side or a fresh salad. Garlic bread is always welcome, too! Here are some ideas:
How to Store & Reheat Easy Baked Spaghetti
Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. To reheat, place in a 350°F oven until warmed through, or warm gently in a pan on the stovetop with a splash of water. You can also reheat easy-baked spaghetti in the microwave. I recommend covering it with a paper towel to reduce splattering, then microwave on high in 30-second increments until warmed through.
How Long Will Easy Baked Spaghetti Last in the Fridge?
This easy baked spaghetti will keep in the refrigerator for four to five days.
Can I Freeze This Pasta Bake Recipe?
Yes! You can freeze it before you bake it. Assemble the casserole ingredients in the pan and wrap it securely and freeze. Transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight and bake according to the instructions. You can also freeze the baked spaghetti for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm in the oven until piping hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
While the recipe has not been tested with gluten-free pasta, readers have reported subbing gluten-free brown rice pasta with success.
Yes, you can sub in a cup or two of milk or heavy cream instead of water for a creamier version.
Yes, you can skip the cheese, and it will still be delicious!
With easy assembly, very little hands-on time, and just a couple of dishes to wash–all resulting in the most delicious baked spaghetti casserole–this pasta bake recipe is a dinnertime hero! Enjoy this easy baked spaghetti as a meal-in-one or add a quick green salad and some garlic bread for larger meal. Either way, it’s easy, cheesy, and so good!
More Pasta Recipes
- Pesto Spaghetti
- One Pot Turkey Pasta
- Baked Feta Pasta
- Homemade Lasagna
- Pasta Bolognese
- One Pan Pasta
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- Cheese Stuffed Shells
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This baked spaghetti recipe was originally published on February 2, 2019 and has been recently updated. The recipe remains the same with new photography.
Easy Baked Spaghetti
- 1 pound spaghetti
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 (14.5-ounce) canned diced tomatoes
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups marinara
- ¼ cup chopped basil plus more for garnish
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- Grated parmesan cheese for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Place the uncooked spaghetti in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Add the olive oil, garlic, onions, Italian seasoning and salt. Use your hands to gently toss and evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Add the bell pepper, canned diced tomatoes, water, marinara and basil on top of the spaghetti, and toss it again using tongs to evenly coat the spaghetti with the sauce and vegetables.
- Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Toss the spaghetti and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Continue baking uncovered for 15-20 more minutes or until the top is browned and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven, garnish with fresh basil and parmesan cheese and serve.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However this recipe is very loose and easy to adapt to your preferences. Serving Size: One serving is about 2 ounces of spaghetti.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.