Easy Baked Spaghetti

5 from 161 votes

This Baked Spaghetti Recipe is a cheesy vegetarian pasta casserole dish that is simple to make, requires only one pan in the oven and a family favorite meal

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Baked spaghetti is an easy and tasty casserole meal that’s requires little prep for a delicious weeknight meal. Made with pantry staples, this simple meal is perfect for the whole family and it’s great for make ahead meals.

Two bowls of easy baked spaghetti topped with basil leaves

I grew up with my mom making “macarona bil furun” which is Arabic for spaghetti in the oven or spaghetti casserole. And basically the recipe entailed cooking spaghetti, making a chunky meat sauce on the stovetop and then 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!

Easy Baked Spaghetti is a one pan meal

It turns out you really don’t need to cook the spaghetti before baking it in the oven. I know a lot of people will disagree with this method of cooking pasta. But if you toss the pasta with olive oil, and the right amount of marinara and water, it bakes just fine! And the best part is that it’s a one-pan meal that’s all literally tossed together and baked together.

How do you make baked spaghetti

To make a traditional spaghetti casserole, you would prepare the meat sauce and vegetables and cook the spaghetti. Then mix everything together in a baking dish, top with cheese and bake until bubbly.

In my version of this easy baked spaghetti recipe, I’m making it simpler to prepare with less dishes involved. Simply throw everything in a baking dish, cover with cheese and then bake. No really, it’s that easy!

Start with a pound of spaghetti and add some olive oil and any aromatics. I would definitely recommend onions, garlic and some type of seasoning, like Italian seasoning. Then mix all those ingredients well together by hand.

Collage of uncooked pasta in baking dish

Next, add the vegetables, marinara and water. I like to use at least 1 cup of liquid for every 4 ounces of pasta. So in this case, I add 3 cups of water and 2 cups of marinara. Give everything a really good toss to incorporate all the flavors and make sure the spaghetti is coated with the olive oil and sauce.

Collage of ingredients getting added to make the dish

Now, top it with cheese and bake it in the oven until the spaghetti is tender and the cheese is bubbly. It is a totally hands-off approach so you don’t need to mix the spaghetti halfway or cover it or anything. If you want to though, you could give it a toss halfway through the baking process. But it’s completely not necessary.

When you remove it from the oven, you can top it with fresh herbs and dig in! It doesn’t get easier than this easy baked spaghetti! And the best part is you can really adapt it to include any vegetables you like, different cheeses and even meat or chicken.

Large pan of easy basked spaghetti with some slices removed

Tips for making baked spaghetti

  1. 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 the olive oil to make sure it doesn’t stick together while baking in the oven.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Close up shot of final baked spaghetti recipe

Ways to customize baked spaghetti

The great thing about this recipe is that you can literally make it a different way every time without exact measurements really needed. You can use whatever you have leftover, change it up every time and top with any shredded cheese.

Here are some fun ways to change it up:

  • Add meat. I made this vegetarian so that it’s all literally baked in one pan. But you can add some ground beef, ground turkey or chicken to the recipe. You can cook them on the stovetop or use leftovers.
  • Incorporate more vegetables. I only used 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, you can certainly use a creamy alfredo sauce or even a pesto sauce.
  • Mix up the herbs. I kept it simple with Italian seasoning and basil, but you can also use fresh orengo, rosemary or thyme.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze baked spaghetti?

If you are planning ahead for meals, you can freeze the dish before you bake it. Wrap it securely and then simply thaw it in the fridge overnight and bake as per the instructions.You can also freeze the baked spaghetti for up to 3 months.

How long will these easy baked spaghetti recipe keep?

I always make a double batch of this meal and then store the leftovers in an airtight container and pop in the fridge. It will keep well for 4 or 5 days, for an easy meal later in the week or as lunches. Just heat it up through in the oven.

What do you serve with this spaghetti casserole?

This pasta bake is a great meal within itself, but for some extra goodness it can be served alongside a side of veggies or a fresh salad. If your feeling indulgent, serve with some garlic bread. Check out these recipes for side dish options:

Layers of baked spaghetti dish

This is a perfect meal in a pan that the whole family will love and so easy to feed a crowd. The great thing about it is that there’s no big planning needed and you can really use whatever you have leftover in your fridge or pantry. It’s a cheesy, comforting delicious recipe that is sure to make it to the weekly dinner rotation!

For more pasta dishes, check out:

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Easy Baked Spaghetti recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

Easy Baked Spaghetti

This Baked Spaghetti Recipe is a cheesy vegetarian pasta casserole dish that is simple to make, requires only one pan in the oven and a family favorite meal
5 from 161 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Entree
Calories 388
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound spaghetti not cooked
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 onion thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup sliced green pepper
  • ½ cup sliced red pepper
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups marinara
  • 2 sprigs basil plus torn leaves for garnish
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • Grated parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions

  • 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. Uses your hands to gently toss and evenly distribute the ingredients.
  • Add the tomatoes, peppers, 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.
  • Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top to cover the spaghetti.
  • Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 45 – 55 minutes or until the top is browned and bubbly; stirring once halfway through.
  • Remove from the oven, garnish with fresh basil and parmesan cheese and serve

Video

Notes

Recipe: This recipe was inspired by a recipe from the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook for Dad’s Friday Night Pasta.
Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 4-5
Freezing Instructions: You can also freeze the baked spaghetti for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing it before you bake it. Then simply thaw in the fridge overnight and bake as per the instructions.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However this recipe is very loose and easy to adapt to your preferences.
Nutrition: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.  This information should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. The nutrition value is for ⅛ of the baking dish, which is about 2 ounces of spaghetti.

Nutrition

Calories: 388kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 801mg, Potassium: 505mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 850IU, Vitamin C: 29.3mg, Calcium: 194mg, Iron: 2.3mg

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Large pan of easy basked spaghetti with some slices removed

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Comments

  1. Gotta tell you I had low expectations here. Lol. I didn’t use any cheese. And used angel hair pasta so it only took about 40 min but it was perfectly al dente and flavor was awesome!!! One Pan. No boiling. This is a keeper!

    1. If you scroll to the recipe card, there’s a printer icon. When you click on it, I have it formatted in a way to print on 1-2 pages maximum with no images, no large font or anything that takes up too much ink. Can you try that? It should work fine.

  2. Thank you for this recipe! Just tried this and it tastes wonderful! Such an easy one dish meal. I added a little minced meat and baked for about 35mins in a 24cm baking dish (single portion). I also replaced spaghetti with rice, that turned out great too! Lots of possibilities, and you know we all need that!

  3. Hi! I’m planning on making this tonight, but I was wondering if you think it would be possible to swap out a cup or two of the water with heavy cream? My family tend to like their tomato sauces on the creamier side 🙂 Thank you so much. The recipe looks delicious!

  4. Hi,

    I’m starting to dabble with cooking, and I need advice on when to add peeled and deveined raw frozen shrimp. Should I cook them beforehand? Should I just buy the already cooked & packaged kind? When would you suggest that I add them during the baking process?

    Thanks!

    1. I would recommend adding it at the 35 minute mark on top of the baked spaghetti, as it takes roughly 9-13 minutes to cook.

      1. Thanks for the tip! It’s in the oven now with the shrimp on top.

        One other thing, how are you supposed to stir the spaghetti halfway through, but keep the cheese on top? Am I missing something? Mine mixed in with everything.

        1. That’s so exciting! You could add more cheese on top after you’ve stirred it to get that cheesy top.

          1. Thanks for the tip! I’ll try that next time.
            It came out delicious even with the cheese mixed in!

  5. My family’s gluten free & vegan. We used quinoa & rice macaroni noodles, dairy-free mozzarella, replaced the bell peppers with sliced mushrooms, and added Beyond Burger meatballs. It was DELICIOUS!!! Thank you!

    1. I love that you were able to substitute certain ingredients to make it work for you and your family! Thank you so much!!

  6. I LOVE your recipes! I baked spaghetti for my kids and they were so happy! Finger-lickin good
    Adriana from Paraguay 🇵🇾

  7. I have made this before and followed recipe exactly, delicious! This week I tweaked the recipe for my grandkids. I used olive oil, garlic and onions as in recipe. Added parsley, oregano and basil. For the liquid I added 4 cups of chicken broth and 1 cup evaporated milk. Then topped with mozzarella. Yum! The grandkids loved it!

  8. Could I use frozen veggies – frozen pepper and onion mix? Should I cook beforehand in skillet?

  9. I try this recipe, but I did it with meat. I used shred beef meat 95% lean, pre-cooked at high temperature for 5 min. I added salt, pepper and a little bit of cumin. Once the beef looks brown I put it before the cheese and baked it. Other option can be if you mix the pasta sauce with meat. Great recipe, easy to do and not many ingredients. I love it!!!

  10. I tried this pasta bake in the oven last night and it was a big hit! Very easy and really tasty! Mmm good!

  11. Made it last night for dinner! My husband and I both enjoyed it. So simple and had everything I needed at home. Leftovers tasted even better today. The only change I would make next time I make it is to use one less cup of water and an extra cup of marinara. That’s just my personal preference. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave feedback! I like your idea of adding more marinara…I think that would be yummy!

  12. Wonderful recipe for the whole family! 1 year old and 3 year old absolutely loved the flavor. You can make it while holding 1 year old in one arm 😉 Have made exact recipe and second time made with mushrooms and broccoli turned out great as well! An amazing delicious new week night staple for us. Enjoy

    1. Haha, that’s the best part that you can make it while even holding your 1-year old. Love that you added mushrooms and broccoli to the dish. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your feedback!!

  13. My mom was making it while I was working out. My brother and my dad both ate in front of me because I was working out next to the kitchen ?. My entire workout I was looking forward to the moment I got to serve myself my own plate. When I finally did, I was so so happy because it tasted SO amazing and it was so easy to make ?

    1. That’s so funny and I hope it made you work out extra hard…best thing to have after a workout!!

  14. Is there a way to add meat to this without overcooking it? I have a husband that insists on having meat with spaghetti. But it seems easy and I will be giving it a try regardless!