Easy Baked Spaghetti

5 from 552 votes

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

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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!

Large pan of easy basked spaghetti with some slices removed
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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

Summary

  • 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

Collage of uncooked spaghetti in baking dish to make 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.

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

  1. 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.
  2. Add the bell pepper, diced tomatoes, water, marinara, and fresh basil.
  3. Use tongs to mix it all together and bake.
  4. Remove the pasta from the oven and toss the spaghetti with the tongs.
Collage of ingredients getting added to make baked spaghetti

Top with Cheese and Return to the Oven

  1. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the spaghetti, and return it to the oven.
  2. Bake until the pasta is tender, the sauce is bubbling, and the cheese is thoroughly melted.
Collage of baked spaghetti before and after cooking

Tips for Making the Best 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 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

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

Can I make this with gluten-free pasta?

While the recipe has not been tested with gluten-free pasta, readers have reported subbing gluten-free brown rice pasta with success.

Can I add milk or heavy cream for a creamier spaghetti?

Yes, you can sub in a cup or two of milk or heavy cream instead of water for a creamier version.

Can I leave the cheese off of this baked spaghetti?

Yes, you can skip the cheese, and it will still be delicious!

Two bowls of easy baked spaghetti topped with basil leaves

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

If you try this feel good Easy Baked Spaghetti recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

This baked spaghetti recipe was originally published on February 2, 2019 and has been recently updated. The recipe remains the same with new photography.

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Easy Baked Spaghetti

This Baked Spaghetti Recipe is a cheesy vegetarian pasta casserole dish that's simple to make, requiring only one pan in the oven, and a family favorite meal.
5 from 552 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Entree
Calories 387
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Video

Ingredients
  

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. 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.

Notes

Storage: 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. This easy baked spaghetti will keep in the refrigerator for four to five days. 
Freezer: You can freeze it before you bake it. Assemble baked spaghetti casserole and then 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.

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

Serving: 2oz, Calories: 387kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 839mg, Potassium: 480mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 620IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 198mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American, Italian
Course: Entree

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. Haven’t even made this yet and I love it already! I love anything that helps me skip and save time. I’m sure I’ll mix n match ingredients as always but will remember to salt and coat the pasta with oil and use 4-5 cups of liquid per pound of pasta. Thank you!!

  2. Wow, needed a quick dish to make for dinner with minimal prep and cleanup. Wow this was it! I used frozen green peppers and onions and that made it even easier

  3. In the recipe nutrition section, it states a serving is 1 g. That would be minuscule and difficult to measure. What is the accurate amount?

  4. Hi there, so sorry fo an inconvenience. I see wha you mean about the oven temperature, thanks for bringing it to my attention, I have adjusted it accordingly. As for the water, that is listed in the recipe card. You add 3 cups in step 2.

  5. Delicious and so easy! I used homegrown tomato sauce from my tomatoes in my garden that I had already seasoned, so I adjusted the seasoning slightly.
    I also added some ground plant-based meat for extra protein. I don’t think I’ll ever boil pasta again!

    1. Hi there, the directions state the water should be added during step 3. Were you reading from the recipe card? If you click “jump to recipe” at the top of the page it will take you to the full recipe with ingredients and directions.

  6. The recipe was simple and easy. I baked it and it was delicious. I did wait the last 15 minutes before I added the mozzarella cheese. It came out good and delicious.

  7. When I tell you my expectations were low and yet this came out the oven and blew my socks off… YUMMY! My new lazy girl go-to recipe!!!!

  8. I tried my version of this recipe for my virgin entrance to cooking with dried macaroni. By the way, I’m a husband who didn’t want to disappoint my wife. I had about 2½ cups of previously prepared sauce. It is was frozen marinara with carrots, onions and garlic. I layered oiled linguine over sliced onions. Slathered on some sauce. Added a layer of fresh zuc cut about ⅜inch thick. Fresh garlic. Another layer of oiled linguine, etc until i had three layers. Poured on 4 cups of chicken brother and one cup of water. Finished with shredded parm and a dozen of halved cherry tomatoes. Baked 350 for one hour. Then 300 for 20 minutes. Let set one hour. Magnificent! Thank you.

  9. It’s excellent. I added cooked shredded chicken and more vegetables but it’s amazing. I was concerned about the “no cook” pasta but it was amazing. It sets overnight great and is even better the next day.

  10. Just had dinner and this dish was scrumptious, it turned out perfectly delicious. The only change was I used tiny tomatoes (Sparkles) whole and they added an extra texture and a great flavor! I will consider adding frozen, though thawed meatballs for a different taste! So easy and tasty, thank you!

  11. Might I add I used Angel hair pasta, some left over bolognaise topped with passata for added liquid and plenty of fresh basil from the garden. Next time I would like to try with big balls of mozarella on top!

  12. Just tried this. Looks good, will taste in a moment. We stirred after adding mozzarella.. as directed.. how do you get the top cheesy if you stir it?

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!!

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

  19. 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!

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

  21. 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!!!

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

  23. 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!

  24. 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!!

  25. 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!!

  26. 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!