Million Dollar Spaghetti is a spaghetti casserole with layers of noodles, cheese, and homemade meat sauce. It’s budget friendly, easy to make, and a meal the whole family will love.

Looking for more pasta recipes? Try my Shrimp Alfredo, Sun-dried Tomato Pasta, or American Goulash!

A slice of million dollar spaghetti served on a plate with a side green salad.

Why I love this meal:

  • Family Friendly – The perfect marriage between my favorite Spaghetti Pie and a classic Lasagna. The entire family enjoys this easy casserole.
  • Budget Friendly – Feeds a big group with inexpensive ingredients. What else could you want?
  • Delicious – It truly tastes like a million bucks! The homemade meat sauce takes the flavor to the next level.

How to Make Million Dollar Spaghetti:

Make the Sauce: In a large skillet cook and crumble the ground beef and Italian sausage and season with salt and pepper. Remove most of the grease. Add onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until onion is translucent. Add all but ½ cup marinara sauce (reserve for later), to the mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.

A skillet with homemade red spaghetti meat sauce.

Prep the Noodles: Boil a package of spaghetti noodles, drain the water, and toss them in a bowl with some butter and a little marinara sauce.

Hot noodles in a bowl with butter on top.

Make Cheese Layer: Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese in a bowl.

Cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese mixed in a bowl for the cheese layer of million dollar spaghetti.

Assemble Casserole: Pour half the noodles into a 9×13” pan. Smooth cheese layer on top. Add remaining noodles. Then, layer the meat sauce.

Three process photos for assembling million dollar spaghetti.

Top with Cheese, and Bake: Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheese over top and bake at 350 degrees F until cheese is melted and bubbly. I love it when the cheese on the edges get golden. Yum!

A pan of million dollar spaghetti casserole cut into pieces, ready to serve.

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: You can prepare this spaghetti casserole 1 day ahead of time.  Follow recipe instructions up to step 8 (just before baking).  allow it to cool, cover it well with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Or, prep the sauce, noodles and cheese layer 1-3 days ahead of time and assemble right before baking.

To Freeze:  Prepare recipe right up until the baking step. Cover well with greased aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days, then bake for about 20 minutes, covered, and then 20-25 minutes uncovered. If baking from frozen, bake covered for about 40 minutes, then uncover and bake at least 30-40 minutes longer, or until bubbly and warm.

Recipe Variations:

  • Vegetarian Million Dollar Spaghetti: leave out the meat entirely or substitute plant based meat.
  • Ground Beef vs. Sausage: I like to use both ground beef and ground pork sausage in this recipe but you don’t have to use both. If you do, consider saving the leftover ½ pound of sausage to make Baked Ziti or Pizza Casserole.
  • Ricotta: if you prefer ricotta cheese to cottage cheese, feel free to substitute at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Pasta: we use spaghetti for million dollar spaghetti but feel free to use your favorite kind of pasta.

Serve With:

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Recipe

A slice of million dollar spaghetti served on a plate with a side green salad.
Prep 30 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 1 hr
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Ingredients
 
 

  • 16 ounces spaghetti noodles
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage or pork sausage
  • salt and pepper , to taste
  • 1 small onion , chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Make Meat Sauce: In a large skillet cook and crumble the ground beef and Italian sausage and season with salt and pepper. Remove most of the grease. Add onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until onion is translucent. Add all but ½ cup of the marinara sauce (reserve ½ cup for later) to the mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Prepare noodles: Cook Spaghetti according to package instructions, just until “al dente”. Drain, and place hot spaghetti in a large mixing bowl with butter and ½ cup reserved marinara sauce and toss to combine.
  • Make Cheese layer: Combine cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese in a bowl and mix well. Smooth over noodles in the pan. 
  • Assemble: Pour HALF of the pasta into a 9×13’’ pan. Smooth cheese layer on top. Top with remaining noodles. Add meat sauce on top and smooth into an even layer. Top with mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. 
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Check it around 20 minutes and if the cheese is browning too quickly, tent a piece of tinfoil over it. Wait at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving, to allow it to set up. Enjoy!

Notes

To Make Ahead: You can prepare this spaghetti casserole 1 day ahead of time.  Follow recipe instructions up to step 8 (just before baking).  allow it to cool, cover it well with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Or, prep the sauce, noodles and cheese layer 1-3 days ahead of time and assemble right before baking.
To Freeze:  Prepare recipe right up until the baking step. Cover well with greased aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days, then bake for about 20 minutes, covered, and then 20-25 minutes uncovered. If baking from frozen, bake covered for about 40 minutes, then uncover and bake at least 30-40 minutes longer, or until bubbly and warm.
Vegetarian Million Dollar Spaghetti: leave out the meat entirely or substitute plant based meat!
Ground Beef vs. Sausage: I like to use both ground beef and ground Italian sausage in this recipe but you don’t have to use both. If you do, consider saving the leftover ½ pound of Italian sausage to make Baked Ziti or Pizza Casserole.
Pasta: we use spaghetti for million dollar spaghetti but feel free to use your favorite kind of pasta.

Nutrition

Calories: 356kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 18gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 643mgPotassium: 370mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 629IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 174mgIron: 2mg

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I originally shared this recipe February 2017. Updated February 2022.

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 3 stars
    It was good but too dry. Next time I will add another 24 ounce jar of sauce and cover with foil while baking. The cheese got too hard and was tough.

  2. 5 stars
    I added a bag of Italian meatballs instead.of the sausage, and increased the sauce. I made two casseroles, 8×8, and froze one. This is my husbands favorite.

  3. 5 stars
    This is THE BEST MILLION DOLLAR SPAGHETTI in the world!!!!! The only thing I did was add a little more sauce and I threw in a shredded zucchini!!!!! Absolutely to die for!!!!!!

  4. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe!! I made it and split the recipe, so I could take half to our son’s family for tonight’s dinner. The 7 of us ate the casserole; the baby loved it, too!
    Thank you for posting it! Will be making it often!!

  5. 5 stars
    Just made this and will definitely make it again! So easy and absolutely delicious!

  6. I made it for my family and it was definitely a hit. Everyone has told me they want me to make it again before finishing their dinner.

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe lived up to its name. My husband said “You should make this once a week.” The kids all loved it too.

  8. So good! This will be my go to dish for potlucks and casual company. Followed all directions except made 1 and 1/2 times the meat sauce.

  9. 5 stars
    My family loved this spaghetti. I used ground turkey instead of beef and hot Italian sausage. I wasn’t sure about the cheese mixture but it has great flavor and a nice change from typical ricotta recipes. Definitely will be making this again.

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