Let’s talk million dollar spaghetti recipe. This is one of those recipes that is truly, CRAZY delicious. If it’s not in your regular dinner rotation, that should change stat!
This dish is part spaghetti and part lasagna. It combines three different kinds of cheese, Italian sausage, and a half cup of butter. Hence the reason this is called million dollar spaghetti.
Let me tell you, something happens when all the cheeses and sausage get melted together that is almost magical. I promise it will quickly become your family’s favorite baked spaghetti dish.
I hope you try my popular chicken spaghetti, spaghetti with ground beef, or crack chicken spaghetti bake when you need a quick, kid-friendly, creamy pasta.
What I Love About Million Dollar Spaghetti Recipe
- Even picky eaters will love it!
- Casserole = Make-Ahead MAGIC
- Serious Ooey gooey comfort food
- Makes a family sized quantity
Million Dollar Spaghetti Recipe Notes
Does that say cottage cheese? Yes, it does. Before you dismiss this million dollar spaghetti recipe, hear me out: cottage cheese is a mind-blowing ingredient that far too many people avoid, thinking their food will turn out tasting too “curdled.” That is not the case at all! More importantly, its texture changes when it melts to something wonderful.
Cottage cheese adds a fabulous creamy texture to foods as well as hearty servings of protein. But if it still seems just too odd for you, ricotta cheese is a perfectly acceptable substitute! It just won’t be quite as creamy, though. Use the same amount as the cottage cheese.
Spice it up! The dried Italian seasonings and the sausage, as well as the extra spices you add to this dish, will give this casserole that zesty Italian kick — but try tossing in a handful of chopped fresh basil, if you have any on hand, especially as a finishing garnish.
Meat: I use Italian sausage in my million dollar spaghetti recipe, and man, is it good. The extra flavor added by that sausage is simply outstanding, and really makes this recipe a true crowd-pleaser.
If you or your audience are not particularly fond of sausage (like my sister, Alise!!), you can absolutely use ground beef instead, but I don’t think the final flavor is as robust.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
This lasagna-spaghetti hybrid will retain its shape for up to 3-4 days in the fridge. Longer, and you risk bacteria growth, as well as soggy, inedible pasta. But! If eaten within the four-day window, it’s just as mouth-watering as it was the first day!
Can You Freeze This?
Absolutely! Many casserole baking dishes come with their own attachable airtight lid. If yours doesn’t have one, simply spoon it into an airtight container or resealable plastic bag, and store in your freezer for up to 1-2 months.
Remember, frozen pasta will get softer, so there will be a textural change.
To Freezer Before Its Baked
- Assemble the recipe through step 5.
- Wrap the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap first, then aluminum foil. (Remember, plastic wrap sticks best to itself. Start with a long piece of plastic wrap that goes all the way around the baking dish.)
- Thaw the casserole overnight in the fridge.
- Bake it!
- Enjoy ♥
Make Ahead Tips
If there’s food more make-ahead friendly than casseroles, I don’t know it! This million dollar spaghetti recipe can be whipped up in a pinch by making the sauce (Step 3) and storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. When you’re ready to compile the full dish, simply make the remaining ingredients, mix in the sauce, and proceed, time saved!
It’s a great dish to prep the day before or early on the day of serving. Just assemble the dish, and refrigerate. It can last 24 hours without drying out.
Just before dinner you can pull the dish out of the fridge and bake. I would strongly recommend that you let the pasta sit out on the counter for 30-40 minutes or so after pulling it out of the fridge.
***Do not put in a cold glass or ceramic baking dish in a hot oven or it might break. I usually pull the pasta out and set it on the counter while I fix the garlic bread and salad.
If necessary, you can use two 8×8 baking pans. Sometimes I’ll bake one small pan and freeze the other for a later meal.
After baking, this million dollar spaghetti recipe needs to sit for a little bit before cutting. I usually give it 10 full minutes of cooling before I dig into it with a knife or spatula.”)
Wanna lure the crowd quickly to the table? Easy peasy. Just fill up your dinner table with the rich aroma of my ever-fluffy Olive Garden breadsticks, Garlic Bread,or take a bite of beer bread, or Bisquick biscuit recipe and let them hear the crunchy sound of its crispy crust!
More Spaghetti Recipes
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- Mexican Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Chicken Spaghetti with Rotel
- Taco Spaghetti
- Spaghetti Pie
Million Dollar Spaghetti
- 16 ounces dried spaghetti noodles
- 1 cup (1 Medium) yellow onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage casing removed
- 6 cups homemade marinara sauce,-divided or 2 (24-ounce) jars marinara sauce
- 8 ounces cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 3 cups mozzarella shredded-divided
- 1/2 cup butter cut into slices-divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bring a large pot of water, with 1 tablespoon of salt, to a boil. Cook pasta according to the package. Drain well, then return pasta to the original pot, and add 3 cups or 1 jar of prepared marinara sauce and combine. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add onion and garlic and cook until they begin to soften about 5 minutes. Add sausage to skillet, and brown, crumbling sausage with a wooden spoon. Cook until there is no longer any pink in sausage. Drain well. Add the remaining 3 cups or 1 jar marinara sauce to the skillet. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine Cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, 1 cup mozzarella, and Italian seasoning. Set aside.
- Place half the sliced butter in the baking dish. Spread half the spaghetti in the dish, then spread the cheese mixture evenly over the spaghetti. Top with the remaining butter slices. Spread remaining spaghetti over cheese mixture. Pour tomato meat sauce evenly over the top layer of spaghetti.
- Top with remaining mozzarella and bake in the preheated oven until casserole is heated through about 35-45 minutes.
My grandson is home from college for the thanksgiving holiday and requested this recipe today. Always a hit and plenty of leftovers!
I’m so happy this is a hit for you! Enjoy your time with your grandson! 🙂
Maddie R says
LOVE THIS! Ive made this more times than I can count- my husband is obsessed with it haha. We have company coming for dinner on Monday, but I wont have time Sunday or Monday to prep it. If I prep’d it tomorrow night (Saturday) but waited until Monday to put it in the oven, do you think it would it hold in the fridge okay?
Hey Maddie. I’m so happy to hear that!!! So, yes you can. The pasta will get softer and absorbs more of the sauce. Have you ever had leftovers of this and eaten it the next day? It will be more like that texture.
Hi! Looking forward to making this ahead of time and freezing it, my only question though is it wise to freeze it with the ricotta and cream cheese? I know from past experience that cream cheese doesn’t hold well in the freezer and gets a grainy texture. Any thoughts or tips if this has had a negative effect on the dish?
Hi Lillian. Yes, there will be textural changes to the pasta and the cheese. I still freeze it though. I wish I had some tips to mitigate this but, I’m sorry, I don’t <3
Lillian, I have made this recipe several times and you can freeze it only once it is baked and completely cooled. Due to the amount of water in the dairy ingredients such as the ricotta and cream cheese… it freezes by separating from the fat.
Thank you TayTay. I love hearing you’ve made this many times! Good info about your results on freezing! <3
Bobbi Jo says
This recipe is great!!! My family absolutely loves it. When we have big gatherings, it’s always a hit, and everyone wants a copy of this recipe to take home. Usually because there are no leftovers! The only thing I do differently is I add zucchini to the sauce and cut back on the amount of sausage. It’s still a crowd pleaser.
I love hearing that, Bobbi Jo! It’s always a crowd-pleaser when I serve it too!! <3
Joan Kuhn says
My husband, picky eater, and my brother-in-law loved this recipe. Wanted the leftovers for lunch and supper. That is saying something. They usually don’t like repeat meals.
My brother-in-law wants to try adding mushrooms, artichokes and black olives. Hope it still tastes as good. If it ruins the recipe, he’s out! lol
I love it as written but will give it a try once. Will let you know if it turned out okay.
I’m so happy when I get the stamp of approval from picky eaters! My son is the picky eater in our family. He loves this spaghetti too!! <3 I hope you enjoy your BIL's version. I look forward to hearing how it turns up!
Followed the recipe and it was delicious!!
Thank you so much, Melissa!
Betty Ehlers says
To freeze this, would it be better to freeze before or after baking?
Hi Betty. I freeze this before baking. 🙂
Made this! It was good except it tasted too cream cheesy! Would probably leave that out next time. I used the whole brick like the recipe called for and my boyfriend and I were both scraping it out of our slices. I tried baking it a bit longer to see if it would melt more but still tasted too thick.
This recipe is sooo good! My family loved it. My only question is about the sauce. In one of your comments you said you used Classico Tomato basal. Is this a canned marinara or spaghetti sauce?
Hi Aimee. So very happy you enjoyed! The manufacture calls their Classico Tomato Basil a “pasta sauce”. It is essentially a Marinara sauce but can be used as a spaghetti sauce. Wow, that sounds very confusing! Are you following me here though?
Hi I am getting ready to make this recipe. Just wondering if the butter is necessary in the recipe? Just wondering what purpose it serves? Thinking about making it without if it will still come out ok.
Hi Jamie! You can opt to try to omit it but I’m not sure how will that turn out. 😀 Butter adds a velvety taste to the recipe and helps reduce the acidic flavor of the marinara sauce (which has a lot of tomatoes in it!). It’s also used to grease the baking dish to prevent the baked spaghetti from sticking into it and make it easier to remove. Hope this helps!❤️
Queen Washington says
Very delicious. Mine was a little soupy but good. Followed recipe as written.
Hi Queen! Gosh, I can’t imagine what made it soupy. I’m so happy you liked it, though <3
This was absolutely delicious
Thank you, Wendy! 😀
I would have given this 5 stars except the directions for layering the dish were not clear. The photos for layering don’t match the instructions and the instructions themselves were a bit confusing on layering. Otherwise, this is a fantastic recipe! It was a huge hit for both kids and adults!
Candace E Starkey says
Than You for the great recipes!
Thanks Candace! ❤️ Enjoy cooking!
[email protected] says
I love this Spaghetti. Its looks Tasty & yummy.
Thank you, Tiffini! Glad you think so. ? Hope you give this recipe a try!
My only issue with this recipe is the way the instructions are written out, I got all the ingredients correct but the order in which to assemble is a hard read since it flip flops back and fourth in the instructions and gets confusing. But at last I made it!
Donna Oliphint says
Can’t wait to try this! I always use cottage cheese in my lasagna because I live in an area that only gets a couple of national brands of ricotta. They always have a dry, grainy texture and no flavor to me. I’ve even made the “homemade” version with milk, cream and lemon juice. The cottage cheese definitely makes it creamier. Thanks for the recipe!
Thank you so much, Donna! So happy you wanna try this! Let me know how it turns out ? Love using cottage cheese as well ❤️
Carla Asper says
..isthe nutrition info per serving?
Hi, Carla, I just updated the nutrition facts per serving. Thank you, and I hope you like this recipe!
Super easy and delicious! I used ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese and I used ground beef and Italian sausage for my meat lovers!
Hi, EJ! Great tweak! Glad you like this 🙂
Thanks for the recipe! Made it for a friend so I won’t get to try it. I also added too much sour cream (if there’s such a thing) so I hope it will still taste okay!
You’re very welcome, Mel!❤️
Absolutely amazing! My son loved it…didn’t tell him all of the ingredients. Perfect with homemade garlic toast. Definitely will make again
Thanks so much Bee! So glad your son loves it <3