How to Make Million-Dollar Spaghetti
Spruce up spaghetti by turning it into a million-dollar spaghetti casserole.
How does regular pasta become worthy of a name like million-dollar spaghetti? By combining pasta with the richness of cream cheese, ricotta and sour cream. Show your family that they’re worth a fortune by adding this baked spaghetti recipe to your weeknight dinner rotation. You can also make it for brunch, potlucks or a weekend family meal.
What Is Million-Dollar Spaghetti?
Ricotta cheese lovers, this one’s for you. This dish earned the name of million-dollar spaghetti not because it’ll cost a fortune, but because it tastes so rich. The flavorful casserole layers velvety ricotta and cream cheese with cooked spaghetti and a simmered meat sauce.
The flavor of million-dollar baked spaghetti is much like that of lasagna. But the faster assembly and bake time means you can make your family feel like a million bucks any night of the week.
Learn more about cream cheese and why it works in this dish.
Our Million-Dollar Spaghetti Recipe
Plan for about an hour total to make this casserole, which serves six.
- 8 ounces of dry spaghetti
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (Here are six ways to mince garlic)
- 14 ounces spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
- 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 3 green onions, white ends removed, greens sliced
- 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar-Monterey jack cheese blend
Step 1: Prepare the pasta
Cook the spaghetti in salted water according to the package directions until it’s al dente. Drain the spaghetti and hold it aside.
Step 2: Cook the ground beef
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, crumble the ground beef into the pan, and sprinkle in the diced onion and minced garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up large chunks of meat, for about 6-8 minutes until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the excess grease.
Step 3: Add the sauce
Stir the spaghetti sauce, salt and pepper into the pan with the cooked beef, and bring the mixture to a boil.
Step 4: Simmer
Reduce the heat to low; simmer the beef and sauce uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened.
Step 5: Prepare the cheese sauce
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray an 11×7-in. baking dish with nonstick spray.
Use a fork to mash together the softened cream cheese, ricotta and sour cream in a small bowl.
Step 6: Add the green onions
Sprinkle the diced green onions over the cheese mixture and fold them in. (Save a few green onions to sprinkle over the finished dish, if you want.)
Step 7: Assemble the casserole starting with the pasta
Spread the cooked spaghetti evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Step 8: Add the cheese sauce
Spoon the ricotta mixture over the spaghetti, and smooth it into an even layer.
Step 9: Add the meat sauce
Pour the beef mixture over the cheese layer, spreading it evenly from edge to edge.
Step 10: Finish with more cheese
Sprinkle shredded cheddar-Monterey jack cheese over the top of the meat sauce layer. Cover the pan with foil.
Step 11: Bake
Bake the covered casserole for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the cheese on top is bubbling and beginning to brown. Sprinkle a few diced green onions over the top, and serve slices while they’re hot. If you’ve invited guests, complete your menu with this million-dollar pie.
Also, know what to add to spaghetti sauce make it taste homemade.
Tips for Making Million-Dollar Spaghetti
Can you freeze million-dollar spaghetti?
Yes, this casserole is a fantastic choice to make as a freezer meal. Prepare the recipe all the way through Step 10, layering the ingredients in a baking dish or disposable aluminum pan. Cover the pan tightly with foil and freeze it for up to three months. Allow the casserole to thaw completely in the fridge, and then bake as usual until it’s hot all the way through. Looking for more recipes? Try our favorite green spaghetti and cheesy chicken spaghetti.
Can you make million-dollar spaghetti ahead of time?
You can prepare this recipe ahead of time by layering everything in the baking dish, covering it tightly with foil, and placing the unbaked casserole in the fridge for up to three days. When you’re ready, bake the million-dollar spaghetti casserole according to the recipe. If you enjoyed this recipe, then you must try our favorite million-dollar deviled eggs.
How can you make million-dollar spaghetti your own?
It’s easy to come up with your own million-dollar version of this baked dish. Try swapping the spaghetti for another type that’s sturdy enough to hold up under the layers, like ziti, rigatoni or rotini. You can also get creative with the meat in this recipe, adding ground sausage to the beef or using lighter ground turkey. Or, skip the meat and replace it with plant-based crumbles or sauteed mushrooms. If you don’t care for ricotta, cottage cheese can be substituted or even goat cheese crumbles for more flavor.
Want to make a billion-dollar spaghetti? Make a super indulgent version by using full-fat ricotta, sour cream and cream cheese, then add shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan to the cheese on top for an extra melty final touch.