This cheesy baked spaghetti and meatballs recipe is a delicious twist on the classic family favorite, and just as easy to prepare!
You made spaghetti and meatballs a million-billion times. Your family is sick of it. I get it. Mine is too. Sometimes a simple twist is all that is needed to jazz things up and transform a tried and true meal back into something special.
Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs
Baked spaghetti and meatballs packs all of the classic flavors you love, with a generous layer of melted mozzarella cheese on top! This dish is prepared the same way as making spaghetti and meatballs, with only the added step of baking until the cheese melts.
My pictures show this dish in a 9" cast iron skillet mainly for photo aesthetics, though it certainly works as a baking dish. However, I recommend using a 2-quart baking dish (affiliate link) to give you more surface area for cheese coverage.
How to Make Meatballs
Check out my tutorial on how to make meatballs for an in-depth look at the topic. For simplicity, this baked spaghetti recipe uses a slightly easier to prepare version of the meatball described in the link above, however, there is no reason why you cannot substitute the meatballs from that tutorial in this recipe. For even more simplicity you can even use frozen meatballs in this dish, just be sure to heat them first.
The basics for making a good meatball is to gently crumble your meat, and mix it with breadcrumbs (or a panade) to keep it tender when cooked. Liquid and egg are added for moisture and as a binder, respectively, while the remaining ingredients are strictly for flavor. Meatballs can be pan-seared, cooked in sauce, broiled, or baked.
This is a flexible recipe that allows you to incorporate your favorite spaghetti sauce. You can use your own recipe, a store-bought pasta sauce, or my homemade pasta sauce. It is important to warm the sauce prior to baking the dish in the oven though. Otherwise, you may have luke-warm food when the cheese has sufficiently melted.
How to Customize Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs
I already said you can use your favorite meatballs and sauce for this recipe, but there is more customization you can add beyond this. Mushrooms, peppers, or onions would all be a welcomed addition to this dish. I would recommend sauteing them first. You can even omit the meatballs, or replace them with Italian sausage chunks instead. Or go a different direction and substitute gnocchi and sausage to make my baked gnocchi and sausage recipe instead.
Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 12 oz spaghetti (cooked according to package instructions)
- 28 oz pasta sauce
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup fresh parmesan cheese
- 1 pound ground beef (recommend 80/20)
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Prepare the meatballs by gently crumbling beef into a bowl and combining with all ingredients. Form into golf ball-sized balls and place on a baking sheet.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake meatballs for 20 minutes.
- While meatballs are baking prepare the spaghetti noodles according to package instructions and warm the pasta sauce.
- Remove meatballs from oven and toss with noodles and sauce and place in a 2-quart baking dish. Top generously with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Place baking dish in the oven for 20 minutes, or until cheese has melted to your liking.