Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a hearty dinner made with spaghetti, onions, garlic, sausage, herbs, tomato sauce, ricotta, mascarpone, and mozzarella. It’s prepped in 15 minutes, baked in the oven for 45 minutes, and ready to eat in just one hour. This cheesy dish is perfect for weeknight family dinners.
What is Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole?
This spaghetti casserole is a layered dish made with Italian flavors and seasonings. The simple ingredients can all be found either already in your pantry or at your local grocery store. Instead of using the classic flat lasagna noodles, this recipe uses long, thin spaghetti. It’s a fun and unique change to old-fashioned lasagna casserole.
- 10 oz (300g) spaghetti: Find dry spaghetti noodles at the grocery store or order it online.
- 1 onion, chopped: White onion is best for this casserole dish.
- 4 garlic cloves, minced: Be sure the garlic is fresh and smells strong after peeling off the skin.
- 1 pound (500g) Italian sausages: You can use ground sausage or buy the links and slice off the casings.
- 2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs: Buy a bottle of dried Italian herbs in the spice aisle at the grocery store or make your own by combining dried herbs like basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano, or thyme.
- 2 cups tomato sauce: Canned tomato sauce works well for this recipe or you can use marinara sauce.
- 7 oz (200g) ricotta cheese: This cheese is easy to spread and is a classic lasagna cheese. You can use cottage cheese instead if you’d like.
- 7 oz (200g) mascarpone: This creamy and sweet cheese can usually be found in the deli with artisanal cheeses.
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella: You can use pre-shredded cheese or buy a block and shred it yourself for better flavor.
- 3 tablespoon olive oil: Any neutral oil will work for sauteeing the onions and sausage.
How to make million dollar spaghetti casserole:
Here’s a brief overview of how to make this dish. See the recipe card below for the specific recipe instructions.
1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
2. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet.
3. Saute onions for 5 minutes. Add garlic and Italian sausages. Cook for 10 minutes.
4. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
5. Pour tomato sauce on top and wait until it reaches boiling point.
6. Cook spaghetti half the time that is mentioned on the box.
7. Mix spaghetti with the meat sauce and transfer it into the baking dish.
8. Combine mascarpone, ricotta, dried herbs, and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
9. Spoon cheese mixture on top of the pasta and finish everything with 1 cup of leftover cheese.
10. Bake for 25 minutes.
Tips for success:
Here are a few tips for success and variations you can try to make this the best million dollar spaghetti casserole you've ever had.
- You can easily make this lasagna vegetarian by leaving out the sausage. This meatless version is just as delicious especially if you add extra vegetables.
- Try using other types of cheese like cheddar, gruyere, goat, bleu, Velveeta, cream cheese, or Havarti.
- Substitute jarred alfredo sauce for the ricotta and mascarpone cheese for a unique twist.
- Use other types of pasta like penne, ziti, shells, or orecchiette.
What other vegetables can I add to million dollar spaghetti casserole?
Whether you’re making this dish vegetarian or you just want to add more veggies, there are lots of great options that go well with this dish. Try spinach, squash, corn, zucchini, mushrooms, green beans, asparagus, or white beans. These vegetables taste great in classic Italian dishes.
Can I make this dish in an Instant Pot?
The instant pot is a fun and popular way to cook because it’s an all-in-one tool that can sauté, pressure cook, and slow cook. It’s easy to make this dish in a pressure cooker instead of baking it in the oven.
The Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker can help make this casserole, but it makes more sense to follow the recipe as directed. While you can cook the pasta and the sauce in the Instant Pot, as well as assemble the casserole and cook pot in the pot, it would take much longer and have several more steps.
If you want to use your Instant Pot to make this recipe, below are some tips:
- Use the Instant Pot to saute the onions, garlic, and sausage, then tomatoes to create the sauce. Remove this from the pot and set it aside.
- Cook the pasta using this tutorial for how to cook pasta in the Instant Pot.
- Then combine the sauce and pasta and pour into a smaller casserole dish that will fit inside the pot (7" round works good in most). This may require more than one dish in this instance. Spread the cheese on top, then place 1 cup of water into the clean Instant Pot, place the trivet, and then place the casserole dish on the trivet. Set on high pressure for 2 minutes then let naturally release for 10 minutes.
Since the Instant Pot requires liquid to build steam, this isn't a great casserole to make using that method. It will take longer and several more steps as listed above. Stick with the oven for this million dollar spaghetti casserole.
What Other Protein Can I Use in Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole?
This recipe uses sausage but you can switch it out with the meat of your choice. Try using ground beef, shredded chicken, tuna, meatballs, pepperoni, ground turkey, or buffalo chicken. Any of these options will work well with spaghetti lasagna casserole.
How to store:
Store any leftover million-dollar spaghetti casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat it in the microwave with 30-second increments until it’s hot all the way through.
To freeze the entire casserole, wrap it in aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Label it with what it is, how to cook, and the date. Labeling will help you remember later.
Remember that if you cook it from frozen, it will take longer to cook in the oven without thawing first. Keep the foil on until the last 30 minutes of cooking so the top can brown.
How can I make million-dollar spaghetti casserole in a Crock-Pot
Although you can make something similar in a slow cooker, the steps are a bit different. You will need to add additional sauce to cook the pasta while it slowly cooks. Alternately, you can prepare up to the baking portion and then use the slow cooker.
Prepare the meat and sauce as directed, then par-cook the pasta for half the time suggested. Combine the two and pour into a sprayed or lined slow cooker. Top with the cheeses, then cook it on low for 2 hours.
What can I serve with million dollar spaghetti casserole?
Balance this heavy meal with white crusty bread, dinner rolls, fruit salad, or crunchy green salad.
How can I make million dollar casserole ahead of time?
If you want to prep this casserole ahead of time, you can do it the night before, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. Pull it out and bake it the next day when you’re ready to eat.
More Pasta Casseroles
If you want to add more pasta to your menu, below are a few more of our favorite recipes. Make sure you bookmark these, print out the recipes, or pin them to Pinterest to make soon!
- Baked Ziti Casserole
- Creamy Mushroom Casserole
- Spicy Mac and Cheese Casserole
- Turkey and Pasta Casserole
- Four Cheese Pasta Casserole
- 10 oz (300g) spaghetti
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound (500g) Italian sausages
- 2 teaspoon dry Italian herbs
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 7 oz (200g) ricotta cheese
- 7 oz (200g) mascarpone
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet.
- Saute onions for 5 minutes. Add garlic and Italian sausages. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper.
- Pour tomato sauce on top and wait until it reaches boiling point.
- Cook spaghetti half the time that is mentioned on the box.
- Mix spaghetti with the meat sauce and transfer it into the baking dish.
- Combine mascarpone, ricotta, dried herbs, and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
- Spoon cheese mixture on top of the pasta and finish everything with 1 cup of leftover cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 668mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 13g