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Southern Baked Spaghetti Recipe (Freezer-Friendly)

Southern Baked Spaghetti is a comforting dish the whole family will love! Filled with a hearty meat sauce, lots of cheese, and spaghetti noodles.

Southern Baked Spaghetti Recipe

Southern Baked Spaghetti fills the pages of junior league, church, and school cookbooks from years past.

It’s an inexpensive way to feed a crowd, and this casserole dish one of my favorite freezer meals.

First, let’s talk about how simple baked spaghetti is.

It’s a simple way of using up leftover spaghetti sauce and noodles. Mix it all together, top with some shredded cheese, and bake in a large skillet or baking dish.

baked spaghetti in a bowl

But! Let’s zhuzh this baked spaghetti casserole up with the addition of fresh mozzarella cheese, sour cream, ranch dressing, and lots of cooked spaghetti.

This post contains affiliate links. By shopping through my Amazon Associate links, I receive a small commission with every purchase at no cost to you! Michael Scott would call that a Win-Win-Win situation! Everybody wins!

southern baked spaghetti

Gather Your Ingredients:

Use this 5+1 Spaghetti Sauce Recipe! (The recipe is listed on the printable recipe card below!) It’s a simple way of elevating ordinary marinara sauce.

Feel free to use Italian sausage or ground turkey instead of lean ground beef, too!

This recipe adds tomato paste, lots of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, some red wine, and parmesan cheese to the sauce recipe.

I like to shake in some red pepper flakes to give it a bit of a kick! This easy meat sauce is great for all kinds of dishes, like Angry Lasagna or served over Parmesan Zucchini.

Ranch Dressing – I prefer to make mine “homemade,” according to the ranch seasoning packet!

Fresh Mozzarella – the one that is sold stored in a watery brine. You could also use ricotta cheese or cream cheese here! That would make it delightful!

Al Dente Spaghetti Noodles—If you don’t have spaghetti, use whatever noodles you have on hand. This would be great with rigatoni, penne, etc.

Cheddar Cheese & Lots of Mozzarella Cheese – get the low-moisture kind, unlike the other version I mentioned above.

southern spaghetti bake

Gather Your Kitchen Equipment:

  • Pyrex Dish or other Casserole Form Dish
  • Cooking Spray – make sure nothing sticks! You don’t want to lose any of this deliciousness!
  • Airtight Container for leftovers.
  • Large pan to bake the pasta casserole on — you don’t want to ruin your oven by melting and bubbling over spaghetti bake!

How to Make Southern Baked Spaghetti

Begin making your sauce.

Brown the ground beef in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and garlic.

Squeeze in the tomato paste and seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes.

Pour in your pasta sauce, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

It would be best if you made this a day ahead of time!

Boil your spaghetti pasta according to the package directions, but leave an extra 2 minutes, leaving the pasta al dente.

Peel your fresh mozzarella ball into small pieces in a small bowl and mix it with 1 cup of ranch dressing. Add a half cup of sour cream, and give it a really good mix.

ranch mozzarella mixture

When the pasta is ready, add it to the prepared baking dish (this just means either sprayed with nonstick spray, or use a paper towel with some olive oil to wipe down all the sides and bottom!). You’ll add all of the cooked tender pasta!

Ladle half of the meat mixture over the pasta, and mix it around.

Spoon the ranch mozzarella mixture over the pasta and tomato sauce mixture.

Pour the remaining sauce over everything, making sure to cover the noodles as best as you can.

Top the baked spaghetti recipe with the two types of cheese – shredded cheddar cheese and shredded mozzarella.

Bake in a preheated oven to 350˚ for 40 minutes, or until the pasta bake is golden brown and bubbly! The crusty cheese is the BEST part!

Serving this Main Course

easy baked spaghetti recipe

Serve this main course with a green salad, like this Prosecco Vinaigrette Salad, and some Garlic Bread to soak up all the spaghetti game.

It’s a family favorite that leaves plenty of leftovers!

You can freeze them into individual portions in these aluminum foil plans and thaw them for a super easy meal idea!

This easy-baked spaghetti recipe is a great way to make spaghetti stretch. Use more noodles if you need to make the ground beef mixture go further.

baked spaghetti in a casserole dish

When you’re needing to feed a crowd and you want to make as much as you can ahead of time, this is a great recipe idea!

You can freeze it, thaw it, and bake it when you need to.

serving of spaghetti bake in a bowl

Finally, It would make the holiday season a breeze if the next time you made Angry Lasagna, you doubled the sauce and froze it for other spaghetti recipes later!

Save this to your favorite Pasta Board on Pinterest!

Southern Baked Spaghetti
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Southern Baked Spaghetti Recipe (Freezer-Friendly)

  • Author: Sweetpea


Southern Baked Spaghetti is a comforting dish the whole family will love! Filled with a hearty meat sauce, lots of cheese, and spaghetti noodles.




  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1+ cup red wine (such as Pinot noir)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (I prefer Rao’s brand. But, if you want to make your own, by all means.)


  • 1 cup Homemade (or storebought!) Ranch Dressing
  • 8 ounces Fresh Mozzarella, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup of Sour Cream

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Spaghetti Pasta, cooked according to package directions, reduced by 2 minutes.
  • 6 ounces shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 6 ounces shredded Low-Moisture Mozzarella


Meat Sauce Instructions

  1. Brown meat in a large Dutch oven. (I purchase lean meat, so there is usually no extra grease to be drained. If so, drain/scoop out before adding onions!)
  2. Add diced onions in with meat, and sauté until translucent.
  3. Grate garlic over onion/meat mixture with a micro plane.
  4. Add dry spices in. Stir to cook for a few seconds.
  5. Add tomato paste and allow to cook for a couple minutes.
  6. Pour in wine and stir.
  7. Add marinara sauce and let simmer for 20 minutes. ((This is a GREAT bolognese sauce served over pasta. Better if you make a day ahead.))
  8. Cook your pasta according to the package.
  9. In a small bowl mix together the ranch dressing, fresh mozzarella, and sour cream.
  10. Prepare the cheese by shredding by hand while the pasta cooks.

Assembling the Baked Spaghetti:

  1. Spray your casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Drain your noodles, and add to the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  3. Ladle half of the meat sauce into the pasta. Stir around to coat the pasta.
  4. Spoon the Ranch Mozzarella Mixture over the pasta, and spread out evenly. (as best you can!)
  5. Pour the remaining meat sauce over the pasta, covering up as much of the noodles as possible.
  6. Cover in the shredded cheddar and mozzarella.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes of until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
  9. Allow the pasta bake to rest for 15 minutes before serving!


The meat sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time. The entire dish can be frozen! Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.

HEATING INSTRUCTIONS when you’ve frozen and THAWED your casserole:

Place in a COLD oven, and turn the oven to 350˚. Allow cooking for 40 minutes before checking to see the temperature in the center. You want the center to be 165˚ using an instant-read thermometer. Brown the top under the broiler for a few minutes.

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