Layered Spaghetti Casserole


Looking for a family recipe that is the ultimate comfort food? This meaty layered spaghetti casserole is full of flavors the whole family will fall in love with. 

Image shows a forkful of spaghetti over a casserole dish

My great aunt Shirley was a one-of-a-kind lady. 

I never stopped by her house on the way from middle Tennessee to Peoria Illinois on my way to visit my grandparents that she didn’t have a pile of frozen casseroles in her freezer to send up to Grandpa and Grandma as they got older. 

She always had casseroles on hand to feed anybody who dropped by, or send home with someone, but her most famous, the one she brought to ever family gathering, was her layered spaghetti casserole. 

Image shows a plate of spaghetti casserole on a table next to a pan of casserole

After we moved to Tennessee, my mom got the recipe from her so she could make it herself, and it became something of a family tradition in our immediate family as well, similar to upside-down pizza.

A few months ago, my cousin shared a picture of that spaghetti recipe in the church cookbook from when I was a little girl and it reminded me that I hadn’t made it in years. 

Photo shows a hand taking a bite of baked spaghetti

Part of that was because my husband has multiple food allergies, and doesn’t usually like any of the gluten-free spaghetti I’ve had him try. 

But for this, I got soy pasta from Aldi, and while soy isn’t something we incorporate heavily into our diet, this pasta is really good. Usually, for pasta dishes, our best option is making our own homemade gluten-free egg noodles. But this soy pasta is really good when you want legit spaghetti. 

Images shows a table full of ingredients for baked spaghetti

I also made a few other changes in Aunt Shirley’s recipe. Namely, replacing margarine for butter, and also using marinara sauce in place of plain (unseasoned) sauce. We’ve made this layered spaghetti recipe several times this year since I realized we’ve been missing it, and every time, it’s a big hit. 

Layered Spaghetti Casserole

Image shows a hand taking a bite of spaghetti casserole

A few tips: 

  • Get your ingredients together and measured before you start. This will leave less time for your spaghetti to dry out before you’re ready to top it. 
  • We typically use Aldi’s Simply Nature Soy spaghetti, which is a great option for gluten-free folks, or those looking for a little more protein. But you can easily use whatever your favorite spaghetti is. My aunt always used traditional spaghetti, and my mom used to sometimes switch to angel hair pasta. Both are delicious. 
  • This is a great make-ahead recipe! Prep the casserole up to four days before you need it, cover tightly with saran wrap, and bake just before you’re ready to serve. 
  • This is a perfect main dish to serve with a simple side such as salad, simple roasted asparagus, or roasted radishes.

Image shows a collage of ingredients for baked spaghetti


Layered Spaghetti Casserole

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If you love spaghetti, this tasty baked spaghetti casserole is perfect for your family.

  • Author: Elise


  • 1 lb spaghetti noodles 
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 can mushrooms (drained)
  • 16 oz. marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • 4 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions
  3. Drain
  4. Mix in butter, and transfer to a 9×13 casserole dish
  5. In a medium bowl, combine next four ingredients (dairy products and chives), and spread over spaghetti
  6. Brown ground beef and onion. 
  7. Drain and add remaining ingredients including salt and pepper to taste
  8. Spread meat over cheese layer
  9. Cover and bake for 45 minutes

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