baked cream cheese spaghetti casserole


Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole is a comforting and delicious dish that combines the rich flavors of spaghetti, ground beef, and cream cheese. This casserole is perfect for family dinners and gatherings, offering a hearty and satisfying meal that everyone will love. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making this delightful dish, from preparing the ingredients to baking the casserole to perfection.

This recipe has its roots in American cuisine but incorporates elements of Italian-American cooking, making it a fusion dish that appeals to a wide range of palates. The creamy texture of the cream cheese, combined with the savory meat sauce and spaghetti, creates a unique and flavorful experience.

Ingredients Overview :

The key to a great Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole lies in the quality of the ingredients. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need and some tips on choosing the best ones:

  • Spaghetti (12 oz): Use high-quality spaghetti for the best texture. Whole grain or gluten-free options can also be used.
  • Prepared Spaghetti Sauce (26 oz jar): Opt for a sauce that you enjoy on its own, as it will greatly influence the final flavor of the dish.
  • Lean Ground Beef (1 lb): Ground turkey or chicken can be used as alternatives.
  • Italian Seasoning (1 tsp): A blend of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sometimes garlic powder.
  • Garlic (1 clove, minced): Fresh garlic provides the best flavor, but pre-minced garlic can be used for convenience.
  • Cream Cheese (8 oz, room temperature): Full-fat cream cheese gives the best texture, but low-fat versions can be used.
  • Parmesan Cheese (1/2 cup, grated): Freshly grated Parmesan will melt better and have a more robust flavor than pre-grated varieties.

For more details on these ingredients, you can check out Spaghetti and Cream Cheese on Wikipedia.

Preparing the Ingredients :

To ensure your Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole turns out perfectly, follow these steps to prepare the ingredients:

  1. Ground Beef: In a skillet, brown the ground beef until it’s fully cooked. Drain any excess fat and set the beef aside. This step ensures that the meat sauce will not be greasy.
  2. Spaghetti: Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions until al dente. This means the pasta should be firm to the bite, not too soft. Drain the spaghetti and place it in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Cream Cheese Mixture: Add the cream cheese, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic to the bowl with the spaghetti. Stir until the cream cheese is melted and evenly coats the spaghetti. This will create a creamy base for the casserole.

If you need more information on specific ingredients like Italian Seasoning, you can visit this Italian Seasoning link.

Cooking the Spaghetti :

Cooking the spaghetti correctly is crucial for the overall texture of the casserole. Follow these guidelines to ensure perfect pasta every time:

  • Boiling Water: Always start with a large pot of boiling water. Adding a generous amount of salt to the water enhances the flavor of the pasta.
  • Cooking Time: Follow the instructions on the pasta package for al dente texture. Overcooked pasta will become mushy during baking.
  • Draining: Once cooked, drain the spaghetti thoroughly. Do not rinse the pasta, as the starches on the surface help the sauce adhere better.

For a comprehensive guide on cooking pasta, you can refer to the Pasta Dishes on Pinterest.

Making the Meat Sauce :

The meat sauce is a vital component of the Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole. Here’s how to make it:

  • Browning the Meat: In a skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat. Ensure the meat is fully cooked and no pink remains.
  • Adding the Sauce: After draining the fat, add the spaghetti sauce to the skillet with the beef. Stir to combine, then simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.
  • Seasoning: Add any additional spices or herbs you prefer, such as extra garlic or a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat.

For more tips on creating delicious meat sauces, you can check out these Ground Beef Recipes on Pinterest.

Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole :

Mixing the Cream Cheese :

To create the creamy base for your Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole, follow these steps:

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked spaghetti, softened cream cheese, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic. The warmth of the spaghetti will help melt the cream cheese, making it easier to mix.
  2. Stir Thoroughly: Use a spatula or large spoon to stir the mixture until the cream cheese is fully melted and the spaghetti is evenly coated. This step ensures that every bite of the casserole will have that creamy, cheesy goodness.
  3. Adjust Consistency: If the mixture seems too thick, you can add a small amount of the pasta cooking water to loosen it up. This starchy water will help create a smooth, cohesive sauce.

For more tips on incorporating cheese into pasta dishes, check out Cheese Recipes on Pinterest.

Assembling the Casserole :

Assembling the Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole is straightforward but requires careful layering to ensure an even distribution of flavors:

  1. Prepare the Baking Dish: Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish to prevent sticking. Spread a small amount of the meat sauce on the bottom of the dish. This layer acts as a base and helps prevent the spaghetti from sticking.
  2. Layer the Spaghetti: Add the spaghetti mixture on top of the meat sauce layer. Spread it out evenly to ensure a consistent bake.
  3. Top with Remaining Sauce: Pour the remaining meat sauce over the spaghetti mixture. Use a spatula to spread it evenly. This ensures that each layer is infused with flavor.
  4. Add Parmesan Cheese: Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the casserole. This will create a delicious, golden crust when baked.

For more ideas on casserole assembly, visit Comfort Food Casseroles on Pinterest.

Baking the Casserole :

Baking the casserole to perfection requires careful timing and temperature control:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 350°F (175°C). Ensuring the oven is fully preheated before you put in the casserole helps it cook evenly.
  2. Bake: Place the casserole in the preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is bubbly and golden brown. The edges should be slightly crispy, and the cheese on top should be melted and golden.
  3. Cool Slightly Before Serving: Once baked, remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. This cooling period allows the layers to set and makes it easier to serve.

For more detailed baking tips, you can refer to Baked Pasta Recipes. :

Serving Suggestions :

To complement your Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole, consider these serving suggestions:

  • Side Salad: A light side salad, such as a balsamic tomato basil salad or arugula salad, can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the casserole. Check out this Balsamic Tomato Basil Salad recipe for inspiration.
  • Garlic Bread: Warm garlic bread or breadsticks make a perfect side, offering a crunchy texture to balance the creamy casserole.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roasted asparagus or zucchini are excellent side dishes that add a healthy element to the meal.

For more ideas, explore Pasta Dishes on Pinterest.

Variations and Substitutions :

There are many ways to customize your Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole to suit different dietary needs and preferences:

  • Meat Alternatives: Substitute ground beef with ground turkey, chicken, or even plant-based meat alternatives for a different flavor profile.
  • Cheese Substitutes: Instead of cream cheese, you can use ricotta or cottage cheese for a lighter texture. For a more intense flavor, try using a mix of cream cheese and goat cheese.
  • Vegetable Additions: Incorporate vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or spinach into the meat sauce for added nutrition and flavor. This can make the dish more balanced and colorful.
  • Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free pasta to make the dish suitable for those with gluten sensitivities. Ensure the other ingredients, such as the spaghetti sauce, are also gluten-free.

For creative variations on this recipe, visit Comfort Food Casseroles on Pinterest.

Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole :

Tips for Storage and Reheating :

Properly storing and reheating your Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole ensures that you can enjoy leftovers without compromising on taste and texture. Here are some detailed steps to follow:

  1. Cool Completely: Allow the casserole to cool completely before storing. This prevents condensation, which can make the casserole soggy.
  2. Storage: Transfer the cooled casserole to an airtight container. Alternatively, you can cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  3. Freezing: For longer storage, you can freeze the casserole. Wrap the cooled casserole tightly in plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. For best results, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  4. Reheating in Oven: Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C). Place the casserole in an oven-safe dish, cover with foil to prevent drying out, and heat until warmed through, about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Reheating in Microwave: For individual servings, microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, or until heated through. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or a damp paper towel to retain moisture.

For more information on best practices for freezing casseroles, check out Casserole Freezing Tips on Pinterest.

Frequently Asked Questions :

Can I make this casserole ahead of time?

Yes, this casserole is perfect for making ahead. Prepare the casserole as instructed, cover tightly, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking. If baking directly from the refrigerator, you may need to add about 15 minutes to the baking time to ensure it is heated through.

What can I use instead of ground beef?

You can substitute ground beef with ground turkey, chicken, or plant-based meat alternatives for a different flavor. These options provide a similar texture and can be seasoned to taste just like ground beef.

How do I prevent the casserole from drying out?

To keep your casserole from drying out, ensure it is covered with foil during the initial part of baking. If reheating leftovers, add a splash of water or broth to maintain moisture. Additionally, using a generous amount of sauce can help keep the casserole moist.

Can I add vegetables to this recipe?

Absolutely! Adding vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, or zucchini can enhance the nutritional value and add more flavor to the casserole. Sauté the vegetables along with the ground beef before mixing them into the sauce.

For more tips and variations, explore these Vegetable Additions on Pinterest.

Conclusion :

The Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole is a delightful dish that combines the comforting flavors of spaghetti, creamy cheese, and savory meat sauce. It’s an ideal meal for family dinners and gatherings, offering a hearty and satisfying experience. With these detailed instructions and tips, you can easily prepare and customize this dish to suit your preferences.

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Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole

  • Author: Easy Recipes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes



12 oz spaghetti

1 (26 oz) jar prepared spaghetti sauce

1 lb lean ground beef

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a skillet, brown the ground beef until cooked through. Drain fat and stir in the spaghetti sauce. Set aside.
  3. Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package. Drain and place cooked spaghetti in a bowl.
  4. Add cream cheese, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic to the spaghetti. Stir until the cream cheese is melted and the spaghetti is thoroughly coated.
  5. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread a small amount of meat sauce on the bottom of the dish. Put the spaghetti mixture on top of the sauce and then top with the remaining meat sauce.
  6. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • Serving Size: 400 kcal per serving
  • Calories: 8 servings

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