Baked Spaghetti

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Baked SpaghettiHappy New Year!!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are getting back in the swing of things.  Perhaps, just maybe, you’ve even been able to stick with that New Year’s resolution.  And for many folks, myself included, that resolution is to lose some extra weight.  My wife and I had been talking about shedding some pounds before Christmas and her response to me was, “How am I supposed to lose weight when you’re running a Southern food blog!?!?”  Well, while I’ll admit it’s not going to be easy, I think we can find a way to at least lighten-up a few of my favorites to make them a bit more figure friendly.  This here is a perfect example.  I’ve taken this recipe for baked spaghetti (a real family favorite) and given you a few ideas to lighten it up – like swapping regular cream cheese for Neufchatel and trading the regular ground beef for ground sirloin, ground round or even ground turkey.  You can even switch out the regular mozzarella for the 2% mozzarella that’s available.


  • 8 to 12 oz spaghetti
  • 1 to 1.5 pounds ground beef (I used Ground Sirloin)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 24 oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese (I used Neufchatel- 1/3 less fat)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and drain.
  2. Combine ground beef and onion in a large skillet and brown.  Drain grease.
  3. Return beef and onions to pan and add spaghetti sauce.  Bring to a simmer.
  4. In another small bowl, combine cream cheese, milk, and garlic powder.  (You may need to microwave the cream cheese a bit to soften it if it is not at room temp.)
  5. Spray a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray and layer noodles, then cream cheese mixture, then meat sauce.  Top with mozzarella and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted a bubbly. 
Baked Spaghetti
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
  • 8 to 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 to 1.5 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese (I used Neufchatel- 1/3 less fat)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Cook spaghetti according to package directions and drain.

  2. Combine ground beef and onion in a large skillet and brown. Drain grease.
  3. Return beef and onions to pan and add spaghetti sauce. Bring to a simmer.
  4. In another small bowl, combine cream cheese, milk, and garlic powder. (You may need to microwave the cream cheese a bit to soften it if it is not at room temp.)
  5. Spray a 9X13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and layer noodles, then cream cheese mixture, then meat sauce. Top with mozzarella and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted a bubbly.

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  1. Robert B. (citycowboy) says:

    YUM YUM, I could make and eat a whole pan of this myself

  2. Lynette Royal says:

    Stacey, this sounds delish! Another great substitution is whole wheat spaghetti. I started using it to get more good grains in my diet and the plain truth is that it has much more flavor than regular spaghetti. Give it a try sometime, you’ll love it. Love your blog, keep up the good work!

  3. Thanks – just what I have been looking for several years

  4. Whenever I have to cook ground turkey with onions I cook both in hot water. On medium-high stove heat, I first put some water in the skillet and let the water get good and hot to a boil then I place my ground turkey and chopped onions in the skillet to cook. When it is 1/2 way cooked I then take a fork and start crushing the ground turkey in the pan as it cooks to get it the size of fine crumbs or the size of a pea like. After it has finished cooking then I pour everything in a strainer sitting in my sink and run hot water over the ground turkey and onions about a minute or so to get all the grease out. Then I let it sit in the strainer for abourt a couple of minutes to make sure all water is strained. Saves a lot of calories and you don’t have any grease.

  5. Everyone should try it with the ground turkey. I switched to ground turkey several yrs ago for meatloaf,chili,burgers,even baked egg rolls and lettuce wraps and my family loves them all and my grandsons favorite dish is This baked spaghetti with ground turkey.

  6. ~adding spaghetti sauce to my shopping list~
    …then I am set to make this delicious sounding casserole! Thank you Stacey for another great recipe!

  7. Just want to send you a note of encouragement: my husband and I have been losing weight steadily for the past two years, and it’s mostly because I’ve been cooking at home more. I give a lot of credit to online blogs (like yours and Southern Plate) to making our weight loss a lot easier – pretty much anything you make at home is less calories than McDonald’s! 🙂 I’ve lost almost 70 pounds, and my hubby’s lost 103.

    The way we did it is just counting calories and exercising a bit more. I add up the calories of each ingredient in my recipes and divide by the number of servings. We had to play around a bit to find out what calorie level we could take in every day to lose weight, but it’s a lot higher than what we thought it’d be: I usually eat 1500-1800 calories a day, and my husband’s is 2300. ‘Course, we’re both on the tall side, but we really don’t have to starve ourselves.

    Sorry this is so long – just wanted to say that losing weight is possible, even when you’re eating good Southern food! Thanks for what you do, Stacey!

  8. I’ve gotta tell ya… My husband’s favorite meal is spaghetti, a few weeks ago, I made this for the first time… I made it again just this week… I asked my husband if he likes regular spaghetti or this one better. He said, “Definitely like this one better!” Now THAT is a compliment! Thanks so much for sharing this delicious recipe.

  9. How can I print your recipes?

    • Near the bottom of each post, you’ll see a recipe card. In that card in the upper right hand corner is a blue “Save Recipe” button and a “Print” button. You should be able to print the recipe using that “Print” button. If it’s not working, please let me know!

  10. WOW! Great hit with my family! Thanks so much. It was great!

  11. It looks delicious but do you have to put the cream cheese?

  12. Seriously this is amazing!!!!

  13. I added some veggies to mine: sauteed sliced mushrooms and zucchini and spread them on the cheese layer before pouring sauce over all. Mmmm…

  14. I wanted to let you know I made this for my son and his girlfiend. They just brought home thier new baby girl from the hospital.
    This dish was a hit with them. So simple to make and the flavor was right on.
    Thanks for such a great recipe.

  15. Stacy – This is exactly what I have been looking for. You are the best of Alabama. You maike us proud.

  16. Made this for a ladies group meeting at church yesterday. Super simple and very good. Just found your website and will be making other recipes. Keep up the good work !

    • Thanks, Bernice! And thanks for coming back to let me know. I love hearing back from folks. Hopefully you can find more on the site that you like just as well. 🙂

  17. I made this recipe tonight and it was a huge hit! Loved it…best baked spaghetti recipe I’ve ever eaten. Loved how easy it was to make too. Having it for leftovers for lunch with my sister. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    • Wow, Carrie! I guess the compliments don’t get much better than that!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate that you took the time to come back and let me know!!

  18. GREAT recipe! I make it with ground turkey, low fat cream cheese, and omega 3 pasta (3/4 of a box) and it is hands down mine and my b/f’s favorite meal of the week (yes I make it once a week). Thanks for sharing such a gem!

  19. ok…i can’t type all I want to type on here bc i’m eating my 2nd serving now!! but i will say this is hands down,by far, thee best recipe for baked spaghetti i’ve tried…an the cream cheese is brilliant!! excited about finding more recipes on here 😀

  20. Jane Engle says:

    I made this last week and it was fabulous! It makes such a big pan full of spaghetti that my husband and I ate it 2 nights and I still had a ton left so my mom and brother got leftovers as well. It was a hit all around! Thanks for a tasty and easy to prepare meal!

  21. Making this tonight. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  22. This is so yummy!!! Both my kids loved it and even my husband and he don’t eat spaghetti. Thank you so much

  23. Is that a Princess House dish in the picture? I’m going to make this recipe tonight in the very same dish.

  24. BOMB!! definitely will bookmark this recipe! i just used a lil more cream cheese an garlic powder. it’s great! thanks!

  25. I want to make this meal and freeze it to take sling on vacation. What would you suggest I change when freezing it before baking?

    • Great idea, Lori! Like lots of things, this dish reheats even tastier than the first go round. I’m not sure that you need to make any changes and whether you freeze it before or after baking it shouldn’t make a whole lot of difference. Y’all enjoy!!

  26. Janet Schmauss says:

    I really like that baking dish you have. Where did you get it? And I’m just fixing to put this recipe in the oven but i used part skim ricotta instead of the cream cream mixture

  27. This turned out great!! I used a bottled vodka sauce and bow tie pasta, and 1/3 less fat cream cheese. So yummy!! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  28. Yummy baked spaghetti!!! I substituted mushrooms for the meat. I have a vegetarian in the family. (We all can’t be perfect) Great idea of using the cream cheese.

  29. This is honestly the BEST baked spaghetti—and one of the best meals period—I have ever tasted. The cream cheese mixture makes the flavor so rich, and I like to add a bit of Frank’s Red Sauce or pepper flakes to the actual spaghetti sauce for a kick, and black olives. Seriously, I am indebted to you for introducing this delectable dish to my life!

  30. Made your Baked Spaghetti for a Church Potluck. It was G-R-E-A-T ! Thank-you so much. Since it was a success I shared it on my FB page. I love your blog and look forward to making more of your recipes.

  31. Hi! First of all let me tell you…..THIS is my favorite dish EVER and i have never liked spaghetti in my entire life! I made it for a get together at my house and i havent been able to put the fork down since! LOL

    So, my question is [since i have never had to prepare this ahead of time bc like i said….i dont think i could wait that long haha] i have a friend that is in the hospital and we are preparing meals for her family and i would love to make this. Can you freeze this? How long would you suggest cooking in the oven if you can freeze it?

    Thanks in advance! i cant tell you how many times i have shared this link with my friends!!

    • That’s awesome, Mallory! So glad you’ve enjoyed it. Yes, you absolutely can freeze it. I would recommend thawing it comeplteyl first, then cooking for about 45 minutes or until bubbly.

  32. Demone and Amy Jordan says:

    Stacey I gotta let you.know my wife ate baked spaghetti for the first and she loves your recipe simply easy and delicious…. I’m from Ga I love and enjoy baked spaghetti…. thank you for blessing me my wife and family with your delicious easy and simply recipe……. You are truly Thanked

  33. eLIZABETH A Jackson (Liz) says:

    stacy thank you for the good tasting recipes and the stories. Ate this kind of food growing up in NCand Istill cook many dishes I grew up eating. Keep doing what you do.

  34. How many does this serve? Thanks!

  35. Jan kotouc says:

    I am cooking for 25 pastors next week and I would love to know about how many servings this makes.
    Could you let me know?

  36. This looks great! Do you think it would be ok if I put it together the evening before if we are going to have it for lunch the next day?

  37. Hi, I found this recipe on pinterest and I have been browsing through your recipes for awhile now. This is the first time I have ever commented on a recipe. This one, as well as so many others, looks easy, and delicious! I will continue to follow you on pinterest and I look forward to trying many of your recipes!!

  38. I was looking for a Baked Spaghetti recipe, and WOW, am I glad I found your website! I made the recipe substituting ground turkey for the beef – per one of your suggestions – and it was a huge hit with my family! I’m exploring your site and have found so many yummy recipes I am excited to try. Thank you so much for sharing your passion with others!

  39. Mary Catherine says:

    I am making this for the second time because we all love it so much! I used ground turkey in place of beef and half mozzarella/half sharp cheddar cheese for the top simply because I didn’t have enough mozzarella on hand. It is one of the easiest baked spaghetti recipes and yet my very favorite of all those I have tried.

  40. Winnie Mom says:

    My husband loves baked spaghetti but not much of a meat eater so I add vegetables such as zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant (bite size pieces) and whatever I happen to have in the frig along with the meat. I will definitely try the cream cheese mixture or use ricotta (I love this) for that layer. The rest of the recipe is like yours.

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