This Slow Cooker Baked Spaghetti has a slow-simmered beef sauce layered with pasta with a cream cheese layer, and a mozzarella layer. It’s often called Million Dollar Spaghetti, whatever you choose to call it, it’s delicious.
You won’t want boring spaghetti ever again once trying this cozy casserole! It is a perfect weeknight dinner and good enough to serve to guests. We also make Ravioli Lasagna which is very similar to the flavors in this recipe!
What is the difference between normal spaghetti and baked spaghetti?
- Regular spaghetti has just noodles, meat, and sauce, and made on the stove top.
- Baked Spaghetti is spaghetti and sauce topped with a creamy cream cheese and ricotta mixture and topped with cheese, and baked to meld all the flavors together. In this case we are using our slow cooker to “bake” this casserole. Baked spaghetti tastes like an ultra decadent lasagana (but of course with different noodles).
- Pasta sauce – You can use Ragu, Newman’s Own, Rao’s or even make your own homemade marinara in this recipe! Just use two 24-oz. jars.
- Ground beef – Cook ground beef on the stove top with salt, pepper, basil, garlic and onion.
- Spaghetti noodles – One pound of cooked spaghetti noodles will be added to this after the sauce has simmer all day.
- Cream cheese mixture – Cream cheese, ricotta and salt make up the creamy layer in this million dollar spaghetti.
Step One – Add both jars of pasta sauce to the slow cooker.
Step Two – Cook the ground beef in a skillet on the stovetop, cook with the seasonings and onion, add the garlic the last few minutes of cooking. Drain the grease and add to the crockpot with the sauce.
Step Three – Stir the mixture and cook on LOW for 6 hours. WAIT TO ADD THE NOODLES AND CREAM CHEESE MIXTURE.
Step Four – Near the end of the cooking time cook the spaghetti noodles on the stovetop. I cook mine for 8 minutes exactly, slightly undercooking them for they will cook a little more when we assemble the casserole. Drain the noodles and add them to the cooked sauce.
Step Five – Stir the noodles into the sauce and slightly press the noodles into an even layer (like you would for a casserole).
Step Six – In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, ricotta, and salt. Add this mixture on top of the noodles and sauce in dollops.
Step Seven – Spread the dollops out evenly over the pasta.
Step Eight – Sprinkle over the mozzarella cheese. Place the lid back on the slow cooker and cook for an additional 20 minutes on LOW.
Step Nine – Turn the slow cooker off so the dish doesn’t overcook. Serve and enjoy!
What to serve with this:
No, the slow cooker doesn’t get hot enough to cook pasta properly, instead of cooking properly it turns into a chalky mess.
Spaghetti or linquine noodles are best for this recipe. You can use penne or rigatoni if desired. I do not recommend angel hair noodles or egg noodles for they are not the right texture for this dish.
Some do not like ricotta. You can use more cream cheese instead or use cottage cheese and you’ll still have a wonderful meal.
Yes, this recipe freezes well. Place the leftovers in freezer-safe containers or freezer ziplock bags. Freeze for up to three months.
Yes! Though slow cooking the sauce really makes the dish, you can do this in the oven instead. Add your sauce to the cooked meat and pour over the spaghetti in a 9×13 pan. Add the creamy mixture and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Ground Turkey – For a healthier version of baked spaghetti use ground turkey. You may want to add extra seasonings for more flavor.
Ground Italian Sausage – For more Italian flavor, cook and crumble Italian sausage instead, you can use sweet or spicy.
Soy Crumbles – Looking for a vegetarian version? Just add bagged soy crumbles instead of the beef.
Slow Cooker Baked Spaghetti
- 48 oz. Pasta Sauce Such as Ragu Old World Style, Newman's own Marinara, or Rao's Marinara.
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
- 1/2 cup diced white onion
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 lb. spaghetti noodles see below for cooking instructions, these don’t get cooked or added until after the sauce cooks for 6 hours
Cheese topping after sauce cooks:
- 4 ounces cream cheese 1/2 cup
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Pour the jars of sauce in to the slow cooker. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, brown the meat and onions together. After the meat is browned add the garlic, cook for a minute a longer. Drain the fat. Add the salt, pepper, oregano and basil and stir. Pour the meat onto the sauce in the slow cooker and stir.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time.
- After the cooking time is up, cook the noodles as directed on the package in boiling water on the stove-top. I cooked my noodles for exactly 8 minutes after adding them to the boiling water. The noodles will cook a bit more after adding them to the slow cooker.
- Drain the noodles and add them to the meat sauce in the slow cooker. Stir, then flatten the noodles in an even layer.
- In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, ricotta and salt. The cream cheese will be in small chunks, but that is fine.
- Dollop the cream cheese/ricotta mixture over the spaghetti, then use a spatula to even it out over the spaghetti. Add the mozzarella cheese.
- Cover and cook for an extra 20 minutes on LOW.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Ground Turkey – For a healthier version of baked spaghetti use ground turkey. You may want to add extra seasonings for more flavor.
- Ground Italian Sausage – For more Italian flavor, cook and crumble Italian sausage instead, you can use sweet or spicy.
- Soy Crumbles – Looking for a vegetarian version? Just add bagged soy crumbles instead of the beef.
Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.