Cafeteria Baked Spaghetti (Kids' Favorite)

Prep Time
Cook Time
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"Kid's of all ages will love this, my son who is grown up now still asks for this. The complete casserole may be prepared up to a day in advance and refrigerated until ready to bake. This really does not make a whole lot and after tasting this your family will want seconds plus midnight snacks for sure! The amounts may be doubled and baked in two separate 9-inch baking pans or one 13x9-inch pan. I use the foil pans for easy clean-up. If your cooking this for little kids you may want to add in a few tablespoons of brown sugar or just make as stated, WARNING- this is so good you will be making this very often!! I suggest when you make make this for the first time to make it as stated cause really it is great just as written. You can omit the smoked paprika I like to add it in, it really brings out the flavor. I keep cooked ground beef in the freezer to make recipes like this if you have cooked in the freezer then this takes very little time to make. This is an easy budget-friendly meal your family will love!"

Original is 6 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (257.3 g)
  • Calories 451.1
  • Total Fat - 18.3 g
  • Saturated Fat - 7.8 g
  • Cholesterol - 83.1 mg
  • Sodium - 1098.1 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 39.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 1 g
  • Sugars - 12.6 g
  • Protein - 32.9 g
  • Calcium - 299.7 mg
  • Iron - 4 mg
  • Vitamin C - 4.9 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.2 mg

Step by Step Method

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position oven rack to lowest position.

Step 2

Grease an 9-inch or an 11 x 7-inch baking dish.

Step 3

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain, rinse under cold water and drain well again; transfer to a medium or large heat-proof bowl. Set aside.

Step 4

Cook ground beef with onion in a large skillet stirring until meat browns (about 10-12 minutes).

Step 5

Add in garlic; continue cooking for another 2 minutes; drain fat.

Step 6

Stir in the chili powder, smoked paprika, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, 1 cup beef broth, cheese slices, salt and pepper into the meat mixture; simmer covered with a lid or partially covered over medium-low heat for about 20-22 minutes, stirring frequently (no more than 20-22 minutes or it will reduce too much).

Step 7

Stir in cooked spaghetti (I suggest you allow mixture to cool and use your hands or a large tong for mixing, I use my hands).

Step 8

Transfer/spread the mixture into a baking dish.

Step 9

Top spaghetti with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese then 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (can use more cheese) *** at this point you can cover and refrigerate up to 48 hours or until ready to bake, leave out on counter for one hour or a little more before baking).

Step 10

Bake about 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and cheese begins to brown.


No special items needed.

2 Reviews


My family loved this. Certainly not the traditional spaghetti sauce. Super good!


review by:
(17 Aug 2021)


This recipe was put to the most serious of tests - a 10-year old who doesn't like spaghetti and her parents who long to slurp up oodles and oodles of noodles. Definately not Italian spaghetti, but not quite tex-mex meat mixture with spaghetti. We decided it was a not too sweet (DO NOT think canned sloppy joe stuff), kicked up sloppy joe mixture with spaghetti..and cheese! The recipe came together easily with ingredients we all probably have on hand; the meat mixture was ready to go in the time it took for water to boil and pasta to cook. The only confusion was the 1 cup of shredded cheddar and directions to add 1/2 C to meat and then top with the other 3/4 C of cheddar with some mozzarella; probably a typo but really - is there ever TOO much cheese? I think this would freeze without a hitch and would be perfect to leave for others to pop in the oven for supper; I wouldn't hesitate to take this dish to a new mom or grieving family. Simple, yummy, filling comfort food!


review by:
(31 Jan 2012)

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