Easy Crockpot Spaghetti Casserole

Make dinner with barely any effort with this easy crockpot spaghetti casserole. With plenty of bold Italian flavors, the pasta cooks in the slow cooker with the meat sauce, making it tender and incredibly tasty!

This Italian comfort food dinner comes together with minimal effort on your part, and is perfect for a hungry family!  Try this Crockpot spaghetti casserole tonight!

This Crockpot Spaghetti Casserole is every bit as tasty as it is easy!  Even the pasta cooks right in the slow cooker alongside the flavorful meat sauce, making this the ultimate weeknight meal! | #spaghetti #casserole #crockpot #slowcooker #Italianfood #weeknightmeal

Ever since I shared my Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce, you’ve been asking me for ways to cook spaghetti in the slow cooker.  And here it is!!  The only prep/pre-cooking you have to do here is brown the meat and stir together the sauce ingredients.  Easy peasy!

This recipe actually surprised me.  I saw it in an edition of Southern Living, and was intrigued by the fact that the pasta cooks with the sauce the whole time.  Other recipes usually call for the pasta to be added towards the end of the cooking time.

Spaghetti casserole in slow cooker

So I made the recipe exactly as they had written and it was good, but I felt it could use some tweaks here and there, plus some additional flavors (the original recipe had NO garlic in it… I can’t cook spaghetti without garlic!).  This is the result!  Pure comfort food, with a fraction of the work and hands on cooking time.

One thing to note is that the pasta in this spaghetti casserole is a little softer than a traditional boiled to al-dente pasta.  However, it’s not mushy and is incredibly flavorful from cooking in a meat sauce!

Serving of spaghetti casserole made in a slow cooker


Not quite.  Million dollar spaghetti has a meat sauce, and spaghetti of course, but it also has a layer of ricotta/cream cheese that’s baked along with it.  In a way it’s sort of like spaghetti and lasagna had a baby 🙂


Not necessarily “mushy”, but is does have a softer texture, very similar to any baked casserole that has pasta in it.  The “bite” of freshly boiled pasta isn’t there.

Plate of crockpot spaghetti


  • Make your sauce first.  I like to use ground beef because we usually have it in our freezer… but all Italian sausage or a mix of both beef an sausage would be a great flavor addition.
  • Make sure to break your spaghetti into thirds.  This helps the pasta cook evenly, as well as making it easier to scoop and eat.
  • Stir stir stir!  Once you add the uncooked spaghetti, make sure you stir it into the meat sauce.  The sauce is what will cook the pasta, so it should be well mixed!
  • Play around with the cheeses if you want!  I like to use mozzarella as it’s a traditional flavor, but I know a lot of people who like to use cheddar on theirs, so feel free to play around with it.
  • To prevent all that condensation on the lid from splashing back into your dish as you take the slow cooker lid off, cover the slow cooker with a dry dishtowel or several paper towels, THEN top with the lid.  Make sure the towel is long enough that you can grab both it and the lid when you take it off, otherwise it could fall into your food.

Scoop of crockpot spaghetti casserole

One thing to note about this recipe is that all slow cookers are different.  It’s inevitable, and frustrating!  That’s why the cooking time is a range for most slow cooker recipes.  My advice would be to check it at 3 hours in and see how the pasta is tasting.  If it’s soft and tender, then you’re good to go ahead and eat!


  • 6 quart slow cooker (in photos) – I purchased this since it is so much easier to photograph foods in a white slow cooker, but it’s actually a great slow cooker!  It’s not programmable, so if that’s your thing…..
  • Programmable 6 quart slow cooker – I’ve had this exact slow cooker for going on 5 years now, and it’s still going strong!  Great features and a great price too!




This Crockpot Spaghetti Casserole is every bit as tasty as it is easy!  Even the pasta cooks right in the slow cooker alongside the flavorful meat sauce, making this the ultimate weeknight meal! | #spaghetti #casserole #crockpot #slowcooker #Italianfood #weeknightmeal

Easy Crockpot Spaghetti Casserole

Make dinner with barely any effort with this easy crockpot spaghetti casserole. With plenty of bold Italian flavors, the pasta cooks in the slow cooker with the meat sauce, making it tender and incredibly tasty!
4.9 from 19 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings 6 servings
Calories 347


  • 2 lbs ground chuck (80/20 is what I use)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 5-7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (26 oz) jar of marinara sauce, your favorite brand
  • 1 (15 oz) can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of sugar, to counteract the acidity of the canned tomatoes
  • 8 oz dried spaghetti pasta, broken into thirds
  • 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • fresh parsley or basil, minced, - for garnish
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, - for garnish


  • Heat a large skillet over MED to MED-HIGH heat with a small drizzle of oil.  Add ground beef and onion and cook 5-6 minutes, until beef is cooked through, crumbling as you cook.  Drain meat/onion mixture and return to skillet.
  • Reduce heat to MED-LOW, add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.  Add marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, water, Italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar, thyme, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar.  Stir to combine well.
  • Spoon meat mixture into lightly greased 6 quart slow cooker.  Top with broken spaghetti and stir together.  Top with shredded cheese, cover and cook on LOW 4 hours.
  • Serve garnished with fresh parsley or basil and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese if desired.


I get it, some days you won't be home for a long time and a 3-4 hour cooking time just doesn't work for you right?  Try this variation:
  • Make meat sauce as directed and add to slow cooker.  DON'T add pasta.  Cook on LOW for anywhere from 4-8 hours.  
  • Open lid and stir in broken, uncooked spaghetti.  Mix together well, top with cheese, then cover and cook on HIGH for 30-40 minutes.  Check spaghetti for doneness, and cook a bit longer if needed.
Tried this recipe?Mention @the_chunky_chef or tag #thechunkychef!



This Crockpot Spaghetti Casserole is every bit as tasty as it is easy!  Even the pasta cooks right in the slow cooker alongside the flavorful meat sauce, making this the ultimate weeknight meal! | #spaghetti #casserole #crockpot #slowcooker #Italianfood #weeknightmeal

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55 comments on “Easy Crockpot Spaghetti Casserole”

  1. Hi! I’mt trying to make 17 servings…will that fit in standard oval crock pot?

  2. This was very good. I read the comments that suggested less cooking time for the pasta. I put mine in for the last hour and it it came out perfect. I also substituted 1lb  of Italian sausage, and used 1/4 cup of red wine and 1/4 cup of beef broth instead of water. I didn’t use balsamic vinegar because I didn’t have any. Overall it is delicious!

  3. Any tips for storing this? I’m going on vacation for a few days, so i’m leaving my father some easy heat meals. any tips are appreciated, thank you 🙂

    • I would store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or separated into several single serving size containers. This way he can easily reheat the casserole in the microwave when he’s ready to eat 🙂

  4. I’m trying this recipe out right now for dinner tonight… looking so forward to it , it was so simple to fix and I even put my little touch t to it .

  5. What about the cream cheese and ricotta cheese

  6. Sounds delightful!  I will be making this for a homeless shelter; I am allergic to balsamic vinegar so would need to leave out so I can taste.  I can’t have wine either so wouldn’t be able to substitute.  Any suggestions?
    Thank you in advance for your time.

    C H

    • You can absolutely just omit the balsamic, no need to substitute with anything 🙂 It gives the sauce a subtle tang and richness, but isn’t essential to the recipe. Bless you for making this for the homeless!

  7. Made this with my homemade sauce and it was wonderful to come home to. and not near the mess. Thanks for sharing.

  8. The next pot luck we have i will fix t fix this.

  9. Looks great! I’ll have to give it a try now that we’ve hit carb season 🙌🏽 Thank you for sharing

  10. This looks very good. Will be trying this very soon. Thank you. Haven’t had a chance to look but do you have lots of cockpit recipes? Always looking to make my life a bit noncrazy..Lol!

  11. This recipe was so simple and so delicious! 🙂 I doubled the recipe so it’d last a few days and it turned out so good. My only tip is that if you’re gonna’ double the recipe, you do NOT need to double the cheese L O L I did that and it basically made an impenetrable cheese layer on top, with all the yummy spaghetti underneath. Oh, and I only had to cook it on Low for an hour and forty minutes, not the full four hours as suggested.

    Thank you so much for the recipe! 🙂

  12. One word delicious!
    Mine was more than cooked enough after 2 hours using my crockpot. Will probably stop after 1.5 hours next time. I haven’t had spaghetti made at home this delicious before, thank you!

  13. Excellent! I substituted 1/2 cup of red wine in place of 1/2 cup water. I used broken Angel Hair pasta and only cooked it in crock pot about 40 minutes. It was delicious! Next time, I might add a little more wine for those who like a thinner sauce.

  14. I made this without meat cause I didn’t have any. I had everything else except for the vinegar, although I used plain diced tomatoes. I used Angel Hair pasta and only cooked it for an hour and 40 minutes. It is delicious! It has tons of flavor even without meat. I am happy to get that baked pasta texture without having to use the oven!

  15. As far as I’m concerned no spaghetti sauce is complete until diced green bell peppers are added.

  16. Can you use a different type of pasta, 8oz if rotini perhaps? 

  17. I was very happy with the way this turned out! I only cooked it for 2 hours on low, but I used thin spaghetti noodles. Thank you!! 

  18. Just FYI for ppl like that guy that doesn’t get crock pot cooking apparently. Some moms/people work & need dinner done when they get home. I prep my stuff either night before or that morning, go to work. Get home about 6:30 and all I really have to do is side items if even. BAM – Family gets a hot meal @ a decent time. Planning to try this soon, adding to a weekly menu. Oh and ‘DUDE’ that’s something else we often have to do too. Lol lol – THANKS for the recipe!!!!

  19. excited to try this

  20. This is by far, the best spaghetti I’ve ever had…no exception. I’m 70 and have loved spaghetti my whole life. I did, however, cook for only 3 1/2 hrs because I like mine al dente. But, yummmmm!

  21. Can I double al ingredients to make this for 12 instead of 6 in a single batch? 

  22. This is more like double the cooking time spaghetti…what is the advantage if you have to cook the meat prior to adding to the pot? I will not use this recipe.

    • Well for starters, crockpot meals are used by people who want to come home and have dinner practically done for them. You brown the meat before adding to the pot in most crockpot recipes using beef, as it will be really greasy if you cook it in the crockpot. Everyone has different tastes and preferences; just because you don’t like this recipe, that doesn’t mean that many others won’t as well. It IS possible to click away or scroll right past something you don’t like or agree with. Good day 🙂

      • Glad you replied to that dude. “I will not use this recipe!” What a meaningful contribution… LOL! 

        I just made it, but instead of cooking the sauce all day on low I’m cooking it on high for a shorter time (with the pasta), so I’ll see how it turns out the quickie way. Anyway, it sounds amazing- can’t wait till dinner! 

        • This is so good! I rarely comment, but had to. I’ve made it multiple times and its my family’s FAVORITE meal I make. Lots of flavor but not spicy and the noodles even though not al dente have so much flavor. The edges are more well done and sooooo good…like a cheesey burnt noodle, but soft. Kids fight over the “burnt” parts. My 5 year old who is picky about things being mixed together loves it and has seconds and thirds. Thank you for posting! It’s a go-to for our family! (Two quick tips – make sure noodles are submerged after you mix them in. If they arent, they can get really hard. Instead of spaghetti, I use farfalle or shell noodles and it turns out great)!

  23. How many servings  and how many calories are in this recipe 

    • There’s a bright green box in the upper left-hand corner of the recipe box that says how many servings are in each recipe (6 servings for this recipe), and right above the ingredients it says how many calories (347 per serving for this recipe). This calorie count is an estimation, as things like brands used, etc, can alter the nutritional information.

  24. 3 hours on low was plenty of time. But good stuff!

  25. DO NOT COOK FOR 4 hrs after. Mine was part burned after 2.3 hours. Check after 1 hr.   

    • It sounds like your slow cooker cooks at a high temperature, even on low. I mention in the post how all slow cookers are different and it may take some testing to find out what works for you with your cooker.

  26. Going to be moving this week-end so all my pots are packed so I wanted to make a recipe in a Crock Pot. Found this one & will be making it today!! Thank you so much.

  27. EXCELLENT! Makes a LOT!

  28. Is 8 oz of pasta really enough for a sauce that has 2lb of meat?

  29. Can you substitute ground turkey for the beef?

  30. This looks really good! I am sure this will be a huge hit with my family!

  31. Spaghetti in casserole form! Count me in!

  32. No garlic? That’s just crazy talk — glad you switched things up! 😀 This looks like a tasty dish & one I wouldn’t have thought to try before!

  33. WOW!! The perfect dinner!! It looks SO delicious!!

  34. Wow! I will make this tonight! Looks so perfect !

  35. Seems to be our perfect Sunday dinner! We all love pasta!

  36. Such a great meal for a busy weeknight! Prep in the morning and come home to dinner!

  37. This sounds incredible easy and I love that the pasta is added along with everything else right in the beginning. So you just dump and forget! Can’t wait to try this

  38. Pingback: Easy Crockpot Spaghetti Casserole — The Chunky Chef | My Meals are on Wheels