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Scooter’s Cream Cheese Spaghetti with French Fried Onions

Preview: Scooter’s Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole is spaghetti layered with cream cheese and marinara. Crunchy French-Fried onion rings on top make it the BEST.

What kind of entree do you like to take to a party, a potluck, or a sick/sad friend?

These are my requirements:

  • Easy but scrumptious.
  • Made from ingredients you are likely to have in your pantry or are easy to find
  • Something most people (including kids and picky eaters) will like

Scooter’s Cream Cheese Spaghetti casserole is a winner in all these categories! But what makes it stand out is the topping: crispy French-Fried onion rings. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Individual serving of Scooter's Cream Cheese Spaghetti

Recipes you can make ahead of time get bonus points.

This Cream Cheese Spaghetti recipe fulfills all my requirements. Make it the day before if that helps.

The first time or two may seem like a bit more trouble than plain spaghetti. But with a bit of experience, you won’t need the recipe. It will come together in a hurry.

Tips for making this ahead of time:

Assemble all layers except the onions and cover with plastic wrap, then foil. (Spaghetti sauce will cause small holes in the foil where it touches.) Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

But don’t add the French Fried Onions when you first assemble the casserole. Instead, hold them back until 5 minutes before the spaghetti is ready to serve.

Sprinkle over the top and return to the oven for about 5 minutes to get crispy. Observe to prevent burning.

Can I freeze baked cream cheese spaghetti?

Inidividual serving of scooters spaghetti on a plate

Yes–before you bake it. First, cover assembled but unbaked spaghetti casserole (without onion rings) with plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. (The plastic wrap is essential. Spaghetti sauce can eat holes in thin aluminum foil.)

When you get ready to bake it, remove the plastic wrap and cover it with foil while the casserole heats. Remove foil halfway through baking to allow the cheese to brown.

Whether you refrigerate or freeze, don’t forget about the French Fried Onions. As previously mentioned, sprinkle them evenly over the top of the casserole for 5 minutes before the end of the baking time.

Ingredients and substitutes:

GROUND BEEF: Substitute breakfast sausage or Italian sausage for a portion or all of the ground beef. I like to use 50% beef and 50% hot breakfast sausage.

Leave out the meat for a vegetarian meal.

SPAGHETTI: I like to use thin spaghetti. Not as thin as vermicelli but slightly skinnier than traditional spaghetti, although that will work just as well.

SAUCE: My favorite sauce is Victoria White Linen Marinara Sauce. It contains less sugar than most. It’s available at Costco as of this writing. Also seen on Amazon.

Have a favorite spaghetti sauce recipe? Go ahead and use it in this recipe. You will need about 3 to 3-1/2 cups of sauce.

CREAM CHEESE: Neufchâtel is a suitable replacement for cream cheese if you’re trying to cut the fat. Read more about Neufchâtel here.

You could leave out the cream cheese, but please don’t. It won’t be the same. Even if you think you don’t like cream cheese, it’s magic in this recipe.

FRENCH-FRIED ONION RINGS: Don’t be tempted to leave these out! It would be like ordering a cheeseburger without cheese. What’s the point?

The onion rings and cream cheese layer make this recipe extra special and unique.

If you need gluten-free or grain-free, check out these onion rings available at Asian supermarkets and Amazon. They are fried but without a batter coating.


Gluten-Free Version of Scooter’s Spaghetti (with zucchini noodles)

Gluten-free version of Scooter's Spaghetti with shallots and zucchini noodles
Scooter’s Baked Spaghetti made with zucchini instead of spaghetti

Substitute zucchini for the spaghetti for a gluten-free, veggie-packed version. Use a spiralizer or a mandolin to make noodles from 3 medium zucchini. No peeling is necessary.

Squeeze as much moisture out of the zucchini as you can before assembling the casserole.

Scooters-Spaghetti-making-zoodles with zucchini
Making zoodles and using paper towels (or an old tea towel) to squeeze out the moisture

To keep this recipe gluten-free, substitute pan-fried shallots for the onion rings.

You will need at least 4-5 shallots for this recipe. Sautè sliced shallots in a frying pan with a little bit of oil. Fry at med-low temperature until brown, stirring frequently.

Crispy Shallots
Pan-fried Crispy Shallots

How to make Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole:

cooking spaghetti

#1 Prepare 8 ounces of spaghetti according to directions on the package. Drain and set aside.

frying ground beef

#2 Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Drain excess grease if necessary.

spaghetti and sauce in a skillet

#3 Add spaghetti sauce to ground beef and heat on medium-low.

cooking veggies in better in the microwave

#4 Combine butter, peppers, and onions into a microwave-safe glass bowl. Cover. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes.

cream cheese mixture with veggies

#5 Add softened cream cheese and milk. Stir until smooth.

How to assemble the layers for baked spaghetti:

spaghetti layer

First layer: Cover the bottom of the dish with 1/2 to 1 cup of sauce, then all of the cooked and drained spaghetti.

cream cheese layer for spaghetti casserole

Second layer: Spread the cream cheese evenly over the spaghetti.

sauce layer

Third layer:  Meat and spaghetti sauce (all of it)

parmesan layer

Fourth layer:  Parmesan cheese (I use about 1/2 cup). Bake in 350 degrees F oven for 20-30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and heated throughout.

toasting French fried onions on top of Cream Cheese Spaghetti recipe

Last layer: With 5 minutes of baking remaining, sprinkle French-Fried onions over the top.

Put the casserole back into the oven until onions are toasty. Please keep your eyes on it. The onions can burn faster than you can answer the door.

Remember that I warned you earlier that this casserole would take a little extra time the first time or two you make it. It’s not as easy as stirring it all up in a big bowl. But, believe me when I say it’s worth it to so you can enjoy all the different textures going on in this dish.

P.S. Who or what is “Scooter?”

Scooter is one of my favorite people from way back. I’m so happy she is willing to share her recipes. 

If you like this one, check out more of these recipes she has also shared with me: Breaded Almond Chicken, Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, and Warm and Toasty Nuts with Rosemary and Shallots.

Do you need some bread with that spaghetti?

Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the recipe below. No comment is required.

Hope to see you again soon!

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at

Yield: 10 servings

Scooter's Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Recipe

Scooter's Baked Spaghetti with French-Fried Onions

Layered spaghetti casserole topped with French-Fried onions is a family favorite!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large can spaghetti sauce (26.5 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped green peppers (I usually omit or substitute red peppers)
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • French-fried onions (small can)


  1. Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package. Cook to al dente, drain and set aside.
  2. Brown ground beef, then drain excess grease.
  3. Add spaghetti sauce to ground beef and heat.
  4. Combine onions, peppers and butter in small glass bowl. Cover and microwave 4 minutes on HIGH until soft.
  5. Add cream cheese and milk to vegetables and stir well. (If cream cheese is not soft, nuke it for 20-30 seconds to make it easy to spread.)
  6. Using a 12 x 8-inch baking dish (or something close), assemble in the following order: thin layer of spaghetti sauce, cooked spaghetti, cream cheese/vegetable mixture, remaining spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese (amount subject to your own taste)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  8. Top with french-fried onions and continue baking 5 more minutes. (This is the secret ingredient--don't let them burn.)


Make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze without the French Fried onions. Don't forget to add them 5 minutes before casserole is finished cooking.

Nutrition Information:


10 servings

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 317Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 200mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 17g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Expanded and updated on January 14, 2020.


Wednesday 14th of April 2021

This IS a fabulous recipe !!!! I have made it several times !! the leftovers freeze VERY well ! Many people have eaten this casserole and they ALL loved it !


Wednesday 14th of April 2021

I'm with you DJ. Glad your people love it!


Wednesday 17th of June 2020

Made this again last night for our son and daughter-in-law and grandson and it was a hit. My daughter-in-law said I need that recipe. Enjoyed sharing the story of “Scooter’s Spaghetti! Thanks Paula!


Thursday 18th of June 2020

You're welcome. Glad everybody liked it!


Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

I found this recipe many years ago on your blog, and have made it many, many times. It's our family's absolute favorite dish and has gotten rave reviews at every gathering I've made it for also. We've since gone vegan, but make exceptions occasionally for cheese in a couple of our favorite dishes because ...cheese. This is one of those dishes. I use Morningstar Crumbles in place of ground beef (and vegan butter) to make it vegetarian. I just made a double batch tonight with the plan to freeze one to give to my parents. Thank you for sharing!!


Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Morningstar Crumbles? I must try that. Thanks for your kind words. Always fun to hear about recipes on repeat.


Tuesday 17th of March 2020

This is so delicious! I like to saute the green peppers and onions til soft with the butter in a pan instead of microwaving. I think that it really kicks the flavors up a notch!


Wednesday 18th of March 2020


Thanks for sharing your method. Sounds good. I have done the same thing with mushrooms. Glad you like the recipe.

Elizabeth Brown

Monday 30th of December 2019

I just placed this in a 9x9 and placed in the fridge for a friend tomorrow. How long do you suggest baking? Does 20 covered and about 15 uncovered (prior to onions) sound reasonable?


Monday 30th of December 2019

Sounds about right to me. Wish I was your friend.

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