Mexican Spaghetti

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Mexican Spaghetti is a easy casserole recipe full of ground beef, peppers, onions, tomatoes, spaghetti, and topped with a savory cheese blend.

Top down view of mexican spaghetti with cheese.

Tex-Mex or Mexican food, as it’s referred to by some, has been an American favorite for years. From enchilada casserole and chorizo breakfast burritos, to chicken and cheese quesadillas and Mexican stuffed peppers, Tex-Mex encompasses a wide assortment of food.

With that being said, this genre of food can get old, real fast. Enter this Mexican Spaghetti.

With a few exceptions in condiments, they’re the same dish. For this reason, we have seen a rise in new Mexican fusion recipes like Mexican lasagna and Mexican spaghetti casserole.

This dish is a prime example of Mexican-Italian fusion. Here we have all the flavors of a traditional Tex-Mex meal; like tomatoes, peppers, cheese, and onions.

Kim’s Grandmother made this Mexican Spaghetti for us for years, and I loved it! It was savory, spicy, and cheesy.

What’s not to love, right? Moreover, she made it with love and that mattered more to us than anything else.

How to Make Mexican Spaghetti:

Scroll to the recipe card below for full instructions and ingredient amounts!

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 400°F and greasing a 2.5-quart baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the spaghetti noodles according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the ground beef, onion, and peppers until the beef is no longer pink.
Top down view of ground beef, onion, and peppers in a skillet.
  1. Drain any excess grease, then return the beef to the pan. Add the tomatoes and green chiles, tomato sauce, water, cooked spaghetti, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
Spaghetti and meat cooking in a pan.
  1. Stir to combine, and bring to a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the ingredients to the prepared baking dish.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. Top with shredded cheese, and bake for 10 more minutes.
Shredded cheese on top of spaghetti casserole.

Mexican Spaghetti Tips and Variations:

  • Don’t want to use tomato sauce? Try using your favorite marinara sauce (jarred or homemaded) instead. The flavor will be slightly different since the ingredients in marinara sauce are different than those in tomato sauce, but the outcome will still be amazing!
  • Want more spice? Make this Mexican spaghetti as mild or spicy as you’d like by tossing in some jalapenos, Serranos, or Anaheim peppers. Another option is use Rotel brand tomatoes and green chiles if possible. Rotel makes mild, original, and hot versions. Choose your favorite to add the perfect amount of heat.
  • Want to use less ground beef? Reduce the amount to 1 1/2 pounds or even 1 pound of ground beef. We’ve made this recipe with varying amounts with no issues.
  • Prefer a different protein? Try using ground Italian sausage, ground pork, or even ground chicken. Use shredded chicken for a great spin on traditional chicken spaghetti.
  • Swap out the cheese: Colby jack is what my family has used for decades, but cheddar cheese, mozzarella, pepper jack, or even Monterey jack would taste great. Pick your favorite!

How do you keep the spaghetti noodles from getting too soft?

The noodles are technically cooked twice, once on the stove and another time in the oven.

To keep them from getting too soft, drain them from the boiling water on the stove when they’re al dente and still have a bit of a bite. They’ll finish cooking in the oven.

Mexican spaghetti topped with melted cheese.

Storage and Freezing:

Refrigerator: Mexican spaghetti stores well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Freezer: There are two options for freezing Mexican spaghetti.

Option 1: Prepare the recipe up to the point of sprinkling it with shredded cheese. However, don’t add the cheese. Allow the dish to cool, then add the cheese. Wrap the dish in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. The spaghetti will stay fresh for 2 months in the freezer.

Option 2: Prepare the recipe up to the point of adding the cheese except don’t add the cheese. Allow the dish to cool completely. Wrap the dish in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. The spaghetti will stay fresh for 2 months in the freezer.

Thawing and Reheating: To thaw from frozen, place the Mexican spaghetti in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Remove it from the fridge about 30 minutes before returning to the oven to melt the cheese (add cheese if needed).

To reheat, scoop individual servings into bowls and heat on half power in the microwave until warm or heat in a pan over low heat on the stovetop.

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Scoops of ground beef pasta with cheese on a plate.

Mexican Spaghetti

4.7 from 38 votes
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Author: John
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes and green chiles, (Ro*tel)
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce, two (8 ounce) cans
  • ½ cup water
  • 8 ounces spaghetti noodles, cooked
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes, adjust to tastes
  • Salt and pepper, to tastes
  • 1 cup Colby jack cheese, shredded off the block


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F, and grease a 2.5-quart baking dish. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, onions, and green peppers. Cook until the ground beef is no longer pink. Remove from heat, and drain excess grease.
    2 pounds ground beef
    1 cup white onion
    ½ cup green bell pepper
  • Add the tomatoes and green chiles, tomato sauce, water, cooked spaghetti, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
    15 ounces diced tomatoes and green chiles
    16 ounces tomato sauce
    ½ cup water
    8 ounces spaghetti noodles
    1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    Salt and pepper
  • Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, and top with cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
    1 cup Colby jack cheese
  • Serve warm, and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


*The calorie count is an approximation based on the ingredients listed in the recipe.
*The recipe makes about 10 cups total.
*For this recipe we used a Monterey Colby Jack cheese blend.
*See the post for tips about substitutions!


Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 445mg | Potassium: 757mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 588IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 150mg | Iron: 4mg
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  1. Naturally, I read this while I am starving! And, what a wonderful tribute to your loved one! Can we use rice noodles, we are a gluten sensitive family?

  2. First – thank you for your lovely closing –
    I was a professional cook at one time and still love wonderful and easy recipes – just looking at the ingredients made me want to try this tonight 🙂

  3. Hello, Grandma’s Mexican Spaghetti Casserole looks so delicious! We don’t have a lot of good Tex-Mex food up north, so this will definitely be added to my “must-try” list. I’m sure if I sprinkle it with love and cheese like Kim’s grandma did, it will taste amazing! I’m sure she is very happy that her recipe is being shared and enjoyed by many.

  4. Mmmm, this looks tasty. I love all things spaghetti. I need to give this a try next week for dinner.

  5. What a great tribute to Kim’s grandmother. Funny isn’t it how so many of us have memories of cooking with our elders. For me, it was my great grandmother’s silver dollar pancakes and brownies. Every time I make brownies I think of her.

4.66 from 38 votes (32 ratings without comment)

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