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serving of pasta bake with penne pasta and cheese on plate

Make Ahead: Slow Cooker Beefy Layered Pasta Bake

Only 6 ingredients and 15 minutes of prep time needed for this family favorite recipe that's prepped ahead and ready in your slow cooker when you get home! Who wouldn't love this Slow Cooker Pasta Bake?!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 321kcal


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound pasta (I used Pipe Rigate)
  • 26 ounces jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup jarred alfredo sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 oz fresh spinach (or sub frozen)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella or Italian blend)


  • Brown ground beef in skillet over medium high heat until fully cooked. Drain any grease.
  • Add to slow cooker along with pasta, both sauces broth and spinach
  • Stir to combine well
  • Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6, stirring occasionally if possible
  • Once cooked, stir well to combine, top with cheese and replace lid
  • Let heat until cheese is melted


To prep ahead:
  • brown ground beef in advance
  • additionally you can add all ingredients except cheese to a zipped bag and store in fridge for 3 days or freezer for 3 months
  • thaw before cooking
To Make in the Oven:
  • omit the chicken broth
  • Cook and drain the pasta, reducing cooking time by 2 minutes
  • Add to casserole dish and cook at 350 for 15-20 minutes then add cheese and cook until melted
Recipe Notes:
  • use a pasta sauce with no added cheese or meat, like tomato basil
  • use a pasta with pockets to hold sauce like penne or pipe rigate 


Serving: 4g | Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 843mg | Potassium: 633mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1490IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 3mg