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Two halves of Spaghetti Grilled Cheese stacked on a white plate with green lines.

Spaghetti Grilled Cheese

A recipe for Spaghetti Grilled Cheese inspired by our visit to Irvine, California! Spaghetti in a homemade meat sauce is sandwiched between two slices of bread with mozzarella cheese and grilled until golden.
Course Main
Cuisine N/A
Keyword grilled cheese, mozzarella, pasta, sandwich, spaghetti
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 4 Sandwiches



  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) ground beef
  • 28 ounces (794 grams) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) water as needed
  • 1/4 cup (10 grams) fresh basil leaves thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces (57 grams) freshly grated Parmesan plus more for topping
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) dried spaghetti


  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

To assemble:

  • 16 slices mozzarella thin slices
  • 8 slices sturdy sandwich bread sourdough if available


To prepare the tomato sauce:

  • In a large saucepan, drizzle olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden.
  • Add the crushed garlic and cook until just fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Stir in the ground beef, crushing it into small pieces with a spoon. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, until browned.
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes and the water. Season with additional salt if needed. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour to blend the flavors.
  • Stir in the basil and remove from heat. Set aside about 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) of the sauce to use for dipping if desired.

While the tomato sauce is simmering:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the dried spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until just al dente, barely tender.
  • Drain the spaghetti and toss in the cooked tomato sauce. Stir in the grated Parmesan.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment. Pour the spaghetti onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into a single, 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick layer long and wide enough to fit into each of the sandwiches. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese over the top in a thin layer.

To make the garlic butter spread:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder to blend.

To assemble the sandwiches:

  • Cut the slab of spaghetti into four pieces.
  • Brush one slice of bread with the seasoned butter and place butter-side down on work surface.
  • Top the bread with two thin slices of mozzarella. Carefully cover with one slab of the spaghetti.
  • Cover with another two slices of mozzarella and top with bread. Brush the top with more seasoned butter. Repeat with remaining spaghetti and bread to make four sandwiches in all.
  • Place a skillet over medium-low heat. Place the assembled sandwich on the hot skillet. Cover and cook, adjusting the heat between medium-low and low as needed, until golden.
  • Carefully flip, cover again, and cook the sandwich on the other side until the bread is golden and cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
  • Serve warm.