Ground Beef Casserole recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings

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Ground Beef Casserole is cheesy, hearty, and flavorful as can be! A boldly seasoned ground beef tomato sauce is served with plenty of tender pasta under a layer of gooey melted cheese. Freezer friendly and great for making ahead!

Enjoy more of my favorite ground beef dinner recipes like Rigatoni Pasta Bake, Three Cheese Gnocchi Bake and Lasagna Roll Ups.

baked beef casserole being scooped out of dish.

Ground Beef Casserole is the ultimate family friendly weeknight dinner recipe! Noodles, beefy tomato sauce and a medley of mouthwatering seasonings are all nestled together beneath a generous layer of gooey melted cheese.

The best part of this recipe (besides how delicious it is) is that it’s easy, freezer friendly and great for making ahead of time!

I’m all about making easy dinners even easier, and that’s exactly what this ground beef casserole recipe does.

Why we love this Ground Beef Casserole:

  • Kid Friendly: Kids gobble up this recipe! It’s picky eater approved and it’s great for making sure they actually get some protein on their plates.
  • Freezer Friendly: Scroll to the recipe card to see how easy it is to freeze this casserole. It’s wonderful for making ahead of time and grabbing when you need a quick dinner.
  • Budget Friendly: This is a great recipe for clearing out your fridge/pantry. You may just have everything you need already on hand!
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Ground Beef Casserole Ingredients Needed:

ingredients needed for ground beef casserole in bowls.
  • Ground Beef: You can swap this with any ground meat you prefer. Chicken, turkey, pork, or even Italian sausage for more flavor.
  • Vegetables: I use a simple combo of onions and red peppers. However, you can really get creative here! Mushrooms, carrots, corn, peas, spinach, kale… The list goes on. If you’ve got some produce at the end of its shelf life in your kitchen, toss it in!
  • Seasonings: A bold medley of salt, paprika, ground mustard, oregano and a pinch of salt give this recipe the best flavor. However, these seasonings are easy to change up! Sprinkle in some Italian seasoning, taco seasoning, or whatever else you prefer to make it your own.
  • Pasta: You can really use any kind you like best — I use dried egg noodles.
  • Cream Cheese: Sour cream also works well if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Garlic: Feel free to measure with your heart, garlic lovers!
  • Tomato Sauce: This is the base of the pasta sauce. Choose a brand of marinara sauce that you enjoy!
  • Cream: Heavy cream and half and half both work just fine, though heavy cream will give a richer flavor.

How to make Ground Beef Casserole:

Here’s a quick look at how to make this beefy casserole! Scroll down to the recipe card to see more detailed ingredient measurements and step-by-step instructions.

  • Cook the ground beef, onions, and bell peppers.
  • Mix in the garlic, oregano, paprika, salt and ground mustard.
  • Add the tomato sauce and water.
  • Cook the pasta until al dente and reserve a cup of pasta water.
  • Melt the cream cheese and cream together.
  • Add the pasta water and pasta, toss to coat.
  • Spread the pasta in the baking dish. Top with the meat sauce.
  • Add the shredded cheese in a single layer all over the casserole.
  • Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Switch the meat: You can easily swap the ground beef with any other ground meat you like best.
  • Change the flavor profile: You can use taco seasoning and add some black beans to make this more southwest flavored. Or, sprinkle in some Italian seasoning for an Italian flair.
  • Add more veggies: Make this casserole a bit more nutritious by tossing in whatever veggies you like best. Mushrooms would work fabulously!
white dish of beef casserole with scoop in dish.

How to store Ground Beef Casserole

Let your leftovers cool to room temperature prior to storing in an airtight container in the fridge. Properly stored, everything will stay fresh in the fridge for about 4 days.

I recommend adding a splash of broth or water and reheating in the microwave on high in 45 second intervals until warmed through.

Can I freeze ground beef casserole?

Yes! You can freeze before or after baking.

To freeze before baking, prepare up to the point of adding the cheese. Let it cool completely before wrapping tightly with plastic wrap. Freeze up to 4 months. When it comes time to bake, I recommend defrosting it first overnight in the refrigerator so it bakes evenly.

If you’re freezing a baked casserole, let it first fully cool to room temperature. Cover it tightly and freeze for 3-4 months. Let it defrost overnight before reheating. Don’t forget to date and label!

Recipe Tip

I recommend thawing any frozen casseroles before baking or reheating!

This ensures that it heats evenly and the outside of the casserole isn’t overcooked by the time the inside is war,

grey plate full of ground beef casserole with parsley beside.

Serving suggestions:

There are so many side dishes that plate perfectly with ground beef casserole! Here are just a few of my favorites:

More casserole recipes you’ll love!

Keep your freezer stocked with more of my best casserole recipes:

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Ground Beef Casserole recipe

4.92 from 23 votes
Ground Beef Casserole is cheesy, hearty, and flavorful as can be! A boldly seasoned ground beef tomato sauce is served with plenty of tender pasta under a layer of gooey melted cheese. Freezer friendly and great for making ahead!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 8 servings
Calories 466cal

Ingredients

Ground Beef Casserole Sauce

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups tomato pasta sauce (marinara)
  • ½ cup water

Pasta

  • 1 lb dried egg noodles or rotini (454 grams)
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 4 oz cream cheese (cubed, room temperature)
  • ¼ cup cream (any kind)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (marble, mozza or cheddar)

Instructions

Ground Beef Casserole Sauce

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef, onion and pepper until the beef is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, oregano, paprika, salt, and ground mustard and cook 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in the pasta sauce and water. Reduce to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes while you cook the pasta.

Pasta

  • *Preheat the oven to 400 degrees if baking right away. You can also prep to bake later (instructions below).
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente (or even a touch less — we will be baking it yet!).
  • Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain the pasta. Remove from the pot.
  • In the same pot, add the cream cheese and cream, cooking and stirring over medium heat until melted. Add the pasta and ½ cup pasta water, stirring to coat.
  • Add as much of the remaining pasta water as needed to make the pasta nice and saucy.
  • Spread the pasta into a lightly greased 9×13" baking dish. Top with the sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
  • *To bake later, prepare up to the point of pouring on the sauce but do not add the cheese. Let cool 15 minutes then cool in the fridge until cold, sprinkle with cheese, and cover with foil. Refrigerate up to 4 days before baking and serving.

Notes

Ingredients and Substitutions:
  • Ground beef: any kind of ground meat will work here: chicken, turkey, pork, or Italian sausage.
  • Vegetables: this is a great clean out the fridge recipe as you can add a wide variety of vegetables and they all work well: mushrooms, carrots, corn, peas, spinach, kale, you name it. You can even skip the meat and add a whole whack of vegetables (sautéing those that need it before adding the sauce)
  • Seasonings: this recipe is easily customizable. You can add taco seasoning, black beans and corn for a Mexican twist. You can omit the mustard and add in Italian seasoning for an Italian twist.
  • Pasta: because we are cooking the pasta first, you can use any kind you like.
  • Cream cheese: A lot of similar recipes call for sour cream, but we are just not big fans. We love how the cream cheese adds a little something extra special to the pasta, but you can add in sour cream if you like.
Prep ahead:
  • Fridge: you can prepare up to the point of adding the cheese (let it cool before you add the cheese), then cover and refrigerate up to 4 days before baking.
  • Freezer: you can also prepare up to the point of adding the cheese, cool completely, wrap tightly and freeze up to 4 months. To bake, I recommend thawing first overnight in the refrigerator so that it bakes evenly.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 348grams | Calories: 466cal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 856mg | Potassium: 709mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1348IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 205mg | Iron: 4mg
Keywords ground beef casserole

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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