This easy cheeseburger casserole is a hearty dinner your whole family will devour! Tender elbow noodles are combined with seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, and lots of cheddar—and it comes together with minimal effort!
Cheeseburger casserole is a classic American dinner recipe, and it’s one of those dishes where everyone has their own favorite version. (And if you haven’t had it before? Well, don’t worry—there’s no lettuce, mayo, or pickles involved!)
Do you use egg noodles or elbow macaroni? Diced onion or onion powder? Sour cream or nah?
It’s fun to see every family’s unique spin on cheeseburger casserole, and this one is mine: hearty seasoned ground beef browned with diced onion and garlic, a little bit of heat thanks to chili flakes, elbow noodles, and lots and lots of cheese. (It is cheeseburger casserole, after all.)
Easy Cheeseburger Casserole Recipe
I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s definitely that time of year when I’m going through all of my Pinterest boards to find easy weeknight dinner recipes that come together quickly and that my kids will actually eat. Cheeseburger casserole definitely checks all those boxes!
Even better, it’s super easy to make cheeseburger casserole ahead of time and you have a bunch of different options for doing that. You can get a little head start just by cooking either the noodles or browning the ground beef in advance, get an even bigger head start by having them both ready to go, or you can just have everything assembled in the casserole dish and ready to pop in the oven.
Who needs Hamburger Helper when it’s this easy to make a flavor-packed, filling ground beef dinner?! It’s kind of like homemade Hamburger Helper! For more family-friendly ground beef recipes, try my Beef Enchiladas, Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff, and Instant Pot Lasagna Soup.
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Olive oil
- Ground beef – You can use ground turkey instead, or even a meatless ground beef substitute to make this cheeseburger casserole recipe vegetarian.
- Onion – Yellow or white will work here.
- Tomato paste
- Diced tomatoes
- Worcestershire sauce
- Dried oregano
- Chili flakes – These can pack quite a punch, so feel free to skip or add less—or add even more if you want your cheeseburger casserole extra spicy!
- Elbow macaroni – Cavatappi, rotini, shells, or another pasta shape can be used instead if you prefer.
- Cheddar cheese
- Salt & black pepper
Tip: Divvy up the leftover tomato paste in 1-tablespoon portions on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Pop this in the freezer and once the tomato paste is frozen through, place it into a freezer bag. The next time you need a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, you won’t need to open a whole can!
How to Make Cheeseburger Casserole
Preheat your oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
2. Brown the Meat
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no pink is left and the beef is cooked through. Drain off the excess fat.
3. Finish the Beef Mixture
Add the onions and garlic to the ground beef and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they’re softened. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes, then add the diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, and chili flakes. Stir to combine, then bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Cook the Noodles
Meanwhile, cook the elbow noodles to al dente in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain well.
Stir the noodles into the meat mixture, then pour this into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the top in an even layer.
Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
How to Store Leftover Cheeseburger Casserole
Leftover cheeseburger casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave until warmed through, or reheat the casserole in the original baking dish in a 350ºF oven until it’s warmed through.
This is one of those wonderful all-in-one meals that has everything you need in a single baking dish. If you’d like to round things out or make it last longer, you can pair it with a simple side salad, French bread, or an easy veggie side like steamed broccoli or roasted vegetables.
Yes, this recipe is freezer-friendly, which makes it great for meal prep or making ahead. To freeze, simply place the cooled casserole in a freezer-safe dish and store in the freezer for up to three months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
The ingredients you’ll need for my version of cheeseburger casserole are: ground beef, onion, garlic, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, dried oregano, chili flakes, elbow noodles, cheddar cheese, salt, and black pepper. But feel free to get creative and make this recipe your own!
More Ground Beef Casseroles
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 12 oz elbow noodles
- 3 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- salt & black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
- In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the beef and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat, or until no pink is left and beef is cooked. Drain any excess fat.
- Add the onions and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes (with juice,) Worcestershire, oregano, and chili flakes. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the noodles to al dente, drain, and add them to the sauce. Stir to fully combine and transfer to the prepared 9×13 baking dish. Top with cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.