Ground Beef Casserole is a classic family-friendly weeknight dinner idea! Elbow noodles are tossed with ground beef, marinara, and lots of melty cheese.
Casseroles are a go-to for weeknight meals because they have everything you need for a meal in one convenient dish. Who wants to fuss with making a protein, veggie, and starch when you can just combine all 3 elements into a single delicious casserole?
And if you’re looking for an easy casserole, this cheesy ground beef casserole recipe is perfect!
It’s made with a few everyday ingredients—nothing fancy or expensive here!—and it comes together in under an hour. You can customize it in all kinds of ways to put your own spin on it, or just make it as-is. Comfort food goodness!
Easy Ground Beef Casserole Recipe
Ground beef casserole is hearty, satisfying, and it’s always a winner, even with picky eaters! If your kids like spaghetti and meatballs, they’ll love this ground beef casserole because it has all of those same flavors—plus cheese! And no one can resist cheese.
Want to make this casserole in advance? It’s perfect for that! Just prep the pasta and ground beef mixture, transfer it to a baking dish, top it with cheese, and it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Elbow macaroni noodles
- Onion – A standard yellow onion is perfect!
- Ground beef
- Olive oil
- Garlic – You can add more garlic if you like your casseroles extra garlicky!
- Marinara sauce – Tomato sauce can be used instead, but marinara is much more flavorful in a hamburger casserole.
- Cheddar cheese – If you have the time, grate this from the block instead of buying pre-shredded cheese. It melts better that way!
- Salt and black pepper
- Try a different type of cheese, like mozzarella or an Italian blend. You can also add some Parmesan to the noodle-and-beef mixture.
- Use another pasta shape. Rotini and shells work well!
- Add in some vegetables, like sautéed mushrooms, bell peppers, or zucchini, or stir a bag of baby spinach into the ground beef mixture.
- Swap the ground beef for ground turkey.
How to Make Ground Beef Casserole
Preheat your oven to 400ºF and grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Cook the Pasta
In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the elbow noodles until they’re al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. Brown the Beef
In a large skillet set over high heat, add the oil and onions and cook until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and garlic; use a wooden spoon to break up the beef as it cooks and cook it until it’s browned, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the marinara sauce and bring the mixture to a simmer. Season to taste, then pour this into the prepared casserole dish, along with the pasta and 1 1/2 cup of cheese. Mix everything together, then layer the remaining cheese on top.
Bake the casserole for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
How to Store and Reheat Ground Beef Casserole
Ground beef casserole will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw the casserole overnight in the fridge if frozen, then bake at 350ºF until heated through.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your ground beef is tasty:
Season it generously with salt and pepper. This might seem like a no-brainer, but so many people forget to season their meat! Seasoning your ground beef before cooking it will ensure that it’s nice and flavorful.
Cook it over high heat. This will help to brown the beef and give it a nice sear.
Don’t overcook it! If you cook ground beef until it’s well done, it will be dry and tough.
When raw ground beef turns gray or brown on the outside, it’s usually because it’s starting to spoil. If the ground beef has a slimy texture or a sour smell, it should not be eaten. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if you’re in doubt, throw it out!
Yes, you can cook ground beef from frozen, but it’s not ideal, as it takes a lot more time and the result is drier and less flavorful.
More Beef Recipes to Try
- Beef Enchiladas
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
- Salisbury Steak
- Italian Beef Sandwich Crock Pot Recipe
- Cheesy and Easy Lasagna With Meat Sauce
Ground Beef Casserole
- 1 lb elbow macaroni noodles
- ½ medium onion diced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 cups cheddar cheese grated
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.
- In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a large sauté pan over high heat, add the oil and onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and garlic and cook until browned, about 10 minutes, breaking the meat up with a spoon as it cooks.
- Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Season to taste. Add the pasta, 1 ½ cheese and sauce to the prepared baking dish. Toss to mix. Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.