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Easy Hamburger Casserole Recipe

This easy hamburger casserole is made with saucy beef, macaroni noodles, flavorful veggies, topped with cheese then baked. It’s easy, family-friendly and so good it’s been a menu favorite lately!

I love casserole recipes that even the picky eaters approve. A few other kid-friendly favorites include homemade hamburger helper and chicken broccoli rice casserole!

Spoonful of hamburger casserole.
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An Easy Dinner Recipe

This hamburger casserole has all the comforts of baked mac and cheese, and baked ziti with a hint of goulash in an easy casserole dish the whole family will love.

Whether I’ve prepared this simple casserole in advance and I just need to pop it in the oven, or I’m whipping it up on the spot, I know this easy ground beef recipe or my tater tot casserole will always be a win!

Complete this hamburger noodle casserole with a slice of cornbread, a dinner roll or a Caesar salad and it’s a winning meal idea any night of the week!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Simple comfort. Nothing says “welcome” like a homemade hamburger casserole. Whether it’s your family on busy weeknights or a larger crowd for Sunday supper, nothing beats easy, cheesy, comfort food.
  • So tasty! Juicy seasoned beef, a zesty sauce, 2 kinds of melty cheese, and Italian seasoning come together to give us all the flavors!
  • Make ahead and freezer friendly. Just as a casserole should be :)
  • Customizable. There are several ways to make this easy hamburger casserole recipe your own. Use a different protein, swap the cheese, add some veggies, and play around with the seasonings.

Hamburger Casserole Recipe Ingredients

Hamburger casserole ingredients on counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Lean ground beef: The beef will be cooked and drained of excess grease, but I still like to use lean beef, about 80/20.
  • Veggies: Thinly sliced carrot rounds and diced bell pepper are the two veggies I like to put into my hamburger casserole, but this is an excellent opportunity to clear out your fridge of whatever veggies you’ve got.
  • Aromatics: Onion and garlic add so much flavor.
  • Diced tomatoes & tomato paste: Both give the hamburger casserole a saucy vibe and a delicious zesty tomato flavor. The tomato paste will help to thicken the meat mixture and intensify the tomato flavor.
  • Seasoning: Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Worcestershire sauce: This will give the entire dish an umami flavor.
  • Uncooked elbow noodles: These will be cooked on the side and then added in. Use whatever short pasta you desire.
  • Unsalted butter & cream cheese: Together these will be mixed with the noodles giving them a creamy, tangy coating. Bring the cream cheese to room temperature ahead of time and cut the block into cubes.
  • Cheeses: I use a combination of freshly grated cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese.
  • Fresh parsley: For garnish.

Hamburger Noodle Casserole Substitutions

There are all kinds of ways to revamp this hamburger casserole with noodles. As mentioned earlier, elbow noodles are just a jumping-off point. Feel free to use pasta shells, bowtie pasta, egg noodles, or even penne or fusilli.

Swap the ground beef for ground turkey, ground chicken, or crumbled Italian sausage for a different taste.

Instead of diced tomatoes and tomato paste, you can decide to use tomato sauce if you prefer. You can even omit the cream cheese and use sour cream instead. Some people even enjoyed it with cream of mushroom soup!

Toss in any extra veggies you’d like, mixed frozen vegetables are always easy!

How to Make Hamburger Casserole

With very little prep time and about 30 minutes in the oven, the whole thing can be ready in under 1 hour!

Showing how to make hamburger casserole in a 6 step collage.
  1. Brown the meat and set aside. In a large skillet cook the beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked beef to a plate lined with a paper towel, leaving behind the grease in the skillet.
  2. Saute the veggies. Add the carrots, onion, and bell pepper to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, stir in the garlic for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add back the meat. Return the beef to the skillet, then stir in the drained tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring everything to a boil, and reduce the heat to a low simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Cook the noodles. Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain the cooked pasta. In a large bowl combine noodles with cream cheese and butter and stir until noodles are well coated.
  5. Assemble the hamburger casserole. Spread half of the noodles into a greased baking dish. Then, layer half the ground beef mixture on top. Repeat the layers once more and then top with an even layer of shredded cheddar and mozzarella.
  6. Bake. Transfer the dish to a preheated oven and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until heated through. If using fresh parsley, garnish just before serving. Let the hamburger casserole rest for 10 minutes, then dig in!

Expert Tips

  • Cook pasta to al dente. It’s usually about 1 minute less than it states on the box to get it tender with a bit of a bite left. It will continue to cook as it bakes in the oven and this is a good way to avoid overcooked noodles.
  • Freshly grated cheese from a block melts much better than packaged pre-shredded cheese. I highly recommend it, but by all means, use what you’ve got. It’ll still be great.
  • Use cream cheese from a block. The spreadable kind in the container has a higher water content that may cause the casserole to be runny. Remember to bring your cream cheese to room temperature, here are some tips on how to soften cream cheese.
  • For a darker brown cheese crust, place the hamburger casserole under the broiler for a minute or two at the end.

5 star review

This hamburger casserole is so good and super easy to make with lots of flavor. It reminds me a lot of a hamburger casserole my mom use to make when I was growing up.

Matt
Hamburger casserole in a white baking dish with spoon.

Recipe FAQs

Do you cook meat before putting it in a casserole?

It depends on the recipe, but for this one yes. Browning the meat makes it more flavorful, we’re also using the grease to saute the veggies. More importantly, the noodles are cooked, so to ensure everything bakes evenly, the beef needs to be cooked beforehand.

Can I prepare this easy hamburger casserole recipe ahead of time?

Certainly! You can prepare parts like cooking the meat, and the noodles, shredding the cheese, chopping the veggies, and keeping it all in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble.

It’s also convenient to assemble the entire hamburger casserole, cover it with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. Sprinkle the cheese overtop just before baking.

How long do you bake hamburger casserole?

Every oven is different so I would say check at the 25-minute mark. If the cheese is bubbly and melted and the sauce has been given a chance to soak into the noodles it’s probably ready. An extra 5 minutes is ok too if you prefer.

If it’s been assembled ahead of time and coming out of the fridge, tack on a few extra minutes to the baking time.

Hamburger casserole in a white baking dish.

Serving Suggestions

This really is a whole meal all on its own, but when there’s a sauce, there’s gotta be bread! A sliced french baguette and garlic knots are perfect for scooping. A simple side chopped salad is also a family favorite.

If you want to add some veggies, you can also serve roasted vegetables or steamed vegetables on the side.

Storing and Reheating

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you’ve got a lot left, portion it out and keep some in the fridge and some in a freezer-safe container if you don’t think you’ll eat it all.

To freeze before baking: Assemble the easy hamburger casserole in an 9×13 disposable foil tray or a metal tin wrapped in foil. Freeze until you’re ready to bake it. Thaw in the fridge overnight and bake at 350°F for 30 to 45 minutes until hot.

You can reduce the baking time by taking it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before baking.

Hamburger casserole on a white plate.

More favorite ground beef recipes! Try this salisbury steak recipe, hamburger soup, my favorite sloppy joe recipe, and homemade meatloaf as part of your dinner routine.

More Favorite Ground Beef Recipes

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Spoonful of hamburger casserole.

Hamburger Casserole Recipe

5 from 54 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This easy hamburger casserole is made with saucy beef, macaroni noodles, flavorful veggies, topped with cheese then baked. It's easy, family-friendly and so good it's been a menu favorite lately!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 32 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes
Servings: 6

Video

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • cup diced onion , about 1/2 onion
  • 1 bell pepper , diced
  • cup diced carrots , or thinly sliced (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes , drained
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt , more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper , more to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ cups dry elbow noodles
  • 6 ounces cream cheese , softened and cubed
  • 2-3 Tablespoons butter , softened
  • cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • In a large skillet, brown the beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Remove the the cooked beef and place in a paper towel-lined bowl to absorb excess grease.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper and carrots (if desired) to the skillet and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional minute.
  • Stir in the drained tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Add the beef back in. Simmer for a few minutes until heated through.
  • In a large pot, boil noodles according to package instructions, drain, and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the cream cheese and butter until well coated
  • In the bottom of the baking dish, spread half of the noodles. Top with half of the meat mixture. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Evenly cover the top with cheddar and mozzarella.
  • Bake 25 minutes. Serve while warm.

Notes

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days. 
Freezer instructions: Freeze in a 9×13-inch metal tin wrapped with foil. When ready to eat, place in the refrigerator to thaw overnight and cook at 350°F for 30 to 45 minutes, or until hot. You can also top with extra cheese before baking.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 684mg | Potassium: 551mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3078IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 168mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

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