Hamburger casserole is a budget-friendly, family-approved ground beef casserole recipe made with noodles, tomato soup, and plenty of cheese for a cozy, comforting, truly satisfying meal – and it’s so easy to prepare on busy weeknights!
How has it taken me this long to discover and appreciate good, old-fashioned American casseroles?! Recently, I combined chicken and cream of chicken soup with several dairy ingredients for the CREAMIEST chicken casserole ever.
This week, I’m combining ground beef, tomato soup, and a handful of simple, inexpensive ingredients for the perfect hamburger casserole. It tastes like a hamburger in pasta bake form!
Like other casseroles, it requires a short, budget-friendly ingredients list, two pots maximum, and bare minimum hands-on prep time or cooking skill – perfect for busy weeknights.
As a bonus, this hamburger dinner casserole makes great leftovers and will be an often-requested meal, perfect for meal-prepping and freezing to have on hand.
This casserole with ground beef is also absolutely delicious, super cozy and comforting, satisfying, and makes for a crowd-pleasing meal even picky eaters will love. Pair it with good-for-you veggies and/or some garlic bread for a satisfying meal for busy weeknights, potlucks, and special occasions.
Hamburger Casserole Ingredients
A combination of just 5 (if not making the seasoning from scratch) simple and inexpensive ingredients is all you need to prepare this flavor-packed hamburger casserole recipe.
- Ground beef: I prefer lean ground beef, though you may use slightly fattier meat if preferred (like 80/20). However, ground turkey or sausage will also work great in this cheeseburger casserole.
- Cream of tomato soup: Use canned or homemade. Otherwise, an equal amount of regular jarred tomato sauce would work well.
- Cheese: A combination of freshly shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese makes for a delicious, cheesy, cheese-pull-tastic hamburger dish.
- Seasoning: To make a flavorful base, I love to use (store-bought or) homemade burger seasoning made with:
- Sweet paprika,
- Garlic powder,
- Onion powder,
- Chili powder (optional),
- Salt & black pepper,
- A pinch of brown sugar.
Alternatively, use other seasonings like Italian seasoning or simply salt and pepper.
- Pasta: I prefer small pasta shapes, like macaroni, shells, penne, bows, etc. However, long, wide egg noodles will also work.
- Oil: Use any neutral-flavored cooking oil, like avocado oil or olive oil, to brown the beef. Use a splash (about ¼ cup) of broth for an oil-free version.
How to Make a Hamburger Casserole
First, cook the pasta according to its package directions, minus 2-3 minutes, so it’s al dente. Once cooked, drain it and set it aside.
The pasta will cook further in the oven, so by undercooking it slightly now, you avoid mushy pasta at the end.
Then, preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Next, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil, and stir in the ground beef and burger seasoning. Cook it for several minutes, stirring often, until the beef is browned and almost entirely cooked.
Depending on how fatty the meat is, you may prefer to drain the grease at this point.
To assemble the casserole, add the cooked pasta followed by the ground beef mixture, the cheese (reserving some to sprinkle over the top), the tomato soup, and finally, the remaining cheese.
If preferred, you can mix all the layers instead.
Cover the baking dish with foil and transfer to the oven to bake for 30 minutes, removing the foil after 20 minutes.
For a darker, crisper cheese crust, broil the pasta bake for 1-2 minutes at the end.
Finally, allow the hamburger dinner casserole to rest for a few minutes, then optionally garnish with parsley, and serve.
What to Serve with Hamburger Casserole?
- Steamed, air-fried, or roasted vegetables – corn on the cob, Brussels sprouts, green beans, asparagus, etc.
- Sauteed spinach, swiss chard, or arugula,
- A simple side salad,
- Cornbread, garlic bread, or dinner rolls.
Can You Make It Ahead of Time?
Casseroles are famously perfect for meal prepping. Here are several ways you can prep this easy hamburger casserole recipe in advance:
- You can cook the beef 2-3 days in advance and store it in the fridge (or freeze it), ready to assemble and bake the casserole as needed.
- Assemble the casserole in the baking dish and refrigerate for 1-2 days. When you’re ready to bake, let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes and bake.
- Once assembled, freeze the hamburger meat casserole (pre-bake) tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and foil for 3-4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, bring to room temperature for 20 minutes, then bake.
Fridge: Once baked, allow it to cool, then store the leftover ground beef casserole plastic-wrapped or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Freezer: The leftovers also freeze well tightly wrapped in clingfilm/plastic wrap for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Reheat: Individual portions reheat well in the microwave (1-2 minutes). Large amounts will reheat well in the oven (covered with foil) at 350ºF/175ºC until piping hot (20-30 minutes).
More Easy Dinner Recipes
If you try the casseroles with ground beef recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Quick and Easy Hamburger Casserole
- 1.5 lb ground beef lean ground beef is best; ground turkey or sausage also work
- 20 oz cream of tomato soup 2 cans/3 cups; or regular tomato sauce
- 5.1 oz cheddar cheese 2 cups
- 4 oz mozzarella 1 cup
- 13.2 oz pasta uncooked, 3 cups; short-shapes like macaroni, shells, penne, bows, etc., work best.
- 1 tablespoon burger seasoning or Italian seasoning OR just salt & pepper
- Cook the pasta according to its package directions, minus 2-3 minutes, so it's al dente. Once cooked, drain it and set it aside.The pasta will cook further in the oven, so by undercooking it slightly now, you avoid mushy pasta at the end.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil, and stir in the ground beef and seasoning. Cook it for several minutes, stirring often, until the beef is browned and almost entirely cooked.Depending on how fatty the meat is, you may prefer to drain the grease at this point.
- To assemble the casserole, add the cooked pasta followed by the beef, the cheese (reserving some to sprinkle over the top), the tomato soup, and finally, the remaining cheese.If preferred, you can mix all the layers instead.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and transfer to the oven to bake for 30 minutes, removing the foil after 20 minutes.For a darker, crisper cheese crust, broil the pasta bake for 1-2 minutes at the end.
- Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes, then optionally garnish with parsley, and serve.
- Once baked, allow it to cool, then store the leftover ground beef casserole plastic-wrapped or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Use freshly grated cheese: Pre-grated cheese doesn’t melt the same way.
- Allow it to rest: Giving it a few minutes for all the juices to settle will make it easier to serve.
- Experiment with sauces: While it won’t taste like a traditional hamburger casserole, you can experiment with making this ground beef casserole recipe with cream of mushroom soup and/or cheddar soup for different flavors.
- Add 1-2 cups of chopped vegetables – like frozen peas, carrots, corn, bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.
- A small amount of cream cheese and/or sour cream increases creaminess.
- For more spice, add chopped chilies, chili flakes, or a can of green chilies.
- Use fresh garlic and onion instead of powdered (sauté with the beef).
- Optionally garnish with fresh parsley for a hint of fresh, herby flavor.
- Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce for extra umami, tangy flavor.
- Sprinkle over crispy onions when serving for extra crunch.
- Use rice or quinoa in place of the pasta.
- Replace pasta with ¼-inch diced potato par-cooked until “just” fork-tender.
- For vegetarian hamburger casserole, use a meat-free ground beef alternative.
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