Cheesy and delicious, this baked Hamburger Casserole recipe is one delicious dinner that the whole family will love. Simple to make, and filled with ground beef, cheese, shell pasta and more, this hearty pasta bake is full of rich and delicious flavors. Itt’s a great go-to for picky eaters!
What’s in this Hamburger Casserole Recipe?
Rich, creamy pasta and flavorful ground beef form the base of this classic Italian-inspired casserole.
- Ground Beef: I like to use lean ground beef, but you can also use fattier ground beef and drain the fat before adding it back in.
- Onion: Any kind of onion will work, though I like to use yellow onions. Follow my onion cutting guide for tips on how to properly dice an onion.
- Bell Pepper: Any color bell pepper will work here, so choose your favorite. I went with red.
- Garlic: Adds earthy flavor.
- Diced Tomatoes: I like to use canned tomatoes for convenience, but you can also use diced fresh tomatoes.
- Tomato Paste: Deepens the tomatoey flavor of this dish and adds umami.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning bolster the flavor of this casserole.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Adds rich umami flavor. In a pinch, you can use low-sodium soy sauce, coconut aminos, or tamari.
- Pasta: Choose a short pasta shape, like shells, macaroni, or ditalini. Longer pasta shapes will not work well.
- Cream Cheese: Adds rich creaminess to this hamburger casserole.
- Sour Cream: Adds creaminess and tanginess.
- Butter: Unsalted butter adds flavor and creaminess to the noodles.
- Cheese: I like a mixture of freshly shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Feel free to swap these out for your favorite cheeses.
Pro Tip: To reduce the fat and calories in this recipe, you can use low fat cheeses.
Hamburger Casserole with Potatoes
To make this hamburger casserole with potatoes instead of pasta, peel and cut 3 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes into ¼-inch slices. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are just fork-tender. Drain the potatoes and place them in the prepared baking dish. Mix the butter, cream cheese, and sour cream together and spread it evenly over the potatoes before continuing with the recipe as written.
Use any smaller, bite-size noodle like shells, macaroni, or ditalini.
Absolutely! Instead of ground beef, use ground turkey or chicken, or a combination of your favorite ground meat.
Yes! You can swap the ground beef for kidney or black beans to replace the protein. You could also use Beyond Meat for a vegetarian alternative.
In step 4, add a couple teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes to the ground beef mixture if you prefer your dinners a little spicier.
Absolutely! Halve all of the ingredients and bake uncovered in a 9×9-inch pan for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through. Broil the cheese for 1-2 minutes if desired.
Yes. Assemble the casserole through step 7, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 day. When ready, bake as instructed.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I don’t recommend freezing this cream-based casserole.
How to Store and Reheat
Store leftover hamburger casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven for 30-35 minutes, until warmed through. I do not recommend freezing this casserole.
This easy hamburger and pasta casserole is a hearty and filling dinner all by itself. If you like, you can serve it up with a vegetable side, such as Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots, Crispy Baked Green Beans, Creamy Garlic Mushrooms, or Roasted Veggies for extra goodness! However you decide to serve it, this recipe is guaranteed to be a surefire hit, even the kids will love it!
Made this yesterday, and it turned out good. Keeping it in the rotation. However, the recipe says “return the hamburger to the skillet, add other ingredients, then “bring to boil”. There was no liquid to boil. I triple checked the recipe, but found no liquid to “boil” What did I do wrong.
Sorry for the confusion, Mark. The intent is to bring the mixture up to temp over high heat, then turn the temp down and let it cook for those 5 minutes. There should be a little bit of liquid given up by the tomatoes, but not a ton!
Y’all this is an amazing dish !!
Perfection in its finest !!
Flavour is great !!
It’s very rich !!
Thank you for this is real COMFORT FOOD “”
So happy you loved it, Teresa. It’s definitely comfort food :)
Thank you for this! I’m always looking for new recipes for ground beef and this one is delicious 😋
Thanks so much for stopping by, Jenn!
Delicious! My husband used 2 lbs of ground beef…it was very hearty and had great flavors!
So glad you enjoyed it!
My whole family loved it. Will be making it for company. So easy to make. Next time I am going to use half hamburger and half Italian sausage, hope it’s as good as the original recipe
Let us know how it goes!
I don’t like tomatoes except sauce or bell peppers. How can I adjust the recipe for my taste.
Most substitutions would be just different types of those ingredients!
We thought this was delicious! I did use more onion than called for, a red bell pepper instead of green (although it didn’t specify) and orecchiette instead of shells, but it all turned out well in the end. Definitely will be making this one again!
Thanks for sharing!!
This recipe was heavenly- even for my toddler!! It had the perfect flavor! It reminds me of a hamburger helper and beef stroganoff. I think the only thing I would change is maybe not draining the can of diced tomatoes. Will be adding this recipe to my faves!!!
I love to hear that!!