Ground Beef Casserole

My Ground Beef Casserole is easy, cheesy, and crowd please-y! Plus, you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already.

There’s nothing like a good casserole. It’ll feed a crowd, usually inexpensively. It’s warm and comforting. And it uses the oven to do the heavy lifting—freeing you up to make a quick salad or just relax.

My Ground Beef Casserole is all that and more. Because it’s also super easy to put together, using mostly pantry staples. And because, well, cheese! Yep, it’s loaded with melty cheddar cheese. I love it, and I bet you will, too.

What kind of meat should you use?

I generally like to use 85% lean ground beef. It has enough fat to be flavorful and moist without seeming overly fatty.

But the truth is that once you mix it in all the other ingredients—noodles, onion, tomatoes, seasonings, and cheese—a little more or less fat in your beef isn’t going to make a big difference in this recipe. So use whatever you like or have on hand.

(Is your meat still frozen? Read this post for how to defrost ground beef.)

You can even make this casserole with ground pork, chicken, or turkey. Because chicken and turkey are a little bland compared to beef and pork, you might want to add a touch of Worcestershire or soy sauce to add some umami oomph.

What kind of noodles are best?

My recipes goes classic and uses egg noodles, but again, you can use whatever kind of noodles or pasta you like or have on hand. Penne, macaroni, bow ties, rigatoni—they’re all good.

What kind of cheese?

This is another place you can experiment and adapt the recipe to your tastes and the contents of your refrigerator. My recipe uses cheddar—it has a zing that I think is a nice complement to beef.

But you could also use a different cheese or a cheese blend. An Italian blend would be good, complementing the Italian seasonings in the casserole. A Mexican cheese blend would also be nice—but in that case I might swap the Italian seasonings for a bit of chili powder.

Make it easier by making it in advance

Want to make Ground Beef Casserole even easier? Make it in advance. Put the casserole together, then cover and refrigerate it. When you’re ready to cook, just uncover and pop it into a preheated oven. Add 10-15 minutes to account for it starting out cold and cover it loosely with foil for all but about the last 10 minutes.

A crisp green salad or some simple steamed vegetables on the side and you’re set. Like I said, easy, cheesy, and crowd-please-y!

P.S. If you like this recipe, you’d also probably like my Spaghetti Pie and Baked Ziti. :)





Ground Beef Casserole

  • Author: Jill Hough
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings


My Ground Beef Casserole is easy, cheesy, and crowd please-y! Plus, you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already.


  • 12 oz. egg noodles
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef (see note)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper, plus more to taste
  • 114.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil, oregano, or parsley (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 9×13-inch pan or 3- to 4-quart baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the package directions.
  3. Also while the oven is preheating, in a very large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the beef and, using a spatula, press the beef into an even, flat layer in the pan. Let cook untouched for 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper, breaking the meat up. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through and the onion is tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and Italian seasoning. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
  6. When the noodles are al dente (they’ll cook a little more once the casserole gets into the oven), drain them and add them to the beef mixture. Stir in about 1/3 of the cheese and additional salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Transfer the entire mixture to the prepared baking pan and top with the remaining cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the casserole is heated through, about 10 minutes. (If you use a ceramic baking dish, it could take longer for your casserole to heat through. If that causes the cheese to get too brown, loosely cover the casserole with foil.)
  8. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs, if using, and serve.


I like to use 85% lean, but whatever you like will work for this recipe. You can even use ground pork, chicken, or turkey.