Ground Beef Casserole

If you are looking for a tasty yet easy recipe to use up some of your ground beef, this ground beef casserole is perfect! You can make this recipe in no time and have a delicious, easy dinner.  

ground beef casserole in a baking dish and a bowl

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Easy ground beef casserole

Sure, you can go out, but how about a casserole that tastes great the first evening, and reheats well if you want to take it to work, or enjoy it for another night? I have a solution for you.

My Grandmother used to make a delicious casserole with ground beef, bacon, two types of cheese, and tomatoes. This casserole always tastes as good as a hug feels.

I don’t know what it is about this casserole, but it is simply macaroni you cook, add a pound of ground beef, chopped onion, bacon, cheddar, and provolone cheese, and you have one delicious casserole.

Why is this the best ground beef casserole?

There isn’t just one thing that makes this recipe great, but a few things!

This ground beef casserole is made with everything you love, all in one dish. It gives you the perfect combination of pasta, sauce, meat, and two kinds of cheese—delicious ingredients that you can alter to fit your diet.

You don’t need to worry about making enough because, with this ground beef casserole, you’ll have enough for the whole family, plus some leftovers for lunch the next day. And since everything bakes in one dish, cleanup is a breeze.  

a serving of ground beef casserole in a bowl.

What do you need for this ground beef casserole recipe?

While I’m sure you suspected that ground beef would be in this casserole ;), as well as some sort of pasta, did you expect two kinds of cheese?

Most ground beef casserole recipes call for either mozzarella or cheddar cheese. But for this delicious ground beef casserole, I use cheddar cheese and provolone cheese!

Honestly, I think the provolone brings the flavor to the next level, along with the homemade sauce made from the canned tomatoes.

The rest of the ingredients, like onion, salt, and ground black pepper, are pretty standard for a lot of casseroles but are essential to provide great flavor for the dish.

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Ground beef
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Pasta
  • White onion
  • Bacon
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Shredded provolone cheese
  • A two-quart casserole dish or a 9 x 13 inch baking dish
ground beef casserole ingredients on a baking sheet.

What Pasta to Use for This Ground Beef Casserole

For this recipe, I tend to stick with the standard elbow noodles. I find that elbows are easy to cook and are a great shape for casseroles to avoid unnecessary cutting of the noodles.

Is this the only kind you can use? No! You can use your favorite pasta. 

Some others you might consider would be gluten-free, protein plus, whole-wheat, or low-carb pasta. Basically, anything that will work best with your family’s diet and preferences.

How to Make Casserole with Ground Beef

For this recipe, I tend to stick with the standard elbow noodles. I find that they are easy to cook well and are a great shape for casseroles to avoid unnecessary cutting of the noodles.

Is this the only kind you can use? No! You can use your favorite noodles.

Some you might consider would be gluten-free pasta, protein pasta, whole wheat pasta, or low-carb pasta. Basically, whatever works best with your family’s diet and preferences.

Here are the recipe steps:

  1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper while cooking.
    cooked ground beef in a skillet.
  2. Drain the cooked beef and set it aside.
  3. Cook the macaroni according to package instructions.
  4. Dice the bacon and place it in the same skillet used to cook the beef.
  5. Add onions to the skillet and cook until the bacon is cooked and the onions are translucent.
    cooked onions and bacon pieces in a skillet.
  6. Place pasta, two cans of diced tomatoes (do not drain the cans), ground beef, onions, and bacon in a casserole dish. Stir to combine.
    ground beef casserole mixture in a baking dish
  7. Top with both kinds of cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese has melted.
  9. If desired, you can brown the cheese by broiling it.

Recipe variations

Want to add in or change up some ingredients? Here are some ideas:

  • Add in canned mushrooms.
  • Add in spices to give it more flavors or to make it spicy.
  • Use ground chicken or turkey instead of ground beef.

Be creative, and you can whip together this casserole in no time.

ground beef casserole in a glass baking dish.

How long does raw ground beef last in the fridge? 

This is a little bit of a tricky question. Depending on when you got it, you might have about 5 to 7 days before the meat will go bad.

However, if you got it toward the end of its sell-by date, it might spoil sooner.

I normally try to use up my meat early to avoid it spoiling, or I pop it in the freezer right away and then take it out the day before I need it and let it thaw in the fridge.

Lastly, if it looks bad, chances are it is, or it’s close to its expiration date. If the meat has fully lost its reddish-pink color, it’s no longer good.

Can you bake ground beef in the oven?

If you prefer to bake the meat ahead of time, you can bake the meat (broken up) at 350°F for about 25 to 30 minutes.

This would definitely be the long way to cook the ground beef.

How long does ground beef take to cook?

If you cook the meat on the stovetop it should only take about 7-10 minutes over medium heat to get the beef perfectly browned. 

What are the three main parts of a casserole?

For most casserole recipes, there are three main parts that make up the casserole.

  • The Base – This is your meat product. For this recipe it is ground beef, but for others it could be chicken or fish.
  • The Extender – This is what provides bulk and makes the dish go further. For this recipe the extender or filler is the pasta, but you might find rice, potatoes, or quinoa in other casseroles.
  • The Binder – This is what holds the dish together or fills in the spaces. In this recipe I use tomato sauce, but in others it might be condensed soup or even egg.

Are you looking for more great ground beef recipe ideas? Try these recipes!

More Budget Meal Ideas

Be sure to take a look at more of the best casserole recipes and budget-friendly meals.

ground beef casserole in a baking dish and a bowl

Weeknight Ground Beef Casserole

This casserole is perfect for a weeknight, it reheats beautifully.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ground Beef Casserole
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 344kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef I like to use 70% lean
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces macaroni
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 29 ounces canned diced tomatoes (two 14.5 ounces cans)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Provolone cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat.
  • Cook the 12 ounces of dry macaroni according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat . Be sure to crumble the beef into small pieces and season with salt and pepper while cooking. When the beef is done, remove it from the skillet, drain, and set aside.
  • Return the same skillet to heat, and add bacon and onions. Cook until the bacon is fully cooked and the onions are translucent.
  • In a two quart casserole dish , combine macaroni, diced tomatoes (do not drain the cans), ground beef, onions, and bacon. Stir to combine.
  • Top the casserole with both kinds of cheese.
  • Bake in a 350°F oven until the cheese is melted. You may want to brown the cheese by turning on your broiler function for a moment or two before removing the casserole from the oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 474mg | Potassium: 360mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 320IU | Vitamin C: 7.3mg | Calcium: 230mg | Iron: 2mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Jano Dornisch

    5 stars
    I made this reciped on Sunday and it is absolutely delicious! My husband and I were quite impressed with the flavors. Not many spices but goodnes……does this ever taste good! We will certainly have this again and again!

  2. Jo Ann Johnson

    Please help me! The fetticini sonora pastadish with artichokes from the Paradise Restaurant in Torrance..I relocated from Calif to Texas and I miss my favorite dish….I need a fix! Can you help? I am begging ????

  3. Pam Roth

    Steph,
    Have been treating to say thank you for all your great recipes over the years. Really appreciate all your time and effort. Great job and many thanks!
    Pam

  4. Shirl R

    This looks like a great recipe, simple ingredients, easy to prepare, just right for a busy week night. Thanks, Stephanie!

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