The Cozy Cook

Ground Beef Casserole

This Ground Beef Casserole Recipe is super easy to make with pasta noodles smothered in a rich and creamy tomato sauce and topped with cheese. The ingredients are simple but the flavor is big!

A white plate with ground beef casserole topped with fresh parsley and a fork on other side.

Ground Beef Casserole

Is there really anything better than pasta noodles smothered in a creamy tomato sauce with lots of cheese? The flavor in this casserole is insane!

Let’s go over a few of the ingredients to get a feel for how this comes together and what tastes and flavors you’re going to get:

  • Ziti Rigati: This tube-shaped pasta has ridges all around it, which lets the sauce really cling on to each pasta noodle and even fill up inside the tubes!
  • Ground Beef: Tossed with sautéed onions, garlic, and flavored with a hint of Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, and flour which helps thicken the sauce even more.
  • Tomato Sauce: This provides a nice flavorful base for the sauce that has added texture from juicy diced tomatoes that are also added.
  • Sour Cream: Adds a creamy, cool offset to the tomato sauce and adds more indulgence to this casserole. Heavy cream or half and half can be used if needed.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Some for the sauce, and some for the top of the casserole. (Would it really be a casserole without cheese?)

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Brown the beef in a skillet and soften the onions/garlic. Add salt, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and flour. Stir to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Ground beef in a pot with tomato sauce being added for ground beef casserole.

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain. Remove the sauce from the heat and let the base cool down a bit. Swirl in the sour cream and 1 cup of the shredded cheese, stir to combine.

A pot filled with creamy tomato sauce with cheese being added for ground beef casserole.

  • Stir in the pasta.
  • If your dish is not oven-safe, transfer to a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.

Adding warm penne noodles and stirring them into creamy tomato sauce with ground beef for ground beef casserole.

  • Top with remaining cheese.
    Bake uncovered at 400° for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve with a side of cheesy garlic bread.

A cheesy ground beef casserole before and after being baked.

Pro Tips

  • A variety of pastas will work well with this recipe, I recommend a tube or spiral shaped pasta as it clings onto the sauce really well. Rigatoni would be excellent.
  • The sour cream adds a hint of tang that my family really enjoys in this casserole, but half and half or heavy cream may also be used.
  • Use freshly shredded cheese for creamy results. Bagged shredded cheese contains cellulose which prevents it from melting well. I use Cracker Barrel sharp yellow.
  • Make sure the base isn’t too hot when you add the sour cream and the cheese as you don’t want the dairy to separate.
  • 1 lb. of ground beef can be used instead of 1.5 if preferred.

Make-Ahead Method

  • Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than al dente to ensure the noodles aren’t overcooked when reheated.
  • Assemble the casserole as outlined and place it in a casserole dish. Let it cool first, then cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 10-15 more minutes.

Storage

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

A casserole dish filled with ground beef casserole with a spoon in it and melted cheese on top.

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon affiliate links)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

  • A 14-inch oven safe skillet is perfect for this recipe.
  • Box Cheese Grater– Always shred cheese from a block for creamy/melty results. Bagged shredded cheese contains cellulose and prevents it from melting as well in soups/sauces.
  • 9 x 13 baking dish The perfect size for almost any casserole recipe
  • Silicone Spatula– Easy for tossing the chicken as it cooks and for stirring in the sauce ingredients.
  • Measuring spoons I love that these are magnetic. They keep my drawer neat.

Try These Next

Get My Free Meal Plan

I’ve got a Free Meal Plan with 7 of my super popular recipes (complete with grocery list)! Sign up for my email list and I’ll send it over now along with weekly dinner recipes!

And follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest!

Tried This Recipe?

Leave a review, I love hearing your feedback! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ground Beef Casserole on a white plate topped with melted cheese.

Ground Beef Casserole

5 from 2 ratings
This Ground Beef Casserole Recipe is super easy to make with pasta noodles smothered in a rich and creamy tomato sauce and topped with cheese. The ingredients are simple but the flavor is big!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb. ground beef, 85% lean
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons flour, optional-helps thicken the sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5) oz can Diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese---1 cup in sauce, 1.5 for top
  • ½ pound Ziti Rigati, see notes

Instructions

  • Note: A deep, a 12 to 14-inch pot is the perfect size for this recipe, preferably oven-safe.
  • Pre-work: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shred the cheese and set it aside along with the sour cream. We don’t want those to be cold when we add them to the sauce.
  • Cook and crumble the ground beef over medium heat. Add the onions halfway through and cook until softened.
  • Drain grease. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add salt, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and flour. Stir to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes to remove raw flour taste.
  • Add the chicken broth and use a silicone spatula to “clean” the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the tomato sauce and undrained diced tomatoes.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let it bubble gently to thicken and reduce while you start to boil the water for the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta until al dente (refer to package instructions), and drain. Don't overcook.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and let the base cool down a bit. Swirl in the sour cream and 1 cup (not all) of the shredded cheese, stir to combine. Stir in the pasta.
  • If your dish is not oven-safe, transfer to a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and top with remaining 1 ½ cups of cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Let it sit for 5 minutes and serve with a side of cheesy garlic bread.

Notes

• I prefer my pasta to be extra saucy so I opt for ½ pound in this recipe. You could also use ¾ of a pound if you prefer a different pasta/sauce ratio. (Refer to process shots above to see how much sauce/pasta there is when combined. The picture shown is for ½ lb. of pasta.) Just note that the pasta will continue to absorb the sauce as it bakes and after it’s done baking.

Pro Tips:
  • A variety of pastas will work well with this recipe, I recommend a tube or spiral shaped pasta as it clings onto the sauce really well. Rigatoni would be excellent.
  • The sour cream adds a hint of tang that my family really enjoys in this casserole, but half and half or heavy cream may also be used.
  • Use freshly shredded cheese for creamy results. Bagged shredded cheese contains cellulose which prevents it from melting well. I use Cracker Barrel sharp yellow.
  • Make sure the base isn't too hot when you add the sour cream and the cheese as you don't want the dairy to separate.
  • 1 lb. of ground beef can be used instead of 1.5 if preferred.
See post for Make-Ahead Method.

Nutrition

Calories: 581kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 44g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 130mg, Sodium: 1348mg, Potassium: 1028mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1014IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 434mg, Iron: 6mg

Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Click the Stars to Rate This Recipe




6 comments on “Ground Beef Casserole”

  1. This is the second time making this recipe. Last time use bow tie pasta. This time used rigatoni and ground turkey. . Served with zucchini noodles

    Love the taste I used roasted can  of tomatoes.  Last time I used can of rotel, taco seasoning instead of Italian and gave it a kick. 
    Thanks again CC aka Stephanie ♥️

    • You’re very welcome Dawn! It’s funny I actually just posted a recipe for Roasted Tomatoes!😋 I love the way you customized this one! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Oh my gosh!!! I just made this for my family last night and we absolutely loved it. Definitely plan on making this again very soon, thank you for the recipe! -Marsha

    • So happy to hear that Marsha! This is always a huge hit with my family too, thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie

  3. There is no measurement in the recipe for the diced tomatoes? And what is 1/2 lb of pasta in cups? Cant wait to try this!

    • Hi Mel, it’s 1 (14.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes, sorry about that! I just took out the pasta that I used and it was about 2.5 cups dry. I can’t wait for you to try this either!

As Seen On…