Your whole family will love this easy Cheeseburger Casserole that’s ready in only 30 minutes! This one pot meal has a creamy tomato sauce, elbow macaroni noodles, tasty ground beef, and a cheesy topping.
This Cheeseburger Casserole is so creamy, cheesy, and flavorful. I just love quick and easy meals that the whole family will enjoy. This is definitely a quick and easy pantry meal because it’s ready in just 30 minutes!
I’ve always been a fan of Hamburger Helper because it’s such a simple meal to get on the table. I do think everything is better made from scratch though. It’s pretty much always better tasting, and it’s usually better for you, too.
Since it takes the same amount of time to make it from scratch or from a box, why not go the tastier route and make this homemade Hamburger Helper?
Pasta: I prefer making this recipe with elbow macaroni noodles, but I’ve also tested it with other short noodles (and included photographs of both). Both ways are delicious! Just be sure to check the recipe card because the pasta measurements are different.
Also, if you really want to amp up the flavor, you can add some beef bouillon to the pot of water you’re cooking the pasta in. It isn’t 100% necessary, because it will be delicious either way, but boiling the noodles in beef broth does take the recipe to the next level.
Meat: I like to use lean ground beef in this recipe. You could substitute that with crumbled sausage if you prefer though. You could also add in bacon crumbles to add another layer of flavor.
Butter: Butter is the fat that’s going to combine with the flour to make a roux, which is how the sauce is thickened. You could use oil, but I really prefer the flavor of butter. If you decide to add bacon, you could also just use the bacon grease because it’s super flavorful.
Aromatics: A combination of fresh onion and fresh garlic adds tons of flavor to this dish.
Spices: We’re using a homemade spice blend consisting of Italian seasoning, ground black pepper, fine sea salt, dried oregano, and garlic powder. This combination seasons the sauce perfectly!
Flour: Flour is the thickener that we’re using to thicken the sauce. It’s what makes the sauce thick and luxurious
Milk and Sour Cream: A combination of milk and sour cream makes the sauce creamy without thinning it out too much. I do recommend using room temperature milk and sour cream because then the sauce is much less likely to curdle. It’s also important to use whole milk for the same reason.
Tomato Sauce: Tomato sauce adds tons of flavor to this dish. The combination of a creamy tomato sauce with ground beef and noodles is really such a winning combination!
Just be sure to make sure you’re not using a seasoned or salted tomato sauce, otherwise the added spices and salt might be too overpowering in this dish.
Cheese: Using freshly grated cheddar cheese is so important. Pre-grated cheeses are coated in an anti-caking agent that stops the cheese from melting smoothly. Using some of the cheese in the sauce, and sprinkling some on top, makes the whole dish deliciously cheesy.
How To Make Cheeseburger Casserole
Start by browning the ground beef in a Dutch oven. Continue cooking it until the beef is almost all the way cooked through, then drain off any excess grease. Add the butter to the pan, and let it melt into the beef. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Add in the onions, and saute until they’re translucent. Mix in the garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, oregano, pepper, and garlic powder. Saute that until the garlic is aromatic.
Sprinkle the flour over the ground beef mixture, and mix to evenly coat the beef in it. Pour in the milk, and stir until it has combined with the flour and created a smooth consistency.
Mix in the tomato sauce. Stir in the sour cream and cheddar cheese. Continue mixing until the cheddar cheese has melted.
Add the al dente macaroni noodles, and mix until the noodles are evenly coated in sauce.
Top the beef and noodle casserole with the remaining cheddar cheese, then bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted. Top with green onions and serve. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
What Side Goes With Cheeseburger Casserole?
Since this is a heartier dinner recipe, I like to keep the side dishes pretty simple and light. Something like a side salad or roasted vegetables is perfect to serve with this ground beef and pasta casserole.
If you have a little extra time, you could also serve it with these Crockpot Green Beans or with these Southern Green Beans. A piece of this Jiffy Cornbread with Creamed Corn would taste amazing with it, too!
Can You Freeze Cheeseburger Casserole?
Yes! Cheeseburger casserole can be frozen.
If you need to freeze this casserole, transfer the filling to a freezer-safe pan and cover it tightly with aluminum foil (be sure to freeze it in a level spot in your freezer).
When you’re ready to eat it, let it thaw in the fridge for 24 hours, then bake it until the casserole is heated through. Then remove the aluminum foil and continue baking until the cheese on top has melted and is bubbly.
If you don’t have time to thaw it in the fridge first, you can bake it from frozen, but it will take a while (it’s similar to baking a frozen lasagna).
Keep In Touch
I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out all of our casserole recipes! Some reader favorites are:
- Big Mac Casserole
- Hamburger Potato Casserole
- Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
- Mexican Cornbread Casserole
- Philly Cheesesteak Casserole
- Dorito Casserole
- 3 cups dry macaroni pasta (or 4 cups dry other short pasta, see notes)*
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion (diced, about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup butter (56 grams)
- 2 medium cloves garlic (pressed or minced)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk (room temperature)
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup sour cream (room temperature)
- 2 1/2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)**
- Chopped green onion (optional, for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C).
- To a large pot of salted boiling water, add the pasta and cook to al dente, according to the package instructions. Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain it through a colander.
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add In the ground beef and cook until almost no pink is visible (about 7 minutes). Drain to discard any extra grease.
- Melt the butter into the beef, then stir in the onions and cook until onions are translucent (about 4 minutes).
- Add the minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, oregano, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir and saute until aromatic (1-2 minutes).
- Sprinkle the flour over the beef, and stir to evenly coat the beef in the flour.
- Pour in the milk and mix. Continue mixing until the flour and milk combine to create a smooth texture. Once smooth, mix in the tomato sauce. Turn the heat up to bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and simmer for 4-5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Keep stirring to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Once the sauce has thickened, remove the pot from the heat. Add in the sour cream and 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted.
- Add in the cooked pasta, and mix until the noodles are evenly coated.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese on top, and bake for 10-15 minutes (Or until the cheese has melted).
- Garnish with chopped green onions and serve.
*I’ve tested this recipe with macaroni and with other types of short noodles, and macaroni is my favorite. If you use macaroni, measure out 3 cups of dry noodles (because there is less air space in the measuring cup with macaroni compared to noodles like penne or rotini). Or you can measure out 4 cups of another type of short noodle.
**I recommend using freshly shredded cheese because it melts better than pre-grated cheeses do. Pre-grated cheeses are coated in an anti-caking agent that stops them from melting smoothly.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 585Total Fat: 29gCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 3gSugar: 7.2gProtein: 32.6g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
This cheeseburger hot dish will be an instant family favorite! Cheesy hamburger casserole is quick to pull together and tastes so delicious.