Cheeseburger Casserole (Quick + Easy Recipe!)

No ratings yet
Pin RecipeJump to Recipe

This easy cheeseburger casserole recipe is a 10/10 family hit. Quick, SO simple to make and everyone loves it!

Cheeseburger Casserole recipe.

Made with all the cheeseburger flavors you love, it comes out the oven topped with a bubbling, golden cheesy topping.

What could be better?

Why You’ll Love This Cheesy Hamburger Casserole Recipe

Move into your comfort food era with this cheesy burger bake; here’s what to love about it:

  • Family-friendly: Kids and adults will fall for the cheeseburger flavor in this dish. It has a nostalgic vibe of homemade hamburger helper, but SOOO much better.
  • Make-ahead option: Prepare the casserole and refrigerate or freeze until ready to bake.
  • One-pan: No one wants a load of dishes to content with midweek. This is a low-mess, low-fuss recipe. 
  • Great for leftovers: Any leftovers can be stored and reheated for a quick and delicious meal later on in the week.
Cheeseburger Casserole Ingredients

Here’s What You Need

Ready to make your cheeseburger casserole? Round-up these ingredients:

Cheeseburger Casserole Ingredients

 Here are those classic cheeseburger ingredients:

  • Ground beef: Choose lean ground beef – you can also substitute with ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version.
  • Onion: Use any color onion. 
  • Minced garlic: Fresh minced garlic provides the best flavor, but if unavailable, you can use pre-minced garlic.
  • Kosher salt and pepper: I love Kosher salt for its clean taste and ease of measurement.
  • Paprika: Great for that smoky flavor and a touch of color.
  • Tomato paste: Adds depth of flavor and richness to the casserole. Not to be skipped!
  • Beef broth: You can also use vegetable broth as a substitute.
  • Cream cheese: Softened cream cheese adds creaminess and richness to the casserole. Make sure it’s at room temperature for easier incorporation into the dish.
  • Dry macaroni: Choose a short pasta shape like elbow macaroni or rotini for easy eating. Cook according to package instructions until al dente before adding to the casserole.
  • Grated cheddar cheese: Use freshly grated cheese for superior meltability and flavor. Sharp cheddar adds a nice tang, but mild or medium cheddar works well too.

Substitutions and Variations

Switch this cheeseburger casserole up a bit; here’s how:

  • Vegetarian option: Switch the ground beef with plant-based crumbles or diced mushrooms for a vegetarian version.
  • Bacon cheeseburger casserole: Take it to another level by adding diced bacon. 
  • Different cheese: Experiment with different types of cheese like mozzarella, pepper jack, or Swiss.
  • Gluten-free version: Use gluten-free pasta or substitute with cooked quinoa or cauliflower rice for a gluten-free alternative.

Tools to Grab

Here are the tools and equipment you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • Large pot: To boil the pasta in.
  • Colander: To drain the pasta.
  • Saucepan or skillet: To cook the meat in.
  • Spoon: To stir while cooking.
  • Large baking dish: To bake the casserole in.
Cook Pasta and Beef for Cheeseburger Casserole

How to Make A Cheeseburger Casserole: An Easy Guide

Let’s get into how to make this cheeseburger casserole:

Prep Steps

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).  Next, boil salted water in a large pot. Add the macaroni and cook it according to package instructions until just al dente. Drain the pasta and set it aside.

Cook the Beef

Cook the ground beef with the onion, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. 

Next, break up the beef with a spoon as it cooks. I like to leave larger chunks. 

Cook the beef, stirring frequently, until it is cooked through and the onion is soft.

Finish the Sauce

To the beef, add the tomato paste. Next, cook it until it turns a shade darker and smells toasty. Add in the beef broth and stir it. Let it simmer for a few minutes.

Reduce the heat to a low temperature. Then, stir in the cream cheese until it is smooth. Lastly, whisk in 2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese and let it melt. 

Assemble the Cheeseburger Casserole and Bake

The last step is to stir in the cooked macaroni and transfer the mixture to a large baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the top.

Bake it for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and browning.

Add tomato paste and beef broth

Make Ahead and Storage

This is a great make ahead recipe. Here’s what to do and how to store it to enjoy later:

Make Ahead

This cheeseburger casserole can be assembled ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. 

Simply cover the casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in the fridge until ready to bake. 

This is a great option for meal prep or for preparing ahead of a busy weeknight.

Add cheddar cheese and bake

Storing Cheeseburger Casserole

Leftover cheeseburger casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Allow the casserole to cool completely before transferring it to the container. 

When reheating, you can warm individual servings in the microwave or reheat the entire casserole in the oven until heated through.

For longer storage, you can freeze the assembled, unbaked casserole for up to 3 months. Wrap the casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, or transfer it to a freezer-safe container. 

When ready to enjoy, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight before baking according to the original instructions. Once baked, leftovers can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

cheeseburger casserole in big pan with spoon

Final Notes, Pro Tips + Science-Based Secrets

Here are some secret food scientist-based tips and notes:

  • Emulsification: The addition of cream cheese to the casserole helps to create a creamy and cohesive texture. Cream cheese contains emulsifiers, which help to bind the ingredients together and prevent separation during baking.
  • Cheese meltability: You’ll get best results by grating your own cheddar. This ensures a smooth and creamy texture in the finished casserole. These cheeses contain proteins that melt easily when heated, resulting in a gooey and irresistible cheese layer on top of the casserole.

FAQs About Cheeseburger Casserole

Just skimming through? Don’t missed these common queries:

Can I use different pasta shapes? 

Yes, you can use different pasta shapes like penne, rotini, or farfalle. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions .

Can I make this dish ahead of time? 

Absolutely! You can assemble the cheeseburger casserole ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. 

Can I freeze leftover casserole? 

Yes, you can freeze leftover cheeseburger casserole for up to 3 months. Be sure to store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.

How Do I Reheat Leftover Casserole? 

To reheat leftover casserole, you can either microwave individual servings for a quick meal or reheat the entire casserole in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until heated through. 

Covering the dish with aluminum foil helps prevent the top from drying out.

More Cozy Beef Recipes You’ll Love

Want more comforting beef recipes? Here are my top recipes:

Save this recipe!
Get this recipe link sent straight to your inbox to make it later!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
No ratings yet

Cheeseburger Casserole (Quick + Easy Recipe!)

This freezer-friendly cheeseburger casserole is SO easy to make and will be a hit with the whole family. 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 
 

  • 8 oz dry macaroni will be about 4 cups cooked
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 cups finely-chopped onion from 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic from 3 large cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 1 5.5- oz can tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese divided use
Save this recipe!
Get this recipe link sent straight to your inbox to make it later!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Instructions 

Prep Steps

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the macaroni according to package instructions or until just al dente. Drain and set aside.

Cook the Beef

  • While the macaroni cooks, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef with the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Break up the beef a bit with a spoon as it cooks. Cook, stirring frequently, until beef is cooked through and onion is soft.

Finish the Sauce

  • Add the tomato paste; cook until it turns a shade darker and smells toasty.
  • Add beef broth to the large skillet. Stir to combine and simmer for a few minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Turn off the burner then stir in 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Assemble and Bake

  • Stir in the cooked macaroni and transfer the mixture to a 9×9" (or similar size) baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.

Video

Notes

Chop onion as finely as possible. This ensures it cooks through and softens fully while the beef cooks (to avoid a separate cooking step, yay!)
Line your baking dish with parchment paper for super-easy cleanup.
Gradually stir in the cheddar cheese over low heat until it’s completely melted. Do it with the heat off. This method helps prevent the cheese from becoming grainy and ensures a smooth sauce. 
You may need more salt to the sauce depending on the fineness of your salt and how salty your broth is. I added 1/2 tsp more. The sauce shouldn’t taste very acidic like tomato, it should taste seasoned and balanced like a, well, CHEESEBURGER! 

Nutrition

Calories: 637kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 1524mg | Potassium: 788mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1274IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 401mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Leave a comment!

You’ll Also Love These

Leave a comment

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

Recipe Rating