Easy Cheesy Hamburger Casserole

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Get ready for the ultimate comfort food with this easy cheesy hamburger casserole recipe. We combine good old ground beef, filling pasta, and delicious melted cheese for a frugal dinner the whole family will love.

Bowl of cheesy hamburger casserole.
Bowl of cheesy hamburger casserole. Photo credit: Recipes From Leftovers.

This cheese hamburger casserole was a hit with the whole family the first time I made it. Even the picky eaters in our kitchen gobbled it up.

Like almost all recipes I create from leftovers, it’s easy to make substitutions. Don’t have spiral pasta? Use elbow macaroni. No cheddar cheese? Try Monterey Jack instead.

The key is to keep your proportions right and to try new flavor combinations.

Now, you might know this dish by another name. I’ve seen variations of it under the cheeseburger casserole recipe, homemade hamburger helper, and plain old ground beef casserole.

This recipe can be either served directly from the pot, the way you’d serve Hamburger Helper. Or you can bake it in a large casserole dish.

How to make cheesy casserole with hamburger

Ingredients for cheesy hamburger casserole with pasta.
Ingredients for cheesy hamburger casserole with pasta. Photo credit: Recipes From Leftovers.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe.

Want a printable version of this recipe? Scroll down to the bottom! ⬇️

Ingredients

  • 1 lb box fusilli pasta
  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire 
  • 5 cups beef broth (sometimes I use low-sodium, sometimes I don’t)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 3 tbsp garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper

Directions

Here’s how to make this dish.

  • 1. In a large pot, over medium heat, cook ground beef, garlic, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup.    Break apart the beef, mix it thoroughly with all of the ingredients and cook until the meat is browned.
  • 2. Drain any grease.
  • 3. Add in the beef broth and bring to a slight simmer.
  • 4. Add Pasta in simmering water and stir well.  
  • 5. Cook until noodles are al dente, approximately 10-12 minutes.   
  • 6. Continue to stir while adding milk and cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.
  • 7. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Or not!
  • 8. Optional: pour the beef and pasta mixture into a greased 9 x 12 inch casserole dish.
  • 9. Then Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
  • 10. For the final step, top with chopped green onion garnish, cheddar cheese or bacon.  Your choice in what you would like to have on top.
  • 11. Enjoy!

Substitutions

Cheesy hamburger casserole recipe.
Cheesy hamburger casserole recipe. Recipes From Leftovers.

So this easy hamburger casserole recipe is based on the ingredients I had on hand then. But honestly, I rarely make it the same way twice. 

After all, I always try to turn our leftovers into a new meal. And this is a great recipe to use up ingredients from the week’s earlier dinners into a hearty dish.

So here are a few ideas for substitutions when making this easy cheesy hamburger noodle casserole.

For the pasta

I’ve made this with bite-sized pasta, instant rice, egg noodles, macaroni noodles and penne. All of them work. Note: a 1-pound box of pasta equals about four cups of dried pasta.

For the hamburger meat

Substitute any of the following for lean ground beef:

  • Italian sausage
  • ground turkey
  • ground chicken

Other substitutions

Cheesy hamburger casserole with pasta

Instead of Ketchup, try 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, or tomato puree.

And instead of cheddar cheese, try different types of cheese. Cream cheese, sharp cheddar, gouda, mozzarella and swiss cheese have all been delicious when added to the meat mixture.

Add your favorite spices for extra flavor. Some of ours have included

  • garlic powder or minced garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • parsley flakes
  • chili powder
  • red pepper flakes
  • onion powder, chopped green onions, or minced yellow onions

And if I still have small amounts of bacon, ground beef, onions, or cheese, I make up a tray of egg bites for breakfast.

Suggested side dishes

Serve a side salad, Caesar salad, garlic bread, or tater tots with this family favorite. And then follow it up with a slice of raspberry lemon cheesecake for dessert.

Storing your hamburger casserole

Store your leftover hamburger casserole in an airtight container. Or store it in the casserole dish, wrapped well with aluminum foil and/or plastic wrap.

In fact, I often make a double batch of this hearty meal as part of our meal plan so we can have it again on our busy weeknights. I might serve the first batch directly from the pot.

Then I’ll freeze the remaining hamburger pasta casserole in aluminum foil and plastic wrap. I take it out of the freezer on the day I want to serve it. Then I reheat it (covered in aluminum foil, tented) at 375 for about 30 minutes, then I remove the foil and heat for another 10 minutes or until it is bubbling.

This easy recipe uses simple ingredients the entire family will love. It’s the perfect comfort food and one of my most popular recipes.

Yield: 8 servings

Cheesy Hamburger Casserole

Bowl of cheesy hamburger casserole.

Whip up a crowd-pleaser with our easy cheesy hamburger casserole - a comforting blend of beef, pasta, & cheese, perfect for any occasion.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb box fusilli pasta
  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 3 tbsp garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook ground beef, garlic, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Break apart the beef, mix it thoroughly with all of the ingredients and cook until the meat is browned.
  2. Drain any grease.
  3. Add in the beef broth and bring to a slight simmer.
  4. Add pasta and stir well.
  5. Cook until noodles are al dente- approximately 10-12 minutes.   
  6. Continue to stir while adding milk and cheese- continue until the cheese is melted.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. If serving immediately,top with green onion garnish, cheddar cheese or bacon.
  9. If you prefer to bake it, pour the beef mixture into a 9 x 12 inch casserole dish.
  10. Top with shredded cheese and 1 tablespoon of dried parsley.
  11. Bake in 350 F oven for 30 minutes.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

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Cheesy hamburger casserole.

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10 Comments

  1. I was looking for dinner ideas last night when I came across this recipe! It turned out so delicious and comforting, not to mention it was so easy to make, too! I added some mozzarella and parmesan just to make it more fun. I’m definitely making this again!

  2. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and the cheese was gooey and irresistible. I love budget friendly yet delicious dishes.

  3. Yepper, 5 stars. You get ’em! All 5!!! Now, with that out of the way, in the interest of time, I used a different METHOD, which I’m sharing. NOTE: This was just me, trying it a different way. Stayed true to ingredients, and I gave 5 stars, so don’t judge. I was in a hurry and I’ve had bad luck with pasta getting “gummy” when I do a 1-pot meal with broth!

    So, 100%: browned ground beef with onion/garlic, and with about 2 teaspoons of beef bouillon powder. Cooked the noodles separately and drained. Omitted ketchup, as my family isn’t partial to it. Combined meat and noodles, cheese, and milk. I forever have little bits of lots of different kinds of cheeses I’m using, so I used X-sharp cheddar, mozzarella, a bit of Italian Cheese Blend. It works. It always works, and it’s always delicious. Then, for garnish at the table, I laid out shredded Cheddar and Pepper Jack, minced green onion, Hormel real bacon bits, diced tomatoes (instead of ketchup!), and dill pickle relish. Had ALL of the flavor of the perfect cheesy, bacon-y burger… in pasta form. ZERO leftovers!!! ‘Nuff said!!!

  4. If I ask my kids what they want for dinner, this is almost always the answer. It’s easy for me to make for them, and they’re picky eaters so it’s great to see them eat every last bit.

  5. I really followed this recipe to a T. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and the melted cheese on top added a nice gooey texture. It came together quickly, and the leftovers were just as delicious the next day. Definitely adding this to our regular dinner rotation.

  6. Made this hamburger casserole for my boys last night and they DEVOURED it! I baked it since my kids love that crispy edge from the cheese — will make it again!

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