Cheeseburger Casserole

This beefy, cheesy casserole recipe is the perfect choice for a quick weeknight meal. Mix browned ground beef with cheddar cheese, macaroni, and pantry staples for a homemade take on good old Hamburger Helper.

Casserole Dish of Cheeseburger Casserole with a Serving Already Served

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This dish reminds me of my childhood, and if you were like me, Hamburger Helper made a frequent appearance. And it was clear why my mom chose this dish time and time again—it was easy, simple, and good!

But now you can make a similar version that is so much better than the box mix. A handful of ingredients like ground beef, onions, tomato puree, cheese, and spices come together for a beefy and cheesy dinner idea the entire family will enjoy.

Cheeseburger casserole is a no-brainer when time is limited (like those busy weeknights). Need to make it in advance? No problem.

Cheeseburger Casserole in a Casserole Dish at a Table Setting (a Stack of Plates with Two Forks, a Spoon on the Counter, Bowl of Dry Parsley, a Table Napkin, and a Glass of Ice Water)

Simply Recipes / Dude that Cookz

An Easy, Breezy Weeknight Dinner

Season and brown your ground beef in a skillet with onions, garlic, and spices while your pasta is boiling. Add your tomato puree and half of your cheese. Transfer to a casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Dinner is on the table in around 30 minutes. Easy, breezy.

Make Ahead for Meal Prep

This recipe can be made in advance and served later in the week. It is the perfect meal prep option! You'll cook your beef and your pasta then place them in separate containers and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble (make sure you keep the cheese separately too). 

Simple Tip!

Keeping the cooked pasta separate from the other prepped ingredients prevents the pasta from absorbing too much liquid in storage and getting mushy.

You can refrigerate everything for up to 2 days, and when you are ready to serve, reheat the beef mixture, fold in the cooked pasta and cheese, transfer to your casserole dish, bake per the recipe, and serve!

Cheeseburger Casserole Swaps

  • Ground beef: For this recipe, we’re using 80/20 ground beef, but feel free to substitute with ground turkey, ground chicken, or a plant-based alternative. 
  • Canned tomatoes: The great part about this ingredient is you can use any canned tomatoes you have one hand. Instead of canned pureed tomatoes, you use crushed tomatoes for some additional texture. 
Casserole Dish of Cheeseburger Casserole with a Serving Already Served Using a Spoon at a Table Setting (a Plate with a Serving of Casserole, Bowl of Dry Parsley, a Table Napkin, and a Glass of Ice Water)

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  • Cheese: Pre-packaged shredded cheese will work great for this recipe and may be your preference for minimal preparation; however, while using a grater to shred a block of solid cheese may be a little more work, the cheese melts better due to the oils present in block cheeses. This recipe uses a combination of cheddar and Monterey Jack. You can substitute any cheddar cheese, like white cheddar. 
  • Pasta: Elbow macaroni closely resembles the Hamburger Helper we all know and love, but rotini or mini shells would also work well.
  • Cream: This beefy, cheesy casserole needs some moisture, so all ingredients combine in perfect harmony. Heavy cream is an excellent choice, but you can use sour cream if you don't have heavy cream on hand. Make sure your heavy cream or sour cream is at room temperature before adding it to your warm pasta. The consistency will be creamy and will not separate or curdle. 

What to Serve with Cheeseburger Casserole 

This casserole can serve as your main course, and it is excellent paired with garlic bread or chewy dinner rolls. For a balanced meal, pair with a side of roasted vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts. A garden or tossed salad is the perfect complement as well.

Can I Store and Reheat This Casserole?

Absolutely! However, as with other pasta casseroles, the pasta tends to soak up the sauce, so it's not as saucy as it would be when you initially made it. It will remain fresh in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Casserole Dish of Cheeseburger Casserole with a Serving Already Served Using a Spoon

Simply Recipes / Dude that Cookz

Have a Casserole Craving? Try These!

Cheeseburger Casserole

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces (340g) dried elbow macaroni (about 6 cups dry pasta)

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I like 80:20)

  • 2 teaspoons oregano

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed for salting the pasta water

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons butter

  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1/4 cup tomato puree

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Boil the pasta: 

    Put a large pot of salted water on to boil (1 tablespoon salt for every 2 quarts of water).

    Once the water has reached a rolling boil, add the dry pasta, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 9 to 11 minutes, until mostly cooked through but still a bit firm to the bite. 

    Using a colander, drain and set to the side.

    Bowl of Elbow Macaroni Poured into a Pot of Boiling Water for Cheeseburger Casserole Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Dude that Cookz

  3. Cook the ground beef:

    As the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the ground beef. 

    Season with oregano, sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, and ground cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

    Simple Tip!

    If you feel like the beef is a little greasy for your liking, go ahead and drain off or discard some of the grease. For a richer casserole, leave it be.

    Bowl of Seasoning Added to Ground Beef in a Dutch Oven on a Stove for Cheeseburger Casserole Recipe

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    Wooden Spoon Stirring Ground Beef as It Cooks in a Dutch Oven for Homemade Hamburger Helper Casserole

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  4. Add the butter and aromatics: 

    Add the butter, onions, garlic, and tomato puree to the skillet with the ground beef. Stir until all ingredients are combined.

    Garlic and Tomato Puree Added to Hamburger Helper Casserole Recipe

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  5. Combine the pasta and ground beef:

    Add the cooked pasta to the beef mixture and stir to combine. Add the heavy whipping cream, chicken stock, parsley, basil, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded Monterey Jack cheese, and 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese. Stir until combined.

    Cooked Pasta Added to Dutch Oven with Cooked Ground Beef

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    Bowl of Heavy Cream Poured into Dutch Oven with Cheeseburger Casserole Ingredients

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    Stock Added to Dutch Oven

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    Large Bowl of Monterey Jack Cheese and Cheddar Cheese Added to Cheeseburger Casserole Ingredients in Dutch Oven

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    Cheeseburger Casserole Ingredients Mixed Together in a Dutch Oven over a Stove

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  6. Add to a casserole dish:

    Transfer to a 9x13-inch casserole dish (no need to grease) and top with the remaining cheese.

    Cheeseburger Casserole Ingredients Poured into a Casserole Dish

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    Cheeseburger Casserole Topped with Monterey Jack Cheese and Cheddar Cheese

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  7. Bake:

    Bake the casserole for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbly.

    Cheeseburger Casserole in a Casserole Dish at a Table Setting (a Stack of Plates with Two Forks, a Spoon on the Counter, Bowl of Dry Parsley, a Table Napkin, and a Glass of Ice Water)

    Simply Recipes / Dude that Cookz

  8. Serve and store:

    For a looser casserole, serve right away. For a casserole that holds its shape a bit, let sit 10 minutes before serving. 

    The casserole will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for 3-4 days.

    You can also freeze it by storing it in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To reheat, microwave or place in the oven at 350°F oven until it is heated through (this will depend on the portion size you are reheating).

    Did you love the recipe? Leave us stars below!

    Casserole Dish of Cheeseburger Casserole with a Serving Already Served Using a Spoon at a Table Setting (a Plate with a Serving of Casserole, Bowl of Dry Parsley, a Table Napkin, and a Glass of Ice Water)

    Simply Recipes / Dude that Cookz

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
773 Calories
51g Fat
34g Carbs
44g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 773
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 51g 65%
Saturated Fat 27g 137%
Cholesterol 182mg 61%
Sodium 740mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 44g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 490mg 38%
Iron 4mg 25%
Potassium 542mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.