Meatball Casserole

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Meatball Casserole is the perfect weeknight dinner to put together. It’s deliciously saucy, cheesy, and so easy to make!

top down view of the finished meatball casserole

If you’re on the lookout for a ridiculously delicious yet effortlessly easy meal, this dump and bake meatball casserole recipe is a one-way ticket to pasta paradise.

Loaded with savory meatballs, gooey cheese, and a symphony of rich, flavorful sauce, this dish is a celebration of simplicity and taste. The best part? It’s so easy to make that you’ll be wondering why you haven’t tried it sooner.

If you’re short on time, grab some frozen meatballs, and let the oven do the rest. And hey, if you’re feeling adventurous, check out this recipe for homemade meatballs and my super handy tips for freezing them for later use.

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Cheesy Meatball Casserole is the answer to your dreams of an easy meal that’s loaded with flavor. With layers of pasta, bubbling cheese, and succulent meatballs, this casserole is as comforting as comfort food can be. Plus it’s so easy.

Made with frozen cooked meatballs, this recipe is a game-changer for busy evenings or lazy weekends when you want maximum flavor with minimum effort. Saucy, easy, and cheesy is the name of the game for our meatball casserole so let’s dig in! 

the completed casserole ready to be served

Why Make This Recipe

  • It’s saucy – I love a good saucy pasta! 
  • Easy – This is a dump and bake casserole, my friends. Doesn’t get much easier than that! 
  • Cheesy – The only thing cheesier is my husband’s dad jokes. 

Ingredient Notes

  • Cooked pasta — Use your favorite pasta! Some options are spaghetti, fettuccine, or penne. 
  • Marinara sauce — Your favorite brand or homemade recipe will do! You could even use your favorite pasta sauce. 
  • Cheddar cheese — Mild, medium, or sharp – whatever floats your boat! 
  • Italian seasoning — Made of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram, this a kitchen must have! But if you’re out, you can mix up your own or use some combination of the above spices to substitute. 
  • Mozzarella cheese — The mild flavor and smooth elastic texture of mozzarella is what gives pizza and cheesy pastas like this one that satisfying experience. 
  • Parmesan cheese — Parmesan is a hard cheese with a unique nutty flavor and rich umami making it the perfect grated topper for pastas and salads. 
  • Frozen meatballs — These are soooo convenient, but feel free to make your own if you want/need to control the ingredients. 
the ingredients needed to make this casserole with meatballs recipe

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

How To Make Meatball Casserole

Making casseroles is a great way to save time and money. Check out these casseroles for more flavorful ideas your family will love. 

Get complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card further below.

marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish

Step 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C. If you don’t have cooked pasta on hand, cook pasta for about 5-6 minutes and allow to drain completely. Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish with oil and add a third cup of the marinara sauce to the bottom of the baking dish.

the beginning of the layering process to build the casserole

Step 2. Place the cooked and cooled pasta in the baking dish and sprinkle it with cheddar cheese. 

the uncooked casserole with the frozen meatballs added

Step 3. Arrange all the frozen meatballs on top.

the casserole in process of being assembled

Step 4. Next, add half of the remaining marinara sauce and the Italian seasoning.

the casserole topped with cheese and ready to be baked

Step 5. Finish by topping with remaining marinara sauce and cheese. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

the baked casserole removed from the oven

Step 6. When done, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pro Tips

  • If using fresh meatballs, make sure your pasta is fully cooked before assembling the casserole. The cooking time can be reduced since the meatballs aren’t frozen. 
  • For a golden and bubbly top, broil the casserole for a few minutes at the end of the baking time.
  • Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the flavors meld, and it makes it easier to cut and serve.
  • Add fresh herbs like basil or parsley just before serving for a burst of fresh flavor. This adds a nice contrast to the baked casserole.
  • We don’t recommend making this with uncooked pasta as it will not cook all the way through while baking.
a wooden spatula removing a portion of the casserole from the dish

Delicious Variations 

  • Italian Sausage — Use ground Italian sausage to make fresh meatballs. Use Parsley instead of Italian seasoning. Cook for 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. 
  • More Flavor – Add garlic powder, onion powder, fresh basil, fresh parsley, or your favorite fresh chopped herbs to the tomato sauce.
  • Mediterranean — Make a Greek-inspired dish using chopped black or Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, and Feta cheese in place of Mozzarella and Parmesan. 
  • Sloppy Joe Style — Use Sloppy Joe sauce in place of marinara to put a sloppy spin on this casserole!
  • Healthier – Bake this with ground turkey meatballs or chicken meatballs.
the completed recipe in a white casserole dish

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – If desired, assemble the casserole the day before, cover tightly, and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • Store – Allow to cool completely. Wrap tightly with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze – Allow it to cool, wrap it tightly, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. 
  • Reheat – Thaw the frozen casserole in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat it in the oven until it reaches the desired temperature. Make sure it’s heated through.
a fork removing a bite of casserole from a serving dish

FAQs 

Can I make meatball casserole without pasta?

Yes, you can make a keto meatball casserole or low-carb version by omitting pasta or replacing it with alternatives like zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice.

Can I add vegetables to meatball casserole?

Yes, vegetables like bell peppers, onions, or spinach can be added for extra flavor and nutrition.

How do I prevent the casserole from drying out during baking?

Ensure you have enough sauce in between the layers, and consider covering the casserole with foil during part of the baking time to retain moisture.

one serving of the casserole in a white bowl sitting in front of the baking dish

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top down view of the completed dump and bake meatball casserole

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top down view of the finished meatball casserole
Print Recipe
4 from 3 votes

Meatball Casserole

Meatball casserole is a flavorful and hearty dish featuring seasoned meatballs nestled in layers of sauce and cheese on a base of pasta.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main
Cuisine: American, Italian, Western
Servings: 6
Calories: 510kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy

Ingredients

  • 11 ounces (300g) cooked pasta
  • 14 ounces (420g) marinara sauce store-bought
  • 1 cup (110g) cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup (110g) mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup (55g) parmesan cheese
  • 22 frozen meatballs

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C.
  • If you don’t have cooked pasta in hand, cook pasta for about 5-6 minutes and allow to drain completely. Don’t rinse with cold water.
  • Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with oil. Add a third of a cup of the marinara sauce at the bottom.
  • Add all the pasta in the baking dish. Sprinkle the top of the cheddar cheese.
  • Arrange all the frozen meatballs on the cheese. Add half of the marinara sauce, the italian seasoning, half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the parmesan cheese. Repeat again with the marinara sauce and the cheese.
  • Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
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Video

Notes

  • If using fresh meatballs, make sure your pasta is fully cooked before assembling the casserole. The cook time can be reduced since the meatballs aren’t frozen. 
  • For a golden and bubbly top, broil the casserole for a few minutes at the end of the baking time.
  • Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the flavors meld, and it makes it easier to cut and serve.
  • Add fresh herbs like basil or parsley just before serving for a burst of fresh flavor. This adds a nice contrast to the baked casserole.
  • Storage – keep tightly covered or in an airtight container inside the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 510kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 719mg | Potassium: 500mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 676IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 359mg | Iron: 2mg

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
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  2. This Meatball Casserole recipe sounds like a delicious and easy dinner option! If you’re short on time, using frozen meatballs can be a real time-saver. And for more convenience, consider using a calculator to adjust ingredient measurements if needed. CEO https://calculadoraalicia.mx/

  3. 3 stars
    I can already imagine the savory aroma filling the kitchen as it bakes to perfection. With hearty meatballs, rich marinara sauce, and gooey cheese, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser. I’m excited to add this recipe to my collection: royalwriter.co.uk and impress my family with a delicious homemade meal!

  4. 4 stars
    The Meatball Casserole recipe looks absolutely delicious and perfect for a cozy family dinner. I love how it combines classic flavors like meatballs, marinara sauce, and cheese, resulting in a comforting and satisfying dish. Plus, it seems super easy to make, making it a convenient option for busy weeknights. I can’t wait to try it out and savor every bite!