Cheeseburger casserole is the ultimate fusion of baked macaroni and a juicy cheeseburger!
This dish embraces indulgence with its delectable blend of carbs and cheese. It’s hearty, satisfying, and impossible to resist!
It’s the perfect comfort food meal and is guaranteed to wow a crowd.
It’s also a total breeze to make. Aside from chopping the vegetables, this casserole practically cooks itself. What’s for dinner tonight? This cheeseburger casserole, for sure!
Imagine biting into a cheeseburger, but instead, it’s in the form of a heavenly casserole. That’s what you get with this mouthwatering dish.
It’s made with perfectly seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, macaroni noodles, and a luscious tomato sauce. The elbow noodles soak up all the meaty, cheesy flavors, making each bite sinfully divine. It’s a true taste extravaganza!
If you have fond memories of Hamburger Helper, this dish is like its gourmet sibling. It’s basically Cheeseburger Helper with an elevated twist.
Perfect for busy weeknights, this casserole is a quick, easy, and incredibly satisfying meal.
- Ground beef: Opt for quality ground beef with some fat content for a flavorful casserole base.
- Onions: Use diced white or yellow onions. Chop them up into small, bite-sized pieces for even cooking and easy eating.
- Canned diced tomatoes with herbs: It gives the casserole a rich tomato flavor and subtle herbaceous notes. It perfectly complements the beef and cheese.
- Elbow macaroni: For a classic, hearty base. Cook it to al dente and drain it well before assembling.
- Corn kernels: To brighten the dish and add some sweetness and crunch.
- Green bell pepper: It lends a refreshing crunch and a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
- Garlic: It contributes an aromatic depth of flavor.
- Seasonings: Combining soy sauce, chili powder, Italian seasoning, and ground black pepper creates a harmonious blend and seasons the casserole perfectly.
- Shredded Mexican cheese blend: For a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture and a flavorful glue to bind the casserole together.
How to Make Cheeseburger Casserole
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Chop the onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Shred the cheeses, if needed.
2. Cook the beef and onions.
Combine the ground beef and onions in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook them until the beef is no longer pink and the onions are translucent, for about 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Prepare the tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Drain the canned tomatoes and place them into a 4-cup liquid measuring glass. Pour water into the glass until it reaches the 2 1/2 cup mark.
4. Finish off the beef mixture.
Add the tomatoes and juice, macaroni noodles, corn kernels, chopped bell pepper and garlic, soy sauce, chili powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper to the beef mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then remove it from the heat.
5. Assemble the cheeseburger casserole.
Pour half of the beef mixture into the greased baking dish. Sprinkle it with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Repeat the process to create a second layer of beef and cheese.
6. Bake the casserole.
Cover the dish with foil and place it on a baking sheet. Bake it for 30 minutes and remove the foil. Bake it for 15 more minutes, or until the macaroni is al dente. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve it and enjoy!
Tips & Variations
This casserole is incredibly flexible. You can create a dish that caters to the tastes and preferences of your entire family.
- Use taco seasoning instead of Italian seasoning. This flavor pairs exceptionally well with Mexican cheese!
- Shred your own cheese. It’s more work, but it yields meltier cheese!
- For reference, a Mexican cheese blend is a mix of Monterey Jack, cheddar, Asadero, and Queso Quesadilla cheeses.
- Experiment with other cheeses. Opt for mild or sharp orange Cheddar instead of extra sharp or aged cheeses. I highly recommend sharp Cheddar, Provolone, and Mozzarella.
- Try other pasta shells. Elbow macaroni is a classic choice, but rotini or mini shells work well, too. Check the package if you’re using alternative pasta, as cooking times may vary.
- Replace beef with other ground meats. You can’t go wrong with turkey or pork.
- Spice it up with salsa. Or hot sauce. Or sriracha.
- Transform the casserole into a Bacon Cheeseburger Helper. Just add chopped-up bacon to the beef mixture. You can top the casserole with bacon crumbles, too.
What to Serve with Cheeseburger Casserole
This cheeseburger casserole is a complete dinner on its own. If you want an even heartier meal, here are some fantastic sides to pair with it:
This casserole is also a great make-ahead dish. You can double the recipe and serve the second batch some other time!
To make it ahead, cook the beef mixture and macaroni and store them separately. Refrigerate them for up to 2 days. Then, assemble the casserole according to the recipe, bake it, and attack it.
Storing, Freezing & Reheating
Allow your cheeseburger casserole to cool completely before storing. Cover the dish with foil or plastic wrap. Transfer the casserole to an air-tight container. Refrigerate it for up to 3 to 4 days.
Allow the cheeseburger casserole to cool completely before freezing it. Store the dish in a freezer-safe airtight container. Freeze it for up to 6 months.
Either microwave the casserole or reheat it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until it’s warmed through.
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