Home Recipes Old-Fashioned Hamburger Casserole

Old-Fashioned Hamburger Casserole

The next time you need something hearty, quick, and kid-approved, try this old-fashioned hamburger casserole.

It’s ultra-rich, ultra-creamy, and ultra-loaded with flavor!

There’s layers of egg noodles, meaty tomato sauce, and cheesy white sauce in every bite. Add some melted cheese on top, and it won’t last long!

Cheesy Hamburger Casserole with Cheese and Pasta
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Old-Fashioned Hamburger Casserole 

Ground beef casseroles are quick, easy, and usually budget-friendly.

And because they often contain carbs, protein, fats, and vegetables, they’re considered a stand-alone meal.

With this old-fashioned hamburger casserole, you’ll get all the delicious elements of a hamburger, but more.

It’s filled with egg noodles, ground beef, tomato sauce, sour cream, cream cheese, and melty cheddar. WOW is an understatement.

Think of it as a mash-up between a cheeseburger and a lasagna. It is, without a doubt, comfort food at its best. 

Old-Fashioned-Hamburger-Casserole-Ingredients-Ground-Beef-Tomato-Sauce-Egg-Noodles-Cream-Cheese-and-Cheddar-Cheese

Ingredients 

This recipe calls for basic ingredients that I’m sure you already have in your pantry!

If you don’t, don’t worry, you can easily swap the ingredients with whatever you have around.

  • Ground Beef – Use lean ground beef so it’s still flavorful but not greasy. 
  • Granulated Sugar – A little bit of sweetness gives the beef an even deeper flavor.
  • Salt and Garlic Salt – Where there’s sugar, there should always be salt. It counterbalances the sweetness, resulting in a perfect balance of flavors.
  • Tomato Sauce – It’s added to the beef for that spaghetti-like goodness. 
  • Egg Noodles – They absorb the red and white sauces beautifully. Two layers make this casserole super hearty and satisfying. 
  • Sour Cream, Cream Cheese, and White Onion – Together, they make up the white sauce layer of the casserole. It’s rich with umami goodness, with a hint of tartness to balance it out.
  • Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Savory casseroles are never complete without bubbly cheese on top! Rich, salty, and ooey-gooey sharp cheddar is perfect for the job.

How to Make Hamburger Casserole 

It seems like a lot of work, considering there are many components that go into the casserole.

But trust me, it’s so easy, you can do this with your eyes closed.

1. Cook the beef. Brown it in a skillet and drain any excess grease (a little is okay – and adds flavor!).

2. Add the flavor. Stir in the sugar, salt, garlic salt, and tomato sauce. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

3. Cook the noodles. Do this while the beef and sauce cook. That way, it’s all ready at the same time. Cook them to just al dente per the package instructions.

4. Prepare the white sauce. Mix the sour cream, cream cheese, and diced onion in a bowl.

5. Assemble the casserole. Layer the elements, starting with egg noodles. Add the beef and some cream sauce, then repeat until the dish is full. Top it all off with shredded cheese.

6. Bake the casserole. It takes about 30 minutes at 350°F.

7. Serve and enjoy! Let it rest for 5 or so minutes before serving so the sauce has time to thicken.

Homemade Cheesy Old-Fashioned Hamburger Casserole

Are the Noodles Cooked Before Baking? 

I know what you’re thinking: won’t baking the casserole for 25 to 30 minutes be enough to cook the noodles? 

No, it won’t.

You need to cook the egg noodles for about 5 minutes to soften them. Don’t cook them fully, though, or they’ll turn to mush in the oven.

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To save time, cook the noodles while you’re waiting for the beef mixture to simmer.

Simmering will take 20 minutes, which is more than enough time to cook the noodles. 

Tips for the Best Casserole 

  • Tomato sauce alternatives: swap it out for jarred marinara, spaghetti sauce, or any tomato-based pasta sauce you have on hand. That’s the beauty of this casserole. It’s easily customizable!
  • Make your own tomato sauce. Combine crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Season it with herbs and Italian seasoning, and voila.
  • Use lean beef. 90/10 is best for maximum flavor and minimal grease. You can use fattier beef, but you’ll need to skim off the grease.
  • Soften the cream cheese. It’s easier to blend and make smooth. If you forget to take it out of the fridge, just pop it in the microwave at 50% power level for about 30 seconds.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles. Remember that they’ll spend another 25 to 30 minutes in the oven, so they will cook further. If you want them firm or al dente, undercook the noodles by 1-2 minutes.
  • Don’t worry about the measurements. It’s fine if you go under or over my recommended portions! I, for one, love adding even more cheese on top because I just can’t get enough of its melted, bubbly goodness.
  • Grate your own cheddar cheese. While it’s a lot easier to get bags of pre-shredded cheese, it’s more expensive. Also, these cheeses are coated with an anti-caking agent that keeps them from melting well.  
  • Cut the recipe in half. The recipe makes a lot, so if you’re cooking for a smaller company, cut the recipe in half and use an 8×8-inch baking dish.

Storage and Make Ahead Instructions

Since this casserole has an impressive shelf-life, feel free to make it in advance.

Just prepare the layers, assemble (minus the cheese), and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Then, refrigerate it for up to 48 hours before baking. 

When you’re ready, top it with cheese and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer than instructed. 

And if you have leftovers, here’s how to keep them fresh:

To Store: Cover the completely cooled casserole with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.

To Reheat: Cover the casserole loosely with foil and warm for 20 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Reheat smaller portions in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.

Note: Don’t freeze the casserole. It contains sour cream, which splits when defrosted.

Cheesy Hamburger Casserole with Cheese and Pasta

Hamburger Casserole Variations

This casserole is super easy to customize. It’s perfect for using up all the leftovers you have in the fridge!

Here are some variations you can try:

  • Ground beef not an option? Try pork, chicken, or turkey instead. 
  • Make a kid-friendly casserole packed with veggies. I’m talking bell peppers, peas, zucchini, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
    • Tip: Dice the veggies finely for easy eating. The smaller they are, the less the kids will mind.
  • Make it meatier with mushrooms! They add an earthy and woodsy flavor, too.
  • Experiment with different pasta shapes. Besides egg noodles, you can also use small or tubular shells like penne, bowtie, macaroni, and rigatoni.
  • For a Tex-Mex twist: Add beans and taco seasoning to the beef mixture.
  • Cheese, please: any grated cheese will do. I personally love the combination of cheddar, Parmesan, and mozzarella. The mozzarella gives the casserole that extra stringy, ooey-gooey oomph.
  • Get creative with herbs, spices, and seasonings. This casserole is the perfect way to experiment with flavors.

What to Serve with Hamburger Casserole

While this casserole is already a complete meal on its own, you can make your lunch or dinner even more satisfying with these side dishes.

Light and refreshing, these sides counterbalance the richness of the casserole.

Want more options? Check out these round-ups of side dishes!

Other Casseroles You’ll Love

Tater Tot Casserole
Walking Taco Casserole
Bisquick Breakfast Casserole
Italian Sausage Breakfast Casserole
Paula Deen’s Green Bean Casserole

Old-Fashioned Hamburger Casserole

Servings

6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

55

minutes
Calories

550

kcal

With layers of egg noodles, meaty tomato sauce, cheesy white sauce, and loads of melty cheese on top, this old-fashioned hamburger casserole is a guaranteed hit. Learn this easy recipe today!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce

  • 1 (8-ounce) package egg noodles

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

  • 1 large white onion, diced

  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or more to taste

Instructions

  • Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until browned and crumbly. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break it up. Drain the grease, if needed.
  • Add the sugar, salt, garlic salt, and tomato sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and place a lid over the pan to keep it warm.
  • While the beef simmers, cook the egg noodles. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, then cook the noodles for about 5 minutes. They should be softened, but not fully cooked. Drained the noodles and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish with butter.
  • In a large bowl, mix the sour cream, cream cheese, and diced onion until well blended.
  • Arrange half of the egg noodles in the greased casserole dish. Cover with half of the sour cream mixture, followed by half of the ground beef and sauce. Repeat the layers and top off with cheddar cheese.
  • Bake the casserole for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese has browned and melted. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Under-cook the noodles. If they go into the oven fully cooked, they will be mushy upon serving.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 550kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Fat: 33g
  • Saturated Fat: 17g
  • Cholesterol: 120mg
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugar: 12g
Old-Fashioned Hamburger Casserole

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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