The Nostalgic Cheesy Hamburger Pasta Casserole of Your Dreams

published Apr 15, 2022
Eat
Hamburger Casserole Recipe

This ultra-creamy casserole is leftover-friendly.

Serves6

Prep20 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes

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a portion of hamburger casserole on a white porcelain plate with the pan in the background.
Credit: Perry Santanachote

In addition to being cooked in a casserole dish large enough to feed a bunch of hungry mouths, any respectable American casserole must meet a few rules. Ask yourself if this dish is the following:

  • A jumble of ingredients, including cheese or cream, that undergo a physical transformation in the oven?
  • A scoopable texture that lies somewhere between a stew and bread pudding?
  • So warm and cozy you’d want to cuddle with it?

As long as the answer is yes to all the above, you can make a casserole out of endless ingredients, including hamburger fixings. For our hamburger casserole, cream of mushroom soup provides the perfect creamy base. Ketchup, mustard, pickles, bacon, and raw onion give the dish a familiar burger tang and crunch, while a blend of American and cheddar cheeses leaves no doubt that it’s a casserole.

The best part? You don’t need to dirty other pots and pans to brown the meat or boil the pasta first — just toss everything into the casserole dish and the oven does all the cooking for you. 

How to Store Hamburger Casserole

Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to three days or freeze for up to three months. Reheat in a 350°F oven or microwave until warmed through. If frozen, let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

What to Serve with Hamburger Casserole

A crisp romaine salad or steamed broccoli would complement the richness of the hamburger casserole nicely. Stick with the hamburger theme by drizzling your veggies in Thousand Island dressing.

Credit: Perry Santanachote

Meat Substitutes for Hamburger Casserole

The beauty of a hamburger casserole is that it’s so easy to substitute other proteins for the beef. For leaner or vegetarian options, try the following:

  • Ground chicken
  • Ground turkey
  • Plant-based ground, such as Beyond Meat, Gardein, and Impossible

Hamburger Casserole Recipe

This ultra-creamy casserole is leftover-friendly.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces

    cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)

  • 6 slices

    regular-cut bacon (not thick-cut)

  • Cooking spray

  • 12 ounces

    dry cavatappi pasta (about 4 1/2 cups)

  • 1 pound

    lean ground beef, preferably 85% lean

  • 2 cups

    beef broth

  • 1 (10.5-ounce) can

    condensed cream of mushroom soup

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can

    diced fire-roasted tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon

    ketchup, plus more for serving

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard, plus more for serving

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 6 slices

    deli American cheese (about 5 ounces)

  • 1/2

    small white onion

  • 1

    large dill pickle

  • 1 tablespoon

    white sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Grate 12 ounces cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater if needed (about 3 cups).

  2. Arrange 6 slices bacon in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until they are browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, coat a 9x13-inch or other 4-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Add 12 ounces dry cavatappi pasta and spread into an even layer. Using your hands, crumble 1 pound uncooked ground beef into 1/2-inch pieces evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle with the cheese.

  3. Place 2 cups beef broth, 1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with their juices, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Pour evenly over the macaroni, beef, and cheese. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.

  4. Remove the bacon from the oven and increase the temperature to 475°F. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then crumble into 1/2-inch pieces.

  5. Bake the casserole for 20 minutes. It will be very loose and bubbly at this point. Uncover and stir well. Cover again with the foil and bake until the pasta is mostly cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop 1/2 small white onion (about 1/2 cup) and 1 large dill pickle (about 1/3 cup).

  6. Uncover the casserole. Top with 6 slices American cheese in a single layer and sprinkle with the bacon. Bake uncovered until the cheese is bubbly and browning in spots and the pasta is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Let the casserole cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with the white onion, pickle, and 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds. Serve with more ketchup and mustard if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in a 350°F oven or microwave until warmed through. If frozen, let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: Cheesy Hamburger Pasta Casserole