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September 26, 2021

Easy One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole

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Pasta shells, ground beef and a creamy sause in a blue Our Place Always Pan.

DELICIOUS & EASY CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE

Love a good cheesy pasta? Look no further than this easy and delicious cheeseburger casserole. One of my parents’ favorite recipes to make when we were kids was hamburger helper. Think of this recipe as the adult, more sophisticated version.

Made with fresh, lean beef, shredded cheese, fresh salsa, pasta shells, and fresh spices – this weeknight dinner recipe will not disappoint. It’s loaded with cheeseburger flavors that will have them begging for seconds.

Bonus, it can be made in advance, in only one pan (no baking dish needed!), if needed. What’s not to love?

In this recipe post, we will cover the following topics. Feel free to use the links below to navigate the post.

A delicious cheeseburger casserole with pasta and ground beef in a blue Our Place Always Pan.

CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE INGREDIENTS

GROUND BEEF

What is a cheeseburger casserole recipe without ground beef? We used 90% lean ground beef, but feel free to use any ground beef of your choice. The leaner your beef, the less likely you will have a significant amount of grease. Feel free to also use:

  • Ground turkey
  • Meatless crumbles or plant-based ground meat
  • Adding bacon can also be delicious!

PASTA SHELLS

When you are making a creamy, cheesy pasta dish such as this one, we always recommend a pasta shell that will hold on to the rich sauce. Because of that, we recommend penne pasta, farfalle, elbow macaroni, or rigatoni.

BEEF BROTH

If for any reason you do not have beef broth on hand you can also use chicken stock or vegetable broth. We have used both in the past and this cheesy pasta still turns out delicious.

CHEDDAR CHEESE

For this cheesy pasta casserole recipe we used mild sharp cheddar, but feel free to use sharp cheddar cheese or others of your liking.

When possible, I also recommend shredding your own cheese from a block. Pre-packaged shredded cheese is made with chemicals that help it not clump in packaging. On some occasions that can prevent the cheese from melting as well as shredding cheese from a block.

Also, if you want to add a little ‘kick’ to your cheeseburger casserole, substitute a bit of Mexican blend cheese.

SALSA

Feel free to use hot salsa in place of mild if you’re looking for a little bit more heat. We used a homemade mild chunky salsa, but any canned salsa of your choice will do.

Don’t have any salsa on hand? Here are some additional alternatives you can use:

ONION

You will need a small to medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped. If you are not a fan of onions, feel free to add a pinch of onion powder instead.

MINCED GARLIC

We use minced garlic in our casserole, but feel free to use fresh garlic cloves as well.

SEASONINGS

We used a combination of hamburger seasoning, a teaspoon of salt (sea salt or kosher salt), and garlic pepper. If you don’t have garlic pepper on hand, feel free to replace it with a pinch of black pepper to taste.

You can also add a pinch of garlic powder which would be tasty.

CREAM (SOUR CREAM AND WHOLE MILK)

Feel free to adjust the measurements of both the sour cream and whole milk, if preferred. Using whole milk or heavy cream will make this pasta dish even more creamy. However, we have also used half and half and milk in the past.

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

Uncooked ground beef in a blue Our Place Always Pan for a cheeseburger casserole recipe.
Ground beef and onions on the stove top cooking in an Our Place Always Pan.

HOW TO MAKE ONE POT CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE

Start by shredding the cheese and storing it at room temperature. Set aside for now.

Next, add the ground beef to a large pot and season with a pinch of kosher salt and garlic pepper (black pepper will do, if needed). Over medium heat, cook and crumble the ground beef for approximately 5 minutes.

Add the finely chopped onions and minced garlic to the beef mix and continue to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until ground beef is browned. If necessary, drain any grease from the pot.

Add Worcestershire Sauce and salsa and stir to combine all the ingredients.

Pasta shells, ground beef and beef broth cooking on the stove top in a large pan for a cheeseburger casserole recipe.
Pasta shells, ground beef, beef broth, cheese and sour cream cooking on the stove top in a large pan.

Now, add the beef broth and uncooked pasta shells to the pot and stir to combine all of the ingredients again. Gently press down on the pasta shells to ensure as many as possible are covered with broth.

Bring the ingredients to a simmer over medium to low heat. Cover the pot and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until pasta is just about al dente.

Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, reduce the heat to low. Add the sour cream, half of the heavy cream (whole milk, half and half or milk will also work), and half of the shredded cheese. Stir to combine all ingredients. Add remaining cheese and mix well until well combined. If you need more milk, continue to add until you have reached your desired consistency.

Once all of the cheese has melted, and all ingredients are well combined, remove from the heat. Top with cheese, diced tomatoes (optional), and parsley.

Serve warm and enjoy!

A delicious cheeseburger casserole with pasta and ground beef in a blue Our Place Always Pan.

HOW LONG DOES CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE TAKE TO MAKE?

What we love about this cheesy pasta casserole recipe is it comes together with minimal prep time in under 30 minutes.

CAN I MAKE CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE IN ADVANCE?

You most certainly can! If you would like to make this easy weeknight dinner recipe in advance, I recommend cooking the pasta for a minute or two less than indicated below.

Also, following all of the recipe instructions until you are about ready to add the cheese. Once you have added the sour cream, milk and combined the ingredients, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool completely.

Once the pot has cooled, cover and place it in the refrigerator for up to two days.

When you are ready to cook, place the over-safe pan in the oven. Bake on 350, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove any covering and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes.

Top with a layer of shredded cheddar cheese and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is fully cooked.

CAN I FREEZE CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE?

You can! But, I would not recommend doing so in its entirety. If you want to freeze this recipe, I would follow all of the instructions up until you add any dairy products. Once the pasta and the ground beef are cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Once the dish has cooked, add it to an airtight container and/or freezer-safe dish and freeze for up to 2 months.

Once you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the dish has warmed. Now, following all remaining instructions including sour cream, shredded cheese, and milk. Stir until well combined.

Top with a layer of additional cheese and place back into the oven to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until all cheese is melted.

LOOKING FOR OTHER DELICIOUS ONE POT RECIPES? HERE ARE OUR FAVORITES:

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Delicious Cheeseburger Casserole

5 from 1 vote
Love a good cheesy pasta? Look no further than this easy and delicious cheeseburger casserole. See inside for recipe details!
SERVES/MAKES: 4 people
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Start by shredding the cheese and storing it at room temperature. Set aside for now.
  • Next, add the ground beef to a large pot and season with a pinch of kosher salt and garlic pepper (black pepper will do, if needed). Over medium heat, cook and crumble the ground beef for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add the finely chopped onions and minced garlic to the beef mix and continue to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until ground beef is browned. If necessary, drain any grease from the pot.
  • Add Worcestershire Sauce and salsa and stir to combine all the ingredients.
  • Now, add the beef broth and uncooked pasta shells to the pot and stir to combine all of the ingredients again. Gently press down on the pasta shells to ensure as many as possible are covered with broth.
  • Bring the ingredients to a simmer over medium to low heat. Cover the pot and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until pasta is just about al dente.
  • Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, reduce the heat to low. Add the sour cream, half of the heavy cream (whole milk, half and half or milk will also work), and half of the shredded cheese. Stir to combine all ingredients.
  • Add remaining cheese and mix well until well combined. If you need more milk, continue to add until you have reached your desired consistency.
  • Once all of the cheese has melted, and all ingredients are well combined, remove from the heat. Top with cheese, diced tomatoes (optional), and parsley.
  • Serve and enjoy!

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