Simple Baked Beef and Pasta Casserole


Indulge in the comforting flavors of a hearty homemade meal with our simple baked beef and pasta casserole recipe. This delightful dish combines tender ground beef, savory marinara sauce, al dente pasta, and gooey melted cheese for a satisfying meal that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re feeding a hungry family or looking for a comforting dish to enjoy on a cozy night in, this baked casserole is sure to become a favorite in your recipe repertoire. Let’s dive into how to create this delicious and easy-to-make dish that will have everyone coming back for seconds.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 8 ounces pasta (such as penne, rotini, or elbow macaroni)
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter and set aside.
  2. Cook the Pasta:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  3. Brown the Ground Beef:
    • In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned and no longer pink, breaking it up into crumbles with a spoon as it cooks. Drain any excess grease from the skillet.
  4. Combine Ingredients:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked ground beef, cooked pasta, marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.
  5. Assemble the Casserole:
    • Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly. Use a spatula to smooth the top of the casserole.
  6. Bake the Casserole:
    • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  7. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Remove the foil from the baking dish and sprinkle the top of the casserole with fresh parsley for a pop of color and flavor, if desired. Serve the baked beef and pasta casserole hot, straight from the oven.

Serving and Storage Tips:


  1. Freshly Baked: Serve the baked beef and pasta casserole hot and fresh from the oven for the best flavor and texture. The melted cheese should be bubbly and golden brown.
  2. Garnish: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or basil over the top of the casserole just before serving to add a burst of freshness and color.
  3. Side Suggestions: Accompany the casserole with a side salad, garlic bread, or steamed vegetables for a complete and balanced meal.
  4. Individual Portions: Cut the casserole into squares and use a spatula to transfer individual portions to plates for easy serving.


  1. Refrigeration: Allow any leftover baked beef and pasta casserole to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or wrapping it tightly with aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Reheating: To reheat the casserole, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover portion in an oven-safe dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, reheat individual servings in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until hot.
  3. Freezing (Optional): Baked beef and pasta casserole can be frozen for longer-term storage. Allow the casserole to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Label with the date and store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  4. Avoid Overheating: When reheating frozen or refrigerated casserole, be careful not to overheat it, as this can cause the pasta to become mushy and the cheese to become rubbery. Heat just until warmed through, checking periodically to prevent overheating.

Follow these serving and storage tips to make the most of your delicious baked beef and pasta casserole, ensuring that every bite is as enjoyable as the first.

Variations of Recipe:

1. Cheesy Beef and Spinach Pasta Casserole:

  • Add cooked spinach to the beef and pasta mixture before baking. Stir in shredded mozzarella cheese along with the marinara sauce for an extra cheesy and nutritious twist.

2. Beef and Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Casserole:

  • Instead of marinara sauce, use a creamy Alfredo sauce to coat the pasta and beef mixture. Add sautéed mushrooms to the casserole for an earthy flavor and a touch of elegance.

3. Taco Beef and Macaroni Casserole:

  • Season the ground beef with taco seasoning and mix it with cooked macaroni pasta. Layer the beef and pasta mixture with salsa, corn kernels, and black beans. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake until bubbly.

4. Beef and Vegetable Rotini Casserole:

  • Incorporate a variety of diced vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots into the beef and pasta mixture. Stir in a can of diced tomatoes along with Italian seasoning for a flavorful and colorful casserole.

5. Beef and Ricotta Stuffed Shells Casserole:

  • Stuff cooked jumbo pasta shells with a mixture of seasoned ground beef and ricotta cheese. Arrange the stuffed shells in a baking dish, cover with marinara sauce, and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese before baking until bubbly and golden.


1. Can I use different types of pasta for this casserole?

  • Yes, you can use your favorite type of pasta for this casserole, such as penne, rotini, elbow macaroni, or even shells. Choose a pasta shape that holds sauce well and complements the other ingredients.

2. Can I make this casserole ahead of time?

  • Absolutely! You can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake. Simply cover it tightly with foil or plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking as directed.

3. Can I freeze this casserole for later?

  • Yes, this casserole freezes well. Once assembled, cover it tightly with foil or plastic wrap and freeze it for up to 3 months. To bake from frozen, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking according to the recipe instructions.

4. How do I prevent the pasta from becoming mushy?

  • To prevent the pasta from becoming mushy, be sure to cook it al dente (firm to the bite) before adding it to the casserole. The pasta will continue to cook as the casserole bakes, so slightly undercooking it initially will help maintain its texture.

5. Can I substitute ground beef with ground turkey or chicken?

  • Yes, you can easily substitute ground beef with ground turkey or chicken for a lighter option. Cook the ground poultry as you would the ground beef, seasoning it to your taste preferences.

6. What can I serve with this casserole?

  • This casserole pairs well with a variety of sides, such as a green salad, garlic bread, steamed vegetables, or a side of roasted potatoes. Choose your favorite sides to complement the flavors of the casserole.

7. Can I add extra vegetables to this casserole?

  • Absolutely! Feel free to add extra vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, or peas to the casserole for added flavor, texture, and nutrition. Simply sauté or blanch the vegetables before adding them to the casserole.

8. Can I make this casserole vegetarian?

  • Yes, you can make this casserole vegetarian by omitting the ground beef and using plant-based meat alternatives or additional vegetables. You can also bulk up the casserole with beans or lentils for added protein and fiber.

9. How do I know when the casserole is done baking?

  • The casserole is done baking when the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the edges are golden brown. You can also insert a knife into the center of the casserole – if it comes out clean, the casserole is ready.

10. Can I customize the seasonings in this casserole?

  • Absolutely! Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your taste preferences. You can add extra garlic, Italian seasoning, chili powder, or any other herbs and spices you enjoy to customize the flavor of the casserole. Adjust the seasoning to taste before baking.


With its simple preparation and delicious flavors, our baked beef and pasta casserole is sure to become a family favorite. Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or enjoying a cozy night in, this comforting dish is guaranteed to satisfy your cravings. So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to enjoy a hearty and delicious meal that’s as easy to make as it is to devour.

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