Cheesy Beef and Pasta Casserole

Cheesy Ground Beef Pasta Casserole — Hearty comfort food that’s EASY and IRRESISTIBLE!! Cheesy pasta and beef coated in marinara sauce and topped with more CHEESE! Makes planned leftovers and is freezer-friendly!!

Cheesy Pasta Bake Recipe

This ground beef pasta casserole is hearty, family-friendly comfort food that feeds a small army. If you need a crowd-pleasing dish to bring to a potluck, work function, or party, this easy pasta bake is a slam dunk.

If you like to meal prep for the week, this is a great batch-cooking recipe. You are definitely set for many meals with this one.

And as a bonus, this ground beef pasta casserole freezes really well so even if you’re just cooking for two or for a small family, put the rest into airtight containers, freeze them, and dinner is ready on nights you don’t want to cook.

Cheesy, saucy ground beef and pasta is hard to say no to. This baked penne pasta is definitely a kid-friendly (or picky spouse) kind of meal.

It’s got that comfort food appeal that keeps you full and satisfied for hours. You may just want to curl up for a nap after a big plate of this, and I don’t blame you.

What’s in Ground Beef Pasta Bake? 

To make this ground beef and pasta casserole recipe, you’ll need:

  • Penne pasta
  • Ground beef
  • Olive oil
  • Vidalia onion
  • Red bell pepper
  • Garlic
  • Ground oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Marinara sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella 
  • Fresh basil 

How to Make Ground Beef Pasta Casserole

Boil a pound of penne pasta and while that’s going, in a large Dutch oven or similarly big pot, cook a pound of ground beef with onions, red peppers, and season with garlic and oregano.

Add the cooked pasta into the Dutch oven, add marinara sauce, and stir in mozzarella. Turn it all out into a casserole dish, top with more cheese, and bake until the cheese melts.

Super easy and you’ll have planned leftovers for days or for a freezer stash. If your motto is like mine, which is cook once, eat twice (or five times) this is so perfect.

Can I Use Ground Turkey Instead? 

I’m sure you can, but you may need to add a little extra olive oil to the skillet when browning the meat. Ground turkey is much leaner than ground beef, and you don’t want it to dry out. 

Can I Use Another Type of Pasta? 

Yes, I made this cheesy pasta bake with penne pasta but you can use any short, study pasta you have on hand. 

Tips for Making Ground Beef Pasta Casserole 

A big tip here is to make sure you are cooking the ground beef in a Dutch oven or pot large enough to hold that pound of ground beef, and later the pound of cooked pasta, over one pound of marinara sauce, and nearly one pound of cheese.

I’m sure you could easily make this recipe vegetarian by omitting the ground beef and subbing in extra sautéed vegetables. 

I used shredded mozzarella in this ground beef pasta bake, but you’re welcome to use your favorite cheese blend instead. 

Yield: 10

Cheesy Beef and Pasta Casserole

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Hearty comfort food that’s EASY and IRRESISTIBLE!! Cheesy pasta and ground beef coated in marinara sauce and topped with more CHEESE!


  • 16 ounces penne pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, optional
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
  • 1 medium sweet Vidalia onion, diced small
  • 1 medium/large red bell pepper, diced small
  • 3 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • one 26-ounce jar marinara or pasta sauce
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • fresh basil or parsley, optional for garnishing


    1. Preheat oven to 375F and spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray; set aside.
    2. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
    3. While the pasta is cooking, to a large Dutch oven, optionally add the olive oil (my beef was very lean and the oil was necessary), beef, onion, red pepper, and cook over medium-high heat until beef is cooked through and vegetables have softened; stir frequently and crumble the beef while it cooks; do not drain.
    4. Add the garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and stir to combine. Cook for about 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant.
    5. Add the cooked pasta to the beef mixture, add the marinara, and stir to combine and coat evenly.
    6. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese and stir to combine until the cheese has melted.
    7. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and evenly sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese over the top.
    8. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted on top.
    9. Optionally garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.


  • Recipe will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 863mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 24g

More Ground Beef and Pasta Recipes:


Pizza Pasta Casserole – EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and for times when you want BOTH pizza AND pasta!! Ground beef, pepperoni, and oodles of cheese make this casserole pure COMFORT FOOD! Feeds a crowd!!

Easy 30-Minute Skillet Lasagna — Everything cooks in one skillet and you don’t even need to boil the noodles separately!! Full of classic lasagna flavor but so much faster and easier!

15-Minute Easy Spaghetti — This spaghetti recipe is ready in just 15 minutes and is a hearty, comforting meal during cooler months. Pair with a side salad or steamed veggies for a full meal and enjoy!
One-Skillet Beef Taco Pasta — An EASY recipe that’s ready in 20 minutes, made in ONE skillet, and loaded with Mexican-inspired flavors!! A family favorite that’s great for busy weeknights!!
Easy 30-Minute Southwestern Beef Skillet – EASY, family friendly, ready in 30 minutes, and COMFORT FOOD at its best!! Ground beef, PASTA, black beans, tomatoes, taco seasoning, and CHEESE for a Southwestern flair!!
Cheesy Beef Ravioli – EASY, ready in 30 minutes, and it’s pure cheesy COMFORT FOOD in every bite!! Makes a big batch and it’s perfect for meal prep and planned freezer meals!
Beef Taco Pasta Skillet – An EASY recipe that’s ready in 20 minutes, made in ONE skillet, and loaded with Mexican-inspired flavors!! A family favorite that’s great for busy weeknights!!