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This beef noodle casserole recipe uses everyday ingredients, comes together quick, and is hot, comforting, and family-friendly! You don’t need to spend much time in the kitchen at all for this crowd-pleasing casserole.
Why you’ll love it
Picture this: you’re busy, it’s a weeknight, and you just want a hot dinner on the table fast that everyone in your family will actually want to eat. This beef noodle casserole has no fancy ingredients, and it’s true when they say that keeping it simple is often the best. It’s super easy to throw together and ready in just over 30 minutes.
With all that melty cheese in a tomato sauce, it’s hard to resist. It’s also known as hamburger noodle casserole, so it goes without saying that this kid-friendly meal will go over really well with the little ones in your home! I also like how flexible this casserole is, so you can customize it to your family’s particular tastes.
What you’ll need
- Noodles – I used egg noodles since they hold up well in casseroles and the sauce coats them perfectly. You can sub for a pasta that is a similar size, though.
- Olive oil – for sautéing the onion and beef
- Onion and garlic – tasty aromatics to infuse savory flavor
- Ground beef – we’re using lean ground beef. It’s easy to cook and fairly inexpensive.
- Red pepper flakes – optional, but they give a little bit of heat without making this recipe spicy at all
- Marinara sauce – use any jarred tomato-based sauce or try my homemade marinara sauce. You could even drizzle some Alfredo sauce in for a pop of creamy flavor.
- Cheese – I used a mozzarella/cheddar blend and just bought a bag of it to save time. Any easy melting cheese would work!
Make ahead tip
- This is a great make ahead casserole! Simply assemble it just prior to the baking step, then cover and refrigerate for up to a day ahead or freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready, bake it covered (like with foil) for the first 10 minutes or so, and then uncover for the rest of the baking time.
How to make beef noodle casserole
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Cook the egg noodles for a minute or two less than package directions indicate, then drain them and add them to a 9×13 baking dish. Meanwhile, cook the beef and onions in a skillet, then stir in the marinara sauce and let it warm through.
Add the beef mixture to the noodles, along with half of the cheese.
Toss and spread it out evenly, then top with the remaining cheese and bake at 375F until hot and bubbly!
Substitutions and variations
- This recipe would be delicious with Italian sausage meat, or swap the beef for ground turkey for a lighter version.
- You could definitely throw in some chopped veggies. I’d sauté them with the beef. Mushrooms, green onions, chopped carrots, or spinach are good options.
- Give the recipe a Tex-Mex twist by using a Tex-Mex (or Mexican) cheese blend and adding a tablespoon of chili powder to the ground beef.
- You could add in some freshly grated parmesan cheese in addition to the other cheeses if you wish! Try 1/2 to 1 cup.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers should last 3-4 days in the fridge.
- As with any pasta/noodle dish, it’s likely to dry out a bit and the noodles will soak the sauce up, so you may need to add a little more marinara sauce to revitalize leftovers.
- Heat in a saucepan over a low heat or in the oven if it’s still in the baking dish.
Questions about this beef noodle casserole? Let me know in the comments below!
Beef Noodle Casserole
- 3 cups uncooked egg noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheddar blend (or just use cheddar)
- Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Cook the noodles for a minute or two less than the package directions indicate, then drain them and transfer them to a 9×13 casserole dish.
- Meanwhile, add the olive oil, onion, and ground beef to a skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, breaking the meat up as you go along, until it's cooked through (about 8-10 minutes).
- Stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
- If there's a lot of excess fat in the skillet, spoon most of it out, then add in the marinara sauce and let it warm through.
- Pour the beef mixture into the casserole dish and add half the cheese and toss together (I also like to add some salt & pepper at this point), then smooth it out in an even layer.
- Top the casserole with the remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and it's nice and hot. Optional: broil for a few minutes (watch it carefully) to brown the cheese.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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