This cheesy meatball casserole recipe comes together quickly, uses everyday ingredients, and is comforting on a cold day! Use frozen or fresh meatballs.
Can't get enough meatballs? You'll love my Swedish Meatballs recipe or Easiest Baked Meatballs.
Cheesy meatball casserole
Sometimes it's hard deciding what to make when you're craving comfort food but don't want to put in a ton of effort. This casserole solves that! In just over half an hour you can have this piping hot cheesy casserole on your table for the whole family. It's also relatively inexpensive.
You can use any kind of meatballs for this casserole. I used a package of frozen store-bought meatballs, but homemade will work too. The best part? You can even make this recipe while the meatballs are still frozen. No need to wait around while they thaw!
Ingredients you'll need
- Egg noodles - these are a great pasta variety for casseroles since they hold their shape well. You can use another kind of pasta as long as it's not too small.
- Meatballs - I used frozen pre-cooked Italian style meatballs
- Olive oil, onion, garlic - this classic aromatic base brings so much flavor to the casserole. Don't skip this sautéing step!
- Marinara sauce - use your favorite kind in a jar that you really enjoy the taste of since it's a key ingredient in this recipe
- Mozzarella cheese - the cheesy goodness that tops off this simple casserole
Can I make it from scratch?
- If you prefer homemade marinara sauce, try my Easy Marinara Sauce from scratch! I'd recommend making a double batch for this casserole.
- Got time to make your own meatballs? Try my classic beef/pork Italian Meatballs or my healthier Chicken and Spinach Meatballs.
How to make meatball casserole
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Boil the egg noodles for a couple of minutes less than package directions indicate. Once cooked, drain and add to a 9x13 casserole dish. Meanwhile, in a skillet sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add in the garlic, marinara sauce, and meatballs, and heat through.
Pour the skillet contents into the casserole dish over the noodles. Add half the cheese and toss.
Spread it out into an even layer, and then top with the remaining cheese and bake for about 10-15 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve right away!
Substitutions and variations
- I used a 24 oz. package of frozen meatballs because it's convenient and that's the package size they come in at my grocery store, but depending on how many people you're feeding or if you want to use homemade meatballs instead, you can use as many or as few as you like.
- You don't have to stick to marinara sauce. You could use any jarred tomato-based pasta sauce to change it up.
- If you want a touch of creaminess, add a few spoonfuls/drizzles of Alfredo sauce into the casserole before baking!
- Adding some fresh basil or parsley as a garnish would be fantastic.
What to serve with this casserole
- A side salad would be perfect. Try my Parmesan Arugula Salad, this gorgeous Beet and Spinach Salad, or make a classic Caesar salad with my Easy Caesar Salad Dressing.
- Garlic bread would go great too!
Leftovers and storage
- This casserole is best eaten right away, but it'll keep in the fridge for a few days.
- Microwave leftovers until warmed through, or pop in the oven if it's still in the casserole dish.
- I wouldn't recommend freezing leftovers because the noodles may lose firmness after thawing.
Questions about this meatball casserole? Let me know in the comments below!
Easy Meatball Casserole
- 3 cups uncooked egg noodles
- 24 ounces meatballs (I used frozen cooked ones) see note
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups (a 24 oz. jar) marinara sauce
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the 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 instructions suggest, then drain them and transfer to a 9x13 casserole dish.
- Meanwhile, add the olive oil and onion to a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add in the marinara sauce and meatballs and heat through. Important: if using frozen meatballs, it's important to cook them until thawed (depending on the size/type of meatballs, this may take 8-10+ minutes). Simmer over medium heat (or lower if it's bubbling too much) and stir occasionally. Break a meatball in half to ensure that it's fully thawed.
- Pour the skillet contents into the casserole dish and add half the cheese and toss together (I also add some salt & pepper at this point), then spread it out evenly.
- Top the casserole with the remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until it's hot and bubbly. Optional: broil it for a few minutes (watch it so it doesn't burn) to brown the cheese.
- For convenience sake, I like to use pre-made frozen cooked meatballs. Use as many/few as you like. 24 oz. of them made quite a lot of casserole, so you could even use half the amount if you're only feeding 4 people, for example. Thawed meatballs or fresh homemade meatballs will work too (any kind of meatballs will be fine as long as they're already cooked or you may need to adjust cooking time to ensure they're a safe internal temperature of 160F).
- 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.
We just had your penne alla vodka last night (AMAZING) and I added frozen meatballs. Would your vodka sauce bake well as a sub for the marinara in this recipe? I’ve never baked a sauce with heavy cream.
Thanks for your recipes! Every single one we’ve tried has been a hit.
That's so nice to hear, Amanda! 🙂 So, I think it should be fine for this recipe. Heavy cream is usually pretty good at resisting separating. If you're adding it straight from the fridge, I'd probably let it warm up a bit first on the counter (sometimes the "shock" of it going from cold to hot can cause curdling/separation), but I think it's definitely worth a go.
Wendy a says
Absolutely delicious! Added some oregano and grand padano in addition to ingredients listed. Love it! Thank you. 😁😋❤️
Fantastic!! 🙂 Thanks for your review, Wendy!
Did you use regular sized egg noodles or large?
Hi! The large/broad ones, but any would work. Hope you enjoy the recipe! 🙂
Can this recipe be frozen? I live alone so would only be making for 1 person.
Hi Jenn! You could freeze leftovers, yes, but I do find that generally pasta/noodles aren't quite as good when thawed and reheated. You could perhaps trying halving the recipe and baking in an 8x8 baking dish instead of the 9x13.
Looks delish— Would you recommend the same prep if I use a different type of pasta? Thank you!
Hi! Yes... but if it's a particularly small shape (like macaroni), I'd use less than 3 cups since that will make way too much. Other than that, swapping pasta should be fine. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂