Cheeseburger Casserole Recipe

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

​What’s the Best Pasta for Cheeseburger Casserole?

Macaroni is the traditional choice for cheeseburger casserole, but any small, short pasta like small shells or rotelli will work. Keep in mind that different pastas might need a longer cook time or perhaps a splash more broth to cook through.

​What Should I Serve with Cheeseburger Casserole?

Steamed broccoli or a green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette are good partners to the rich flavors of a cheeseburger casserole.

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes


  • 1/2 medium yellow onion

  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, preferably yellow, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons double concentrated tomato paste (from a tube)

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 (32-ounce) carton beef broth (4 cups), divided

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can regular or petite diced tomatoes

  • 12 ounces dried elbow macaroni (2 1/2 to 3 cups)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves, or 1 thinly sliced medium scallion (optional)


  1. If you’d like the casserole to be browned on top, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to broil. Meanwhile, prepare the casserole.

  2. Dice 1/2 medium yellow onion (3/4 to 1 cup). Grate 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 2 cups).

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven or large high-sided skillet (broiler-safe if you plan to broil at the end) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 pound lean ground beef. Break up the beef into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook until the beef is cooked through and the onion is tender, 6 to 7 minutes.

  4. Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine and cook until the tomato paste is darkened in color, about 1 minute. Add 3 1/4 cups of the beef broth, 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices, remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.

  5. Add 12 ounces dried elbow macaroni and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes. If the pasta absorbs all the liquid before it is tender, add some of the remaining beef broth a few tablespoons at a time as needed. Remove the pot from the heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of the cheese and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

  6. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cover and let sit until the cheese on top is melted, about 3 minutes, or for a browned top, broil uncovered until the cheese on top is melted and browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

​Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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