Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

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Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole



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In the realm of comfort food, casseroles hold a special place at the dinner table. They’re warm, hearty, and perfect for feeding a family or impressing guests with minimal fuss. Among the countless variations, the Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole stands out for its simplicity, rich flavors, and satisfying texture. This classic dish combines the savory taste of ground beef, the creaminess of cheese, and the heartiness of pasta or potatoes, making it a beloved meal across many households. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating this comforting dish from scratch.


1 lb ground beef: The star of the dish, providing a rich and meaty base.

1 onion, finely chopped: Adds sweetness and depth of flavor.

2 cloves of garlic, minced: For that aromatic kick.

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained: Brings acidity and moisture.

1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce: Enhances the tomato flavor.

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning: Adds herbal notes.

Salt and pepper to taste: For seasoning.

2 cups cooked pasta (macaroni, penne, or fusilli) or sliced potatoes: The hearty element.

1 cup sour cream: Adds creaminess.

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese: For gooey goodness.

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese: Brings a nutty, salty flavor.

Optional additions: Mushrooms, bell peppers, or spinach for extra nutrition and flavor.


Preheat the Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). This ensures the casserole cooks evenly.

Brown the Ground Beef: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until it’s no longer pink. Halfway through, add the chopped onion and minced garlic, cooking until the onion is translucent. This builds the flavor foundation.

Add Tomatoes and Seasonings: Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and Italian seasoning.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Combine with Pasta or Potatoes: If using pasta, make sure it’s cooked al dente before mixing it into the beef sauce. For a potato version, thinly slice pre-cooked or parboiled potatoes. This layer provides the casserole’s body.

Layer with Sour Cream and Cheese: Spread half of the beef and pasta (or potato) mixture into a greased baking dish. Layer with sour cream and half of the cheeses. Repeat the layers, ending with a generous sprinkle of cheese on top.

Bake: Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.

Cool and Serve: Let the casserole sit for a few minutes before serving. This rest period allows it to set, making it easier to cut into portions.

Tips and Variations:

Make Ahead: Assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate. Simply add a few extra minutes to the baking time if it’s going straight from the fridge to the oven.

Freezer Friendly: This casserole freezes well. Cool completely, then cover tightly with foil.

Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven.

Variety: Feel free to add in any vegetables you have on hand for a nutritional boost. Spinach, zucchini, and bell peppers are excellent choices.

A homestyle ground beef casserole is more than just a meal; it’s a comforting hug on a plate.

Its versatility and ease of preparation make it a go-to recipe for busy weeknights, potlucks, or any occasion that calls for a simple yet satisfying dish. Serve it with a side salad or some steamed vegetables for a complete meal that’s sure to please everyone at the table. Enjoy the warmth and joy that comes with each bite of this timeless comfort food classic.

Elevating Your Casserole Game

While the Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole stands as a comforting classic on its own, there’s always room for creativity and personal touches that can elevate the dish to new heights. Here are some ideas to customize and enhance your casserole, making it a standout dish that reflects your personal taste and the preferences of those you’re cooking for.

Experiment with Proteins

Switch Up the Meat: While ground beef is traditional, you can easily substitute it with ground turkey, chicken, or even a plant-based meat alternative for a healthier twist.

Add Bacon or Sausage: For a deeper flavor, consider adding cooked, crumbled bacon or sliced sausage to the beef mixture.

Incorporate Global Flavors

Mexican Twist: Add a packet of taco seasoning to the beef, swap out the cheddar for a Mexican cheese blend, and top with jalapeños or cilantro for a Tex-Mex version.

Italian Influence: Integrate ricotta cheese with the sour cream layer, mix in some spinach with your beef, and use mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses for an Italian-inspired casserole.

Upgrade Your Toppings

Crispy Topping: For a crunchy finish, mix breadcrumbs with melted butter and sprinkle over the top before the final minutes of baking. Panko breadcrumbs or crushed tortilla chips offer great texture.

Fresh Garnishes: After baking, garnish your casserole with fresh herbs like parsley or basil for a pop of color and freshness. Green onions or chives also add a nice, mild onion flavor.

Making It Healthier

Vegetable Boost: Easily sneak more vegetables into your casserole by adding grated carrots, zucchini, or chopped spinach. These not only add nutritional value but also moisture and flavor.

Lighter Dairy Options: Substitute full-fat sour cream and cheeses with their low-fat counterparts to reduce the calorie count without sacrificing too much on the creamy texture and taste.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Let It Rest: Allowing the casserole to rest for 5-10 minutes after baking will enable the ingredients to settle, making it easier to slice and serve neatly.

Serving Suggestions: A simple green salad dressed with vinaigrette or steamed green beans makes a light, refreshing side that balances the richness of the casserole.

Storing Leftovers: Casserole leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven until thoroughly warm.

Creating a homestyle ground beef casserole is not just about following a recipe; it’s about crafting a meal that brings comfort and satisfaction to the table. With these tips and variations, you can make a dish that caters to your tastes while still paying homage to the classic flavors that make this casserole a timeless favorite. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or decide to add your unique twist, the result is sure to be a delicious testament to the joy of home-cooked meals.


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