Cheesy Meatball Casserole with homemade meatballs and covered with melted mozzarella cheese. Perfect on its own, with noodles or in subs!
Pasta recipes such as Baked Ziti and this Cheesy Meatball Casserole are always a hit at dinnertime. Check out other Dinner Recipes for more Italian classics.
CHEESY MEATBALL CASSEROLE
This cheesy meatball casserole ticks off all of the yummy requirements needed to please everyone in the family. Yes, it’s cheesy goodness but the meatballs are really the star of this dish. They’re moist and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
One thing you can do to help out future you is make a double batch of Meatballs and freeze the other half. It helps on those nights that you haven’t figured out what to make for dinner and now everyone is starving. No need to panic in that moment, you’ll be one step closer to getting this casserole in the oven.
You can even go one step further and make your own Marinara Sauce. Not only is it super easy to make, it’s more cost effective than buying a premium store bought brand. The flavor is outstanding and worth just the little bit of effort it takes. The recipe yields about 4 cups so you’ll have some left over to use for another dish.
HOW TO MAKE CHEESY MEATBALL CASSEROLE
- Marinara sauce: Use a good homemade sauce or pick a good store-bought sauce. Good marinara sauce often goes on sale, so you can stock up for when you want to make this later.
- Cheese: Be generous with the cheese, we want it to be enough to both melt and to brown on top.
- Baking: If your baking pan is broiler safe, you can skip the five minutes of baking at 425 degrees by just turning on the broiler and quickly browning the cheese.
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MORE DELICIOUS CASSEROLE RECIPES
Can I use frozen meatballs for this casserole?
Yes, you can use (fully cooked) frozen meatballs for this casserole recipe, just make sure that they are completely thawed before using.
Can this casserole be made ahead of time?
Assemble the casserole and cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours before baking. You can even freeze this after baking. I like to portion it out into single servings and store in small freezer safe storage bags for an easy grab for lunch or dinner.
Can this casserole be made in a crockpot?
This casserole recipe is easily adaptable to a slow cooker. Follow the instructions but instead of layering into a baking dish, simply layer them into a crockpot instead. Cook on low for 6 hours.
VARIATIONS ON CHEESY MEATBALL CASSEROLE
- Veggies: Add in cooked broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or any other vegetable your family enjoys.
- Meatballs: The meatballs are made from ground beef but you could swap for a ground pork sausage or chicken. Try using turkey meat for a healthier option.
EASY SIDE DISH RECIPES:
HOW TO SERVE AND STORE
- Serve: This casserole shouldn’t be left out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
- Store: Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: Once completely cooled, store the casserole in a freezer safe storage bag or container and keep in the frozen for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in the oven.
- 3 slices bread
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 cup yellow onion , minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 pounds ground beef (80/20)
- 2 large large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 24 ounces marinara sauce
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese , shredded
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer add the milk to the slices of bread.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a pan and add the minced yellow onions.
- Cook them on medium low until translucent but not browned.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- In your bowl with the milk soaked bread add the rest of the meatball ingredients including the cooked onions.
- Mix it on low until the bread is broken apart and the meat is combined with the ingredients (using the stand mixer and not your hands helps keep the mixture cold and tender).
- Using a meatballer/ice cream scoop or your hands scoop them into balls about the size of a ping pong ball.
- Melt the remaining butter in the pan and cook the meatballs on medium high on all sides for around 2-3 minutes, getting a good sear on all sides, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Coat the bottom of a baking dish with a thin layer of marinara sauce. Place the meatballs evenly into the baking dish and pour the remaining marinara sauce over the top.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the baking dish.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees, uncover the baking dish, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
I only had 1 lb of ground beef, I followed the recipe. I also added 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning, served with spaghetti, Delicious! Recipe is easy to follow and is definitely a keeper! Thank you for sharing your recipe.
The meatballs in the picture look bigger than ping pong size, also pic shows 12. Recipe calls for 2 lbs. ground beef. I’m worried temp and time might be different for smaller meatballs. Can you please clarify? 2 lbs. meat would make more than a dozen
Thank you so much for the recipe, we loved it, can’t wait to try more of your delicious recipes.
Thank you Edith!
This is a wonderful dish and really easy! Thank you. I have made is a few times. No changes as the recipe is perfect. I love how the cheese melts into the sauce around the meatballs. Some made meatball sandwiches and some didn’t. It is a kid winner.
I tried this recipe tonight for dinner. I did make some minor changes, or tweaks, to the recipe. First I used some Italian Meatballs I purchased from a grocery store. I have never been able to make good meatballs, so I buy them whenever I want to make a recipe using them. In addition to that, I added some extra cheeses – parmesan, white cheddar & swiss.
We LOVE cheese, so that’s why I added the extras. I served it over plain white rice.
This was such a delicious and simple recipe! I’ll be making this one again for sure!!
I’m glad you were able to customize it! Thanks for the 5 stars, Winnie.
Another winner! This is such a simple idea. I was wondering how it could be considered a casserole, but it is! Simple but perfect and so delicious. I made this with Rao’s Marinara, 90% beef and SKim Mozz. It was fantastic! I’ve had it with a small side of spaghetti and with a bit of crusty bread, but also just a little bit for a low carb snack. I love your recipes they are always so good!
Yay!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it enough to give it a 5 star rating. Thanks, Roz.
Recipe should say except marinara sauce, after it says to add in the rest of the ingredients. ?
Thanks Melanie, I added ingredient headings to make it clearer!
the picture of the uncooked casserole does not look like the meatballs (they look raw) were cooked prior to assembling this casserole??
You’re correct. They’re uncooked and cook while in the oven. Enjoy!
What are your thoughts of freezing this recipe before it is baked? I make pre-made meals a lot and wonder how this would be frozen, thawed and then baked?
I recommend freezing it after baking.
This looks so good. I just might make it for Sunday dinner.
this casserole is really good!
So glad you enjoyed it, Rachael.
Absolutely fabulous! I just love how easy these were to make!
You’re totally right about this working well alone or as a sandwich or with pasta. It makes for great leftovers while still changing it up for lunch and dinner.
So glad you enjoyed it, Trang. Thanks for the 5 stars.
I made this meatball recipe today for the Super Ball game and put them in sub rolls.
I think there may be an error in the ingredient portions. After reading the measurements, I knew that 2 lbs. of ground beef would make way more than 12 meatballs the size of ping pong balls. I had thawed the meat out so I had to use it and decided to fix the ingredient measurements. I doubled the salt and pepper and Worcestershire and also added some Italian spice, (I might about adding more next time). I’m an experienced cook, but certainly nowhere near an expert.
My family liked the meatballs but it definitely needs some work on the ingredient
measurements and addition of the spices.
this is an awesome dinner option!
This is absolutely fabulous! We loved it and it was easy to fit in to our low carb diets!
Yay! So glad you enjoyed it.
Made this for the family and it was a hit!
OMG! This sounds so good. I will make this one of these days. Thank you for great recipes Ms. Sabrina. I need to file all the printed recipes I got from you, there’s a ton actually 🙂
I’m so glad you’re enjoying all the recipes, Gella.