Cheesy Meatball Casserole

8 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

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 scoop with spoon


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. 


  • 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.

Cheesy Meatball Casserole in baking dish


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.

Cheesy Meatball Casserole prepped to bake


  • 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.



  • 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.

Cheesy Meatball Casserole large scoop with spoon

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Cheesy Meatball Casserole

Cheesy Meatball Casserole with homemade meatballs and covered with melted mozzarella cheese. Perfect on its own, with noodles or in subs!
Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Author Sabrina Snyder


Meatball Ingredients:

  • 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

To Finish:


  • 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.


Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 929mg | Potassium: 711mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 741IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 206mg | Iron: 4mg
Keyword: Cheesy Meatball Casserole

Cheesy Meatball Casserole collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Thank you so much for the recipe, we loved it, can’t wait to try more of your delicious recipes.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!

  6. 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!

  7. the picture of the uncooked casserole does not look like the meatballs (they look raw) were cooked prior to assembling this casserole??

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 🙂