Cheesy Meatball Casserole is an easy, one pan dinner that’s ready in no time. With just handful of ingredients and no need to boil the noodles beforehand, this is the perfect, hearty comfort dish!
Cheesy Meatball Casserole Recipe
I love an easy casserole recipe.
And even more, I love when the casserole is prepped and made in just one pan. Like this cheesy meatball casserole.
One pan recipes means fewer dishes, less cleanup, and more time outside of the kitchen. If you remember this Easy Baked Spaghetti, then you know what I’m talking about.
This easy meatball casserole hits the spot. Whether you’re short on time or don’t want to prep a lot of ingredients, this cheesy casserole was made for you. By using frozen meatballs, noodles, marinara sauce and a handful of spices, this recipe is ready for the oven in just a few minutes.
And the result? Hearty, meaty, cheesy, pasta-y deliciousness! The noodles bake up tender, the meatballs add that cozy deliciousness, and combination and sauce and spices will make your taste buds happy.
If you’re looking to prep dinner for the week, want to freeze leftovers, or impress your hungry family, this one pan meatball casserole will fit the bill!
Ingredients in Meatball Casserole
This cheesy meatball casserole calls for just five basic ingredients, plus some spices. How easy is that?!
- Uncooked cavatappi noodles
- Marinara sauce
- Frozen (but thawed) meatballs
- Seasonings (garlic powder, Italian seasoning, parsley, salt, pepper)
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
How to Make Meatball Casserole
This meatball pasta bake takes just 5 minutes to prep, and then your oven does the remaining work for you! Here’s an overview of how this frozen meatball recipe is prepared.
- Add the uncooked noodles, pasta sauce, water, seasonings, and meatballs to a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Stir thoroughly to combine and make sure everything is spread evenly onto the pan.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and stir. You want the noodles to be al dente. If the noodles are too hard, cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Top casserole with shredded cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, and cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven, stir, and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
Tip: If any noodles are sticking out of the sauce/water mix, lightly press down with the back of your spoon to ensure it is submerged before baking the casserole. This will ensure that you do not end up with dry, hard noodle tips.
Can I use Frozen Meatballs?
Absolutely! Recipes using frozen meatballs saves you time, which equals ease and convenience. Just be sure to thaw them before you add to the casserole dish.
What Brand of Meatballs Should I Use?
I have made this frozen meatball recipe several times, and any quality brand works. I actually used my grocery store brand of frozen meatballs, and it had delicious taste and texture. Use what you enjoy and trust!
Can I Use Homemade Meatballs?
Of course! You can use your favorite homemade meatball recipe to make this simple pasta bake.
Just be sure to cook the meatballs beforehand, then add them to the casserole when they’re done.
Can I Use Another Type of Pasta?
Yes, any short and study pasta shape should work well in this cheesy meatball casserole recipe.
Can I Freeze this Casserole?
You sure can! Simply let the casserole cool to room temperature, cover tightly and/or place into a freezer safe container for up to three months. When ready to serve, let thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat in the microwave or oven.
Can this One Pan Meatball Casserole be made ahead of time?
Yes! You can make this up to 24 hours in advance.
- Simply combine the sauce, meatballs, and spices, cover, and then refrigerate.
- Before baking, add the pasta and water. You don’t want to do this ahead of time, as the pasta may become mushy with the water.
What to serve with Meatball Casserole?
I like to serve this easy dinner casserole alongside this cheesy garlic bread or a green salad for an easy dinner!
Tips for Making a Meatball Pasta Bake
- Be sure the noodles are mostly submerged in the water/sauce mixture before cooking. I like to press the noodles down with the back of a spoon to ensure they’re covered. Doing this will prevent uncooked, hard noodle tops.
- Check the noodles when cooking to make sure they don’t become mushy. If the dish cooks too long, the texture of the noodles will be off.
- Stir the mixture before topping with shredded cheese. This will break up any watery areas in the casserole and evenly spread the sauce.
- The sauce may seem too watered down when it comes out of the oven. It should be that way! Give it a stir and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
- Top with grated Parmesan cheese for an extra dose of flavor!
Looking for More Easy Casserole Dishes? I’ve got you covered!
- Cheeseburger Casserole
- Tuna Skillet Casserole
- Chicken Broccoli Stuffing Casserole
- Chicken and Noodle Casserole
- Unstuffed Pepper Casserole
Cheesy Meatball Casserole
- 1 pound (16 ounces) uncooked cavatappi noodles
- 1 jar (24 ounce) marinara sauce I used Garlic & Herb marinara sauce for extra flavor
- 3 cups water
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 package (14 ounce) frozen meatballs thawed
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese for topping if desired
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- To a 9x13 baking dish, add uncooked pasta, sauce, water, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, parsley, salt, pepper, and meatballs. Stir to combine. Make sure everything is spread evenly onto the pan. If any noodles are sticking out of the sauce/water mix, lightly press down with the back of your spoon to ensure it is submerged. This will ensure that you do not end up with dry, hard noodle tips.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Check at the 35 minute mark (you don't want the noodles to become mushy). Remove from the oven and stir. You want the noodles to be al dente. If the noodles are too hard, cook for an additional 2-5 minutes (depending on firmness).
- Top casserole with shredded cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, and cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven (casserole may seem too watery, that's ok!), stir, and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Check the noodles when cooking to make sure they don't become mushy. If the dish cooks too long, the texture of the noodles will be off.
- Casserole will last for up to three days in the refrigerator.
- See my tips and tricks for making this Cheesy Meatball Casserole above the recipe box.