This dump and bake meatball casserole recipe is as good as it gets. Penne pasta is layered with frozen meatballs and marinara sauce, topped with a layer of melty mozzarella cheese, and baked to perfection. Every bite is loaded with flavor, and you'll love how quick and easy it is to make!
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The Best Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole
This easy dump and bake meatball casserole recipe is the perfect twist on classic spaghetti and meatballs. It combines all the same elements layered in a casserole dish and baked in the oven.
From the tender meatballs to the slightly crisp pasta, flavorful sauce, and layer of ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese, there's so much to love about this one-dish meal!
I love making this casserole on a busy weeknight or when I have guests coming over. It's one of those recipes that both adults and kids love, and it's the talk of the night every time I make it!
As delicious as it is all by itself, it definitely tastes better with some sides to go with it. The meatball casserole pairs really well with these Olive Garden breadsticks and this classic house salad for a complete meal.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
It takes a few minutes to prepare. All you have to do is dump the ingredients in a casserole dish. You don't even have to cook the pasta!
5 ingredients. You only need a handful of ingredients for this meatball casserole, and you might even have some of them on hand already.
Customizable. You can easily add in or take away anything that you want from this recipe. Just like spaghetti and meatballs, you can make this recipe however you like!
One-dish meal. Since everything to make this casserole comes together in your baking dish, not only is prep a breeze, but cleanup is too!
- Penne pasta- or any pasta you want.
- Frozen meatballs- your favorite brand.
- Marinara sauce- you can also use tomato sauce or pasta sauce.
- Shredded mozzarella cheese- for that delicious ooey gooey cheesiness.
- Fresh parsley- chopped for garnish.
- Parmesan cheese- for a more cheesy flavor.
You can use almost every single one of these ingredients, plus Italian seasoning, to make this classic meatball casserole recipe. So consider giving that one a try next! If you have extra sauce and cheese, you can make this tortellini bake!
How To Make Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole
1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180ºC) and arrange the uncooked pasta in the bottom of a baking dish and cover it with marinara sauce.
2. Assemble the casserole: Add 2 cups of water to the baking dish and mix it with the dried pasta and pasta sauce. Arrange all of the frozen meatballs in an even layer over the penne pasta.
3. Bake the casserole: Bake uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the meatballs start to turn golden brown. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and add the shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
4. Finish and serve: Return the meatball pasta casserole to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve the casserole warm with a garnish of fresh parsley and some parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
My Pro Tips To Make The Best Recipe
- Spread the pasta evenly in the baking dish after mixing with the sauce and water.
- Use other types of pasta noodles like egg noodles, penne pasta, or rotini pasta for a different texture.
- Experiment with adding ingredients like freshly grated parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, minced garlic, roasted red peppers, or sliced mushrooms to the filling.
- Mix the sauce of your choice with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, or onion powder for more flavor.
How To Store Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole
In the fridge: Put a lid on the casserole dish and store it in the fridge as is, or you can store the leftover meatball casserole in an airtight container. It'll stay good for up to 4 days.
In the freezer: Transfer the leftover meatball casserole to a freezer-safe container or freezer-safe bag and freeze it for up to 2 months.
Reheating: Put the leftovers back in a casserole dish and warm it in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until it's fully heated. Add more cooking time for the frozen casserole.
FAQS About This Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole Recipe
What can I serve with meatball casserole?
This dump and bake meatball casserole goes great with some garlic bread or Texas Roadhouse dinner rolls to soak up the marinara sauce. You can also pair it with a veggie, like these Longhorn brussel sprouts or sugar snap peas for a lighter side.
Can I make this ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this meatball casserole ahead of time. All you have to do is bake the casserole, then cover it and store it in the fridge. When you're ready to serve, uncover it and pop it in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Can I use different pasta?
Yes, you can use any type of uncooked pasta you want. Bow tie pasta, rigatoni, rotini noodles, or fusilli are all great options.
Why is it called dump and bake meatball casserole?
It's called dump and bake meatball casserole because all of the ingredients are just dumped into a casserole dish and immediately baked in the oven.
More Casserole Recipes
- Baked bean casserole
- Meatball sub casserole
- Pepperoni pizza casserole
- Eggplant casserole
- Italian casserole
- Million dollar spaghetti casserole
- 2 cups penne pasta
- 12 frozen meatballs
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180ºC).
- Arrange the penne pasta in the bottom of a casserole dish and cover with the marinara sauce. Add 2 cups of water and mix well.
- Arrange the meatballs in the dish without covering them.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the meatballs start to turn golden. Remove from the oven and add the mozzarella cheese on top.
- Return to the oven and bake for 15 more minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Serve with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.
Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 19g