Pizza Casserole is all your favorite ingredients in one dish as you combine penne pasta, pizza flavors, gooey cheese, and top it with pepperoni — just like a pizza! It’s so easy to create this incredible, simple meal.
In our house we love pasta! There is something about the comfort of pasta that my family loves. Usually you will find us eating pasta at least three times a week. The other day we were deciding whether to make Spaghetti Pie or Buffalo Chicken Pasta, but then my kids said they felt like pizza, so we decided to hop into the kitchen and create something new, meet one of our newest favorites, Pizza Casserole.
PIZZA CASSEROLE RECIPE
Making this pizza casserole recipe is incredibly easy. I love that it combines the pizza flavors we love into a delicious pasta dish. When you feel like pizza and don’t want take out, but don’t want the mess of homemade pizza turn to pizza casserole, you won’t be disappointed!
PIZZA CASSEROLE INGREDIENTS
Penne Pasta- Penne pasta is the perfect pasta for this dish. It is thicker than most pasta varieties, which allows the sauce to be soaked up without making the pasta runny. If you don’t have a Penne pasta you can try another variation of pasta, the thicker the better.
Ground Beef- With this recipe, you want to stick with ground beef. I like to choose at least an 80/20, but I usually opt for a 90/10. This allows for a healthier meal with less grease.
Onion- I know onion is always an optional flavor, but I think even if you are not a fan of onion if you dice the pieces small enough it adds great flavor and you won’t even notice the onion pieces. Opt for a sweet onion for this recipe.
Garlic- You can’t have an Italian dish without garlic. I love garlic! If you want to make pizza casserole even more simple to make, grab a jar of minced garlic and always keep it in the fridge then when you need some garlic grab your jar and measure out the perfect amount.
Pepperoni- Can’t have pizza casserole without pepperoni! If you are trying to cut back on calories you can use turkey pepperoni. It doesn’t alter the flavor very much and cuts the grease in half.
Mozzarella Cheese- Mozzarella cheese is the base of any pizza dish. It melts great and gives any pizza recipe great flavor.
Spaghetti of Marinara Sauce- When picking your sauce for pizza casserole, you can choose between a spaghetti sauce or a Marinara depending on your preference. You can use a chunky sauce or a traditional based on what you like.
Italian Seasoning- Italian seasoning gives this dish a pop of Italian flavor to this scrumptious dish.
Parmesan Cheese– I love the addition to Parmesan cheese to any pasta dish, especially this one! Grab a wedge of parmesan cheese at the store so you always have it on hand when you need it for recipes like this.
Salt and Pepper– Salt and pepper is so simple but adds so much flavor. Often people omit salt and pepper and miss out on so much added flavor. Be sure you add this to your pizza casserole.
HOW TO MAKE PIZZA CASSEROLE
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
- Cook pasta to al dente and drain.
- Brown the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Once your beef is browned drain the excess grease.
- Add in garlic and cook your ground beef for a minute longer.
- Pour your spaghetti sauce and add your Italian seasonings to your meat.
- Stir until combined and heat on low-to-medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
- Next cut half the pepperoni into quarter slices and add them to the meat mixture.
- Now add the pasta and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and stir until it is all combined.
- Pour the pasta mixture into the greased baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Sprinkle your casserole with parmesan cheese then top with the remainder of your sliced pepperonis.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbly.
- Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
TIPS AND NOTES FOR MAKING PIZZA CASSEROLE
- When boiling your pasta be sure to add salt to the water when boiling.
- Be sure to cook your pasta noodles until al dente.
- If you are wanting to cut down on the fat and grease you can substitute your pepperoni for turkey pepperoni. This will not alter the flavor that much and it will cut the grease in half.
CAN I USE OTHER PIZZA TOPPINGS?
You can for sure use other toppings in this recipe other than pepperoni. Try using one of your family’s favorite pizza toppings. We love switching up this pizza casserole dish by using sausage some nights.
WHAT CAN I SERVE WITH PIZZA CASSEROLE?
When we make pizza casserole I love serving it with either a small garden salad or a caesar salad. Another great addition is to make cheesy bread or breadsticks with marinara dipping sauce. Yum!
CAN I MAKE PIZZA CASSEROLE AHEAD OF TIME?
One of the many things I love about pizza casserole is that I can make it ahead of time. Many times I will whip up this dish in the morning and store in the fridge for several hours.
When ready to cook remove from the fridge and bake as directed.
HOW DO YOU STORE PIZZA CASSEROLE?
Allow your pizza casserole to cool completely before storing it in the refrigerator. You will want to make sure you store it in an airtight container. You only want to store your pizza casserole for 3-4 days due to ground beef storage life in the fridge after being cooked.
CAN YOU FREEZE PIZZA CASSEROLE?
You can freeze pizza casserole before or after you have baked it. You will want your casserole to be completely cooled before placing it in the freezer.
If you want to freeze it and bake later, you will want to assemble your casserole up until the point of baking then let cool.
Make sure your dish is in a freezer-safe casserole dish or an aluminum pan. Take your dish and wrap well with plastic wrap and then add a layer of tinfoil. Pizza Casserole can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you are ready to bake thaw your dish overnight in the refrigerator and then bake as directed.
LOOKING FOR OTHER GREAT CASSEROLE DISHES? CHECK THESE OUT!
- 16 ounces Penne pasta
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 2 teaspoon garlic minced
- 6-8 oz. bag pepperoni divided
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- 24 ounces spaghetti or marinara sauce
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside.
- Cook pasta and drain. Add salt to the water when boiling pasta. Cook until al dente.
- Brown the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Drain excess grease. Add in garlic and cook for a minute longer.
- Add in spaghetti sauce and Italian seasonings. Stir to combine and heat on low-to medium for 3-5 minutes.
- Cut half of the pepperoni into quarter slices. Add to the meat mixture.
- Add the pasta and 1 cup of mozzarella and stir to combine.
- Pour pasta mixture into into the baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella cheese and Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Top with sliced pepperonis.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.