Cheesy and absolutely delicious, this meatball casserole is super easy to make. The pasta are coated with marinara sauce, topped with fresh homemade meatballs before being sprinkled with shredded mozzarella. Baked to bubbly and gooey cheesy, this dish is perfect for any weeknight meal or dinner party.
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- This recipe is super easy and simple but tastes incredible! I mean pasta and meatballs is always a winner right? You’ll make the delicious fresh meatballs from scratch, add them to a baking dish filled with pasta coated in marinara sauce. After mozzarella cheese is spread all over the top of the dish, the casserole gets baked, resulting in melted cheesy perfection.
- No one can resist this meatball casserole. It’s a family favorite the kids will absolutely love. This dish is also amazing for entertaining to make for any dinner party, or to bring to a potluck. It’ll be a hit for sure!
- You can very easily modify this recipe to your preference or dietary needs. Use gluten free pasta if you stay away from wheat, or zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash for a lower carb option.
- Try not to over-mix the meatball mixture. Just mix everything until just well combined. When overworked, the meatballs could turn out too dense or a little dry. Then, to shape them, scoop about 2 tablespoons worth of meat mixture for each meatball, and use the palm of your hand to roll them. You’ll want them to be about the same size, so they all cook evenly.
- This casserole can me prepped ahead of time and stored refrigerated for about 24 hours before baking. Just make sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil until ready to bake.
- When it comes to the cheese, I always like to recommend buying a block and shredding it yourself. Prepackaged cheese is fine on a pinch, but it does contain starches to avoid each string of cheese to stick to each other in the bag, which can keep the cheese to melt well. Freshly shredded is always best! With this meatball casserole, you could even buy fresh mozzarella balls and add slices on top before baking. Cheesy goodness!
- The pasta shape doesn’t matter that much but I’d stick to short pasta, such as rotini, penne or ziti. Keep in mind too that the pasta will continue cooking while the casserole is baking, so try not to overcook them first. For best results, cook them just al-dente or even 1 or 2 minutes shy of the al-dente recommended directions on the packaging.
More Meatball Recipes To Try
- Baked Chicken Meatballs
- Healthy Swedish Meatballs (Paleo, Whole30, Gluten Free)
- Keto Meatballs and Tomato Sauce
- Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)
- Asian Turkey Meatballs
For the Meatballs
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground Italian sausage
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt more or less to taste
- freshly ground black pepper more or less to taste
For the Casserole
- 16 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
- 1 24-ounce jar marinara
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Large bowl
- large plate or baking sheet to place meatballs
- Large pot to cook pasta
- colander to drain pasta
- Baking dish 9×13 inches
- Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit.
- In large bowl, add all meatballs ingredients: ground beef and sausage, minced garlic, egg, milk, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix together until well combined but without over-mixing.
- Scoop 2 tablespoons of meat mixture and roll between palm of hands, forming meatballs of even size. Repeat process with remaining meatball mixture until all gone, then set meatballs aside in plate or in baking sheet.
- Bring large pot of water to boil, and cook pasta following package directions for al-dente (see Notes). Once cooked, drain pasta into colander, then add to 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Pour jar of marinara sauce all over top of pasta and stir well.
- Place meatballs over top of pasta in baking dish, nestling them into pasta and sauce. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese all over top of dish.
- Add meatball casserole to oven, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until meatballs are fully cooked thru. Serve warm.
- To avoid overcooked pasta: I recommend cooking pasta 1 or 2 minutes shy of package directions for al-dente as they’ll continue cooking while baking.
- Make it gluten free: use gluten free pasta and gluten free breadcrumbs.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.