Do you and your family love pasta and meatballs? This cheesy meatball casserole recipe comes together easily with frozen meatballs, marinara sauce, and pasta. Easy with minimal prep making it perfect for a weeknight dinner idea!
If you love a simple baked pasta recipe, this easy meatball casserole is for you. Topped with mozzarella cheese, and made with store-bought frozen meatballs, marinara sauce and penne pasta, this casserole comes together in just minutes.
What's In This Article
Why You’ll Love This Meatball Casserole
Meat, cheese, sauce and pasta- what’s not to love? Here are a few reasons why this casserole takes the cake.
- Quick and easy – This casserole is on the dinner table in less than an hour. And there are only 10 minutes of real work involved.
- Flavorful – With only 4 ingredients, this meatball casserole really does pack a big flavor punch.
- Versatile – You can use your favorite pasts noodle, pasta sauce and add any special add-ins that your heart desires.
Here’s a quick-reference check list of the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Frozen meatballs – look for an Italian style meatball from the frozen foods section of your grocery store.
- Penne rigate pasta – penne works well for this recipe, however, you could substitute most other medium-sized pastas, like rotini, rigatoni, ziti or gemelli.
- Pasta sauce – a simple marinara sauce works well for this recipe, however, feel free to choose a flavor that suits your tastes.
- Water – water is needed to help the pasta bake and become tender.
- Shredded mozzarella cheese – you can use either regular or part-skim mozzarella shredded cheese for this recipe.
How to Make Meatball Casserole
One of my favorite parts of this recipe is that it’s super quick and easy. check out exactly how to make it below.
- Add pasta and water. In a casserole dish or 9 x 13” pan, add the uncooked pasta, water and pasta sauce. Stir these together well.
- Defrost meatballs. In your microwave, using the defrost setting, defrost the meatballs. Once the meatballs are no longer frozen, add them to the pasta and sauce mixture.
- Cover and bake. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the casserole. About half way through baking, stir the mixture to ensure the pasta and meatballs bake evenly.
- Top with cheese and bake. Add the shredded mozzarella cheese to the top of the casserole and bake until the cheese is completely melted and light golden brown.
- Enjoy. Serve with your favorite side salad or vegetables.
Meatball Casserole Serving Suggestions
This baked pasta dish is fantastic served with your favorite green salad with Italian dressing. It can also be paired with fresh or frozen vegetables, like steamed broccoli, green beans or peas.
Here are a few recipes for inspiration:
- Pan Fried Broccolini
- Texas Roadhouse Rolls
- Garlic Parmesan Broccolini
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Sauteed Cabbage
Storage and Freezing
Storage: When refrigerated in an airtight container, pasta and meatballs will keep for up to five days.
Freezing: You can also freeze this casserole. Check out my tips for how to freeze a casserole for the best method.
Frequently Asked Questions
When baking frozen meatballs, it is not necessary to sauté them before baking. Make sure the meatballs are thawed and no longer frozen before adding to the sauce.
Meatball casserole will need approximately 40-45 minutes at 425 degrees to bake.
To ensure the cheese doesn’t over-brown or burn before the pasta is done cooking, it is best to add the cheese the last 5-10 minutes of baking.
More Flavorful Pasta Recipes
- 14 oz bag of frozen meatballs
- 24 oz jar of marinara sauce
- 16 oz box of penne pasta
- 3 cups water
- 8 oz bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat your oven to 425°F. Lightly spray a casserole dish or 9 x 13” pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large microwave safe bowl, add the frozen meatballs. Using the defrost setting, defrost the meatballs for 5-7 minutes or until completely thawed.
- To the prepared baking dish or pan, add the uncooked pasta, pasta sauce and water. Using a rubber scraper, stir to combine. Add in the thawed meatballs.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes, stirring the casserole halfway through baking.
- Remove from oven and top the casserole with the shredded cheese. Bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and light golden brown.
- Let the casserole cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.
Such perfect comfort food! I know my family would just love this. 🙂
I am always looking for an easy yet yummy weeknight dinner idea for my family. I love that this dish involves minimal prep work and is done in under an hour.
Seriously the easiest weeknight recipe ever. We always have homemade meatballs in the freezer (my husband is Italian so that’s the only kind he will eat) and I love not having to boil and drain pasta.
This came together so quickly and everyone loved it! Thanks for such an easy recipe!
Made this RIGHT after seeing it and wow, it did not disappoint! Just as delicious and cozy as it looks.