Meatball casserole is a super simple 5 ingredient dish that comes together in less than 10 minutes and cooks all in one dish!
This easy meatball casserole recipe is the perfect easy weeknight dinner. Use frozen meatballs and jarred sauce for quick prep, or take your time and make it from scratch! Serve with a yummy veg like air fryer roasted broccoli or a butternut squash salad.
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Why you’ll love this easy meatball pasta casserole recipe!
📌 No need to boil the noodles, cooks all in one dish!
📌 Easy to modify for your family’s tastes.
📌 Comes together super duper quick.
Meatball casserole ingredients
- Pasta – We used rotini, but any kind will work.
- Meatballs – Pictured are frozen meatballs but you can also use homemade meatballs, chicken meatballs, or turkey meatballs if you prefer.
- Spaghetti sauce – Jarred sauce is the quickest way, but we also have a slow cooker marinara recipe or a blender spaghetti sauce recipe.
- Seasoning – Dried Italian seasoning blend, from the spice aisle or homemade.
- Cheese – Shredded mozzarella cheese. Fresh shredded will melt best.
How do you make a meatball casserole? (step-by-step directions)
⭐ First, add the pasta, meatballs, Italian seasoning, spaghetti sauce and water to a casserole dish, and mix gently to combine. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
⭐ Next, bake covered until pasta is cooked to al dente.
⭐ Then, uncover, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and return to oven to continue cooking until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.
⭐ Finally, remove from oven and allow to sit a few minutes before serving.
Scroll down to the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this article for ingredient measurements and detailed cooking instructions.
Can you make a meatball bake ahead of time?
Yes, this can be prepared and stored in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 days before serving or in the freezer for several months.
If you prepare ahead, we suggest cooking the noodles on the stovetop before adding them to the casserole dish (and skip the water).
What vegetables can you add to a meatball casserole?
As written, the recipe doesn’t call for veggies, but this is a great dish to add veggies to make it a full well rounded meal.
My suggestions would be: peppers, tomatoes, and onion, mushrooms, zucchini, olives, and even chopped spinach!
Do I need to cook the pasta ahead of time?
No, the magic of this casserole recipe is that it all cooks together in the oven at the same time!
Make sure you’re covering it very tightly in foil before baking so the moisture stays in and cooks makes the rice tender.
Can I use cooked pasta?
Yes, if you do, skip the water and go ahead and add your cheese/cook uncovered from the start.
Storage and leftovers
How long does a casserole last?
The leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 days. Keep in an air tight container for best results.
Can you freeze it?
Yes! For leftovers: allow the casserole to cool to room temperature then store in a freezer safe, air tight container for up to 3 months.
If freezing before cooking: we suggest cooking the noodles on the stovetop before adding them to the casserole dish (and skip the water). Cover with cheese from the start.
Can you bake a casserole from frozen?
To bake from frozen, preheat the oven and bake the casserole covered with foil for 60 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 10 – 15 minutes.
Make sure if you are baking from frozen that your dish is freezer to oven safe as not all glass and ceramic dishes are.
Alternatively, thaw in the refrigerator (this will take 2 – 3 days) and uncovered for 30 – 40 minutes.
Tips, tricks, and frequently asked questions
✅ Make it spicy by adding red pepper flakes, or diced jalapenos.
✅ Do a double batch in a disposable casserole pan and gift to a friend or freeze for later.
✅ Try it with different pasta shapes or even a mixture of two or three different shapes!
What to eat with a meatball hot dish (serving suggestions)
Serve with your favorite veggies on the slide like creamed spinach, sautéed vegetables, air fryer broccoli, or roasted brussels sprouts.
For dessert serve up with some white chocolate covered oreos, cookie monster cookies, or a slice of snickerdoodle cake.
More delicious meatball dinners
- Sweet and sour meatballs
- Grape jelly meatballs
- Swedish meatballs
- Meatball soup
- See all our yummy meatball recipes!
Other awesome casserole dishes
- Stuffed pepper casserole recipe
- Mexican cornbread casserole
- Easy taco casserole
- Chicken fajita casserole
- See all our simple casserole recipes
Try these other Italian inspired recipes next
- Caprese chicken
- Chicken alfredo
- Chicken parmesan recipe
- Crockpot stuffed shells
- See all our Italian dinner recipes!
Tools we love
- Glass casserole dish with lid – I love this dish, it can go from freezer to oven!
- Metal spatula – We like a metal spatula for getting lots of cheesy chicken and peppers.
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How to Make Meatball Casserole
- 1 pound dried pasta pictured: rotini
- 1 package frozen meatballs 32 ounces, thawed
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce 24 ounces/3 cups
- 24 ounces water (3 cups)
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Add the pasta, meatballs, Italian seasoning, spaghetti sauce and water to a 9x13 inch casserole dish, and mix gently to combine. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Cook in a 425℉ oven for 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and uncover. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella evenly over the top and return the uncovered casserole to the oven for another 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
- Allow it to sit at room temperature for about 5 - 7 minutes before serving.
- If freezing before cooking: we suggest cooking the noodles on the stovetop before adding them to the casserole dish (and skip adding water to the casserole). Cover with cheese from the start.
- To cook from frozen: preheat the oven and bake the casserole covered with foil for 60 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 10 - 15 minutes.
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Erin H says
This was dinner tonight and it was a huge hit. I have three teenage boys and they devoured them!
This recipe was recently a life saver on one of those “what the heck do I make for dinner” nights when I was short on time and ideas. My kids loved it and have asked for me to make it again. Such a great no stress dinner recipe!