This one-pot ground beef casserole is one of the easiest comfort food you'll ever make! Loaded with ground beef, sliced hot dogs, and cheese. Serve it straight from the pot–no oven baking needed! Perfect for days when you just want to indulge.
A Simple Ground Beef Casserole Dish
This recipe is inspired by the popular cheeseburger casserole (also known as hamburger casserole in the U.S.) and Filipino spaghetti. Call it a fusion, if you will. I just think it's one of the easiest and yummiest pasta I've ever come up with here at RTK.
To my fellow Filipinos, you probably think this is just another "BAKE MAC" recipe. But it is more than that because it is:
- Loaded with ground beef and hot dog–your kids will love this!
- All cooked in one pot! That means fewer dishes to wash. Perfect for weeknight dinner.
- Oh so flavorful! The pasta is cooked in the sauce absorbing all the flavors in the pot.
- A "no bake casserole" recipe. Once the pasta is cooked, it is ready to serve!
Here's what you need to make this one-pot ground beef casserole recipe:
- Ground beef - lean ground beef with around 80 meat and 20 fat.
- Hot dogs - use your favorite type/brand. I used chicken frankfurter.
- Vegetables - sneak in some carrots and bell peppers. You can also use celery and mushrooms. I minced these really nicely so the kids won't notice 🙂
- Pasta sauce/marinara sauce or a good quality tomato sauce. If using Filipino spaghetti sauce, I recommend using the "Italian style" kind.
- Beef Broth - use homemade or dissolve 1 ½ piece beef bouillon in hot water
- Tomato paste - for that rich and velvety sauce. This also helps the sauce cling to the pasta.
- Cheese - cheddar cheese to stir in with the pasta and mozzarella for topping.
- Dried Herbs - Italian seasoning, herbes de provence, dried oregano, or dried parsley to lift the flavor.
Best Pasta to Use
Good quality dried short pasta always works well in any one-pot dish. In this recipe, I used elbow macaroni but you can also use any of these:
- shell pasta (conchigliette)
- bow tie (farfalle)
- tube pasta - penne, rigatoni, or ziti.
Note that cooking time varies depending on the type of pasta you are going to use.
How to Make It
It really is the easiest! Here's what I did:
- Fry the hot dogs - to render some flavor and firmer texture
- Brown the beef and vegetables then add pasta sauce. Bring to a simmer.
- Add uncooked pasta.
- Boil for 8-12 minutes.
- Add grated cheddar cheese and stir it through.
- Turn off the heat and top with mozzarella and more cheddar cheese!
Cooking Time–al dente, not mushy
Cooking pasta with all of the ingredients in the same pot requires a slightly different cooking technique. Nothing complicated, just a little bit of tender loving attention 🙂
Here are my tips:
Use medium heat - once the sauce starts simmering, set the heat to medium. High heat can easily burn the sauce, especially with all that extra starch added to the pasta.
Set the timer - after adding the pasta, set your kitchen timer or timer on your phone. This is the surefire way of not overcooking pasta.
Stir every 3 minutes - to prevent the pasta from sticking at the bottom. Don't leave the pot unattended!
Check doneness at 8-10 minutes - some pasta cooks faster while some need a longer cooking time. So tasting it sooner is another way of preventing it from getting mushy.
Turn off the heat, as soon as the pasta is ALMOST AL DENTE. The residual heat will continue cooking the pasta.
Don't worry if it looks liquidy after cooking. As the sauce cools down, the pasta will continue absorbing the liquid.
- Make it spicy - add chili pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
- Make it smoky - add smoked paprika.
- Add sour cream - you'll need about ¼ cup to make it slightly creamy.
A deep large pot is highly recommended in making this casserole recipe. The high edges will allow the pasta to cook evenly without letting the liquid evaporate quickly.
Enjoy on its own or serve with buttered toast or a slice of bread.
One-pot pasta dishes are best eaten on the same day it's cooked. Pasta will continue absorbing the sauce as it cools down and won't be as saucy.
Storing Leftovers and Shelf-Life
Leftovers can last in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days and stored in an air-tight container. Reheat in the microwave before serving.
I have not tried freezing this–I imagine the texture won't be the same as when it's freshly cooked.
Watch How to Make It
Love Pasta? Try these next...
Ground Beef Casserole with Hot Dogs – One Pot!
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 4-5 pieces hot dog (slice)
- 16 oz ground lean beef
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 small carrot (minced)
- 1 small bell pepper (green or red, minced)
- 32 oz pasta sauce (use your favorite brand, see note 1)
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 ½ cups beef broth (see note 2)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
- 1-2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 2-3 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 16 oz uncooked macaroni (or similar short pasta, see note 3)
- 1 ½ cup cheddar cheese (sharp or mild)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- fresh or dried parsley (for garnish)
- Heat oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat. Add hot dogs and fry until slightly brown. Transfer to a bowl. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Add a little bit more oil if needed. Stir in onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant.
- Add carrots and bell peppers. Cook until soft. Season with salt and black pepper. Pour marinara sauce and tomato paste. Simmer for 3 minutes.
- Pour beef broth, Worcestershire, sugar, and Italian seasoning. Simmer for 10 minutes with a lid on.
- Add back the hot dogs, stir. Next, add the uncooked macaroni then turn down the heat to medium-low. Stir to combine. Cover with a lid and cook for 8 to 12 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes to prevent sticking at the bottom.
- Check the doneness of the pasta (be careful it's hot!). Once it's tender yet still firm, add 1 cup cheddar cheese, stir.
- Turn off heat. Add mozzarella and remaining cheddar. Sprinkle parsley. Cover with a lid let the cheese melt. Don't worry if it looks liquidy after cooking. As the sauce cools down, the pasta will continue absorbing the liquid.
- Let it cool a bit. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Pasta Sauce/Spaghetti Sauce/Marinara - some brands of pasta sauces can be thicker. If pasta is still raw, add hot water as needed. Start at ¼ cup.
**If using Filipino spaghetti sauce, I recommend using the "Italian style" kind.
- Beef broth - can be substituted with 1 ½ pieces beef bouillon cubes or 3 teaspoon beef powder dissolved in 2 ½ cup hot water
- Short pasta - you can also use shell pasta (conchigliette), bow tie (farfalle), tube pasta like penne, rigatoni, or ziti. Note that cooking time may vary.
Easy and delicious! Made this for dinner and my kids loved it!