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This Sloppy Joe Casserole is where comfort meets convenience. Crafted with tender pasta, tossed in savory sloppy joe meat sauce, and then crowned with a layer of melty cheddar cheese, this casserole is the love child of comfort food and deliciousness!
What Is Sloppy Joe Casserole
This easy sloppy joe casserole recipe takes all the beloved flavors of iconic sloppy joe sandwiches and transforms them into a delightful, cheesy casserole. This dish combines seasoned ground beef, tangy tomato sauce, and tender pasta, all baked to perfection under a generous layer of gooey cheddar cheese.
Why You’ll Love This Sloppy Joe Casserole
- Quick and Easy! Say hello to a delicious and effortless meal! With an easy-to-follow recipe and a handful of basic ingredients, you can whip up a mouthwatering dinner in less than an hour.
- Beefy and Cheesy! This recipe takes the classic, beefy sloppy joes and transforms them into a cheesy pasta delight! It’s a marriage of flavors that will undoubtedly satisfy your taste buds like never before.
- Crowd Pleaser! Sloppy joe casserole is a tried-and-true favorite loved by both kids and adults alike. It’s always a hit whether you serve it as a family dinner at home or for a special celebration.
- Short Pasta: I like to use pasta like rotini, bowtie or penne, which holds the sauce perfectly.
- Olive Oil: Used to saute the veggies. You can use vegetable oil if you prefer.
- Onion: Provides a flavorful aromatic base. I typically use brown onion but feel free to use any onion you have on hand.
- Bell Pepper: Adds a pop of color and a hint of sweetness. Any color of bell pepper will do the trick.
- Ground Beef: Our meaty star! You can also use ground turkey or ground chicken. If you prefer a vegetarian option, consider using plant-based meat or cooked lentils.
- Tomato Sauce: Forms the foundation of the sloppy joe sauce.
- Ketchup: Adds a touch of sweetness and tang.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Provides a hint of umami depth. If you don’t have it on hand, you can substitute it with soy sauce or a dash of balsamic vinegar.
- Garlic Powder: Adds the perfect touch of pungent garlic flavor.
- Chili Powder: Gives the casserole a gentle kick of heat. You can use less if you’re sensitive to spice.
- Salt and Pepper: Enhance all the flavors of the dish.
- Cheddar Cheese: Provides the irresistible cheesy layer. You can experiment with other types of cheese such as mozzarella or Colby Jack cheese.
This family-friendly recipe is your ticket to a satisfying, hassle-free dinner! With minimal effort, you can whip up a flavorful dish that the whole family will love.
Before you start cooking the pasta, you need to preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Then bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your chosen pasta according to the package directions. The key here is to slightly undercook it, as it will continue to cook in the oven. Now, drain the cooked pasta and set it aside.
Next, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Then, add the diced onion and bell pepper and sauté them just until they start to soften. Now, add the ground beef and cook it until it’s no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Once browned, drain any excess grease from the beef to prevent the dish from being overly oily.
After you’ve cooked the beef, stir in the tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and chili powder. Then let the ground beef mixture simmer for about 5 minutes.
It’s time to bring it all together! Put your cooked pasta into the skillet and toss it with the meat sauce. Then taste the pasta mixture and season it with salt and black pepper as needed.
To finish, transfer the pasta mixture into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Then sprinkle the shredded cheddar evenly over the top. Now, put the casserole into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until it becomes bubbly and the cheese has melted.
When done, remove the casserole from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving to give it time to set. Then serve your sloppy joe casserole with some homemade dinner rolls if you like and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I add to my sloppy joe casserole?
Feel free to get creative. Vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, or spinach can add flavor. Just saute them alongside the onions and bell peppers. You can also experiment with different types of shredded cheese and ground meat.
Can I make it ahead?
Absolutely! Assemble the sloppy joe casserole, cover it, and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake. It’s a convenient option for busy days. Just remember to adjust the baking time slightly if you’re starting with a chilled casserole.
- Avoid overcooking the pasta. Remember that it will continue cooking in the oven, so aim for slightly undercooked pasta to maintain a desirable texture in the final dish.
- Drain the fat. After browning the ground beef, be sure to drain any excess fat to prevent your casserole from being overly greasy.
- Cover it if needed. If you notice that the cheese is browning too quickly, cover the top of the casserole with aluminum foil to keep it from burning.
- Adjust the spice. Feel free to modify the level of spice to suit your taste. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can use less chili powder.
You can store leftover sloppy joe casserole in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap. To reheat, warm it in the microwave for a few minutes or in the oven at 350°F (177°C) for about 10 minutes. It’s also possible to freeze leftovers for up to 3 months, but keep in mind that freezing may alter the texture of the pasta.
Discover More Delicious Casseroles
- Deconstructed Stuffed Pepper Casserole
- Creamy Cajun Pastalaya
- Easy Beef Lasagna
- Mexican Beef and Rice Casserole
- Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Tater Tot Casserole
- 8 ounces short pasta (such as rotini, bowtie or penne)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 1 medium bell pepper (diced)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 15 ounce tomato sauce (1 can)
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). While it's heating up, boil your pasta according to package directions but slightly undercook it. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and bell pepper. Sauté until they start to soften.
- Add the ground beef to the skillet. Break it apart and cook until no pink remains. Drain any excess fat if necessary.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and chili powder. Let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes to meld the flavors together.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and stir it into the beef mixture. Season with salt and black pepper to your liking.
- Transfer the beef and pasta mixture to a greased 9×13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese evenly over the top.
- Pop the casserole into the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
- Pasta Choice: You can substitute the penne or bowtie with other short pasta like elbow macaroni or rotini. Just remember to slightly undercook, as it will continue cooking in the oven.
- Meat Variations: Ground turkey or chicken can be used as a leaner alternative to beef.
- Spice It Up: If you prefer a bit more kick, consider adding a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the beef mixture.
- Balancing Acidity: If you find the tomato sauce too acidic, a teaspoon of sugar can be added to balance the flavors and reduce acidity.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Perfect for reheating for a quick lunch or dinner!
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.