Old fashioned hamburger noodle casserole tastes like lasagna without all the fuss! Egg noodles, ground beef, and a sour cream and cheese mixture make this recipe the ultimate comfort food. It's filling, flavorful, family-friendly, and ready in an hour.
Why You'll Love This
You'll love this recipe for hamburger casserole because it's easy, creamy, comfort food. But I love it because it's got some history that's near and dear to my heart.
My mother has an old cookbook that her church put together nearly 40 years ago. It's so well-loved that the cover is missing, so I don't know the title. I am also just assuming it was printed in 1982 because there's a calendar in the back of the cookbook for that year.
Hamburger noodle casserole is old-fashioned comfort food for today's modern family. As mentioned earlier, this is like an easy deconstructed lasagna or a lazy lasagna casserole, if you will. This is simply a no-fuss recipe easy enough for beginners.
Why This Recipe Works
There are a TON of beefy noodle casserole recipes out there on the ol' inter-webs. What makes this casserole extra special is the combination of cream cheese and sour cream mixed with the egg noodles.
Oh, how creamy these noodles are! I could eat them tossed with only the cream cheese and sour cream mixture (and I have taken a taste or two while making this recipe). It's just that good!
The flavorful ground beef mixture reminds me of a thick spaghetti sauce or a simplified Bolognese sauce. The longer you let it slow-simmer on the stove, the more flavorful it will become. If you're in a time crunch you can cut it short. Just promise me you'll let it simmer for at least 20 minutes.
One more thing I love about this creamy beef noodle casserole recipe is how simple the ingredients are. There's not a single thing on the list that would be tough to find in any grocery store!
- Lean ground beef - If you're looking to cut back on some of the fat, you can substitute ground turkey or ground chicken instead of the beef.
- Canned tomatoes - Use the diced tomatoes; either plain or the kind that includes basil, garlic, and oregano.
- Tomato sauce - Either plain or the kind that includes basil, garlic, and oregano. Any time we can add more flavor to a casserole, the better!
- Egg noodles - Egg noodles can easily be traded out for any short noodle - ziti, penne, elbows, or rotini are what first come to mind.
- Sour cream - If you don't have sour cream, you can lighten things up by using plain greek yogurt instead. Just be sure to use full-fat (4% milk fat) yogurt if you go this route.
- Cream cheese - Other spreadable cheeses (like Boursin) can be used if need be. Just make sure not to use any low-fat stuff, as the higher water content will result in a watery bake!
- Mozzarella cheese -Mozzarella is my preference for this yummy beef pasta recipe, but other mild and melty cheeses will do the trick in a pinch! Try jack, quesadilla, colby, or even cheddar cheese if you need.
- Seasonings - Garlic, salt, and pepper.
Step 1: Brown the ground beef in a large pan or cast-iron skillet, then drain off the fat. Add to the ground beef the garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, and pepper and simmer covered on low heat for 20 minutes. Remember to taste test the meat sauce and add any additional seasonings if needed. Hint: For a more flavorful sauce, simmer the meat sauce longer - up to 40 minutes.
Step 2: While the meat sauce is simmering, cook and drain the egg noodles. Place the hot egg noodles in a large bowl or the pan you cooked them in, then add the cream cheese and sour cream. Mix well.
Step 3: After the meat sauce has cooked, spoon most of it into another container, leaving a small amount in the bottom of the skillet. Now you're going to build your hamburger noodle casserole, sort of like you're making a lasagna! Add half of the noodle mixture to the skillet, then add half the meat sauce. Next, add half the cheese to the skillet.
Step 4: Repeat the layers, finishing with mozzarella cheese on top for that cheesy, melty final touch! Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
View my Google Web Story for more tips on how to make Hamburger Noodle Casserole.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! This is a great make-ahead casserole. Assemble the casserole, but don't bake it. Cover it with foil and place it in the refrigerator the day before you plan to eat it. When you're ready to bake it, simply pop it in the oven as directed.
Note: You may need to add an additional 5 to 10 minutes of baking time to make sure the casserole is hot and bubbly depending on how cold your refrigerator is.
Store any leftover hamburger noodle casserole in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I prefer to use BPA-free glass containers with locking lids. Check out this 18-piece set of glass food storage containers with locking lids from Bayco, available now on Amazon.
This beefy noodle casserole freezes very well. Make and bake the casserole as directed, let it cool completely, then freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- The longer the sauce simmers, the more flavorful it will be. If you're not in a rush, opt for the full 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- I like to cut the cream cheese into small squares to help with the melting and mixing. You can also put a lid on the noodles after adding the cream cheese before you stir - this will trap the heat and help the cheese melt a little faster.
- Turn this noodle casserole recipe into a Meatless Monday option by omitting the meat entirely and substituting sautéd vegetables like zucchini, bell pepper, eggplant, or mushrooms.
More Recipes to Try
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Hamburger Noodle Casserole
- large pot for boiling noodles
- strainer for the cooked noodles
- large cast iron skillet with cover
- large mixing bowl
- measuring spoons
- large casserole dish (instead of a cast iron skillet)
- 1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 16-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces uncooked egg noodles
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
- In a large cast iron skillet, cook the ground beef until no longer pink. Drain off the fat. Add the minced garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Simmer covered on low heat for 20 minutes. Taste test the sauce and add additional salt if needed. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will be.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Boil and drain the egg noodles. Place the hot egg noodles in a large bowl and add the cream cheese and sour cream. Mix well. I like to cut the cream cheese into small squares first to help with the melting and mixing.
- After the meat sauce has cooked, spoon most of it into another bowl, leaving a small layer at the bottom of the skillet.
- Add half of the noodle mixture to the skillet.
- Add half the ground beef mixture to the skillet.
- Add half mozzarella cheese to the skillet.
- Repeat with another layer of noodle mixture, beef mixture, and cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes to prepare and cook the ground beef. 20 minutes for the sauce to simmer. 30 minutes bake time. Hint: For a more flavorful sauce, simmer the meat sauce longer - up to 40 minutes.
- The casserole can be made 1 day in advance. Prepare as directed, and keep covered in the refrigerator. Bake as directed.
- Store leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Instead of a cast iron skillet, assemble the layers in a casserole dish or another oven-safe skillet, then bake as directed.
This recipe was originally published in 2020 and was updated in 2022.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy to my readers. I'm not a nutritionist and I don't guarantee the accuracy of this data. The data may differ according to the brands I used versus the brands you use. To calculate the data yourself using your brands, try using an online nutrition calculator or app.