This Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole is just about the easiest recipe on the planet, and it’s one of the tastiest! This easy casserole recipe is perfect on busy nights, and everyone loves this twist on spaghetti and meatballs! 

dump and bake meatball casserole

I’m all about easy recipes, and this is one of my favorites. There’s very little cooking involved – just cooking some pasta – and then the whole dish goes into the oven until it is hot, gooey with melted cheese, and delicious.

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Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

You use frozen prepared meatballs in this dish. Or, you can even use homemade meatballs. Whichever you use, thaw them overnight in the fridge so they don’t take so long to heat up in the oven.

Read more: Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole
a serving of dump and bake meatball casserole with fresh parsley

Add your favorite jarred marinara or spaghetti sauce in this recipe, too. I love keeping pantry staples like spaghetti sauce on hand for easy meals like this casserole. 

Double this recipe in case you need to feed a crowd (like football Sunday!) It’s always a bit hit at parties and gatherings, and because you can assemble the whole dish ahead of time, it really cuts down on the time you spend in the kitchen so you can mingle with your guests! 

a cheesy pasta casserole with meatballs

Why I love this recipe

  • With familiar flavors, this tasty casserole is always a crowd-pleaser.
  • Use your favorite meatballs in this recipe. Buy them when they go on sale and tuck a bag away in your freezer for quick and easy recipes like this one.
  • Prep the whole dish the night before and then just pop it into the oven when you get home. You’ll need to add a few extra minutes of baking time if it goes from the fridge to the oven.
ingredients to make a meatball bake

Gather these ingredients

  • Frozen meatballs – You’ll need a bag of about 12-15 meatballs. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight or thaw them in the microwave while the pasta is cooking.
  • Marinara or spaghetti sauce – 1 32-ounce can or jar of your favorite kind.
  • Penne pasta – You’ll need 2-3 cups of cooked pasta, so start with about 8-12 ounces of dry pasta.
  • Italian seasoning
  • Mozzarella, pecorino, and Parmesan cheese – Shredded.
  • Parsley – Fresh parsley, chopped.
how to make a dump and bake meatballs casserole

How to make the best Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

  1. Preheat your oven to 400-F and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set the dish aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, but cook for 1 minute less so the noodles are very al dente. Drain them and set them aside when you’re finished cooking.
  3. Add the thawed meatballs, marinara sauce, water, cooked pasta, and Italian seasoning to a large pot and stir to combine. Heat on low until just bubbling.
  4. Transfer the heated pasta, sauce, and meatballs to the prepared baking dish and bake covered for 35 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil or cover and sprinkle with the mozzarella and pecorino romano cheeses, then bake uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  6. Remove the casserole from the oven and rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese, and dig in!
pasta and cheeses

Tips & substitutions

  • Feel free to use any kind of pasta in this recipe. I love short pasta, like penne, which makes it easy to serve. Other great options include farfalle, rigatoni, fusilli, or orecchiette. Don’t use baby shells or anything too small, as they tend to overcook in the casserole.
  • Heating the casserole mixture in a pot first will reduce the amount of time it takes in the oven. If you plan on prepping this dish ahead of time, skip this step and just mix the meatballs, sauce, seasoning, and cooked pasta together and then transfer it to the baking dish. You’ll need to add about 10-15 minutes of baking time if you go from the fridge to the oven.
  • Switch up the cheeses! You can use all mozzarella, but fontina, provolone, and asiago are also tasty options.
a serving of meatball casserole

Serving suggestions

We love one-dish casseroles like this one, and all you need to add to it to make it a full meal is a tasty salad and garlic bread! Caesar salad is really good with an Italian casserole, and garlic bread, and it doesn’t need to be complicated. I make garlic bread in the air fryer, and it couldn’t be easier!  

cheesy bite of pasta

Storage

Store any cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. 

a serving of meatballs and pasta

Check out these awesome casserole recipes while you’re here

dump and bake meatball casserole
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Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

Easy to make and fun to eat Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole is always a dinner winner. It’s meaty, saucy, and cheesy perfection! Use a 9×13 baking dish.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
resting time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 10
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Ingredients
 

  • 1 bag frozen meatballs, defrosted (about 12-15 meatballs)
  • 1 jar marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • ½-¾ pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions (about 2-3 cups cooked)
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ c. Mozzarella cheese
  • ½ c. Pecorino Romano
  • ½ c. Parmesan cheese grated
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions, maybe 1 minute less. Drain and set aside.
  • To a large pot, add the defrosted meatballs, marinara sauce, water, cooked pasta, and Italian seasoning. Gently stir together and heat on low.
  • Prepare a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Add the meatball and pasta mixture.
  • Bake covered for 35 minutes.
  • Uncover the dish and sprinkle the top with Mozzarella cheese and Pecorino Romano. Bake uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Sprinkle over the casserole fresh parsley and parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
Calories: 480kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 97mg, Sodium: 919mg, Potassium: 510mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 815IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 480mg, Iron: 2mg
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serving dump and bake meatball casserole