Home » Number of Ingredient Recipes » 4 Ingredient Recipes » 4 Ingredient Hamburger Casserole

4 Ingredient Hamburger Casserole

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a small commission AT NO COST TO YOU. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

This easy 4 Ingredient Hamburger Casserole has tender, saucy beef, and perfectly cooked pasta with gooey cheddar cheese that makes this dinner a complete hit.

Additionally, it’s great cheesy comfort food on a budget that’s perfect for weeknights. 

4 ingredient hamburger casserole in a red skillet.

Why You’ll Love This Hamburger Casserole with 4 Ingredients

These easy casseroles are inexpensive to make and can often be whipped up with ingredients you have in your pantry already; all while being quick enough for a busy weeknight dinner.

Not only is this casserole great cozy comfort food but you can easily customize it to fit your family’s needs. You can even bulk it up with more vegetables to make it fill even more hungry tummies when feeding a bigger group!

Groceries Needed

  • Ground beef – With this dish, I recommend using lean ground beef. Regular beef is ok but you’ll find there’s a lot of fat to drain off and I personally find extra lean too dry.
  • Pasta – Most commonly I use elbow macaroni for this dish HOWEVER, these fun lumaca rigata pasta shape are like elbow macaroni’s big brother. They captured the sauce, cheese, and beef inside the curves that were divine!
  • Tomato soup – Unless you’re brand loyal, choosing a less expensive house brand of tomato soup is just fine.
  • Cheddar, sharp, shredded – Sharp cheddar gives more cheddary bang for your buck, I think. Use what you have on hand as long as it melts and gets deliciously ooey-gooey!
  • Italian Seasoning – Optional step, but brings an Italian flavor profile to the dish, similar to my 4 Ingredient Cheater Lasagna recipe.

Pantry Items

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder

**EAZYTIP: Salt, Pepper, Garlic powder, and Oil are not counted in the ingredient list because most home kitchens have these ingredients in their cupboards.

Ingredients for the casserole are shown. Ground beef is at the top, and clockwise is pasta, cheddar cheese and tomato soup.
This 4 Ingredient Hamburger Casserole consists of ingredients easily found at home or in the grocery store.

How to Make This Ground Beef Main Meal

Making this Four Ingredient Hamburger Tomato Casserole can’t be any easier. You’ll want to start off by preheating the oven to 375F or 190C

Boil the pasta in salted water according to the directions on the package, stopping to drain the pasta about 1-2 minutes short of the cooking time directed. The beef casserole will cook in the oven longer so you don’t want the pasta overcooked by the serving time.

Adding the pasta that's in a green bowl to the boiling water.

Brown the beef, adding the salt, pepper and garlic powder. After it’s completely browned, drain any extra fat if there is any.

When the pasta is ready, drain it, reserving ½ cup of pasta water.

Add the soup, pasta, and 2 cups of cheese to the pan. Mix them all together.

Cheese is just added (along with the tomato soup) to the cooked pasta and ground beef mixture.

If your skillet is not oven safe, transfer the contents to an oven-safe baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and put in the oven for 15 minutes. 

After the baking time is up, turn the oven to broil and broil the cheesy top to gain some texture and color. This is an optional step.

Remove from the oven. Let the beefy cheesy casserole rest for a couple of minutes for the liquid to distribute and serve. 

A printable recipe card with exact amounts, directions, tips, and hints is at the bottom of this post.

Suggestions for Putting a Twist on It

A spoonfull of the hamburger casserole with pasta covered in tomato sauce.

Turn this into a one-pan skillet dinner by cooking in a skillet large enough for your pasta, making this even easier for a weeknight family dinner option. You can even skip the oven and do this entirely on the stovetop if that is all you have time for. You just won’t be able to get that broiled yummy cheesy top.

If you want to make this on the stovetop, then after sprinkling the cheese over top, then turn the heat on low and cover with a lid. Let the skillet rest for 10 minutes before serving.

The thing about dishes like this is that you can do so much with them to make them into something uniquely you. The first thing you can do to make this your own is to bulk it up with vegetables. Adding veggies like corn, broccoli florets, or even beans can help make this meal go further without increasing the cost a lot. Try adding diced onions or tomatoes to make a great flavor enhancer to the dinner.

You can spice it up by adding your own choices of seasonings. Montreal steak seasoning makes a great addition to this hamburger casserole. Try adding some Italian seasoning instead of the Montreal steak seasoning for a different flavor profile.

If you like things a bit hotter, try using a Hot Italian Sausage mix, or add some dried chili flakes to the mix.

I used shell pasta but you can use any pasta you have on hand. Often times elbow noodles are the least expensive pasta at the store but are sometimes overlooked and the longer spaghetti-type pasta is used. This is one great way to make use of these inexpensive noodles. 

A close up of the skillet dinner showing the pasta and the cheese.

What Can I Serve this With?

This dish is great for serving alongside a salad and some bread sticks or homemade bread fresh out of the oven if you have the time for baking. Even garlic toast can make a great side dish. If you do not mix vegetables in you can serve some on the side with this easily.

Storing The Leftovers

Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in your refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. You can simply heat them right back up in the microwave. If it dries out a bit more than you would like stir in a little milk. 

Can I use Penne Pasta instead of elbow macaroni?

Absolutely you can. You can use any pasta shape you prefer. I would not recommend using Orzo though.

What is the extra half cup of pasta water for?

The pasta water is used in case you think the sauce is too thick. I always like to reserve some of the pasta water just in case I want to thin out the sauce. Pasta water is great to use because it contains the starch and salt from the cooking pasta that will help bring extra flavor instead of plain water.

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear what you thought about it by leaving a comment and a star rating below! If you wish to ask me questions about the recipe directly, please feel free to send me an email at [email protected]. Have a fantastic day!

Yield: 8 servings

4 Ingredient Hamburger Casserole Recipe

A close up of the 4 Ingredient Hamburger Casserole in a red skillet.

Beefy flavors with tender pasta and a saucy tomato sauce, this 4 Ingredient Hamburger Casserole Recipe is so delicious and certain to please everyone, right down to the little ones in the family!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef (lean)
  • 1 pound pasta *see notes
  • 2 cans of tomato soup
  • 3 cups Cheddar cheese, sharp, shredded
  • As desired, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • ***Optional ingredient: 2 tsp Italian seasoning


  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. Boil the pasta in salted water according to the directions on the package, draining the pasta 1 - 2 minutes short of the boiling time.
  3. Brown the beef. Drain any extra fat.
  4. When the pasta is ready, drain it, reserving ½ cup of pasta water. *see notes
  5. Add the soup, pasta, and 2 cups of cheese to the pan. Mix them all together.
  6. Transfer the contents to an oven-safe baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and put in the oven for 15 minutes. *see notes.
  7. After the baking time is up, turn the oven to broil and broil the cheesy top to gain some texture and color. This is an optional step and not required. 
  8. Remove from the oven. Let sit a couple of minutes and serve. Enjoy!


1. The pasta shape is whatever your heart desires. Elbow macaroni is the most popular but feel free to experiment with some fun shapes. I just don't recommend using a tiny pasta like orzo.
2. The pasta water is reserved only if you feel the sauce is too thick. Adding the pasta water in small increments will help loosen the sauce. I haven't had to use it to this day, but it's nice to have it on hand at the moment, rather than using plain water.
3. If you are using an oven-safe skillet, you can choose to put the whole casserole into the oven inside the skillet. If your skillet is not oven safe, then transfer it to a large casserole dish and go from there.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

2 cups

Amount Per Serving Calories 486Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 96mgSodium 716mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 2gSugar 7gProtein 30g

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands used, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.